JOYS OF MALAYSIANS DOWN UNDER
PICCOLA YING The Tiny Wanderer to 66 countries in six years ARE MALAYSIANS HAPPY PEOPLE?
MISCHIEVING KEVIN GREEDY GOOD PERSON
TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN AUSTRALIA THIS SUMMER EASY RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS ISSN 2201 - 3016
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ISSUE 12 DEC 2014/ JAN 2015 media
Editor Joyce Ng Sub Editor Josh Yu Proof Editors Lianne Letitia Zilm, Zaw Shane Accounts & Marketing Vacant! Finance & Legal Eddie Lee, Josh Yu Circulation Simon Gan Graphic Designer Summer Chen, Joyce Ng Editorial Contributors Clarice Chan, Annie Hariharan, Ka-Jhun Lam, Wooi Lynn Goon, Stephanie Sta Maria, Michaela Swampillai, Lianne Letitia Zilm, Nicholas Yap, Hsin Yee Lim, Julian Lee Photographic Contributors
Christian Reinhardt, Lance Vun, Josh Yu, Joyce Ng, Jia Shyan Teh, Nazir Sufari
JOM would also love to thank everyone who has helped or supported and given us encouragement over the past two years. xx
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ON THE COVER Kher Ying Tey Photographed by Christian Reinhardt
Work experience/ internships JOM is recruiting and is looking to facilitate work experience or internship programs. Please email Joyce Ng at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Submissions JOM welcomes article, story, comic, joke and photo submissions. Please email your submissions to email@example.com or for more information. JOM Magazine is published by JOM Media in Melbourne Printed by Forest Printing & Trading (www.forestprint.com.au) JOM is a bi-monthly magazine.Views expressed by authors are not necessarily those of the publisher. Copyright is reserved. Find us online Facebook www.facebook.com/jommagazineaus Twitter Jommagazine Youtube JOMmagTV Channel www.jommagazine.com.au
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Life Full of Happiness When these four words popped up in my head when writing this Editor’s Note, I kind of liked the sound of them, for one second. Then the next second, I thought, ‘where got such thing’? (forgive my Malaysian slang) You might say there’s no such thing, not in our ordinary life, especially where we deliberately chase after happiness. (And then there are people who are addicted with being not very happy, but I won’t dwell further into that.) Of course, there would be no rainbows without rain, and there will be no light without darkness. A great number of us live in a life where there are both ‘rainbows’ and ‘rain’ at the same time. Our lives have both ups and downs, both sadness and happiness. So, where is ‘full of happiness’? I have been told that happiness is when you decide to let go of looking for or even thinking about happiness - something I learned recently from attending meditation classes. At the meditation classes, I was told not to think about anything at all for almost 40 minutes every class, not even about Buddha or its teaching! It is really difficult, but those classes taught me something really important, apart from letting go of unnecessary desires - that you ought to learn to control your mind, and by doing so, you will be the master of your own life. Personal matter aside, this edition we decided to take on the themes ‘happiness’ and ‘travel’ as we publish this edition at the turn of the year 2014 - 2015 (Wow, time flies!). It has been a rocky road this year for me and for JOM, nevertheless it has been a fulfilling year. I have a good feeling about 2015 as it will paint a clearer picture to the future of JOM. This time on the cover we feature Kher Ying Tey who travelled to 66 countries in six years. This is the first time we have featured someone who is neither currently based in Malaysia nor Australia. We felt however, that she is the best candidate to convey the themes of this edition; besides she is Malaysian and she has travelled to Australia. Her story would be inspirational to many who have no courage to let go of what they have or what they are doing but to see travelling around the world a dream never to be fulfilled. Also on the travel theme as well as the fact that JOM Magazine is now distributed in other states in Australia, we talk about top places to visit in Australia. This time however we do not have the usual property column as our columnist is having a holiday back home in Malaysia! We also feature two profile stories of people who, in their day-to-day lives, dedicate themselves in the service of others via community projects. One is based in Sydney, being Kevin Bathman, and the other Syed Azmi Alhabshi, based in Malaysia who was caught in the limelight in
October with a very intriguing event in Malaysia. Besides, we have stories of people who are doing things they love such as a dancer and a cake maker. I am also glad to have a high school friend of mine, Hsin Yee Lim, to share a bit of her story of quitting a promising career to pursue work that was not very well perceived to her family and friends because it made her happier. I remember a story of a man who, already in his sixties, regretted something he did not do. A retired man from the banking and accounting industry, he said he would have wanted to be a lawn mower as a career. The white collar job had almost no meaning to him in his later life when he looked back. In JOM, we have a few major decisions to make by the beginning of next year too; some could be drastic, for a better 2015. I believe that no matter what decisions you make, there will be lessons to learn, and journeys to enjoy. To quote author William Feather: “One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” Lastly, I wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2015! I also wish to thank every one of you who has supported JOM in various ways and more so for those who wanted nothing in return for their contribution. I really appreciate these support wholeheartedly. Have a safe holidays and see you next year! Yours Sincerely, Joyce Ng Editor
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10 Stuff to do this Summer 12 Inside Malaysia and Beyond Malaysian News Recap Our News in Melbourne Happiest Town in Malaysia Are Malaysians Happy People? 24 Community and Culture Dance Life 26 Malaysian Tales Mischieving Kevin Greedy Good Person Van Goh Cakes A Tiny Girl on a Grand Adventure 42 Styling Life Top Places toVisit in Australia this Summer 47 Down to Business Asset Protection 48 Talk, Think, Laugh The Alphabets for Happiness in 2015 Easy Recipe: Three Steps to Happiness Living a Truly Happy Life Kurang Manis
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STUFF TO DO THIS SUMMER Here are a few ideas for things to do in Summer in Melbourne! Gingerbread Village In what is becoming a tradition, Epicure has baked up a delicious gingerbread display at Melbourne Town Hall with many of Melbourne’s iconic locations, including Melbourne Town Hall, the MCG and Luna Park all reproduced in edible form. Created by Epicure’s executive pastry chef, the display will be open until Christmas Eve on December 24, and entry is for a gold coin donation, with proceeds going to the Make A Wish Foundation. Street Food Head down to Queen Victoria Market for the renowned Suzuki Night Market for your quest of street food! Upon arrival, you will feel that you are in a faraway land with a range of exotic cuisine, arts & crafts, as well as fashion on offer. Not only does the market offer more than 60 hawker-style street food stalls, it also hosts some of the city’s best music talents! So expect some seriously good food and a fun atmosphere. When and Where: Wednesday nights from November 5, 2014 - March 25, 2015, Queen Victoria Market Ballooning & Scenic Flights The summery weather makes it perfect for everybody to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Melbourne from above. One of the most popular year-round hot air ballooning spot is at Yarra Valley, where visitors are able to drift over the valleys’ beautiful vineyards. Balloon flights depart just after dawn for a sunrise float over a panorama of farms, forests, and corridors of vines before setting down for a breakfast of sparkling wine. Global Ballooning website: www.globalballooning.com.au/ An Orchestral Picnic Each year, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra plays a series of free concerts showcasing beautiful classical pieces at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. This is a perfect chance to relax to soothing orchestral music whilst enjoying a dinner picnic on the grass. The concerts will be held at 7pm on February 14, 18 and 21, and entry is first in best dressed so it is advisable to arrive early to secure a good spot. Bricks, Bricks Everywhere If you love bricks of the small plastic variety, then this is the exhibition to make your nerdy fantasies come true. Brickvention is a fan-organised Lego convention showcasing amazing creations from fans and collectors around Australia. To be held over January 17 and 18, 2015, tickets are only available online so get your tickets from www.brickventures.org.au. Rooftop Movies The Rooftop Cinema, situated at the top of Curtin House, hosts an outdoor cinema on a roof in the heart of Melbourne. It showcases a variety of films including arthouse, classic and recent release films in a unique urban environment. “Up on the roof you have the sky above you, the grass beneath you — and a film and the Melbourne skyline in front of you”. When and Where: 252 Swanston Street (between Little Bourke and Lonsdale Streets), Five nights a week throughout summer, starting in December Website: www.rooftopcinema.com.au Join Activities by “Malaysians in Melbourne” For those who miss home or just want to talk to others from the same ‘kampung’, the ‘Malaysians in Melbourne‘ facebook group set up this year often organises get together meet ups and gatherings. Anyone can also organise their social activities via the facebook group, although any invitation or post done via the facebook group should not be commercially driven, according to the admin of the facebook group. The upcoming activities include Chinese New Year gatherings. To join them please visit www.facebook.com/groups/253607404708234/.
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. - Buddha JOM wishes all readers a Merry Chritsmas and a Happy New Year! No matter what you have done or what you have in plan for next year, may you have a journey fulfilling.
Malaysian News Recap (Oct- Nov, updated on December 6) COMPILED BY JOSH YU & JOYCE NG
6% on most goods and services will be implemented from April 2015 to replace the current sales and services tax, with the government expecting to raise an additional RM690 million from the tax. Cash handouts to low income earners will be increased to ease rising living expenses, and first home owners will receive assistance with stamp duty reductions for properties costing no more than RM500,000, up from the previous limit of RM400,000. Sabah and Sarawak will also be allocated RM4.5 billion for facility upgrades in rural areas.
