Category: Re-discovering Myself

11 Years

Dear Papa,
11 years have passed since you left us.

Even after 11 years, everybody still talks about you like you are still around.
Every now and then, I still encounter total strangers who said they knew who I am. They knew me because of you. They knew me because you were their mentor, in business and in life, and that you had such big influence in their lives.
These past 11 years, there’s been many milestones I have achieved that I wished you had witnessed, both personally and in my career. But my proudest achievement came on the 28 January 2016, when Kendrick Sia is born. I became a father for the first time, and you a grandfather to the cutest baby in the world.

I think being a father for the first time completely changes my perspective on a lot of things. Suddenly, I become more aware of my role in the family. Suddenly, I have to prioritize my responsibilities both as a financial provider for my family and a positive role model for my son.
Well, that’s the same feeling that you have been giving me throughout most my life. 🙂 And I can only hope I am able to do the same for Kendrick.
Till we meet again,
Your youngest son.

Ten Years

Dear Papa,
It has been ten years since you’re gone.

Never imagined I would be missing you everyday for ten years, but I guess I did. 🙂 Ten years have passed, but the feeling of not having you around anymore is just as raw as it was ten years ago.
A lot has happened. A lot of milestones achieved in these ten years. I’m a little disappointed that you were not around to witness it, nor to taste the fruits of your labour. But that’s the cards we were dealt with, right? So we live with it.

The supermarket business that you started more than twenty years ago has been making a lot of progress recently. Just last month, we had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for our first outlet outside of Sarawak. Mom told me that it has always been a dream of yours to expand into Sabah, and now that dream has come true. Ten years after you’re gone.
Who would have thought, a tiny little home-grown business you started from absolute scratch with your barehands is now big enough to straddle two Malaysian states. Not bad for a local brand name. Not bad for a local brand name that some think is not “good enough” to compete with the major players from West Malaysia. Now we are starting to stand toe-to-toe against them.
I think kor kor deserved a lot of credit, for re-branding and refreshing a forty-year-old brand name and turning that uncool image around. I think you’ll be so proud of his business acumen. It’s more modernized and stylish now… although it still bears the ol’ ching-chong name you gave. 😉

Compared to kor kor, the business I started may not be as large – but for a six-year-old business that was started from scratch I think not too bad also lah. Last September, I also had my little milestone when I expanded outside of Kuching. After a lot of hard work, I finally opened a small gym in the tiny town of Segamat, Johor. It’s not something I had initially planned, but I got a really dedicated partner and I also wanted to see how good a mentor I can be. Perhaps it’s because I have grown up, but I find that the process of helping people achieve their dreams more spiritually and emotionally fulfilling compared to just doing it for myself.
The only thing better than starting your own business, is helping other people start their own business, see them make money and grow. 🙂
Papa, all these are related to work. The biggest thing you missed in these ten years is my wedding.

On the 9th September 2014, Ming and I completed the third of our three wedding ceremonies. I prayed to you the day before. Even went as far as to wear the gold watch you left behind for the entire day of my wedding.
Of course, Ming and I’s biggest regret is not to be able to serve you tea.

But we are doing good.
So now, after more than twenty years living underneath the roof you built, I have finally moved out to my own little place. Your little boy is finally becoming a man.
I’m glad I have finally found the person that I wanted to share the rest of my life with. Mom adores her… sometimes more than me. 😉 And I feel just as accepted by her family. I think you would have really like her too.

I guess the next step now, is to start my own family, huh? If it happens, the only thing I hope is that I can be as good a father as you were to me.
The past ten years had not been easy at all. I had to deal with a lot of challenges thrown in my way. From dealing with the pain of your passing in 2006, finding my own feet in the business world in 2009, rising in the face of competition in 2013, to finally finding balance and achieving stability in 2015.
Too many obstacles I faced in this journey to adulthood. At the same time, I sense that the worst of the worsts is over.
Now I’m ready for a new chapter in my life.
From a young adult to a man. From being single to a husband. From a business start-up to a mentor.

With you watching from above, I think I’m gonna be able to get through this funny thing called ‘Life’. 🙂
In the meantime, please take care. I know I’ve been owing you ten years of coffee, and counting.
Till we meet again,
Your youngest son.

Goodbye LKY

Unlike the current generation of entrepreneurs who can count Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump and Steve Jobs as inspirational figures, my late father have few well-known figures he that looked up to.

One such exception, is Lee Kuan Yew.


When I was 7, I saw on my father’s desk a biography of Lee Kuan Yew.

"Who is that, papa?"

"He is someone incredibly extra-ordinary. Thirty years ago, Singapore and Kuching were the same but he developed Singapore so much. No one could ever have imagined. Read, and you will soon know, son."

