Showing posts from July, 2010

It's Never Too Late!

Erican Chong meets young Malaysian bloggers over lunch
I just attended a two-day conference - to wit, the "Asian Bloggers and Social Media Conference 2010" which was organised by 'My Events International'. 'My Events' is a brilliant trend-setting organisation led by a very good friend of mine and prolific up-and-coming entrepreneur, Mr Shahul Hameed Dawood.

I must say, it was an excellent conference; my sole response can only be described as ‘simply overwhelmed’. Hundreds of bloggers gathered together (many for the first time ever) in one central location to explore the stunning frontiers of the bloggersphere. To a fresh ‘blogger’ like I, there was simply so much to learn and so many gurus to learn from.

I cannot deny that I found this bloggersphere to be a much different world from the conventional one that I knew. Although I was likely much older than the vast majority of the seasoned participants, I felt like a mere child exploring this exciting new universe,…

YB Chua Tee Yong

The young and dynamic YB Chua Tee Yong

I was recently invited to a dinner hosted by the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, YB Gan Ping Sieu. It was intended to be a function where the Chinese Youth leaders could take part in open dialogue with YB Gan himself.

I arrived slightly late that night, giving the usual Klang Valley excuse of 'traffic jam'. However, after I had settled in, I noticed a quiet gentleman sitting at a table busily writing on a notepad.

I immediately recognised him as the eldest son of MCA President, Dato Seri Chua Soi Lek, the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Agriculture, YB Chua Tee Yong.

I have not been active in politics for many years now, but I used to be quite involved in the MCA Youth about a decade ago. I quit politics when I realised I was more passionate in the pursuit of educating young people than in the pursuit of endless political maneuvering.

But, that's enough about me and my 'political background' - Back to Tee Y…

Creativity - Your Split Second Advantage

Erican Chong sharing a stage with Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing
Recently, a man who I consider my mentor and one that I greatly respect, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing, won an award of significant meaning and impact, the Father of Innovation in Creative Education, given by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Malaysia.

As a friend and admirer of this great man, I am very pleased at his many achievements in the field of higher education. Very few men in Malaysia, indeed, have won more prestigious awards and accolades than Tan Sri Lim himself.

Coming back to creativity. I must be honest with you - this is something that not everyone has the gift to do. Some people try all their lives to be creative but they remain the most boring and predictable entities on Earth.
And yet, while some do not appear to try very hard, their creative and artistic flair just seem to explode out naturally.

Now, I know some of you may be offended by my statement. Don't be too upset y…


It is the desire of all people to be free. No man or woman wishes to be confined, restrained or bonded.

The desire to free from slavery the African Americans came to a full eruption during the Great American Civil War. This war, which lasted from 1861 to 1865, was fought between the Northern States, who wanted to maintain national unity, and the Southern States, who wished to break free of the Union.

While the war didn't exactly start over the freedom of the oppressed blacks, it certainly became one of the biggest impacts of that war. President Abraham Lincoln has gone down in American history as one of the greatest American Presidents to ever live as a result of his fight to free the Black slaves.

Nelson Mandela opposed apartheid in South Africa and was jailed for thirty years because of it. In order to set his people free, he spoke steadfastly in his devotion to the freedom of his people, even after he was sentenced to life imprisonment and tortured. He was a man who never back…

The Colourful Personalities of the Brand Entrepreneurs Conference 2010

I was recently privileged with the honourable task of organising of the Brand Entrepreneurs Conference for 2010. This incredible event attracted the participation of 600 CEOs and entrepreneurs, which was an overwhelming response indeed. A total of twelve colourful corporate personalities, including my humble self, selflessly shared with the audience their experiences and strategies in branding.

And while they talked, all of the 600 participants listened attentively and busily jotted down notes. In some sessions you could hear a pin drop with all the silence, whilst in other sessions, the audiences would burst into laughter every now and then.

Allow me give a brief introduction to each speaker, in the order that they appeared on stage. Each of them has a sparkling personality. They were invited to speak at this conference because they were either brand icons themselves or highly successful creators and managers of brands.

1. Adj. Prof. Dato' Syed Amin Aljeffri

Dato Syed Amin Aljeffri …

Thank You, Thank You and Thank You - BEC 2010

As the Organizing Committee Chairman of Brand Entrepreneurs Conference 2010 which was successfully held and attended by more than 600 on 15/7/2010, I would like register a note of thanks to the incredible people who helped put this great show together, in one way or another.

This conference was a collaborative effort between the Branding Association of Malaysia and SME Corp Malaysia. This marked the second year of a fantastic partnership between SME Corp and BAM.

To organize an event of this scale required a great deal of manpower and resources. I would like to thank SME Corp Malaysia for giving BAM this wonderful opportunity to collaborate.