I Want to Touch a Dog! Organised by pharmacist Syed Azmi Alhabshi, the “I want to touch a dog” event held at Central Park in Bandar Utama, Selangor, on October 19 allowed hundreds of Malay Muslims to touch a dog for the first time in their lives. Syed said his intention was to help people overcome their fear of dogs and promote compassion towards animals. A ritual way of cleaning their hands after touching a dog was also demonstrated at the event sanctioned by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS). Many Malaysians posted positive comments about the event on social media. However the event has also raised a furour among some conservative Islamic groups and Muslim leaders, saying that it is “haram” or forbidden for Muslims to touch dogs. In the week since the event, Syed received more than 2,000 messages on his phone and facebook, many of them insults, threatening physical harm and death. The Malaysian religious authorities described the event as an offense to Islam and a challenge to them. The Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim) advised those involved to never again organise programmes that touch on the sensitivities of Muslims. However there are also Muslim leaders such as the former Perlis mufti who disputed the claim that touching a dog is ‘haram’. Syed later apologised for causing unease among Muslims, and he stressed that the event was not intended to deviate Muslims from the faith, distort Islamic teachings, ridicule Islamic scholars or promote liberalism. Source: Malaysian Digest, New York Times, Berita Harian, New Straits Times A Mixed Budget for 2015 Prime Minister Najib Razak unveiled Malaysia’s 2015 budget in October, introducing a number of significant changes to taxation and other matters appearing to ease burdens on Malaysians, whilst also attempting to rein in the nation’s fiscal deficit. Of particular interest to many, income tax rates for both individuals and companies will be reduced, and the upper threshold for the highest level of personal income tax raised from RM100,000 to RM400,000. At the same time, a GST of
Despite the additional spending on welfare, however, the government expects to reduce its fiscal deficit to 3% of GDP, down from 3.5% this year. Sources: Reuters, Malay Mail Online
Four tornados strike Kedah in a month From October 14 to November 12, villagers in four towns in Kedah witnesses the power of mother of nature with rare, terrifying mini tornados whirling and battering their houses down. Eight houses were damaged in Pendang, 50 houses damaged and two people injured in Mergong, 14 houses damaged in Merjong and 20 houses, four shop houses and a goat pen were damaged in Sungai Nonang. Authorities such as the Meteorological Department and National weather Centre said that the mini tornados were caused by the interaction between wind shear and cumulonimbus clouds over flat land in a low-pressure area and/or the northeasterly winds blowing from the South China Sea. Meanwhile, tornadic waterspouts were also noticed in Bintulu and Miri in Sarawak, both in mid-October. A few days later a tornado-like-severe thunderstorm and strong winds hit Pandamaran Klang, Selangor, damaging 30 houses and apartment blocks, leaving many trees uprooted. The Meteorological Department told CILISOS that no official records exist about the frequency of tornados in Malaysia. Source: The Star, Yahoo News, Malaysia-Chronicle
Source: Fox News, Malaysian Insider
Sedition Act to stay and to be strengthened Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak declared that the Sedition Act 1948 will continue to stay in Malaysia with additional provisions to strengthen it further. The announcement made at the 65th UMNO General Assembly on November 27 was an about turn from his earlier pledge to repeal the law since 2012. Najib said that the decision was made after listening to consultation with party leaders, NGOs and grassroots members. The 1948 Sedition Act, which criminalizes speech with an undefined “seditious tendency”, will be boosted with additions to defend the sanctity of Islam, and penalize those who call for the separation of East Malaysia’s states from Malaysia, according to Najib. Previously, Najib said that the National Harmony Act would be enacted to replace the colonial era law. Various groups have been criticising the act and called the government to repeal the Sedition Act including the Malaysian Bar Council which held a mass protest in October, saying that the act restricts freedom of speech. The opposition also said the Sedition Act is often being employed selectively against its members, allies and social activists. However Umno leaders and many right-wing Malay groups fought to convince the Najib government to retain the Act as well as tighten it further including a 1 million signature petition from its women’s wing. More than 20 people have been investigated under the Sedition Act since Merdeka this year and 12 cases have been prosecuted this year – the highest figure since 2009. Source: Malay Mail Online, Reuters, Malaysian Insider Anwar Ibrahim no longer Datuk Seri Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had his Datuk Seri title revoked by the Sultan of Selangor on the basis that he had repeatedly questioned the integrity of the Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and the royal institution during the Menteri Besar crisis. The revocation of the award took effect on November 3. The award was conferred to Anwar by the Selangor ruler in 1992. Meanwhile, the judges at the court of appeal delayed giving a verdict on Anwar’s appeal against his sodomy conviction after a hearing in November. Anwar was sentenced to five years in prison in March on charges of sodomizing a male aide in 2008, after Malaysia’s appeals court overturned an earlier acquittal.
Malaysian court overturns law that banned crossdressing Three Malaysian Muslim transgender people have won a court ruling that challenged a religious law banning them from cross-dressing in early November. A three-judge panel of the court of appeal unanimously ruled that the sharia law in Negeri Sembilan state was discriminatory as it failed to recognise men diagnosed with gender identity disorder (GID), a medical condition. It said the law deprived trans people of the right to live with dignity. The litigants, Muhammad Juzaili Mohd Khamis, Shukor Jani and Wan Fairol Wan Ismail are make-up artists who were arrested for dressing as women four years ago. A lower court dismissed the case in 2012, saying the three trans people must adhere to Islamic law because they were Muslim and born male. The three, who have been certified by doctors to have gender identity issues, appealed against the decision. “This is degrading, oppressive and inhumane,” said Judge Mohamad Hishammuddin Mohamad Yunus of the court of appeal. He added that the Islamic law was aimed at curbing homosexual and lesbian activities that led to the spread of HIV. The present case “has nothing to do with homosexuality”, he said. All 13 Malaysian states prohibit Muslim men from dressing as women, while three states also criminalise “women posing as men”. The laws are enforced by state Islamic religious departments. However this unanimous ruling means that similar laws enacted by the states and the Federal Territory are also null and void. Activists called it a historic victory for human rights in Malaysia. Source: The Guardian, Malaysian Insider, ABC News Kelantan’s dress code crackdown and adoption of Friday prayers law “No tudung, no business”. Kelantan local authorities have conducted Operasi Gempur Aurat (Operation Aurat Attack), imposing a maximum fine of RM500 on women traders and workers who do not cover their hair or wear tight outfits. This applies also to non-Muslim businesses who have
Muslim employees. Kota Baru Municipal Council’s Youth, Women and Islamic Development Committee chairman Nor Azariza Mohd Alawi said the crackdown was in response to public complaints. By early November 34 people have been fined under the crackdown.
probing if it may stem from treatment of a thigh injury in July, when Lee received stem cell injections. His case will be discussed by the Badminton World Federation Doping Hearing Panel later in December in Amsterdam, for which he has hired a British lawyer to defend him.
Further, Muslim men who skipped their Friday prayers three times in a row would face imprisonment for a year or be fined up to RM1,000 or both. This Kelantan by-law implemented since October aims to “preserve the peace” in the Muslim-majority state.
To add oil to the fire, Razif Sidek, a former Malaysian national shuttler, claimed in Kosmo newspaper that Lee has been taking banned substances for a long time and that Badminton Association Malaysia is aware of it. Lee decided to sue Sidek for defamation and had issued him a legal letter in late November. Lee said Razif had called him to apologise for the remarks but he would continue with the legal action as the remarks had affected his credibility.
Source: The Star, Malaysiakini, Berita Harian Malaysia getting better in Corruption Index Malaysia was currently ranked 50th out of 175 countries in the index by Transparency International (TI) published in early December this year. Last year, Malaysia was ranked 53rd out of 177 countries and scored 52 points in the CPI score, two more points than they did last year. The CPI scores and ranks are determined by the perceived level of corruption in the country’s public sector.
Following Lee’s temporary suspension, defending champions Malaysia lost to Indonesia (4-6) in the Axiata Cup semi-final on December 6. Source: The Star, New Straits Times, Channel News Asia
Denmark took the top spot in the latest ranking with a score of 92, followed by New Zealand (91), Finland (89), Sweden (87), Norway (86), and Switzerland (86). Countries with the highest perceived level of corruption were Somalia, North Korea, Sudan and Afghanistan. Malaysia is ranked second among Southeast Asian countries, after Singapore and before Philippines. According to TI-Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar, every year, Malaysia loses 5% of its GDP to corruption. Source: The Star 140 million-year-old dinosaur tooth found in Malaysia
Lee Chong Wei’s failed doping test and defamation case Lee Chong Wei was barred from competing by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and would face two years suspension after failing a doping test at the BWF World Championships in Copenhagen in August and then later, a second doping test in Norway in November. Lee said the failed doping tests are a ‘mystery’ and has reportedly denied having taken any substances to enhance his performance. “I have worked hard all my life and I do not take shortcuts,” the World number one told the Star. The substance that was detected in his urine sample is ‘Dexamethasone’, a steroid medicine with anti-inflammation effects for treating various health problems, including rheumatology. BAM and other officials have defended Lee, saying the drug was not performance-enhancing. They are
Researchers announced that they have discovered a 140 million-year-old dinosaur tooth in central Pahang and it belongs to a new species within the “bird-hipped” Ornithischian order. The announcement on November 13 was the second dinasour discovery in Malaysia and it would mean it is plausible that large dinasour fossil deposits remain to be discovered in the country. The discovery was a result of a programme to look for dinasour fossils since two years ago, after being inspired by a discovery in Thailand. The darkened tooth fossil — 13-mm-long and 10.5-mmwide — was discovered in a sedimentary rock formation by a team of Malaysian and Japanese palaeontologists. It was found close to where the first Malaysian dinosaur fossil, estimated to be at least 75 million years old, was discovered in 2012. Source: The Star, News.com.au Bye bye to fuel subsidies In a surprise announcement on 21 November, the Malaysian government announced an end to the decades old subsidies to RON 95 petrol and diesel, with a managed float system being implemented from 1 December to determine fuel prices based on market value. The move appears to have been timed to take advantage of the current downtrend in global fuel prices, in order to
avoid a large spike in prices at the commencement of the transition. It is also in line with other countries including India and Indonesia, which have likewise taking advantage of falling fuel prices to reduce subsidies for fuel. Abolition of the subsidy is also part of Malaysia’s larger aim to reduce its national deficit which was at 7% of GDP last year. As a result of the changes, the government hopes to save up to RM20 billion from next year. The move to remove subsidies has angered some, who claim that it will cause further the poorest Malaysians who are already having difficulty coping with rising prices. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, however suggested that the subsidies benefited the rich more than the poor, as wealthier Malaysians consume more fuel with their large cars than the poor do with their motorcycles. The savings would also allow the government to spend more on programs to help the poor. Source: The Sun Daily, Bloomberg
documentation through illegal means, hence it was a financial motive rather than a political one. The findings of the RCI also reported that there are noncitizens registered in the electoral rolls but their exact numbers are uncertain as witnesses have estimated between 80,620 and 200,000 dubious names. It also concluded that 68,703 ineligible people were issued citizenship between 1963 and August 31, 2013. The report did not offer any guidance on steps to regulate the influx of foreigners in the future, leaving opposition political leaders disappointed and locals Sabahans concerned they face a future as minorities in their own state, according to Channel News Asia. Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that cartels involved in producing and selling fake identification cards no longer exist in Sabah and such activities have been eradicated through proactive action and monitoring. The RCI, in its report, also suggested a permanent committee on illegal immigrants which would report to the Cabinet chaired by the prime minister. Source: Malay Mail Online, Malaysiakini, Bernama, Channel News Asia
Our News from Roo Roo Land
Raja of Perlis in Melbourne RCI’s report on Sabah’s ‘Projek IC’ The long awaited Royal Commission Inquiry’s (RCI) report on Sabah’s ‘Projek IC’ was released to the public on December 3, concluding that the crime of faking and issuing identification cards had “possibly” occurred but no political motive was behind it. This was contrary to the belief of some, especially opposition leaders. The RCI was set up in August, 2012 to investigate the illegal immigration issue in Sabah pertaining to the ‘Projek IC’. The project was allegedly used by civil servants to issue identification cards or citizenships to illegal immigrants, causing a population influx in the East Malaysia state. Some claimed that the project was a key contributor to the result of the general election 2013. The 368 page report did not name any perpetrator or party behind the large influx of immigrants into the state. It found that syndicates and individuals aided by corrupt officials were responsible for issuing Malaysian ICs and
Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajauddin Jamalullai launched the two-week Perlis Food promotion at the Malaysian café at 432 St Kilda Road during his visit to Melbourne in October. He said food was becoming an important part of Malaysia’s tourism drive and he hoped Australians would be attracted to Perlis to tempt their taste buds. Tuanku Syed Faizuddin also spoke of Perlis’s many attractions, especially its eco-tourism. Also present at the Perlis food promotion were the Raja Perempuan of Perlis, Tuanku Tengku Fauziah binte Almarhum Tengku Abdul Rashid and Raja Puan Muda, Tuanku Hajjah Lailatul Shahreen Akashah Khalil, Consul General Datuk Dr Mohd Rameez Yahaya and his wife Datin Noor Zulaikan Nangaie. Malaysian Spirit’ at Muzika 2014 In its 10th instalment, Muzika 2014 was held on October 3 in the Champions Ballroom at Arrow on Swanston. The
‘Malaysian battle of the bands’ proved to be a success not only in terms of the crowd and number of guests attending, but also by the increase in participation of non-Malays in this year’s Muzika. The organisers noted that they were very glad about the diversity of the audience and participants in this year’s Muzika. Organised by Kelab UMNO Melbourne (KUAM), the event aimed to provide a platform for youths to showcase vocal and musical abilities here in Melbourne. The show this year impressed the 100-people-strong crowd with passionate performances and raw talent. Muzika 2014 saw The Reverbs being crowned champions while acoustic duo Hir & Syidin were declared runners-up. Ambiga’s visit to Melbourne Prominent lawyer and activist Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan held meet and greet sessions with overseas Malaysians here, organised by Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia Melbourne.
