Category Archives: EZ 41

Staged for Stardom 璀璨盛开

Joanne Yew
Malaysian Artiste

Locally produced blockbuster “The Journey” released in 2014, whilst having reeled in positive reviews for her lead role as Ah Bee, marks Joanne Yew’s debut into film. The icing to the cake was the eye-opening discovery that blood is indeed thicker than water. Taking on the part taught her plenty on a personal level as well as helped her become more appreciative of her family and the bond shared with those whom she knows care deeply about her.


Thanks to the vast exposure gained in conjunction with the aforementioned milestone, she feels exceedingly humbled by the privilege to have starred in a production that went onto to put her on the map. As she prepares for her next project, Yew has set aside some time to pursue a season of leisurely travel with loved ones. Although the opportunity for respite in now within reach, her career is every bit a demanding undertaking.

Naturally, the tremendous success she currently enjoys wasn’t built overnight. Equipped with the determination to attain perfection with every career-inspired endeavour, each take on set regardless of length of shoot, is executed with absolute finesse to the point of faultlessness. On top of being a meticulous doer, Yew relishes acting roles that are the complete opposite of her personality; a good challenge easily gets her motor running.

Funny business

Unsurprisingly, new experiences inspire her, creating room for self-improvement. As much as this is true, Yew’s next desired feat to tackle is venturing into the comedic aspect of television. As easy as the genre might appear, it entails the personification of precise body language and subtle emotions to elevate a character and scene. Clearly it isn’t for everyone, considering the rigorous technique and skill level involved in flawless embodiment.

Believing she has what it takes, the actress intends to expand her portfolio to include comedy. In addition, fascinated by her brave yet elegant style, Yew aspires to someday work with TV giant Jun Ji Hyun, and won’t rest until the dream is realised. Seeing that The Journey has been by far her biggest accomplishment, many doors have since opened, enabling her to explore new territories and un-turn stones previously foreign.

Journeying beyond

Incidentally, her latest movie dubbed ATM added the avenue to rub shoulders with the entertainment industry’s elite of Hong Kong, many of whom she’d had wanted to work with. Although she hasn’t given it much thought, she is open to the idea of taking to Hong Kong should the opportunity arise. However, being a Chinese who is fluent Korean, she is certainly looking to expand her presence into the said Eastern market.

Being a multi-tasking talent is no easy feat—especially since she is both an actress and a model. Juggling the two different yet similar careers comes down to meticulous time management and absolute camera-readiness. Yet, she favours the former over the latter. “I prefer acting as I find playing someone’s life more enticing. It isn’t easy to adapt to a character in an audience-worthy manner, so acting is a very interesting process,” Yew tells Essenze.

“Off the set, Yew takes pleasure in relaxing at home; it is why her abode is a sanctuary that celebrates her favourite music as well as need for sensually-pleasing aromatics and uninterrupted bliss for the ultimate encounter with tranquility.”   

Limelight worthy

Despite her widespread success and the glamour associated with her line of work, the film star confesses that had she not ventured into the aforementioned arenas, she would have delved into sales and marketing with a focus on skincare. As to why, she says servicing a client in need and offering helpful advice on good product choices are an appealing proposition. But for the time being, she’s set on taking her acting to even greater heights.

For her, being a public figure literally means having to be in the spotlight all the time, which itself poses its own challenges. In fact, the hardest part she notes is, having to introspectively determine ways to better herself in every aspect of her job and self. The perpetual scrutiny is something she is always mindful of; one misstep and it could signify the end of the road. Therefore, her commitment to positivism helps her maintain a healthy attitude and outlook.


Off the set, Yew takes pleasure in relaxing at home; it is why her abode is a sanctuary that celebrates her favourite music as well as need for sensually-pleasing aromatics and uninterrupted bliss for the ultimate encounter with tranquility. Busy or not, nothing takes priority over her family; they’re the reward which matters to her the most. Finally, as she is an avid fan of property development, a personal aim is to develop her personal concept of the perfect dwelling place. 

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Chalking Up Class 飞跃晋级

Dr. Elizabeth Lee Fuh Yen

Senior Executive Director of Sunway Education Group

Born in Singapore, raised in Malaysia, educated in America, and trained in the UK, this recipient of India’s Visionary Women Leadership Award is a history-maker with lessons to teach. Deborah Joy Peter takes notes.

When contemplating the multifarious choreography indicative of Dr. Elizabeth Lee Fuh Yen’s passage through academia, the 1995 hit Ironic comes to mind. Absent ripped jeans, ombre vibe, and beanie on head, she is no Alanis Morissette. Yet, the multi award-winning Sunway Education Group (SEG) senior executive director, having by now tucked about 30 years under her belt, is by every stretch of the imagination, some indelible version of a rockstar.


Exposed to the field at a time when teaching was considered a white collar job with blue collar pay, she could have steered clear, but didn’t. Told that the profession was befitting of a lady just because the hours were short and its nature family-friendly, the career chaser should have reconsidered; instead she stood her ground. When the offer to practice in the United Kingdom was extended, it made sense to accept only she wouldn’t.

