Category Archives: EZ 49 – Captains & Legends

Capturing Elasticity 百折不挠 

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Teoh Han Chuan
Co-founder & Managing Director of Elianware


“I was a very smart kid and placed top three during my primary school days and since then my ambition has always been to become a businessman.”

 Cramped in a wooden hut, became a problem student during his teenage years and slept on the streets just on some newspaper were some of the fond memories of Teoh Han Chuan when he shared his life story with EZ Malaysia. Today he sits as the deputy managing director of a listed company SWS Capital Berhad.

“I was a very smart kid and placed top three during my primary school days and since then my ambition has always been to become a businessman.“ said Teoh. He was from a very poor family who lived in a small wooden hut. Thus, he opined that only by being a businessman could he make a lot of money and provide for a better life. However, his grades went from excellent to horrible when he was in secondary school and he eventually became a problem student. “Maybe it was because I was ashamed of my situation where my mother worked as a washerwoman and the uniforms I wore were from thrown aways with only my school badge added on.” he said. After Form Five, Teoh left for Singapore where he spent the first few days sleeping in the streets. Initially it was difficult, but as he recalled, it was actually an important turning point in his life that led to a fresh start.

Some years later, Teoh returned to Penang and took up a salesman job in a plastic manufacturing company. He had to travel everywhere, whether to big cities or kampungs. It was the beginning of his love affair with plastic. Perhaps the other milestone in Teoh’s endeavor was when Heng Sew Hua offered him a partnership to start a new company. Initially he hesitated. He went to his immediate boss to ask for a raise instead but the answer he received woke him up and reminded him of his dream of becoming a businessman. “My boss told me that as a worker, I had no right to ask for a raise. Then he later went on to remind me that the economy was not that good and I might not get another job with such salary.” Teoh said he would not have had such an achievement today if his former boss had not push him over the cliff. “Although I left and started a plastic manufacturing company, I did not produce the same items and in fact I continued to help in his sales for the first few months until his new salesman was stable.” he continued.

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“The market in Malaysia is competitive and as we are gaining local consumers’ confidence, I told myself why only Malaysia when the world is so big?”

Teoh became a businessman in 1993 fulfilling his childhood dream. When Ee-Lian Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. was incorporated. Some years later, his business expanded from a little shop house in Penang island to acquiring land in Bukit Minyak Industrial Park. He was quick to understand that the plastic industry was very competitive and most, if not all, manufacturers were trying to capture the market through fierce price wars. Having much experience in sales, Teoh was very focused in creating his own brand, a trusted brand that would convince customers to purchase good quality plastic wares and not cheap productions. Furthermore, he put in efforts in researching and developing more interesting items that consumers would find useful, also Ee-Lian Enterprise was the very first company to participate in exhibitions overseas. “The market in Malaysia is competitive and as we are gaining local consumers’ confidence, I asked myself why only Malaysia when the world is so big?” It was a well planned strategy and today Eelianware can be found in over 30 countries. But for Teoh, this is only an appetizer and the main course is yet to come.

Fascinated with what plastic can do and its potential, Teoh believes that there is still plenty of potential market growth. In order to succeed, one needs a good and dedicated team. Teoh believes in three important points to retaining loyal workers. First, it is to allow workers and staff to see growth paths in their careers and a purpose to stay with the company. Second, to provide them with a sense of security as most of them have commitments to their families. Finally, it has a lot to do with self belonging, by treating each and everyone like family. “Teamwork is important and we are very proud to say that only 15 workers from middle to top management left since we started this company and that was more than 30 years ago.”

Lastly, when asked what Teoh has as a hobby, he candidly said his hobby is to work and grow the company especially now that his company has branches. The listed company SWS Capital has more reasons to expand. However, he finds time to be with his family and does not forget to always give back to the society.