of bones and we were able to get information from Len’s foot and use that to tell the computers precisely how big his foot is, and reproduce that using the new 3D technology,” Prof Choong said. As well as needing to be a perfect replica of Chandler’s own bone, the implant required an ultra-smooth surface so it could work seamlessly with his other bones, tendons and muscles, and it had to be porous to allow tissue to grow into it for the body to accept it. At the time, CSIRO had been working with the Victorianbased biotech company Anatomics on metallic implant technology and in two weeks CSIRO and Anatomics were able to custom-design an implant part for the St Vincent’s surgical team, in time for the surgery in mid-July. The surgery was a success and after about 12 days in hospital, Chandler was able to return to his home in Rutherglen, in country Victoria.
Two talks, a democracy workshop and a close-knit dinner were held in Melbourne for local Malaysians to meet Ambiga. During her talk at Melbourne University on October 4, she was joined by R. Nadeswaran, an investigative journalist and editor for The Sun Daily in Malaysia. In Ambiga’s democracy workshop with students at Melbourne University on October 5, participants were proactively throwing out ideas and thoughts, engaging with various topics including race relations, gender equality, homosexuality, the recent petrol hike, the Federal Constitution and the Sedition Act. The workshop went over time by almost an hour as the participants had a lot to say. Ambiga concluded the workshop with a bright smile, saying: “It’s great talking to all you young Malaysians. I can see that Malaysia’s future is bright”.
SP Setia’s Maiden Australian Project Complete Trees representing the national emblems of three cultures were planted to mark the topping-out ceremony of Fulton Lane, S P Setia’s maiden project in Australia, on October 20. The Bunga Raya was planted by SP Setia CEO Datuk Voon Tin Yow, the Australian gum tree by renowned Australian architect Karl Fender and the olive tree by project builder, the Hickory Group CEO Michael Argyrou, who is of Greek heritage. The topping-out ceremony was held atop level 45 of Fulton Lane. A Lion dance greeted some 300 guests , including chiefs of the building and construction industry, selling agents and well-wishers.
Malaysian Surgeon’s World-First 3D Printed Heel A Malaysian-born orthopaedic surgeon has put a 71-yearold man with a rare form of cancer back on his feet after having his heel removed and replaced with a 3D printed titanium replica in a world’s first. Professor Peter Choong, who hails from Kuala Lumpur, led a medical team at St Vincent’s Hospital here to implant the new body part on Len Chandler’s right heel after he was diagnosed with cartilage cancer.
Also present were many who had bought units at Fulton Lane, delighted that they could move in two months ahead of schedule. Voon said he was a happy man because all Setia projects in Melbourne have been outstanding successes. He paid tribute to SP Setia’s Melbourne Chief Executive Officer Choong Ka Wai for his wonderful work in overseeing cooperative work to produce showpieces. A large group of SP Setia Malaysia officials flew in from Kuala Lumpur for the occasion. --
“Science advances have allowed us to consider 3D printing
Baling, Kedah The town with the happiest Malaysians Baling, the major town in the northern Kedah state of Malaysia, was identified as having the happiest people in the National Happiness Index 2013. It is known as the town with three borders as it is located south of Betong, the southernmost town in Thailand, and the border of Perak and Kedah itself. The Baling District Council registered 84.62 percent of happiness index, followed by the Alor Gajah Municipal Council with 81.54 percent and the Pekan and Raub District Councils with 80 percent each. The result was done on 151 local governments in Malaysia involving over 11,000 samples. Itâ€™s not suprising to know that the survey also concludes saying that in rural settings are happier places to live in. So letâ€™s take a stroll on the images of Baling and its surroundings here. There are paddy fields, little township, mountains, waterfalls and more importantly, serenity and simplicity! PHOTOGRAPH THEAN KEAN YEOH, AZYAN ZAFYRAH, WT ONG, TSABRI, ITHNI SHAARI, SAM KRANZ & LA MER
Inside Malaysia & Beyond
Are Malaysians Happy People? Happiness comes in many forms. It can mean sharing with a friend the simple joys of life – chocolate chip ice cream and good sunny weather – or rejoicing in the birth of a child, or gleefully celebrating a public holiday courtesy of Lee Chong Wei. JOM’s Clarice Chan shares her answers to the question here.
Photo: Mahira Khairia
Photo: Jia Shyan Teh
“Malaysians squabble; we argue. We have heated debates over football, unforgiving bosses and Korean artistes. Yet we band together and are deeply united when it comes to things that matter most.” Are Malaysians happy people? This question was posed to a small group of twenty, asking them to comment on several aspects – relationships, work, media influence, material wealth and governmental influence while being given free rein on what they wished to say. Some gave short, clipped answers, while others had much more to say. “Being in contact with people I like keeps me happy. The rest of things… they don’t really have much of an effect on my life.” “I’m happy, because I have a purpose to live in Malaysia – to be a role model for the young generation and help build our community and nation.” “Malaysians are unhappy to the point of being disengaged. It’s become our coping mechanism in order to feel some kind of happiness. We are unhappy with Malaysian culture, work environment, politics, the governmental system, etc, but it has been going on for so long now, that we give up because there is nothing to be done.”
My material wealth status, although sufficient for day-today living it can be a struggle, especially when looking at property or vehicle prices which are somewhat too high for an average income/ household to purchase.” “Generally, I am happy. Happy with work and family on the whole. However, I’m unhappy about the country. Political statements and the overarching climate of fear in Malaysia depresses me… the fact that we may be losing more freedom as time goes by. I fear that I will be sucked into the Malaysian culture of mediocrity while my friends overseas live and work in a culture of excellence. Meaningful friendships have a major influence on my happiness. Few but deep and lasting. Definitely need those.” “Of course, there will be ups and downs. Daily life, people’s intentions, traffic and technology generally influence. But generally, I’m happy. For daily life, people and their intentions, traffic and technology are my key triggers.”
“A simple touch of humanity and kindness from strangers, especially from the fortunate to the less fortunate, from the strong and wealthy to the weak, reminds me over and over again that there is still hope in this country, in this world.
“Lifestyle here is sometimes too intense when it comes to the working world because most people work too hard just to live comfortably. This somehow shapes a certain culture, which I find a little uptight, but who knows its good for the economy?
The government’s leadership qualities affect my level of happiness and anger in living in this country, as well as the transparency of media and justice of each crime.
I’m happy because we have everything we need close and easily accessible. We do have a friendly community around that makes it a nice place to stay. Everything is not
Inside Malaysia & Beyond
Photo: Nazir Sufari
too far away and most of us have a car, which makes it so convenient to go anywhere we want to… we have so many nice places to visit and chill around. Food, we still get them everywhere. This multi-cultural country allows us to experience and have a variety of food to choose from.” One thing became increasingly clear – there is a feeling of disquiet amongst society, but we choose to take the issues in stride. One participant admitted that daily life, people’s intentions, traffic jams, and gadgetry were her main triggers. Still, she was happy. What makes Malaysians happy? Money can buy entertainment, not happiness. It amuses us, keeps us busy and stops us from wanting though only for a short while. It is like a kitten with a ball of yarn, providing instant gratification until it unravels. Money burns fast, burns bright, but then leaves us in the dark, looking for the next big thing to keep us entertained.
Inside Malaysia & Beyond
In terms of financial status, unsurprisingly, no one claimed to be 100 % happy with their monetary status (Who’s happy with hiking fuel prices anyway?). Yet, they were content with what they had. It may not be plentiful, but it is sufficient. Granted, as Malaysians our purchasing power is weakening, many lamented the inability to purchase a car or house without going into severe debt. Many young people are still living in their parents’ homes as a way to decrease debt and accumulate savings. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in a house rentfree, with meals, laundry and utilities accounted for? Still, we accept that ‘that is just the way it is’. Inflation is a necessary evil, jobs are not aplenty and many are thankful for a source of income. The art of stretching a dollar is one many of us have mastered; we are always on the lookout for good promotions and discounts. Window-shopping is a valuable pastime as it hones our skills in finding a good deal. And when we grab that deal, we are happy.
Personal relationships were another big factor in influencing happiness. Those in committed relationships attributed their level of happiness to how their significant other acted around them. The ability to connect on a personal level was very important; some considered an overattachment to gadgetry and technology as hampering their happiness. “…In my point of view, some seek the number of ‘likes’ or the number of friends [in] determining their self status. People can become extremely hooked on the latest news and being constantly updated, but miss out on the little things that happen around them. Proper face to face talking is substituted by flat screens and touch screens.” ~ Anonymous participant Interestingly, when it came to the authorities and government of the day, many were quick to point out their displeasure at the ruling party. It made me pause for a moment and
wonder if the ruling front was all horns and no wings. Malaysians have experienced the repercussions of the decisions made by the ruling front, and many have spoken out against it. Unfortunately, the voices are insignificant. One participant lamented that some Malaysians were not the most civilized people, and with certain mentalities in place, it made the country a rather uncomfortable place to live in. Security was a predominant concern; the police appear to be preoccupied with arresting summarily, instead of investigating more important matters. I believe we have created our own coping mechanisms in dealing with unpleasant issues. We are unruffled by them, or walk away from them altogether. Malaysians have created a buffer space of cincai-ness. We become tolerant. Our standards and expectations are lowered, and we acknowledge that frustration is always around the corner. We accept that when poop hits the fan, we simply clean up and move on. Is this healthy? As a young child growing up, I was always pushed to excellence. Being good was not good enough. During my tertiary education and later when working overseas, there was a passion for perfection. The motto I recited as a Cub Scout – Buat Sehabis Baik (do your best)– became my mantra. When I returned to Malaysia, I experienced a specific form of culture shock; many Malaysians were indifferent to what was happening in their country. As long as they had food to eat, clothes to wear, a job to go to and a roof over their heads, they were happy. Whatever happened in other circles of influence did not really bother them. Malaysians had learnt to strike a good balance between being tolerant and passionate.
not the best the government could offer. In fact, “Buat Sehabis Baik” had become localized to personal relations and in their workplace. Malaysia does not really consist of the government and opposition, neither did it consist of the Prime Minister, First Lady, Anwar Ibrahim or Wan Azizah. It was an eye-opener. Malaysians did not need to be loud, abrasive or brash in their passion. Malaysians are happy as they are. Do not take them for granted; if you threaten their rice bowls, they will surely rise up in protest. Malaysians are cincai, yet under the tolerance there is a sense of determination. Malaysians squabble; we argue. We have heated debates over football, unforgiving bosses and Korean artistes. Yet we band together and are deeply united when it comes to things that matter most – corruption, democracy, and the wellbeing of those in their circle of influence. Governments change, people die, relationships fall apart. The best we can do is breathe and reboot. Tolerance is a great skill to have. Good friends and family can provide invaluable support, if we learn to let them. In the words of a song:Here come bad news talking this and that, Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold it back, yeah, Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah, No offense to you, don’t waste your time Are Malaysians happy people? Yes, I think we are. --
It did not matter that what they were handed down was Photo: Jia Shyan Teh
Inside Malaysia & Beyond
Sabrina (right) and her helper demonstrating how to do the Chinese ribbon dance at Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival @ Crown last September. Photo by Lance Vun. Jimmy (right), from Malaysia, performing on stage.
