family company

November 19, 2009

I still remember whatย my dad told me after I graduated. He was leaning in his armchair in our flat in London, legs resting on a chair in his kain pelekat, looking slightly old, but as relaxed as ever. (I was on the floor massaging his feet. Pfftt)

I am not going to force you to work with me. Ultimately, it is your life and you have a choice. You can either work in any company of your choice, or work with me. You’re welcome to do anything you choose in life, but I suggest you get some work experience first before starting your own, wherever you choose to do it.

After thinking thoroughly, I chose to work for my dad, for our family company.

Most people choose to get work experience elsewhere for a couple of years first before doing so, but I leaped into my family business. My reason was simple; I wanted to know as much as I can about my family company as fast as I can. I want to be able to master it all and help my dad as much as I can as soon as possible. I want to know everything from the finance to the operations to the manufacturing to the filing system. And the longer I join the company, the later I will be able to master it.

Of course, I lose some as well; the opportunity of working in a big organisation, the ins and outs of working in banks, how other industries work. But I try to compensate my lack of knowledge in those areas by asking friends and seniors, and doing my own readings.

What’s most fun about working with your family’s company is well…the obvious; you get your family there.

I’m so happy working with my sister around. I go to her room a lot to see what she’s up to or when I’ve finished some work and need a break. We fool around sometimes, writing notes to each other.


Such important issues

We eat together. Of course, being the glamourous Director that she is, only the best fine-dining food for lunch, but of course.




How to keep stains away from your shirt

It’s so hard to keep close to your family as you grow up, what with the workload and the sleepovers in the office when deadline is nearing, with the ever happening social life, love life, and especially if you’re married with kids or you don’t live with your parents anymore.

So, I think I’m lucky that work brings our family closer together. Of course, it’s tough in the sense that people compare you to the other family members all the time, people have high expectations of you, people gossip about you, people watch your moves all the time. But you have to ignore all that because ultimately, you’re working for your own company and you tend to work harder because you care more about the outcome of any business deal.

Some of you have asked me what actually I do at work. Filing? Photocopying? Cashflow? Taking minutes? Making coffee? Making reports? Making business deals? Meeting people? Washing dishes? Presenting to potential clients? Looking at potential investments? Summarising business proposals? Reading contracts? Printing, scanning? Despatch?

All of the above.

I think it’s a scary world out there, especially as I meet more and more people who are just as ambitious and driven. Or even more.

Especially working in your family’s company which can be worrying sometimes. You start thinking what’s going to happen if your parents are no longer here, or they decided they’re tired, they want to travel the world now and leave the company to you? What are you to do the next day? Can you cope? Will your father’s blood and sweat go to waste? And it’s all because of you?

They often say the new generation will just spoil what the old generation has built.

And I think that’s because we have it easy. We didn’t have to build our wealth, instead we are just continuing it. We don’t have to go through any terrible recession, instead we only hear about it. We don’t have to beg for projects, instead we are just carrying them out now. We don’t have to migrate to another country, and take the boat like Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew (go read his autobiography written by his son, it’s amazing) leaving his mother behind to search for opportunities. We are given them.


We’ve got it easy.

But still, respect has to be earned. And legacy has to be improved.


I’m still learning that everyday, with the guidance of the seniors in the office (who have been amazingly loyal and helpful), and ultimately, my dearest daddy.

He asked me a couple of days ago,

Dad: Do you want glamour or money?

Me: What do you mean?

Dad: Well, if you work in a big corporation or the government, everybody knows you, people come to you for projects etc. You’ve got glamour because of your status and power. If you work in a private company like ours, not many people know us. We might have money, but we don’t have glamour.

Me: What is the point of having glamour if you don’t have money? And besides, with money, you can be as glamourous as you wish, and still own it. I’d like to have both, but money first, thanks.