栖居于拥挤的小木屋、十几岁成了问题学生、露宿街头以报纸当床,SWS 资本有限公司 (SWS Capital Berhad) 董事经理张汉川娓娓而谈他美好的回忆,和 EZ 马来西亚分享他的人生故事。

“我算是聪明的孩子,小学时的排名都在前三名内,那时候,我的梦想就是成为一名成功的企业家。” 张汉川诞生于清贫家庭,简陋小木屋是一家六口的栖居之所。因此,他认为只有当一名商人才能赚更多钱、过上更好的生活。然而上中学后,他的成绩却一落千丈,最终成了问题学生。“也许是因为我对母亲是一名洗衣女工、我只能穿别人丢弃只剩校徽是完整的旧制服的状况觉得羞愧。” 中五毕业后,张汉川南下新加坡寻找工作机会,开始几天都只能露宿街头。万事起头难,但正如他回忆那样,这实际上是他人生中一个重要的转折点,新的起始。

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“马来西亚市场竞争激烈,我们的产品也嬴得本地消费者的信心,我决定放眼国际市场。”

几年后,张汉川回到槟城,在一家塑料公司担任推销员。他走遍大城小镇去推销产品,这也是他与塑料 ‘相恋’ 的开始。张汉川的努力带来了另一个里程碑,当时亿联企业的另一名推手王少华问他是否愿意携手创业。起初他很犹豫,同时也向上司要求加薪,但他得到的答案让他惊醒并想起成为企业家的梦想。“老板说我作为一名工人,没有要求加薪的权利,后来又提醒我说现在经济不太好,不容易找到另外一份工作。” 他很感激的表示,如果后者没把他推向悬崖,他也不会有今天的成就。“虽然我离开了那家塑料公司,但我没有生产相同的产品,离职后的前几个月我还有继续帮他推销产品,直到他新的推销员可以接手工作。” 他续说。

1993年,张汉川成立了亿联企业(马)有限公司,实现了自己童年成为一名企业家的梦想。几年后,他公司的业务从槟城的一间小店扩展到武吉美雅工业区的大型工厂。张汉川也明白塑料业的竞争非常激烈,有过多年销售经验的他决定打造自己的品牌,一个值得信赖、可以说服顾客购买的高品质塑料制品,而不是一般的廉价品。他也花费研究和开发研究有趣兼实用的产品以满足客户的需求,亿联企业更是第一家参加海外展览会的公司。“马来西亚市场竞争激烈,我们的产品也嬴得本地消费者的信心,我决定放眼国际市场。” 随着精心的策略,如今 “伊恋汇” 产品遍布全球30多个国家。但对他来说,这只是一个开始,他的收获成果还没到来。

“我算是聪明的孩子,小学时的排名都在前三名内,那时候,我的梦想就是成为一名成功的企业家。”

张汉川认为,塑料还是深具潜能,市场仍然有很大的发展空间。而优秀敬业的团队,是公司迈向成功的关键。张汉川相信,培养员工的凝聚力和忠诚度有3大重点,首先必须赋予员工目标和成就感,其次是安全感,最后则是归宿感。“团队合作精神非常重要,我们可以非常自豪的说,自公司成立30多年以来,只有15位中高级管理人员离职过。”

最后,被问及有什么爱好时,张汉川笑称工作和让公司有更好的发展和就是他的爱好,尤其是公司现与上市公司SWS资本合并,是有扩大的理由。当然,闲暇时他仍会和家人同过,也不忘记持续回馈社会。

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Top of the Food Chain 味蕾顶峰

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Winner of MasterChef Australia 2017
2017年澳大利亚顶级厨师冠军


It’s all about pushing boundaries. Do something different. Don’t be safe.

The little girl watched as her mother cooked, brewed and worked the wok in the kitchen, surrounded by herbs and juicy ingredients. She was never allowed to do the important tasks or even near the bubbling stove. As she stood there watching and absorbing with her big and beautiful eyes, nobody would have guessed she would one day take the grand trophy of MasterChef Australia 2017.

The air was galvanised when one million viewers watched judge Matt Preston award Diana Chan 9/10 for her dessert, just one point ahead of her toughest competitor. As the confetti rained down, Diana Chan, MasterChef Australia 2017 held the trophy jubilantly in her hands.

“I’ve always loved food. Mum is a Nyonya (Straits Chinese) from Singapore, while Dad and grandma are from Penang, Malaysia.”

At 19, Diana landed in Melbourne to pursue her tertiary education in accountancy. “I had a good palate and I wanted to enjoy great food but could not afford to eat out all the time. So I headed out to Camberwell market and immediately fell in love with the fresh produce, the sights, sounds and aroma of the market. I got very inspired. Didn’t know how to cook but I never stopped trying until I got better. Watching a lot of cooking shows helped too.”

