“I had an elder brother who was paralysed from a medical procedure that went wrong, when he was a baby. It caused him to be sub-paralyzed from neck to toe. Growing up with him, and being the youngest in the family, usually we are normally the ‘pampered’ ones, but not in my case.
I was taught the harsh way to live independently. I was 12 when my dad and aunt had a big fight, and it was my aunt who took care of me since I was born. Hence, I had to wake up early to go school and prepare my own lunch, take the bus on my own – I felt demotivated on why my mom and dad spent more time with my brother, and not me. I felt loss.
I used to ask myself, ‘Why do my parents love my brother more?’ And I could never understand why.
Then in Form Two, I had the chance to go on an exchange program to Japan and that changed my perspective in life, and changed my perspective to think of others. I learned manners and lived in a different, rigid culture there. In Malaysia we have school cleaners but in Japan, you have to clean up yourself.
In my first week at the school there, we had to clean the garden, the second week was the classroom, and the third week, the toilet.
From all of this, it made me more independent, even in university compared with the other students who ask money from their parents as I tried to find ways to earn money like doing businesses and selling sandwiches. .
Also, because of this experience, I always make sure that I keep the toilet clean – so that my friends who will be cleaning the toilet after don’t have to do much work. I learned to think about others, and if my basic necessities are fulfilled, I can help other people.
From there on, in university I started the Youth Entrepreneur Society, and won a national competition for our business idea and flew to San Francisco for it, received funding from Cradle Fund, but it failed in the end, a year later due to the lack of belief in the team.
When I started my second startup (on teaching confinement ladies), the startup also did not last due to disagreements within the team on how to run the business.
Cloudbreakr is my third startup. Despite failing two startups before this, I still believe in doing business because I want to leave a legacy behind. I like the challenge in growing something from scratch.
Through MaGIC’s Global Accelerator Program, I met the founder of Cloudbreakr who is based in Hong Kong. We had a good team synergy and that was why I chose to work together with him to bring Cloudbreakr to Malaysia.
Being the LinkedIn for influencers, Cloudbreakr creates job opportunities for them, and also for businesses to grow. In six months, we now have 3,500 influencers in the Malaysian database. We connect the companies who need influencers for campaigns and marketing their brands.
We have a good relationship together and share the same idea – something that lacked in my previous startups. Even if I have a business plan, the team is important. The team comes first before the business plan, running the business is teamwork.
It is important to connect the dots in your life because looking back, I realized that my past built me to be more independent.
I like challenges, and I like building things up – and you will learn more about what’s important in your life as you grow along.”
Humans of Kuala Lumpur is partnering with Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) in featuring inspiring and impact-driven entrepreneurs, problem solvers and startups in their mission to solve Malaysia’s problems! PhotoStory is written and photographed by Humans of Kuala Lumpur.