WRITES ANNIE HARIHARAN
When Sabrina’s troupe arrived at JOM’s Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival @ Crown last September, we felt the vibrant energy instantly. The spirited troupe not only performed gracefully but also engaged the crowd to join in their cultural dances. Professional dancer, choreographer and teacher, Sabrina Chou could pass off as a new age Santa Claus. She may not come bearing gifts for well-behaved kids, but through her dance routines and education, she certainly spread cheer to adults and kids alike wherever she and her troupe go. From Taiwan to Australia
Sabrina’s story is quite interesting. She grew up in Taiwan and trained as a dancer in both Taiwanese cultural dance and contemporary dance. She used this background as the basis of migrating to Australia in 1988 on a Distinguished Talent Visa at a time when skilled migration usually meant medical or accounting skills.
background and their direction. “We considered a few names like Chopsticks”, she laughed. “Finally, the dancer from Indonesia had a great idea to call ourselves KITA, which represents the first letter of our nationalities: Korean, Indonesian, Taiwanese with Australia as our current home.”
“When I first came to Melbourne, I took a few years to set myself up. I studied English in TAFE as well as contemporary dance in the Victorian College of the Arts. Back then, I was one of only three Asians in the class; the other two were from Korea and Indonesia. We introduced some Asian dance elements in the contemporary dances and it was quite well received. That’s when our teacher suggested that we form a company and focus on promoting Asian dance in Australia.“
The dance troupe worked on combining their collective experience and technical skills to create choreographed dances that would appeal to the Australian audience. There was a lot of focus on Taiwanese indigenous dances, fan and ribbon dance among others. Yet, for the first three years, they only booked two shows. To make ends meet, Sabrina worked in restaurants and a travel agency. Her dance partners eventually drifted away as they got married any moved away or took up a full time job.
The first order of business was to find a name for their new company, something that best represents their
That left Sabrina to manage a sudden stream of professional and community centric dance requests. Since
Community & Culture
the professional gigs required trained dancers, she tapped into her network of artists to meet these requests. But she also knew a growing number of students with varying interest and skills and wanted to give them the opportunity to participate in Melbourne’s art scene. So, she created a separate company called Sabrina’s Dance Troupe which focuses on training interested amateurs dancers (usually University students) from China, Taiwan, Korea and Malaysia to perform in community events.
in tandem with the tapping bamboo sticks and use a tremendous amount of strength to wield bamboo sticks of varying length and move with the rhythm. Jimmy was not used to this dance movement and so for the first time in his dance experience, his shirt was soaked with sweat during training.
The Malaysian Dance Link
The Future of Cultural Dances
One of these students is Malaysian-born Jimmy Wong, an enthusiastic dancer-singer-performer who trained with Sabrina. Jimmy had no background in any Asian cultural dance when he first started. His experience was mostly in modern and hip hop dances, but he threw himself into learning. “To me, to perform is to live. Whenever I get on stage, I feel a rush and I love the energy from the audience”
Sabrina and Jimmy both agreed that over the years, the art council and the public in Victoria have become more interested in cultural dances. Since 2003, Regional Arts Victoria has worked with KITA as part of the Arts 2 Go program to promote cultural dances in regional schools. The workshops and shows incorporate dance, martial arts, drumming and singing to interest primary students as they learn about the movements, styles, stories and celebrations of different Asian cultures which includes a techno- version of the Indonesian plate dance ‘Tari Piring’, a drum dance from the Korean Farmers Harvest Festival of Korea, ‘So Go Book Chum’ and a high energy Lion Dance.
Jimmy considers the “Shan Di Wu” dance his biggest accomplishment. This harvest dance takes its form from the aboriginal tribe Ami’s celebration of the harvest. Performers dance precisely across the bamboo sticks
“This routine was the first time my girlfriend saw me dancing and her jaw was on the floor!”
How do kids in Victoria whose idea of dance probably comes from watching modern music videos on youtube, react to cultural dance workshops? “Oh, they love it! They love banging on the drums and playing with the many instruments that we bring. When we leave, they usually gather around us and ask when we plan to return. I think it is important to expose kids to different dances when they still young and that’s part of the reason why I do it.“ Jimmy is more realistic about why the kids are so enthusiastic, “Of course they love it! They don’t have to go to class and can spend the time doing fun activities.” Sabrina fully realises that for cultural dance to catch on, people must be able to relate to it. “People cannot appreciate something if it is too unusual. For example, many Australians cannot appreciate the erhu musical instrument because of its high pitched tone. Over the years, we too have learned how to mix traditional with modern elements and present it to this audience”.
Sabrina Chou (Photo above)
“To me, to perform is to live. Whenever I get on stage, I feel a rush and I love the energy from the audience”
She is also very proud that dancers from her troupe now have parts in successful musicals in Melbourne such as the King and I. “There aren’t many opportunities for Asian performers in general, except maybe large musicals like Miss Saigon. So we have to create our own exposure and opportunities.” And judging by her full schedule, she is doing just that for a whole new generation of performers. -To learn more about Sabrina’s dance troupe please go to: www.sabrinadance.com.au www.kitacompany.com
Community & Culture
Mischieving Kevin As a Malaysian of mixed Chinese and Indian background, Kevin Bathman has always felt aware of issues of culture and segregation in society, and how conservative mainstream views can affect cultural minorities. After working for 15 years in mainstream advertising and design in Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia, Kevin decided to use his talents to promote projects for positive social change in Australia, forming the Coalition of Mischief. For Kevin, mischief is not accepting the status quo and if the mould is not broken, sometimes you have to break it. interviews joyce ng
JOM: How long have you been in Australia? Why you are here? Please share your journey. Kevin: After an intense soul-destroying time working in the advertising sector in KL for 2.5 years, I decided to head to Auckland, NZ (where I studied) to take a break and look for other options. It wasn’t the easiest of times but I did end up spending 5 years there, and then moved to Sydney for work in 2004. Coming from KL, where things move at a rapid pace, it took me a while to get used to the life in Australia. Australia is what you make out of it. It offers many possibilities and opportunities but in the same breath, a lot of bureauracy and conversativism too.
for-profit and social sector, social enterprises and the arts sector. This includes championing how marketing and communications must play a leading part in shaping the way the world thinks about important issues like sustainability, poverty, justice, peace, human rights, animal rights, equality, education and well-being. We wanted to actively partner and collaborate with others who share the same values, and to champion the work of artists because we feel that artists can bring a different perspective and help create a deeper level of Mischief was engagement in social causes.
Coalition of born from my passion for creativity and driving social change.
Aiming to push the boundaries with everything that I do, I am interested in pushing for more multicultural representation in the media, health and the arts. Perhaps coming from Malaysia and seeing the segregation that happens there, I am hoping it is not repeated here and want to ensure that my work is inclusive of multicultural partners, talents and artists.
Tell us about Coalition of Mischief. What is it about, when did it start, how and why did you start it? Coalition of Mischief is about combining creativity and social causes. After 15 years in mainstream advertising and design agencies, I had a turning point in my life where I wanted to do something fulfilling. Two years ago, together with my business partner Zara Choy, we started looking for new ways to serve the sector and increase our collective impact. We decided that we wanted our work to impact three communities: the not-
“Mischief” expresses the cheeky, irreverence we embody. We knew we would be tackling heavy social issues and felt humour and fun were essential elements in our approach to them. “Coalition” reflects our intention to collaborate with others in the mischief-making. We aim to keep things light while keeping our eyes firmly on the big picture. What are the philosophy and core values of Coalition of Mischief? Coalition of Mischief was born from my passion for creativity and driving social change. It has been very fulfilling for me to be able to dedicate myself to work that makes a difference. We work with not-for-profit organizations and other socially aware organizations. Many business programs are directed broadly at the general Australian public, without keeping in mind the different needs and understanding of migrant business
communities. Being migrants ourselves, we understand the re-education process that most migrants would have to go through. Having a cultural liaison officer in organizations or government to support might be beneficial as migrants may relate better and feel more comfortable dealing with them. And of course if the overall culture becomes more inclusive, understanding and accepting of foreign cultures, it makes it much simpler for migrant to begin a new life here and to participate actively in society and the economy. What lights your fire? A kinder planet. As Gandhi says, â€œthe best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of othersâ€œ.
It encouraged Malaysians to fly home to vote, and called on all Malaysians to submit photos of themselves holding a sign with their personal message of change and hope written on it. Despite the results, the campaign did instill a sense of unity - that there were many Malaysians who were advocating and demanding for a government that is truly transparent, and that represented all Malaysians. The Chindian Diaries
How do your projects reflect on your personal values and experiences? What got you into wanting to create and pioneer social change? I firmly believe that growing up in an unfair system in Malaysia has led me to what I do today. Inherently, I believe most Malaysians have a sense of social justice embedded in their system. Some choose to voice it out loud, whilst others choose to do it quietly in their own way. I am interested in using my creativity and experience to address environmental, cultural and social justice issues, and I do believe that the arts is an untapped avenue for catalysing change. I want to awaken peopleâ€™s hearts and minds in a nonviolent, non-protest way and show that social change and activism can come in many forms, and there are many different ways they can speak out against injustice. What was the most satisfying or rewarding project to you thus far? There are 4 projects that I am most satisfied with. Jom Balik Undi
There is a growing community of Chinese and Indian families, in particular in Asia. With the sensitive issue of racial disharmony in Malaysia, I wanted to address this discussion by showcasing positive stories from the Chindian community. The project was born from the lack of documented Chindian stories. By capturing these stories and photos, The Chindian Diaries hopes that these stories will act as a resource for future generations, and ensure they are never forgotten. It hopes to pay homage to both cultures and questions the impact of mixed marriages and cultural identity. The stories vary from identity crises, cultural clashes, struggles and misunderstandings to stories of love and acceptance. In October 2014, in collaboration with Parramasala 2014, I showcased The Chindian Diaries project to an Australian audience. Carnival of the Bold
The 13th general election in 2013 was critical for the future of Malaysia. For the first time in a long time, Malaysians were not apathetic about the possibility of a brand new Malaysia. I had worked with the Bersih Sydney group in delivering and conceptualising a grassroots movement called Jom Balik Undi that had spread far and wide across the world, uniting the Malaysian diaspora for the first time.