While her true inspirations are her parents, Diana quoted a few favourite chefs. “I watch a lot of Yotam Ottolenghi. He reminds me of my mum who is herb-driven and uses a lot of vegetable. Simple to replicate but very tasty. George Calombaris is a progressive chef, who is very passionate about his restaurant The Press Club while I learned how to try different things from Anthony Bourdain.”

Diana Chan

Remember your core values and be proud of your heritage.  People can see through you if you are trying to be someone else

Diana wooed MasterChef judges with her spatchcock and abalone in green juice, oatmeal prawns in creamy curry sauce and a near-perfect creation of the Kirsten Tibballs dessert. “I just broke down and cried after my last cook. The pressure was so high, I was overwhelmed.”

To all the 2018 contestants, “It’s all about pushing boundaries. Do something different. Don’t be safe. At the same time, manage your expectations. And I always say get a lot of sleep. The hours are long and mentally stressful, as in any winning kitchen.”

Basking in the light of champions, Diana sees a restaurant in the pipeline. “Three things resonate with me – wholesome, fresh and fusion. These are the things I look for in a dish. I want to have a lot of input in the menu so that people can associate me with my food. With my accounting background, I plan to manage the business side too.”

While taking in all this publicity and success, Diana is also quick to give back to the society. Close to her heart is beyondblue, a non-profit organisation working to address issues like depression, anxiety disorders and related mental disorders.

“My dad’s best friend once said to me, ‘Never lose your compass’. Never forget who you are and where you come from. Remember your core values and be proud of your heritage. People can see through you if you are trying to be someone else.”

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一切都是为了突破界限。做些不一样的尝试,不要太固守自封。

一个小女孩看着妈妈以娴熟的手艺在厨房里转悠着,锅炉周边飘散着香料酱汁的浓郁味道。但她从未被委以重要的烹饪工序,甚至不被允许靠近冒着热气的炉子。当她站在那里以美丽大眼睛凝望这一切,没人能想到有一天她会拿下 2017 年澳大利亚顶级厨师的冠军奖杯。

这个拥有100万观众屏息观赏的厨艺竞赛,当评判 Matt Preston 为她所制作的甜点打下9分(满分10分)的时候,气氛完全被引爆,因为这个分数只比她最强力的对手高出1分。五颜六色彩带雨点般落下时,澳大利亚大厨晨爱琳 (Diana Chan) 捧起奖杯脸上挂着圆满的笑容。

“我一直热爱美味的食物。妈妈来自新加坡,是娘惹的后裔(海峡华人),而爸爸和祖母则是出生在马来西亚的槟城。”

晨爱琳19岁的时候移居墨尔本,攻读高校的会计专业。“我一向味觉比较灵敏,享受美食的乐趣,但并非所有的食物都吃得起。于是我去了Camberwell市场,立即爱上那些新鲜的农产品,而市场的景象、声音和香味使我得到启发。虽然对于烹煮还是一知半解,但我一直尝试到成功为止,当然观看很多烹饪节目也是蛮好的一种方式。”

即使她真正的灵感源自父母,但也推荐了一些心仪的厨师。“我看了很多 Yotam Ottolenghi 的美食节目。他让我想起了我母亲,善于运用香草和蔬菜搭配,非常简单易学,但味道很好。至于 George Calombaris 是一位勇于进取的厨师,他对自己的餐厅 The Press Club 充满激情;而我也在 Anthony Bourdain 的身上学习尝试不一样的东西和接受挑战。”

记住你的核心价值观,为自己的传统感到骄傲。如果你想成为别人,非常容易被看穿。

至于晨爱琳在顶级厨师大赛中呈现给评判烤鸡和鲍鱼配绿果汁,奶油咖喱麦片虾和近乎完美的 Kirsten Tibballs 甜点制作。“我只是在最后一次完成烹饪后哭了,那时被强烈的心理压力淹没。”

而她要给予 2018 年参赛者的建议: “一切都是为了突破界限。做些不一样的尝试,不要太固守自封。同时,管理好自己的预期,我总是说确保睡眠必须充足,在任何赢取胜利的厨房里,时间漫长且精神紧绷。”