“I wanted to be involved with something rooted in multi-cultural studies, and therefore opted to major in English. It allowed me to return to Malaysia and serve my country by bringing the language home. That much was clear. I wanted to come back although I had something called a DES number and still do, which permits me to teach in the UK,” the SEG veteran explains, adding that infusing passion into teaching has been an endless pursuit.

Honour roll

Is there anything to suggest that the virtuoso described above isn’t every degree of audacious? Whether it was admirable persistence or sheer stubbornness only she knew, but when it came to crucial life decisions, Lee always chose going against the grain. Perhaps, being Singaporean-born had something to do with it, but the Kuala Lumpur raised educationist turned administrator is nothing if not a woman on a mission to revolutionise an entire industry.

Herself a Bukit Bintang Girls School alumnus, the Doctorate of Laws holder-an honorary title granted her by Nottingham University to mark the industry’s highest tribute-has been instrumental to Sunway’s evolution from a college to a full-fledged education group. Having served with the marque since 1992, she has spent more than two decades carving out its niche as one of the most prestigious institutes of higher learning across the world stage.

Top tier

“We have different education institutions now. We have Sunway University and Sunway College. They are very separate. Next, we have Sunway Le Cordon Bleu, our institute

of culinary arts. It is the Le Cordon Bleu of Paris. Then, we have the Sunway International School. Also, recent years have seen truly rewarding partnerships forged with numerous globally-acclaimed institutes like Monash and Cambridge.”

In fact, Sun-U brought the Oxford Symposium to Malaysia in 2015, where for first time the conference was hosted in the heart of Southeast Asia, reeling in the participation of a great multitude of students and teachers. In the same token, the 2014 Asia Leadership Camp aimed at impacting young leaders that rolled out in collaboration with Harvard proved a momentous feat for the brand as well.

“My credo changes every day. It’s never the same thing. You know those Keep calm and … expressions? It’s very fitting, I think. Sometimes, I tell frustrated parents that the children will grow up. They do grow up. So it is this idea of keeping calm and letting the moment pass.”


While she began as associate director before being named executive director some time later, in her current and latest capacity, her myriad of duties includes looking at strategy in terms SEG’s positioning, direction, and next phase. Sharing in chairman and founder, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah’s vision, Lee opened up about the group’s ultimate goal to emerge as the ‘Harvard of the East.’ But what does that mean exactly?

“It basically means that Sunway University will become a force to be reckoned with in education, so that it is recognisable and internationally renowned. Over here, when Harvard is mentioned, everyone knows. So if we’re over there and Sun-U is mentioned, everyone will know. That’s what we mean by Harvard of the East—that we’re a credible institution marked by our stamp of distinction,” Dr. Lee reveals while gleaming in sheer excitement.

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当注视着李馥彦博士陈述着她纵横学术界的各式各样繁琐经历,令人想起1995的流行歌曲“讽刺”,但没有破洞牛仔裤、渲染氛围或有小圆帽在头上,她不是Alanis Morissette。然而,这名获奖无数的双威教育集团高级执行董事,30年来深藏功与名,与摇滚巨星一样具有不可磨灭的代表性。出生于新加坡,马来西亚成长,前往美国接受教育,在英国接受培训,她是印度“远见女性领袖奖”的获奖者,也是历史创造者。



“我想扎根于多元文化的研究工作,因此选择英语专业。当我回到马来西亚,也是将语文带回家与报效祖国。我想回来,虽然我有所谓DES number(师资培训)在进行中,这能让我在英国教学。” 她补充说,把热情投入教学一直是她无止境的追求。


她作为吉隆坡武吉免登女校的校友,同时获得诺丁汉大学授予的最高敬意-法学博士学位荣誉称号,而采取针对性的政策,让双威从一家高等学府蜕变为全面的教育集团。自1992年开始的服务与品牌意识,以 20多年积极的创业心态打造双威成为登上世界舞台的高等学府。





“基本上意味着双威大学将成为不可忽视的教育力量,哈佛是家喻户晓的名校,而我们的目标是让每个人都知道双威大学,这就是所谓的东方哈佛,我们是一个可靠的机构,具备与众不同的标志印记。” 说到这里,李馥彦的目光热情闪烁。

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Fair Businesswoman goes for Italian Flair 美丽女企业家转向意大利风情

Dato’ Dr Wenddi Anne Chong
Owner of Marianis@7
images by Dato’ Kee Hua Chee

At first or even second glance, Dato’ Dr Wenddi Anne Chong looks like an archetypal IT Girl, rich tai-tai or spoiled daughter of millionaire with her 3 supercars. She is neither as she is basically a self-made, self-written success story. Though hailing from a well-off family, she takes great pride in buying the Porsche 911 Turbo S, Ferrari 430 Spyder and Lamborghini Gallardo with her own funds. And entering history as Malaysia’s first and only female restauranteur to own this trio of supercars.