Carnival of the Bold not only entertains, provokes and inspires people from diverse areas to care about a “better world” but also encourages artists to take lead with initiatives that create positive social change. It aspires to bring together artists and other leaders who drive important issues of our time - sustainability, poverty, justice, peace, human rights, animal rights, equality, education, well-being - to inspire and awaken greater public consciousness and create deeper engagement around social causes. In our third year running next year, I am hoping to feature Malaysian social change artists to raise their profile. There are many talented Malaysian artists that I think deserve more airtime namely Jo Kukathas, Zunar, the late Yasmin Ahmad, Ramli Ibrahim, Jit Murad, Alfian Saat, Alan Perera, Indi Nadarajah, Patrick Teoh, Five Arts Centre, A Samad Said, Bernice Chauly and a host of other artists. In Her Own Words
Most of my family lives there, so there is still a sense of belonging for me. Despite being away for so long, I do like the fact that there are many commonalities I share with my countrymen. Although I’ve been away from Malaysia since 1999, I am still hesitant to call Australia my home. Culturally, I am more in-tune with the culture back home than Australia. The food, the culture, the friendliness and warmth of its people - all of which are things I miss the most from Malaysia. Can you share with us any interesting or exciting new projects you will be undertaking in the near future? Apart from Coalition of Mischief, what else are you engaged in? Earlier this year, I started a course in sustainability leadership to learn more about building a sustainable future. I am interested in diversity in the arts and have been a Board Member of Groundswell Arts NSW, an advocacy body for multicultural artist in New South Wales. Recently, I have also joined Right Now, an online magazine that promotes writing, art and radio to broaden the human rights conversation in Australia, as their Arts Editor. Next year, I will be looking more in-depth on my Chindian project and taking the conversation further by researching on the Chindia century, an emerging topic in Asia Pacific about the alliance between India and China.
The late Yasmin Ahmad has always been a muse for me and when she passed away in 2009, I was very sad that Malaysia had lost one of its finest visionaries. A year later, I decided to put together an exhibition to commemorate the life and legacy of Yasmin Ahmad. Using her own blog as inspiration, I blended her own words with visual images to create an art series. The exhibition is an interpretation and a celebration of her words – words which serve as a reminder to us to continually strive to celebrate humanity and universal love. It was launched in Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, The Arts House, Singapore then ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Image), Melbourne in 2011.
On the Malaysia front, I am interested in documenting more stories from the Malaysian diaspora and the impact the 13th May 1969 incident has had on Malaysians. -To learn more about him and his work at Coalition of MIschief, please go to www.coalitionofmischief.com.
As an overseas Malaysian, do you consider yourself in touch and are you still heavily engaging with Malaysian issues? If so, have any of your past projects reflected this? Would you have more projects gearing for change in Malaysia? Please share. For many Malaysians overseas, emigrating has come at a great price; they fight a huge emotional and spiritual deficit as they try to engage in a new and alien society. Thanks to technology, I am still very much connected to Malaysia, and keep a keen interest in the updates and developments that happen there - particularly in politics.
Greedy Good Person It started with #tamakpahala in 2011, the hashtag meaning “greedy for good deeds” and encouraging people to actively do good. Since then, Syed Azmi Alhabshi has been running on his feet, with the ‘I Want to Touch a Dog’ event rocketing him into the national and even international spotlight. From a one-man-show to organising large community projects around Malaysia, Syed believes that anyone can do good with what they have if they want to. INTERVIEWS KA-JHUN LAM
JOM: What was your very first project? What were the values and inspirations that encouraged you? Syed: My first public project was when I was trying out projects involving the elderly. I am not talking about the elderlies in nursing homes, but those in local residential areas. That is my passion, trying to find a way to cultivate more activities and do more work at home. What happened was that I found an aged woman staying with her son. As she could not walk, I met her and we had a chat. She told me she aspires to attend a sermon in the mosque, but was held back by her inability to walk. I then spoke to the mosque imam about this and we discussed ways fulfil her wish. Instead of bringing her to the mosque, the mosque came to the house! So we did, more than 40 people paid a visit to her house and prayed with her. She was caught by surprise. There was even a Muslim scholar who talked about a religious topic she chose so she could listen along. The project was free, no charge. That was among my first public projects and I particularly like it. Tell us about your projects. What do you have in mind for the near future? Currently there is a mix of projects that will be held throughout this December and those we are planning for 2015. One will be tomorrow, in which we are going to feed the homeless, not with food but supplies. As it is the cold monsoon season now, we are distributing blankets, utensils and sleeping mats to nearly 300 homeless all
over Kuala Lumpur. We don’t have a fixed place for them to come over, so we have to search for them. The day after, we are celebrating 60 children where 40 of them are Down Syndrome kids. The VIPs for such events are normally the Down Syndrome children. Yet this time around, the VVIPs are the siblings and parents of the children whom we often forget. We feel the need to celebrate and give appreciation to the hardworking people who take care of the children. Meanwhile, we are making preparations for a picnic with more than 160 people at a kite park in the coming weekend. I am personally excited for the planning made for next year. 2015 will be more interesting as we will be having more collaboration with the likes of Zoo Negara, Blind Association and Deaf Education Institute. Do you consider yourself as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)? No, we are not. We are all just individuals who are passionate on things we care for and read about. People would contact me and we set up a team together. It is not necessarily charity per say, it can be anyone doing anything with a cause. What we value is being able to contribute time and energy. Having said that, we also do not call ourselves as social activists. I call myself a doer (I do not even if it is the right term!), but I believe in doing something than just talking about it.
â€œHappiness is to see no boundaries and earning as well as giving respect to everyone around us. Personally, my inner happiness is doing projects that bring out the best of every individual to live their passion and causes they are championing.â€?
What was one of your memorable projects? There was a flood in July this year. People were asking me whether we could lend a helping hand. I then posted a message on Facebook about the plight to help the flood victims, and also about the unfortunate fact that I do not have a helicopter to send the supplies. In that sense, even though I have the supplies, I cannot see the possibility of sending them over to the victims. I was happy when the next day, somebody called up to say “I’m giving you my helicopter”! So, within 24 hours we managed to collect the supplies and true enough we played our part in the flood relief. I honestly believe if we put our hearts into a project, naturally people will come and help. These projects are unique as it proves a point that we don’t need big-features for great impacts. Do you find that Malaysians can do better in terms of charity work? Yes, definitely. We all share a common value in charity. After all, we cannot quantify the amount of money that can create happiness to oneself. More than that, we should share these heart-warming stories to people. Share the ‘wow’ factor. If you have close friends, try to bring them out to join the cause. Malaysians are actually pretty much keen. The only problem is Malaysians are rather shy in trying to get the work done because we think that it is not a trend. Charity is a universal language that transcend beyond creed and religion. Which project was the most challenging thus far? In fact, it is not the dog event. The hardest project I must say was a project for the cancer kids. It was difficult because the kids must be in a germ-free environment. So to get them to actually come for the event, we had to be take strict protective measures. That was hard, but we had a good time with the kids. You came into limelight when you organised the event ‘I Want to Touch a Dog’ last October in which you issued a public apology after that. Did you regret doing it? I actually did not apologise for organising the event. I apologised for the lack of manpower. The number that we expected to come for the event was 300, hence we prepared for 500 people. What happened on the day was a turnout of 1,200. So, I apologise for the lack of manpower to cater for the unprecedented number. Yes I am not proud of it because it is not perfect but I was very happy to have held the event. People enjoyed it because it was meant to be educational and free. It is difficult to get people to wake up at 8.00am on a Sunday to come for events. People indeed had fun by talking to other people they met across all walks of life. You mentioned in an interview that you wished that other communities would start their own projects as well. Have those happened yet? A lot of people have been calling me to help in running and supporting events. It has been happening. However I would
like to say that when we do something, don’t think of the aftermath. Don’t label people, we cannot do that. In order to really help people, don’t question things like “I want to help the poor.” How can we actually identify someone who is poor or who’s not? What is the definition of ‘poor’? We cannot do so. When it comes to helping, we just do it for everyone regardless of social and economic background. I have been invited to carry out a few projects in Cambodia and Japan. Apart from that, I am working on establishing ‘Voluntourism’. This allows people to contribute to the local community while travelling to different regions and countries. Any advice to share on how to start a project? First of all, understand what you are passionate about. Don’t be inferior and do not be tied down by the resources that you have. Do something that you can. If you have a passion of helping elderly to cross the streets, start by doing it yourself and perhaps educating others. If you want to help the homeless, perhaps start by offering to wash their clothes. Don’t talk about the big things, we can take one step at a time. To you, what makes a happy life? Happiness is to see no boundaries and earning as well as giving respect to everyone around us. Personally, my inner happiness is doing projects that bring out the best of every individual to live their passion and causes they are championing. -To support Syed Azmi’s effort, do capture inspirational moments the next time you walk out on the streets. Snap photos and share them! “If there are good charitable events that has been done in Australia, why not Malaysia?” That’s what Syed Azmi strongly believes in and he would like us to share those events with him. Look up for Syed Azmi on Facebook and follow #tamakpahala for heart-warming articles.
VAN GOH CAKES
Where every mouthful is a work of ‘heart’
It has long been Vincent Goh’s dream to create edible masterpieces that evoke euphoria, charm and feelings of nostalgia; the little butterflies in the stomach that flutter with excitement. Vincent strives to give every piece he creates the ultimate wow-factor and make people wonder “Is this really a cake?” His friend Wooi Lynn Goon shares his story with JOM and readers. PHOTOGRAPH WOOI LYNN GOON & VINCENT GOH
Founder of Van Goh cakes, Vincent is a pharmacist by day, and a cake maker in the early mornings and late into the night. At his full time job he tends to the healthcare needs of the largely elderly population in nursing homes. He works in collaboration with doctors and nurses to ensure that the right medications are being prescribed and dispensed to his patients in an appropriate and timely fashion. But in the early mornings and evenings, out of the typical “nine to five” business hours, Vincent is in his creative element, tirelessly hand crafting his pieces of art, often burning the midnight oil till the wee hours of the morning. Vincent’s burning passion for all things sweet and pretty to look at, or as he refers to them, “beautilicious”, came about at as a teenager. And just like many great cooks out there, the food inspiration came from his mother. “One day my mother lamented that during Chinese New Year all my aunties will go into some baking frenzy and every house except our own would have cakes to eat. Thus she decided that our household should also have a cake and the next minute I was armed with a mini mixer in one hand
and mixing bowl in the other”. But it was not until many years later after completing his studies at university, that Vincent get his spark that started Van Goh Cakes. “It was just another day at work when my boss started gushing about some TV show called Cake Boss and how he had to wait in line to enter the featured bakery in New Jersey. I must admit it wasn’t until I started watching episode after episode on YouTube that I realised I was hooked.” So in April 2013, Vincent completed his first cake decorating course at a local cake supplies shop. Over the next few months his vocabulary started revolving around buttercream, ganache, fondant, decorating tools and all things cake-related. “My close friends and family noticed my keen interest in decorating cakes, and in a blink of the eye, I decided to set up a home-based business. I started looking at cakes as not just edible commodities, but as works of art. As my name was often misconstrued with the great artist himself Vincent Van Gogh, I married the two, and thus Van Goh Cakes was born.” Vincent gains inspiration for his cakes from many sources – often from Mother Nature’s beautiful flowers but occasionally even from the odd geometric design on the side of a building or different hues of colour in clothing shops. “Suddenly I feel that everything I see can be made into a cake, which may be challenging but exciting nonetheless!”