在冠军光芒笼罩下,晨爱琳勾画了理想餐厅。“健康、新鲜和融合是我产生共鸣的3个重点。这些是我菜肴的特色,我想在菜单上有类似灌输,这样大家可以将我和我的食物联系起来。另外,也计划管理业务,让我的专业学以致用。”

随着大量宣传曝光和尝到成功滋味的同时,晨爱琳也迅速回馈社会。她的奉献目标是 beyondblue,一个致力于解决抑郁症、焦虑症和相关精神障碍等社会问题的非盈
利组织。

“我父亲最好的朋友曾经对我说:永远不要失去你的指南针。不要忘记你是谁和来自哪里,记住你的核心价值观,为自己的传统感到骄傲。如果你想成为别人,非常容易被看穿。”


By Billie Ooi-Ng Lean Gaik

The Art of Water & Colour 水与彩的艺术

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Khoo Cheang Jin
Artist 艺术家


“The unique features in George Town is familiar to me as I can imagine what goes on behind the walls of these shophouses. This neighbourhood is where we played, lived and slept. So, it’s only natural that this familiarity is almost an instinctive one.”

“乔治市的独特之处是一景一物皆如此清晰,我可以想象到这些店屋墙壁后构造是什么。这一带是我们玩耍、生活和睡觉的地方。所以,这种熟悉感对我来说几乎是本能。”

Do not be fooled by the unassuming and demure appearance of Penang artist Khoo Cheang Jin. Behind it all, this watercolour master represents not only a living symbolism of Penang’s finest works but also reveals the tale of the city’s cultural, historical and social influences. While Cheang Jin may have started using watercolour since his high school years, he was reignited with his interest again after completing his degree in architecture from University of New South Wales, Australia. After a 5-year stint as an architect in Singapore, he returned to Penang in 1996, which marked a significant turning point in his life. He co-founded URBAN SKETCHER Penang with artist friend Ch’ng Kiah Kiean to start a non-profit organisation originally from Seattle, America. Dedicated to raising the artistic, storytelling and educational value of location drawing, it has also connected people from around the world who draw where they live and travel.

Cheang Jin held his childhood life close to his heart. One of the fondest moments growing up was living with his family in one of the shophouses on Lebuh Melayu, now part of the UNESCO Heritage site and one of the most unique streets in the world.

“The unique features in George Town is familiar to me as I can imagine what goes on behind the walls of these shophouses. This neighbourhood is where we played, lived and slept. So, it’s only natural that this familiarity is almost an instinctive one.”

Greatly influenced by other prominent watercolour masters – Tan Choon Ghee and Yong Mun Sen – Cheang Jin brought alive the streetscapes of George Town and to wherever he would travel for that matter.

“Each building has a story to tell. Especially in Penang, shophouses still keep the original name boards long after changing the nature of their business. The remnants of the past is rich,” added Khoo.

While Cheang Jin’s confidence and skill continues to grow, his techniques have also gradually developed into bolder strokes using brighter colours. Armed with 10 solo exhibitions to date, he still paints on paper usually seen through the thinness of the transparent watercolour – a signature of his artworks. His art reflects emotion more than the precision of the subject matter. The process is in freeing the mind – capturing nostalgic moments as well as the texture of man-made structures alongside nature’s decrepit elements.

Kimberly Street Kopitiam, Penang 56x38cm Watercolour

“The danger when it comes to capturing a scene or event is when my paintings start to look too detailed – like a photo shot with a camera. I want to avoid details and let my viewers feel the space and perhaps even trigger childhood memories.”

“The danger when it comes to capturing a scene or event is when my paintings start to look too detailed – like a photo taken with a camera. I want to avoid details and let my viewers feel the space and perhaps even trigger childhood memories.”

Attracted by the hustle and bustle revolving around these heritage structures, the tension created while painting on site can never be compared to painting in a studio. He recalled the days he spent documenting the 9 Emperor Gods Festival at the temple located on Burma Road, Penang.

“I spent 6 out of the 9 days at the temple sketching and painting the activities there. Everyone has a role to play at the festival, including me. What truly fascinates me is the synergy between the structure and the people and I work to capture the atmosphere of everyone going around in their business.”

Cheang Jin has gone through a phase of overworking the subject resulting in stiffness – capturing lifelessness more than the events’ movements and atmospheres. He set aside to change that very notion by practising speedy sketches and painting, which was prominent in his works at his two solo exhibitions at Galeri Seni Mutiara, Penang titled “Somewhere in Time” and “Penang, My Penang 2” in 2016.