Looking at the fashionably clad, perennial habitant of best-dressed lists, one can scarcely believe Dato’ Dr Wenddi Anne Chong graduated as mechanical engineer! True to form, that did not last long as she preferred visiting clubs and horse races in feathery hats than construction sites in hard hats!

I also modelled as back in the Eighties, you did not need to be 178 cm to model, I wanted to see the world but dad refused to finance a year of nonstop travel and accommodation so I joined Singapore Airlines! ”

Born in Malaysia, her parents moved to Singapore at 8 but she is now Malaysian resident. She joined Singapore’s Ministry of Education as public relations officer after abandoning engineering. While clubbing, she was enamoured with deejaying and with her natural sparkling personality, was swiftly scouted and trained by Juliana’s of London to be Singapore’s first batch of female deejays, spinning tracks at Xanadu in Shangri-la, then Singapore’s hottest joint.

Twelve years later she left as Chief Stewardess and Trainer. “I was Best Trainee of 1996 and my name is still in the honor board of SIA Training Centre.” She decamped to Kuala Lumpur in 1990 to be with her beau and co-founded Damansara Fertility Clinic which evolved into Damansara Women’s Specialist Centre which morphed into TMC Fertility Centre which was public listed in 2005.

Dato’ Dr Wenddi Anne Chong was co-founder, shareholder and executive director of TMC Life Sciences involved in fertility clinics, stem cell therapy, medical storage and laboratories listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia. She implemented training programmes and during her time TMC Life Sciences achieved major milestones of which she is justifiably proud.

She also currently helping to spearhead healthcare tourism with Malaysia’s Ministry of Health, MATRADE, MIDA and Malaysia Tourism Board. She is advisory committee member of Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, PEMANDU and Negeri Sembilan Chinese Maternity Hospital.

She is a member of International Society for Stem Cell Research, American Society of Reproductive Medicine, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embroyology, Women Institute of Management, Kiwanis Club and Lions Club which awarded her their coveted International Recognition Award by Lion’s International President.

Despite her hectic schedule, she finds time for energetic fund-raising for Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahirah, Tunku Azizah Fertility Foundation, Rumah HOPE, Ipoh Children’s Home and other deserving causes and charities.

Her list of awards and achievements include ARFF Women Entrepreneur of 2010, Business Excellence Award for Best Company in Science and Technology, ASEAN Technology Business Review CEO Award, L’Oreal Woman of Excellence, Women’s Weekly Woman of Excellence, CHT Entrepreneur Award in Healthcare and Woman of Substance by Malaysia Tatler alongside Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong and Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

She was included in Malaysia’s 10 Most Influential and Stylish Personalities 2010 and accorded Most Stylish Muse 2010.

Now residing in Ipoh, Dato’ Dr Wenddi Anne Chong operates and owns Marianis@7, touted as best value fine dining Italian restaurant in Ipoh.

“I love Italian food, fashion and architecture and my partner Khim used to work for an Italian restaurant chain so opening an Italian restaurant comes naturally. Oh, I also love Italian sports cars!”

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如果仅凭第一眼感觉,拿督蔣慧瑩看起来就像一个IT女白领、典型富太太或被宠坏的百万富翁女儿,加上3部超级跑车的衬托。事实上,她是自己谱写成功故事的精英女性。虽然出自富裕家庭,但所拥有的保时捷 911 Turbo S、法拉利 430 Spyder 和兰博基尼 Gallardo 系列是靠自己赚回来,成为马来西亚首名配置超级跑车的餐厅女老板。





她也是国际干细胞研究学会、美国生育医学协会、欧洲人类生育与坯胎学、女性管理学院、Kiwanis Club的会员,而作为国际狮子会成员,她获得梦寐以求的国际认可奖,由国际狮子会总会长颁发。尽管繁忙,她还是为Tuanku Nur Zahirah基金会、Tunku Azizah助孕基金会、希望之家,怡保儿童之家等公益事业与慈善机构出力或筹募基金。

她接受的奖励与成就包括2010年ARFF最佳女性企业家、科技领域最佳公司-商业卓越奖、东盟科技商业评论CEO大奖、欧莱雅卓越女性奖、每周女性卓越女性奖、CHT大奖保健领域企业家奖,《尚流》杂志马来西亚版选为实质女性,并与前首相敦马哈迪医生、丹斯里杨肃斌,丹斯里林梧桐和丹斯里Tony Fernandes等相提并论。

她也曾入围2010年马来西亚十大最具影响和时尚风格榜。蔣慧瑩目前定居在怡保,并经营一家名为Marianis@7,深具口碑的意大利餐厅。“我热爱意大利菜、时尚与建筑,而我的拍档Khim曾在一家意大利餐厅连锁店工作,所以经营一家意大利餐厅好像理所当然。哦,我也喜欢意大利跑车!” 而她固定穿梭于怡保-吉隆坡,家中有6只狗狗,享受着温馨的生活。