It’s Been Nine Year Since You’re Gone

Dear Papa,

  Gosh, has it been 9 years already?

Korea Trip 234
  I was asked about it the other day and I almost couldn’t believe that it has been that long.  There’s so much you had missed out on since you left, papa.

  The amazing thing is that… even so long after you had left, there are still so many random strangers coming up to me and to koko, telling us pretty much the same old things.

  "I knew your dad."

  "We would be in meetings after meetings, talking for weeks and weeks on a problem we couldn’t solve. Then when your dad walked in, within 5 minutes, he’s got the solution figured out already."

  "He was such a good man.".


  An interesting thing happened the other day.

  I had completed my latest project, the new 24-hour gym. To find someone to officiate the opening ceremony, I sent an email to the Assistant Minister YB Dr Jerip.

  To my surprise, the Assistant Minister accepted my invitation. After all, I run a small company. He runs the State of Sarawak. It was only until he went on stage that I realized the reason he accepted my invitation.

  The Assistant Minister told the audience a story about how as a young student, he liked all the subjects in school, but the only subject he disliked was Physics. No matter how hard he tried, Physics and him just do not get along.

  Until one a day, a teacher came along. This teacher used all kinds of stories and analogies to explain the difficult concepts in Physics. The teacher tried and tried, passionately and tirelessly, to educate his students. He worked so hard until Physics transformed from the student’s most disliked subjects to one of his favourite subjects.

  That teacher was you, Papa.

  It’s so amazing that you only worked only one year as a teacher, yet your students still remember you so well. Some people go through their entire life without so much as to leave a mark, yet after nine years, people still talk about the different ways you touched their lives.

  That day, at the opening ceremony of LUF24HR, was easily one of the best days of my life.

  I think you must be real proud, to see your former student grow up to become an Assistant Minister of Sarawak; to see him turning up to officiate the opening ceremony of your son’s new business venture; which is inside a sports complex next to the temple housing your spiritual resting place.

  I’m not one to believe in miracles, but events like this cannot be explained by mere coincidences.

  If this is your way of telling me you love me, I wholeheartedly believe it.


  On the 30th March 2014, Ming and I registered our marriage in a simple ceremony held at the Old Court House.

  It was the most perfect ROM reception I could ever wished for. The only person missing there, was you.  How I wish you could be there in attendance, to witness your youngest son and his wife’s new chapter in life.

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  On the most important day of my life, I wore your gold watch. I guess… if you can’t be here in person, then at least you can be with me in spirit. 🙂

  I love you, Papa. And I miss you.


Till we meet again,

Your youngest son.


30 Things I Did When I Was 30.


1. Celebrated my “Big Thirty” with the important people in my life.

My girlfriend knew I was under a lot of stress at the time, so she did something I never thought she would do – she contacted our common friends and asked to write some words of encouragement for me. These words were printed out and stored inside a box, so whenever I needed a power-up, it’s there.

(I also got a lot of “marry this girl, Kenny!” from our friends.)

2. Took the long way home from KLIA.

It was Christmas week. I was in KL for a business meeting, but on my way back I missed my flight.

It was a grave mistake. All MAS and AirAsia flights from KL to Kuching were full for the next 5 days. Not only that, all Penang to Sarawak, Johor to Sarawak and Singapore to Sarawak flights were full. Basically, there are no flights plying between Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia whatsoever for the next several days. It means I’ll be stranded with no accommodation, unless I think of something wild – which I did.

For a moment, I thought about sailing from KL to Kuching on a boat, like in Life of Pi.

In the end, I booked my flight my KL to Jakarta, then Jakarta to Pontianak on Garuda, then took a 9 hour bus ride from Pontianak in West Kalimantan, to Kuching, Sarawak. By the time I arrived home, I smell like an Indonesian.

Lesson learnt: Never miss your flight during Christmas week.


3. Sold my apartment and bought a house instead.

I got hitched shortly after purchasing my apartment. By then, I realised an apartment wasn’t right for the both of us.

Thinking long-term, I put the money down on a landed property and most likely this will be where we’ll be staying for at least the next few years – my first major responsibility as a grown-up.


4. Slept inside a campervan for the first time.

I took my girlfriend on a long holiday to the UK for our second year anniversary, but because hotels in the UK is so expensive, I thought it might be a better idea to rent a campervan and sleep in the back instead.

It was winter when we travelled to UK and Iceland, so we braced for the worst, but turns out sleeping in a vehicle didn’t turn out as bad as we had thought. We had a rather comfy Toyota Estima. In the morning, we would drive the vehicle around. When we felt tired, then we just parked wherever it’s quiet, popped down the back seat and slept till the next morning.