birthday girl (who is beaming from ear to ear) is music to his ears. Vincent runs his business from home in Melbourne and makes cakes for any occasion or celebration; or anytime you wish, because one does not need an excuse to have cake. --
To find out more about him and his cakes: Website: www.vangohcakes.com.au Facebook: facebook.com/vangohcakes Instagram: @vangohcakes
Though some may find the processes of baking arduous, Vincent finds it therapeutic - sourcing of fresh quality ingredients, the measuring, sifting, folding, watching and waiting as he perfects each recipe. He enjoys experimenting with new flavours and textures such as raspberry hazelnut with white chocolate ganache but also keeps refining old favourites such as red velvet with cream cheese frosting. However, Vincent harbours a weakness for chocolate, and his specialty dark chocolate mud cake paired with smooth, velvety dark chocolate ganache would make anyone with a sweet tooth weak at the knees. Vincent considers himself lucky to have found his passion in life. He acknowledges that it is a privilege to be able to have fun whilst making a living. However he never takes his skills for granted and constantly builds on them through online tutorials, peer advice through online forums and good oldfashioned practice. Vincent prides himself in being able to create original pieces of art for his customers. After over a year in cake making and decorating at the time of writing, Vincent has brought joy to many such as the little boy who loved pirates and got a pirate ship cake and the bride who received her stunning three-tier champagne cake with piped decorations. That happiness he sees in his customers is his greatest reward. The “oohs” and the “ahhs” his cake receives as it meanders its way past restaurant diners until it sits in front of the
A Tiny Girl On A Grand Adventure WRITES STEPHANIE STA MARIA PHOTO COURTESY TO KHER YING TEY
“I could be whoever I wanted to be and suddenly I was open to different definitions of who I was.”
Sunrise in Bagan, Myanmar
Kher Ying Tey has grown used to being told by new friends that she doesn’t look particularly special. Her father, on the other hand, has often and despairingly wondered why his daughter couldn’t just be “normal”.
“I’m the girl next door,” she insists. “Every experience happened because I made it happen. It wasn’t handed to me through a rich father or an inheritance. And because of that, I feel everyone can do this.”
If she had to choose sides, Ying, as she prefers to be called, would probably agree with her new friends. There’s really nothing extraordinary about me, she keeps repeating during this interview.
In the not so distant past, Ying, 31, had in fact led a “normal” life. After graduating eight years ago she landed a job in a public relations firm in Kuala Lumpur. Within four months, restlessness began brewing and each piece of copy she wrote added to a growing sense that she wasn’t living her true life.
Not even the fact that she has backpacked through 68 countries in the last six years, taught English on a cruise ship and slept in the homes of perfect strangers to save money.
Her mother had passed away when she was 18, leaving her sharply aware of her own mortality and with a sudden desire to start taking chances. But what chances? The answer came in the form of a meditation teacher. Ying recalls she would have pegged the teacher as a surfer rather than a former Buddhist monk if not for his deep serenity. She asked him about finding inner peace and he attributed much of his to travelling. The seed was planted. Then he told her stories about Myanmar, where he was ordained. That seed began to take root. “Myanmar was still a closed country and no one knew much about it,” Ying says. “I decided that if I started travelling it would be to a country like Myanmar where few have been. Then it struck me that I had nothing to lose by actually doing exactly that.”
Ying posing with an Italian family and a chick put in her hands by the mother, in a sleepy ancient town called Berat.
She began researching volunteer gigs there but quickly
“Madagascar was an explosion of colours. I was cruising around the Indian Ocean, as part of my job. Madagascar was one of the more memorable places where I thought, I can’t believe I’m in this part of the world!”
learnt that it required a middleman and steep fees. So she turned to Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forums instead. There she found an American in Myanmar who needed volunteers at a school, and so she offered her time in exchange for a place to stay. The American sent her the address of a travel agency in Bangkok where her twomonth business visa would apparently be waiting for her. The dubious legality of this arrangement would have sent most novice travellers scuttling but Ying was ready to take chances. “It was the only way to get into Myanmar without doing countless visa runs,” she laughs. “I didn’t know what the risks were but I decided to just do it. At worst, I would be booted. Then I went out and bought myself a cheap backpack. That was all the preparation I did for that trip.” When she finally broke the news to bewildered father, she had a one-way ticket in hand and USD400 in her pocket. Here, Ying hastens to clarify that she had never meant to travel around the world for the next six years. Her plan was to only leave for a month or two before returning to “normal” life. That plan lasted only until she discovered the power of travel. “When I was out there I realised that no one could validate my identity,” she says. “I could be whoever I wanted to be and suddenly I was open to different definitions of who I was. I found that fascinating. It changed my perception of
the concept of identity as well as that of my own.” “I was in public relations because I love writing but I was sick of writing about things I didn’t care for when there were so many other stories out there waiting to be told. I wanted to write those stories.” And so she did. Among the collection of stories on her blog, The Tiny Wanderer, are those of blossoming canola flowers in South Korea, a serving of goat brains in Albania, life on board the Costa Victoria and being given the Italian moniker “Piccola” for her diminutive size. Ying’s stories resonate less with roaring bravery than they do with the “ridiculous amounts of optimism and naivety” that led her to CouchSurf, share rooms with strangers, live on USD400 for two months and sleep through a bomb blast. The only reason there aren’t any stories of hitchhiking was not because of the danger involved but because she couldn’t find her way to the highways. And apart from falling prey to child pickpockets, she hasn’t had any nightmarish experiences. Her readers meanwhile span the many countries represented by red ink stamps in her two passports. Earlier this year she found herself featured on social news and entertainment website, Buzzfeed, in an article titled “11 Stories Of Inspiring People Who Left Normal Life and Embarked On An Adventure”.
and a hot shower,” Ying grins unapologetically. “Initially staying a hostel was great because I could meet more people. And when your backpack contains only clothes, you can afford the lack of security.”
Ying’s adventures are stuff of most people’s daydreams yet she insists that it’s a door open to anyone who doesn’t give in to fear of the unknown. Did she even have any fear or did she just not give in to it? “No, I wasn’t afraid,” she says. “Back then it was excitement of the unknown. When you’re young you really have nothing to lose. I’m more fearful these days because I have more to lose now. So I can relate to those who are afraid of giving up everything to travel.” “But you can still take small steps instead of a big, grand one. It’s better than doing nothing at all. If you open just one door you’ll see the other doors ahead of you. But if you don’t open even one then you would have limited yourself.”
When this interview was first conducted in June 2014, Ying was back in the corporate world as a senior copywriter in Singapore. She did promise however that it was a temporary situation. Her plan was to work only long enough to fund her return to the open road, and transiting from vast landscapes to a cubicle added urgency to that plan. Four months later, she made good on her promise.
I was sick of writing about things I didn’t care for when there were so many other stories out there waiting to be told. I wanted to write those stories..
I ask if being a female backpacker was a good enough reason to feel slightly more fearful. She considers the question then admits that as a twenty-something, it never crossed her mind. It would now though, she adds. These days her travel style has gone from dorms and hostels to private rooms where she can be assured of sound sleep without drunken roommates barging in at 3am.
“Yes, you need the backpacking experience but after a while it gets old and you just want your peace, a quiet read
“It was a drastic change to go from living like a nomad to having someone else decide on your daily schedule. I had been so focused on travelling that I had taken freedom for granted. It took a cubicle for me to realise, wow this is really bad!”
Ying has spent the last six weeks revisiting Thailand, Australia and Myanmar, discovering the Maldives and settling down for a brief respite in her German boyfriend’s hometown of Hermsdorf, a village town three hours from Berlin. But this time her plans don’t involve mapping out a new route. Instead, she’s compiling stories for a book. “Writing a book has always been my fantasy. I didn’t travel because I had a bucket list. My point was to get into as many misadventures as possible and tackle situations that others would see as a crutch, like a lack of funds, so
Ying hitched a ride on a pickup that took her through no man's land between Thailand and Myanmar.
I could write about it.” But Ying’s little break isn’t just about a writing retreat, as idyllic as that sounds. Six years of fulltime travel has exhausted her and the impermanence that comes with being on the move has led to a gentle yearning to establish a base for a while. That doesn’t mean she’s hanging up her backpack for good. After all there is still the dream of living for a year in a Latin American country to learn Spanish and soak up the culture, and another a year in Iceland although the German winter has Ying rethinking this idea. “I’ve always been a dreamer and imagined myself doing crazy things out there,” she smiles. “My philosophy is that
you’ll never know if you never try. When we live in our little bubble, we place so much importance on superficial experiences. Travel strips that all away.” “It also helps you accept change better. You’re not so attached to who you are and what you have. It opens your mind, and then you learn how to truly live. There are many reasons not to do something but if you really want it, you’ll find a way. I really wanted it.” -To find out more about her: Facebook: www.facebook.com/tinywanderer Twitter: @kherying Website: http://tinywanderer.com
“Reindeers, I never thought they were real ‘til I chased them in Tromso, Norway!”
Ying’s social media followers are hooked not just on her stories but also her stunning travel shots. Here are her top five tips on creating such photos. 1) Always make sure that your photo adheres to the ideal size of the social media that you're about to post on. Twitter, for example, will only display the full photo on its instream if it's 440 x 220 px, vertically centred to the radius of 2:1. 2) Choose photos that tell your story. Whether you're trying to illustrate a point or to show where you are, pick photos that actually say something. Landscape photos will only work if they're composed well and include iconic monuments. They also work best when you are in it. 3) Choose a variety of photos that depict different aspects of your travels. You can do food close-ups, a wide-shot of the transportation you took, portraits of the people you meet on the street, etc. For Facebook, try not to put more than three photos per upload. Readers are easily distracted and will forget the story behind your post. 4) Filters can complement a photo but don't overdo it. 5) Accompany your photos with thoughtful captions and layouts. Use apps like Pic Monkey or Canva for suggestions and tools.
“There are many reasons not to do something but if you really want it, you’ll find a way. I really wanted it.” Malaysian Tales
10 places to visit this summer in Australia
Australia is a country of sun and surf, but what are the best places to enjoy during the warmer months? We share some of the favourites and not-so-known hot spots to check out this summer. WRITES MICHAELA SWAMPILLAI
Noosa, QLD Noosa is one of the best summer getaways in Australia. Think beach, breakfast with a view, and lazy afternoons. The region is partially secluded from the Sunshine Coast, which makes it a perfect destination for a quiet, romantic getaway for two, or even a girls’ getaway. What makes Noosa stand out from the Sunshine Coast is the Noosa National Park, set just above the emerald waters of the coastal bay. For a shopping and dining experience, Main Street is lined with an array of cafes, restaurants, retail shops, hotels, and local arts and crafts markets. Getting there is easy with public transport and bus stops are conveniently located along Main Street. There’s a range of weekend markets you can choose from including the Noosa Farmers Market and the Noosa Marine Markets. The Eumundi Market is also open mid-week and is located 40 minutes by bus from Noosa.
