Today, I want to talk about a woman entrepreneur.
Her name is Christy Ng, She is not from a well-to-do family. Her father is neither a Tan Sri nor a Datuk, but like many Tan Sris, she went through a lot of hardships and tribulations before becoming a successful businesswoman. For example, the late Lee Shin Cheng was once an ice cream man while newly crowned Sin Chew Business Excellence Awards 2019 Lifetime Excellence Achievement Award winner Lim Kuang Sia was a fishermen for two years.
Christy Ng was born in an average family. Her father was just an ordinary air con technician while her mother was half a housewife. At the age of nine, she followed her mother to sell flowers at Kelana Jaya LRT station, and later sold ice cream at 13. She started to see her career future after she successfully sold the cheap shoes she had worn to a friend at 18.
But she never complained the least. Through exemplary perseverance, she managed to complete her primary, secondary and tertiary education while taking up part-time jobs, and later started her online shoe store christyng.com from scratch.
She didn’t wait for a “crutch” from the government, her family or the society because she knew that her destiny lies in her own hands. More about her story can be found here. Since May 2019, Sin Chew Daily has been carrying inspiring stories of young Malaysian entrepreneurs on the last Monday of each month in a dedicated new section.
No one in this world can rob your wealth or privileges. Christy Ng’s story has highlighted the fact that we cannot earn our dignity by holding a congress. While Chinese Malaysians do hold congresses, they are more for boosting relationships, building networks, exploring business opportunities or extending help to one another. None has been organised just to attack other people and find excuses for their own failures.
Christy Ng told us we need to work hard to succeed, not to envy other people, thinking that their wealth has fallen from sky.
As she said during the interview, “We must not take success for granted. No one sees how much effort I’ve put in!”
She didn’t retire to bed until the clock struck twelve every midnight when she first started her business. She was reluctant to settle for what had been given to her and continued to work diligently to seek new breakthroughs despite all the challenges.
Our fathers and grandfathers managed to build up their wealth by saving every single cent they earned. Chinese Malaysians will normally not buy expensive cars or posh mansions after they make their first million, but use that to reinvest or expand their businesses. They know that while it is not easy to build a business, it is way more difficult to sustain it. And many of them do not even make it at first attempt, but after countless of failures and setbacks.
Christy Ng’s story is only one of the many chapters in world Chinese entrepreneurship history. There are many more Chinese Malaysians not born with a silver spoon in mouth. Their parents are not loaded, just like Christy’s, but they work very hard to raise their kids. They know they need to give their children a decent education even though they are not rich, and education is not all about attending school but also the morals taught by parents and wisdom we inherit from our ancestors.
I myself came from a family without a TV set nor a car, and had to help out in my father’s sundry shop at the market when I was young. However, my parents never taught me to be jealous, telling me instead that I needed to work my way to success. They led by example to let me see that there is no shortcut to success. My parents worked from early morning to late night, and I had to wake up much earlier than my classmates in order to help my father before going home to bathe and then to school. I had to go back to the market again to help after school, no play time with friends whatsoever.
Similarly, many wealthy parents would tell their kids their wealth would not last forever, and if they do not work hard, their money will vanish in no time no matter how much they now have.
Never is there an ethnicity in this world that will earn its dignity by trampling other people’s feelings. Without a change in attitude, there is no way a people can stand up in dignity even after another hundred years.
While prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad may be worried about the lack of success of the Malays, he has adopted the wrong education approach. On the one hand he keeps scolding them for being lazy, on the other hand he generously holds out a crutch. As if that is not enough, he excuses his own failure by attacking other communities — thus obscuring the focus of the issue — with the ultimate motive of controlling his own people. This makes him the biggest destroyer of national unity!
As a matter of fact, there are many Malays around us who are not lazy at all, and there are more and more of them who have become rich on their own without the help of a “crutch”. Some of them have even taken up several jobs in order to save up for themselves and their families without any complaint. These are the Malays who are shining examples of living in dignity.
Christy Ng’s story reflects the Malaysian reality that even a nobody without a backup or a background can succeed. All we need is our own hands, not that damned crutch.