06 April 2023
What was your big career break?
I wouldn’t call it a career break, but my accidental entry into the telecom world would be it. I came back from London with my Masters degree and joined a digital printing company.
On the first day back in the office, a recruiter hit me up and told me about a telecom company seeking to hire. At first, I was hesitant, but three days later the company gave me a good offer. I contemplated for a couple days, and then I took the job.
Who was your hero when you were growing up?
I would definitely say my dad has been the greatest influence in my life. He was a gentleman. He always reminded me and my brothers that we were supposed to under live a life not over live a life.
The word prudent was constantly used in the family. We were always reminded to choose our words carefully.
He always taught us about the value of money from when we were young, and constantly remind us to live our lives with high integrity.
“I wish for all countries to increase the statutory annual leave that a company must give its staff. This is very important, since it involves work life balance.”
What would you do with US$1 million?
This is an interesting question. I could go against what I’ve learnt from my dad about being prudent and live my life and just go on a world tour with my family and friends.
Traveling around the world would definitely be fun. But I guess, I would probably not do that. What I would choose to do instead is to build myself a beach villa in Bali. I would invite all my friends and family to crash there whenever they want to.
Where would you live if money was no object?
I would definitely choose to live in Bali, Indonesia. I love the ocean, I love the laid-back lifestyle and it’s also close enough to Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Australia in case I need a little city vibe. After all I’m a city boy. Indonesia has been my adopted home for the past five years and I have grown to love it very much. I met a lot of wonderful friends along the way and also married one! It gives me a strong additional reason to stay and live here.
If you had to work in a different industry, which one would you choose?
Years ago, I applied to be a pilot in a commercial airline. I love to fly, but they rejected my application. I want to fly so badly because of the influence of the movie Top Gun.
I also applied for the Royal Air Force on a cadet programme, but I failed. I do sometimes imagine what would it be like flying around the world and getting paid for it. Turns out, it’s not much different from what I’m doing today.
I get paid to fly around to conduct meetings with business partners. On reflection I think that having jet lag, a strange hotel bed, and airplane food are not my favourite things. So, probably it’s for the best that I got rejected and failed to become an airline pilot.
Which law would you most like to change?
I wish for all countries to increase the statutory annual leave that a company must give its staff. This is very important, since it involves work life balance. We need to work and also have good personal life. Annual leave is beneficial as it helps to support employees’ mental health.
I guess mental health is one thing that was not being addressed back when I was growing up. I’m happy to see that more and more companies and countries recognizing it and taking the step to make this change. So, definitely for me, a long statutory annual leave would be welcome.
“Communication has never been easier. It’s more convenient to talk with friends, family, colleagues, business partner with just a simple call and they are also just a text away.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A time long ago, a good friend told me to never bring your ego to work. It is a common to hear people say, ‘leave your ego at home.’ I would argue against this. My reason is that neither bringing your ego to work or leaving your ego at home is a good idea.
I would say just keep it away somewhere not at work, and not at home either. Thank you for this question – it has been a good reminder and I’ll be sharing this advice to all my friends.
If you could dine with any famous person, past or present, who would you choose?
I would choose Walt Disney, simply because he was a dreamer, he was a visionary, and he certainly had the knack of knowing what people want. He relentlessly pursues his dream of building a happy place for young people and adults. Disneyland is simply amazing.
I would love to have been able to meet him and to listen to his story on how he built his business.
The Rolling Stones or the Beatles?
I am definitely a Beatles fan.
What’s the greatest technological advancement in your lifetime?
I would say the social messaging application, like WhatsApp, Line, Viber, and others. Their impact has been enormous. Communication has never been easier.
It’s more convenient to talk with friends, family, collages, business partner with just a simple call and they are also just a text away.
However, it does disrupt the telecom industry that we’re in. For example, International Direct Dial (IDD), SMS, and P2P have been directly impacted by these applications.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
As a child, I had the weirdest imagination.
When all my school friends wanted to grow up to be a lawyer or doctor or engineer, I wanted to be Superman. A superhero that does great things and saves the world from villains.