The best thing is that we saved a ton of money: the car hire costs us RM700 for 4 days – that’s roughly the cost of a single night in typical hotel in London!

Definitely gonna be doing this again.


5. Saw the Stonehenge.

Yeah, the world’s most famous pile of rocks.


6. Watched a Liverpool match at the Director’s Box in Anfield.

It was a money-can’t-buy prize from the Enterprise Development Challenge competition I won last year.

(Come to think of it, I experienced many things for the first time during this trip to the UK and Iceland.)


7. Travelled to Iceland.

It’s the furthest north I have ever travelled to in my life.


8. Made snow angels for the first time.


9. Went horse-riding in the snow.

And got a horse that loves me a little bit too much.


10. Dived in a lake for the first time.

But not just any lake – it’s a lake filled with glacial waters.

The dive site is Lake Silfra – a crack between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. It was also the first time I donned a dry suit to scuba-dive instead of the traditional wet suit.

The water in the glacial lake is so clean, it’s like diving in Evian water.


11. Walked on a glacier for the first time.

Sounds romantic, until I fell inside a hole.

Lucky I didn’t get stuck, ‘cos I’m too big-sized.


12. Went dog-sledding.


13. Saw the aurora borealis.

And it’s as breathtakingly beautiful as I had imagined it to be.

The aurora borealis is like weather – it is difficult to predict when exactly it is going to happen. All we can do is stay in Iceland as long as we can and hope for the best.

We were in Iceland for 5 days without seeing a single shred of green light.

Then, on the night when we were supposed to depart, the northern lights came out to play in all its glory.

It was magnificent.


14. Celebrated two years with my girlfriend.

After one week of sleeping in cars and saving every single cent way we can during our ten-day break in UK and Iceland, we splurged on the last day on our two-year anniversary trip at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant in London called Petrus.


15. Voted for our country.

Note to self: Don’t scratch your forehead when there’s still indelible ink on your finger.


16. Saw sunrise at Alishan.


17. Experienced an earthquake for the first time.


18. Ran my seventh 42km marathon.

The Perth City to Surf was the first ever running event I participated in. Back in 2001, I took part in the 4km run and swore to myself I don’t want to run again.

The event has since grown to include a marathon.

Although I didn’t beat my personal best (the route was easily the hardest I have ever competed in), there’s a nice sense of nostalgia to complete a marathon in a city where I spent most of my teenage years.


19. Trained to become a Les Mills GRIT Coach


20. Opened my third gym outlet.

My latest outlet is located next to a Buddhist temple where my father’s soul resides. And interestingly, the YB who officiated the opening of my gym was a former student of my late father.

I don’t think even my father knew that one of his students would grow up to become a politician, to officiate the opening of the business of his youngest son.

Guess it was meant to be.


21. Flew business class on long-haul for the first time.

Thanks Qatar Airways!


22. Went on a solo backpacking trip through Central Europe.

Although I flew on Business Class using Qatar Airways (sponsored) from Kuala Lumpur to Poland, I travelled from there to Czech Republic and Southern Germany on the cheap. I slept in hostels, buses, trains and train stations… basically, any place that does not have a hotel reception desk.

Instead of taking subways and taxis, I cycled everywhere as much as I can.

Flying on a broomstick is also a viable mode of transport.

Going on solo backpacking trip is something I enjoyed doing this during my single days in my early 20s. It’s good to get lost in a foreign country every once in a while. Makes you wiser.


23. Saw two of World War II’s most infamous and horrific sites of mass murder.

The Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland…


24. …and the site of the Nanking Massacre in China.

You lost a bit of faith in humanity after seeing those two places.


25. Experienced Oktoberfest in Munich.


26. Continued to learn, learn, learn and be better at my job.


27. Appeared on a poster of a warung in Bali.

It all happened last year when we went cliff jumping at a spot in Nusa Lembongan.

I knew our photo was taken. Next thing I know, our sweet young Malaysian faces appeared on their poster. #SocialExperiment


28. Participated in a cycling trip organized by the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) of Malaysia.

This was such an eye-opening experience for me. On the surface, this may be just a bicycling trip from point A to B. Yet, I learnt so much just from having small talks and little conversations with members of EO Malaysia – all of whom are movers and shakers, founders or owners of very successful companies.

Full story coming up!


29. Completed my Invisalign treatment.

I’m smiling so much more now, thanks to Again, will do a follow-up on my journey soon!


30. Asked my better half for her hand in marriage.

She said yes. 🙂

You know you have found the one when you’ve dated for two and a half years and you never even had a single argument.


Today, I am 31 years old.