Photo: Daniel Mohan
Melbourne, VIC Melbourne may not be the best summer destination due to its ever-changing weather but it does get rather stable at the beginning of the year. It’s also the perfect weather to catch the Australian Open, which will take place from 19th January until 1st February 2015. Melbourne is the culinary heart of Australia, so don’t miss out on the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival between 27th February and 15th March 2015, including the World’s Longest Lunch hosted by the Bank of Melbourne. The festival will be held in various locations around the city and in the outer regions of Melbourne.
Sorrento, VIC Sorrento is an hour and a half drive from Melbourne on the tip of the Mornington Peninsula. It’s a laidback seaside town and offers the best of summer including waterfront dining, beautiful beaches, and the remarkable history of Victoria’s first settlement by the British in 1803. Like almost every coastal town in Victoria, the shopping strips cater to every need, including a local fish and chippery, surf shops, homewares and retail shops, and quirky cafes. The big difference is the fewer crowds of people, with the exception of during wedding season that usually takes place between January and February. For the adventurous, a number of operators offer ‘swimming with dolphins’ trips operating from Sorrento. Port Macquarie, NSW Port Macquarie is a vibrant coastal town just an hour’s flight away from Sydney. It’s known for its koala population and for being the home of Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park, which features a 5-acre koala breeding centre along with a variety of Australian and exotic animals. It’s also known for its beautiful natural landscape which can be truly appreciated by exploring the region through its diverse and engaging activities such as water skiing, kayaking, surfing, horse riding, a day spa and many more. Port Macquarie also has an exciting calendar all year round including Festival of the Sun known as the best boutique musical festival experience of the summer and is held every December.
Photo: Biatch at en.wikipedia
Photo: kert58 at en.wikipedia
Styling Life |
Photo: Jacqui Barker
Flinders Ranges, SA For a true outback experience, the Flinders Ranges are a must-see for anyone wanting to get a sense of the real Australia. Camping is the way to discover the rocky landscape and the largest mountain range in South Australia, coupled with nature and unhindered views of the sunset and sunrise. There are several camping parks to accommodate your needs, which are located in various locations around the Ranges. Farm stays and bed and breakfasts are also widely available. Donâ€™t miss the opportunity to see the camels with a camel tour for an unforgettable experience. Visit the Flinders Ranges National Park for its spectacular gorges, creeks, and abundant wildlife. Guided tours are provided for an in-depth exploration of the Flinders Ranges or see it all with a scenic flight over the Wilpena Pound, which is just the start of the incredible journey ahead.
Palm Beach, Sydney This northern beachside suburb of Sydney is a relaxation hub just an hour away from the CBD. Palm Beach is a perfect romantic destination this summer with activities suited for couples against the unique contrast of greenery and golden sands of the beach. You can choose to stay at the numerous quaint cottages with equally stunning prices. Chateau Sur Mer has rates from $140 per night and is only a stroll away from the beach. Palm Beach also makes a great day trip so book a trip with Sydney by Seaplanes from Sydney and they can whisk you away to remote romantic destinations including Palm Beach for a picnic by the beach or a chance to indulge with a gourmet meal by the waters with that special someone. Admire the panoramic view of Palm Beach in the Bible Garden, which contains 143 of the 148 plants mentioned in the Bible.
Whitsunday Islands, QLD The Whitsunday islands are off the central coast of Queensland with close access to the Great Barrier Reef. With 74 stunning islands to choose from, the islands are a complete summer getaway package. The warm and tropical temperature is ideal for an escape at any time of the year and perfect for a caravanning holiday. Big 4 Holiday Parks offers resort-style accommodation and caravan parks combined, and are based in Airlie beach or Bowen. Sailing is popular in the islands and boat lovers can enjoy and appreciate the freedom and adventure of exploring the waters of the islands.
South Coast, NSW Rows of quaint villages line the coastal strip of Northern Sydney. This pristine region consists of national parks, rocky beaches, naturally beautiful lagoons and rivers, and lush bushlands. The crystal-clear waters and warm temperatures during summer are perfect for fishing, canoeing, or boating. For a great hike, the Kiama Coast walk features a 22 km walk along the coast, starting from Minnamurra through its rivers and beaches and then towards Kiama Blowhole. Other points of interest are the Sapphire Coast and Montague Island for their national parks, more stunning scenery and hot spots for short walks and a coffee break. The village of Shoalhaven has a vibrant food and wine scene including 18 vineyards and 16 cellar doors. --
Photo: Niki Gango
Photo: Karl Barnfather
King Island, Tasmania King Island is a 45 minutes flight from Tasmania by the western entrance of the Bass Strait. It’s one of Australia’s undiscovered island retreats. There are a variety of tour operators and packages available, some of which include King Island Trail Rides, discovery tours, golf and bowling tours, photography tours, horse trail rides and Alpaca tours. Tasmania does have its own version of the ‘long table lunch’. Though not as long as the one in Melbourne, it’s called the Paddock to Plate Festival and is held in King Island at the end of February. Indulge in cosy and scenic beachfront cottages like BronzeWing Cottages for a stress-free stay at a rate of $155 per night if you stay 7 nights.
Jervis Bay, QLD
Photo: Dave Naithani
Unlike well-known coastal favourites such as the Gold Coast and the Great Barrier Reef, Jervis Bay goes unnoticed in terms of island getaways. But the island is beginning to find its place on the tourism map and that’s why you should visit this hidden gem this summer. It’s only a 3 hours drive from Sydney and even has its own airport nearby. Join a Jervis Bay eco cruise to explore the turquoise waters and white sands of the bay and have the honour to meet the Australian Fur Seal all year round in the region. The southern peninsula of Jervis Bay is home to the Booderee National Park Botanical Gardens, showcasing local Aboriginal art and the coastal flora of south-eastern Australia.
ASSET PROTECTION BY S.E.A ACCOUNTANTS PTY LTD
We are living in a society where many unexpected possibilities can happen to us, especially to those running a business who face risks such as debtors going bankrupt, information theft and workplace accidents. These situations are usually beyond our control and awareness, leading to our assets being exposed particularly if someone wants to sue the business. This article will be looking at a number of strategies to protect your assets. It is suggested that when it comes to protecting your assets, you should not rely on a single protection technique; rather, you need to have a combination of different layers of protection. Examples of these layers are such as separating assets from the business, having adequate insurance policies in place, identifying as many potential risks as possible and getting professional or legal advice on how to minimise these risks. If you think that you are at high risk of being sued, you should remove ownership of any assets at all and transfer your assets to a family trust. The most basic asset protection principle is to separate your assets from the business. It is highly recommended that no matter what business you are running, no assets should be held in the same entity. A typical example is a trading trust or company which runs the business while owning a rental property or the business premise at the same time; if the business fails for due to economic downturn or debtors going bankrupt, your creditors (your suppliers) can claim against your property. In this case, it is wise to transfer the rental property or business premise to another entity for example your family trust. Having adequate insurance policies such as public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, and work cover insurance in place will give you peace of mind if something goes wrong. However, it is suggested that you should review your policies on a regular basis to see they are still applicable and relevant to your business especially when your business continually changes from one year to the next. The best way to go about this is to contact your insurance broker to have a total review of your insurance needs.
if payments are made before due date or simply stop supplying goods or services to debtors whom you have reasonable grounds to believe that they will not be able to pay your debts. More importantly, you should get professional or legal advice if you have any doubts or knowledge gaps. For example, if you are wholesaler and you have a warehouse, you should contact the work safe agency to conduct a risk assessment and get advice from them to make your workplace safe to everyone; this costs a lot less than having a workplace accident lawsuit. If you believe that you are always at high risk of being sued by someone particularly if it is related to your profession e.g. if you are a doctor or lawyer, it is recommended that you should not own any assets at all. Your assets can be owned by your family trust where you are the trustee and appointor; this will give you absolute control over your assets while not directly owning them. In conclusion, asset protection is about separating assets from the business, having adequate insurance policies, identifying risks, get professional or legal advice to minimise these risks and if you are at high risk, you should not own any assets at all. The best way towards asset protection is the multilayer protection approach. -The information provided is for general information purposes only and should not be substituted for professional advice. To learn more about SEA Accountants please go to www.seaaccountants.com.au
When you are running a business, it is suggested that you should be aware of all business risks, which include workplace safety for both employees and customers, the quality of goods or services provided, how many of your debtors are likely to go bankrupt, and your cash flow. You should identify these risks as much as you can and implement mechanisms to minimise them. For example, if you have a number of debtors who tend to pay late or ignore your payment reminders, you should review your account receivable policies such as offering discounts
Down to Business
The Alphabet of Happiness for 2015 BY LIANNE LETITIA ZILM
Always listen before you speak. You’ll find that more is achieved through listening rather than through talking. Be active – everyone knows that exercise releases endorphins which are linked to feeling happy. Whether you join a gym or a sports team or even if you just go for a jog in the botanic gardens, it will certainly make you feel healthier and happier. Connect to your inner being – spiritual wellness is something that too often goes neglected. Take time to meditate on your faith, be it religion or just the way you choose to live your life. Dream big. Do something on your bucket list, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone. Eliminate toxic relationships – if people tend to bring out the worst in you, perhaps they shouldn’t be in your life. Forgive and forget. Grudges just weigh you down. Gaze into the future but learn from the past. Hydrate yourself regularly, especially in the summer! Studies show that even mild dehydration can make a person irritable. Indulge once in a while. Have some fine chocolate, buy that new dress or go to that concert – just don’t make indulgence a regular thing or it’ll lose its flavour. Just joking! Laughter is the best medicine so be lighthearted and joke around a bit more. Keep learning and growing. Continuously find ways to improve yourself. Let it go, let it go! I’m sure we’ve heard the song. Let go of inhibitions, fears and negative experiences. Make someone else’s day. You’ll realise that the effect it has on them will make your own day too! Nourish your body with good food. Enjoy a range of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables this summer. Organise your life, starting from your home or workspace – it’s a wonderful way to release creative energy and clean up the clutter too!
towards small goals – soon you’ll be able to conquer these areas of your life. Respect others more. Try to find a deeper understanding of why they do certain things or have certain beliefs, and love them for who they are. Spend more time with the people you love, especially those you don’t get to see very often. Take time to smell the roses. Don’t let yourself get too busy to a point that you miss the little pleasures in life. Unplug – spend some time away from technology and social media. The fewer distractions, the more you can focus on living in the moment! Voice your concerns – don’t bottle up your anger or frustration, but don’t take it out somebody either! Find a confidante who you can trust and make sure it’s a two-way thing. Wear a big smile on your face – it’s your best accessory! X-press gratitude in all that you do. Count your blessings and you’ll realise that you really have much more than you thought you did. Yes – just say yes! Whether it’s a “yes” to going somewhere different, helping someone out or accepting a new opportunity – saying “yes” more often may help you unlock potential you never knew you had!