I feel that we, the SMEs and SMIs in Malaysia are very fortunate. SME Corp, the government agency set up to look after the well-being of small & medium enterprises, is a most incredible organization. Led by its dynamic CEO, YBhg Dato Hafsah Hashim, SME Corp is an energetic and ambitious organization committed to nothing but helping the SMEs and S…

What is your Dad?

I am not an admirer of Robert Kiyosaki.

I actually once thought I’d become a fan of this guru of investment, but after reading his book, I knew I never would be. While I can’t argue with his financial philosophy, I have a great deal of difficulty swallowing the title of his book that propelled him into worldwide fame – “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.

In this book, Robert Kiyosaki talked candidly about his two 'dads'.

First, he talked about his biological dad. His biological father was a government employee who served the Hawaii Education Department faithfully his whole life. However, as his father did not retire as a person of high net worth, Robert called his birth father, 'Poor Dad'.

The other 'dad' that Robert referred to in his book was an investor who used his financial finesse to earn a passive income and led a wealthy life. Robert described himself as becoming close to this mysterious man and regarding him as a fatherly figure. Due to his financial prowess, this man w…

What do you Hear?

I read a news article this morning and it kept me energized for the whole rest of the day. It was the story of Marcelo Iriarte, an Argentinean, and how he became a lawyer after having been a newspaper seller, bus driver and street sweeper all his life.

Marcelo never finished his primary education. When he was three, his parents got divorced. Due to poverty, he started selling newspapers in the streets at the age of eight. He became as a bus driver some years later.

One day, a lady passenger changed his life. Apparently this lady, a passenger in the bus whom he had never met, said to him, "You should really continue your education. I see such potential in you."

What she said struck Marcelo like a bolt of lightning. Nobody had ever told him anything like that. He thought he would end up driving a bus or selling newspapers in the streets for the rest of his life. For the first time in his life, he realized he could actually do something better.

Marcelo decided to heed the advice of…

What Size is your Picture?

The size of the picture that one has directly determines the scale of achievement that one will attain.

Some people have big pictures, some people have medium-sized pictures, and some people have small pictures. Sadly, some people have no pictures at all.

Let's begin with those with big pictures.

The "big picture" people understand what is most important for their success. They are usually not wavered by the little things that happen in their lives. Their direction towards their ultimate destination never changes just because one or two unexpected things have happened in their lives.

These people hold fast to their vision and they pursue their calling relentlessly. They seem to be fearless and bold. They do things that defy expectations and the imagination of the common man. Even when a situation gets seriously tough, they are steadfast. These people never give up.

And then, there are the "medium picture" people.

These people also see a picture but their picture is …

The Little Things

Success is basically an accumulation of all the little right things that we do each day. It is not the one big step that we take that will make us successful. It is the little steps that we take on a daily basis in the right direction that will take us there.

It is unreasonable to get up one fine morning, decide to be successful and expect that success to take place instantly.

Instead, should you wake one morning and decide to be successful, then set realistic expectations, formulate a plan, do little things right every day and work towards your ultimate success.

Along the way, set yourself smaller milestones and achieve several intermediate successes. These will help to keep your ultimate goal within sight.

What do I mean by doing the ‘little things’ every day? What are these ‘little things’?

Those little things, to be honest with you, are nothing that will amaze you. They are not things that you will make you say: “Wow, I never thought about that! No wonder people are successful – after…

Education - Then & Now

Fifty years ago, my father was a young teacher teaching at a primary school. When he was posted to the minute town of Bidor, he was an instant celebrity in town. In fact, he was such a big celebrity that he was secretly admired by many young girls, and one of them was my mother. (Lucky me!)

Why was he such a hit? Answer - He was a teacher, period. Decades ago, the teaching profession used to be something everybody admired and looked up to.

Coming from a very poor family, my father had to struggle all his way through as a child. Finishing primary education was considered a luxury to most poor Malaysian children in the forties, so if somebody had a child who could move on to secondary education, it was something to shout about.

Coming from a humble family of seven in the small village of Kampung Simee, my father became the most highly qualified member in the Chong family. He was the only member of his family who 'graduated' from a junior high school at Form Three. Further more, in…

Education & Qualification

There is a Chinese saying that states, "No matter how poor you are, your state of poverty must never be at the expense of education".

We all know that education is the one single thing that can change lives. It turns fate around. Nothing can have more major or positive of an impact on a person's life than education and training. And nothing is more devastating on a person's life than the lack of it.

History shows us that great men do not necessarily always graduate from great schools with high academic qualifications. However, history does show us that the individuals who demonstrate elements of greatness are always the most avid learners. They are not necessarily 'graduates', but they are all 'educated'.

"So what is education?" one may ask. "And what about qualification?" another may add.

Well, education certainly differs from qualification.

Education can be either formal or informal. Most people go through formal education in primary…