Cheang Jin continues to serve as President of the Penang Water Colour Society. He is also a signature member of the National Watercolour Society in America, Penang Art Society and Malaysian Watercolour Society. Over the years, he has garnered the Young Artist Award at the Penang Museum and Art Gallery Annual Art Exhibition. In 1994, he was given the Youth Art Excellence Award in Singapore.

Khoo Cheang Jin

千万不要被邱昌仁谦逊沉稳的外表所迷惑。其实这位出生在槟城的水彩画大师不仅是槟城最优秀的鲜活创作象征,还展现了这座城市的文化、历史和社会传承故事。尽管从高中时代起,他就开始迷恋水彩画,而在澳大利亚新南威尔士大学完成建筑学位后,他的画魂又重新点燃了。

在新加坡从事建筑师行业 5 年后,邱昌仁于 1996 年重返槟城,这可说是他人生的一个重要转折点。他与同是艺术家的朋友庄嘉强共同创立了槟城 Urban Sketchers,这是一个最初创始于美国西雅图的非营利性组织,这项以描绘地理位置为重点的绘画艺术所引伸的细致叙事和教育价值,使世界各地的人们更亲密接触他们生活或旅行的地方。

他的童年生活紧贴着柔软内心。在他的成长过程中,最美妙的时刻之一是和家人住在台牛后巷 (Lebuh Melayu) 一所老店屋里,目前这里是联合国教科文组织文化遗产的一部分,也是世界上最独特的街道之一。

“乔治市的独特之处是一景一物皆如此清晰,我可以想象到这些店屋墙壁后构造是什么。这一带是我们玩耍、生活和睡觉的地方。所以,这种熟悉感对我来说几乎是本能。”

由于深受著名水彩画大师陈存义和杨曼生的影响,邱昌仁把乔治市街景和他旅行足迹所及的地方都刻画在作品里。

“每个建筑都叙述着各自的故事。尤其是在槟城,即使在改变业务性质后,店屋依旧保留着原来的名称招牌,过去的遗迹显得如此丰富多彩。”

尽管本身的自信和技能在不断增长,个人技术也趋向大胆和利用更明亮的色彩。他至今举办过10次个人画展,但仍然在纸上作画,通常是以清澈的水彩画标志性创作方式。邱昌仁反映出情感超越主题的精确性。这个过程为散发思维—捕捉怀旧的时刻,传达人造结构的纹理和自然的朽迹元素。

“如果在描绘场景或某个活动的创作看起来过于仔细,就像相机拍摄的照片一样,这是蛮危险的。我必须避免太细节化,这才能使人们感受到空间,甚至触发童年记忆。”

“如果在描绘场景或某个活动的创作看起来过于仔细,就像相机拍摄的照片一样,这是蛮危险的。我必须避免太细节化,这才能使人们感受到空间,甚至触发童年记忆。”

他被一些传统建筑周边喧嚣构图所吸引,他认为在画室里创作永远无法与现场作画时的紧张感与张力相比,并回忆起曾在“九皇大帝”庆典期间在槟城车水路寺庙里作画的日子。

“长达9天的庆典,我花了6天时间在寺庙里勾勒活动场景素描。每个人都在庆典里扮演着各自角色,包括我。真正让我着迷的是结构和人们之中的协同作用,我努力捕捉人们专注日常,举手投足间的生动氛围。”

邱昌仁经历了过度创作一些僵硬主题导致停滞不前的阶段,枯燥无味多于活力盛会和氛围。为了扭转上述局面,他开始加强速写和绘画,2016年在槟城珍珠画廊举行的两次个人画展:“时间的某处”和“槟城,我的槟城2”尤其突出类似概念。

另外,他将继续担任槟城水彩画协会主席。同时也是美国国家水彩画协会、槟城艺术协会和马来西亚水彩画协会的重要成员。多年来,他在槟城博物馆和艺术画廊年度艺术展览会上获得了青年艺术家奖,并在1994年荣获新加坡青年艺术优秀奖。

161004 Nine Emperor God Festival @ Burmah Rd, Penang 25x56cm Watercolour


by Monica Tong