Pay it forward - give without expecting anything in return. Sincere generosity brings rewards that money can’t buy.
Zzzzz… Get a good night’s rest! Invest in a comfy mattress, put on your favourite pajamas and sleep tight – don’t let the bed bugs bite!
Quit bad habits for good. Start with small steps and work
48 | Talk, Thing, Laugh
Easy Recipe: 3 steps for the Quest for Smiles & Laughter BY NICHOLAS YAP
The search for happiness has been an everlasting journey no matter how wise or old one becomes but where does happiness come from? Each and every one of us has our own personal definition of what happiness is and what makes us happy. The warmth and joyous aura we have when we are happy truly have a positive effect on our friends, family and society. However, in our current fastpaced world, many would find that happiness can be found through what society considers a norm such as money and status. We push forward through the journey, blindly finding happiness that is generally accepted within our society. Therefore, a troubling question comes to mind, â€œDo I truly know what makes me happy?â€? I wish to share my way of achieving what truly makes me happy in three easy steps! Step 1: The Mind Palace Find somewhere that allows you to think, it could be your living room, a park, a beach, anywhere that brings out your best potential to think. A place with loads of oxygen would be preferred to allow for more efficient brain processes! Say goodbye to technology awhile as we are going old school with pen and paper! Likewise, for those Sherlock fans out there, yes, it is time! Step 2: The Book of Core Values Now comes the nitty-gritty part. List all the values that you hold dear. This could range from spirituality to order, friends to family, a world of balance or teamwork. Write everything that you thought of down on a paper, do not be afraid of having two different yet similar meaning words, and then choose your top 10 values. After choosing your top 10 values, eliminate 4 from the 10. Some questions below will assist you in the elimination process: - - -
Among these values, what can I not live by? Would I die to protect these values? If an action clashes with these values, would I ignore these values?
Once you have 6 left, choose 4 and defend them on why you should not eliminate them. There is no limit on how many you would want to defend but try your best to limit it to a maximum of 4 values. Below are some questions to assist you in defending the values: - How am I practicing, promoting and living these values? - What values do you want to pass on to your children? - If an action clashes with these values, would I stick to these values?
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Step 3: Core Values in Action Finally, once you have identified your core values, stick to them as they are basically your core identity or in other words, what you live by. Ensure that all your effort, time and money are driven towards actions that enforce these core values. This process allowed me to identify one of my core values, which is family, and thus I have chosen to go home after graduation to be with them. It is bittersweet to leave Melbourne but I am able to say that I am truly a happier person after identifying my core values and ensuring that I nurture myself in relation to them. I talk to my parents now more than ever before. Please note that it may not work for everyone. It is merely how I approached and achieved happiness! I hope that this article would be able to assist you in your endeavor to search for happiness. Nevertheless, always remember to smile! Always remember to share the happiness with everyone around you! And always remember that happiness is a journey of selfdiscovery and it is constantly ongoing! The quest for smiles and laughter continues! --
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LIVING A TRULY HAPPY LIFE What does it take for someone to quit their highly paid, respected job to start again from scratch doing network marketing? Hsin Yee Lim shares her story about quitting a promising, steady job for what she thinks true happiness is. When I graduated from high school, I was quite lost because I didn’t know what I wanted to be. Fortunately, I was offered a Malaysian government scholarship to New Zealand to pursue a Bachelor degree in Biotechnology. Phew! It was like someone already decided, and I didn’t have to figure out myself what course to take. Is this how many avoid taking ownership of their lives, to let circumstances determine their future? After four years of studying an Honours degree, I came back to Malaysia and when the government told me that I was not needed to serve my bond because there was no work for me, I started working in a large, well-known multinational corporation in the IT industry from the United States. Life was pretty good back then, or so I thought. I got promoted every year and within three years, from a compliance analyst I became the head of the Asia Pacific region, in charge of compliance and auditing for 15 countries. I was 26 at that time. However to excel in the work I gave up a lot of my own personal time. In my role, apart from giving advice to the management team, I dealt a lot with my counterparts in other countries. Many times I had to wake up early for conference calls with people in New Zealand, and I left office very late because of the India time zone. During audit periods, I worked from morning until midnight almost every day for the whole month, including weekends. Sometimes there were back to back audits for different countries, and I had to work like that for 5 consecutive months. At the most hectic, I was looking at 6 audits at the same time for different countries. Due to my extremely busy and stressful lifestyle, I didn’t eat on time or sleep well, and most of my meals were take away. I was also overweight, reaching almost 70kg. I thought what I went through was normal because that’s how most of my friends lived. One day, my grandfather who was over 90 years old fell really sick. He has more than 10 children, but none of the children could take care of him while he was sick because everyone were busy working, and the only person attending to him was a helper that we hired from Vietnam. That really struck me. What would happen to my parents? They only have three children. While I was working hard and devoting all my time to other people’s company, I gave up the time with my loved ones. Would I want the same thing to happen to my parents? I questioned myself and once again felt lost. Suddenly, I didn’t know what the purpose of my life. was What am I working hard for? And am I living the life that I want? The turning point occurred not long after I started questioning myself when I came across a project called ‘Happy Life Project’. The project showed me how I could live my life without compromise, and have freedom in terms of finances, time and health. I saw how I did not have to go through the default mode that our parents taught us, work
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hard for 40 years and retire at the age of 60 so that you can enjoy life. Well, in reality, most people don’t retire at 60. And even if they do, they have to downsize their lifestyle so that they can survive with the money that they have saved hard, and hope that they die before the money depletes. Isn’t that sad? What happened to the part where they said we could enjoy life after we retire? However, before I decided to put my foot in the door at all, I examined the products at the project using my biotechnology knowledge. I found that their products were genuine and able to help people in various ways especially in health. So after doing this project part time for over half a year, I decided to quit my full time job and to embark on the ‘Happy Life Project’ journey full time, doing network marketing work with very flexible time arrangements. Most people told me: “You are crazy!” It was also a huge blow to my parents, but I stood firmly with my decision for the true happiness I was looking for. For me, Happy Life Project was more than a job. I saw the possibility that I no longer had to let someone else determine how much I am worth per hour, how I should live my life and what I should be doing on weekdays or weekends. Now after a year being involved in the project, I am enriched, empowered and inspired to take control over my own life. Also I regained my health and lost almost 10kg so far. I have become a better person for my loved ones, and I am now able to do simple things like having lunch with my retired father, sometime even four times a week – a privilege that many working people in Malaysia do not possess. By first making my own life better and my family’s lives better, I can then pay this forward and contribute back to others. To me, happiness is when you can have the freedom to have what you want to have, do what you want to do, and be with who you want to be. It is enjoying this freedom for the longest time, and passing on this great life to others so that they too can have the same. And here, I found my happiness. --
To get in touch with Hsin Yee, please go to www.facebook.com/hsinyee.lim.5 or email her at email@example.com.
Photo: Ben Smith
BY JULIAN LEE
Julian CH Lee lectures in Global Studies and is a member of the Centre for Global Research, RMIT University.
Smile, if you want to. We live in a world where we are expected to be happy. But at the same time there is plenty to be concerned about. The state of our oceans, the extinction of so many species, the persistence of poverty, the actions of authoritarian governments, to name a few. In this context it seems difficult to be happy, and yet the glum amongst us are told to ‘cheer up’. The dilemma of there being so much wrong in the world and the idea that we should be happy is one that religions in their various ways have grappled with. Buddhism, for example, is premised on the idea that ‘life is suffering’, and yet there would seem to that many of the most cheerful people on earth are Buddhist monks like the Dalai Lama and Ajahn Brahm. Therefore, it would seem possible to be
concerned about the world and be happy at the same time. The recently released ‘World Happiness Report 2013’, which was compiled by researchers including the wellknown economist Jeffrey Sachs, distinguishes between two kinds of happiness. One is happiness as an ‘emotion’ – ‘Were you happy yesterday?’ – and the other is an evaluation of one’s life – ‘Are you happy with your life in general?’ (page 3). Distinguishing between these long and short-term kinds of happiness makes sense. I would find it very easy to imagine some sort of happy pleasure at eating some delicious food, while at the same time experiencing a sadness at the fact that I don’t have companions to share it with. Here it seems important to bear in mind that we can only reap what we sow, and that the act of sowing often involves much discomfort which many would rather forego. The conclusion that you might imagine that I’m moving towards is that we should invest heavily in sowing now for reaping later, but this is not quite what I’d suggest. If you were to invest all of time and effort in earning money to invest in your superannuation, you would ensure comfort in your retirement, but would you have enjoyed your youth? There are clearly dangers at both extremes – of living too much for the moment and of living too much for the future. Therefore, there’s clearly a balance to be struck, but don’t become so concerned about finding that balance that you forget to enjoy yourself. There’s already enough to worry about.
Talk, Think, Laugh
Where to get JOM We are often asked where hardcopies of JOM can be found. For your convenience, here is the list of places where you can get a copy of JOM Magazine! (Unless they have run out!) Melbourne CBD and City Fringe Consulate General of Malaysia, Melbourne (432 St Kilda Road, Melbourne) Malaysia Hall (4K High Street, Windsor) Hometown Grocery (440 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne) Laguna Asian Grocery (QV Melbourne) PappaRich (QV Melbourne) Blackball (8/206 Bourke Street, Melbourne) Petaling Street Restaurant (188 Little Bourke St) Sugar Bun/ Nanyang Bak Kut Teh (205 Russell Street, Melbourne) Café Crema (488 Swanston Street, Melbourne) Norsiah’s Kitchen (604 Swanston Street, Carlton) Chilli Padi, Flemington (295 Racecourse Rd, Kensington) Chef Lagenda (16 Pin Oak Crescent, Flemington) Laksa King (6-12 Pin Oak Crescent, Flemington) Wonder Cafe at Tune Hotels (609 Swanston St, Carlton) LuxBite (38 Toorak Rd, South Yarra) Sydney PappaRich Chatswood (1/63A Archer Street, Chatswood) PappaRich Broadway (185 Broadway, Ultimo) Malaysia Silverfish Books (28 Jalan Telawi, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur)
Melbourne Suburbs China Bar Signature, Burwood (380 Burwood Highway, Burwood East) PappaRich (Chadstone Shopping Centre) PappaRich (540 Doncaster Road, Doncaster) Best Asian Grocery (Kingsway, Glen Waverley) Yeoh Enterprise Asian Groceries (1306 High Street Road, Wantirna South) Grand Tofu (5/53 Kingsway, Glen Waverley) Kampung Story (Ste45/300 Point Cook Road, Point Cook) Asian Supermarket (Point Cook) Hong Kong Asian Grocery, Clayton (367 Clayton Road, Clayton) Circle K Asian Groceries (High St, Doncaster) Jackson Corner Store (Jackson Crt, Doncaster East) Mitcham Post Office (Mitcham Road, Mitcham) Rasa Malaya (272 Blackburn Road, Doncaster) Tai Pan Restaurant (Blackburn Road, Doncaster) Badminton Connect (13 Duerdin St, Clayton) Yeoh’s Enterprise (High St, Knox)
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