A Story from Sarawak

Came across an article, which was sent to me by a friend, about a Malaysian ,who used to live in Kenyalang, Sarawak, who made it big overseas and came back. This is his story: 

I was 18 in 1997, I came home half complete my high school in England because my father was bankrupted. He was a contractor, bankrupted because the licensee  defaulted on paying royalty to the Government. Pocketed all the money my father gave. Together with 6 of my friends we went to Komat in Sama Jaya to look for jobs as they only required MCE. To help out the family…

The HR lady was an Iban, on our turn she refused to give us application forms, demanded our qualifications. Without even understanding us, we were turned away.. On further enquiry from us, she said, the 250 posts were all filled. It was 10.25am and the application counter just opened at 9.30am. Asked the guard to show us out. Komat repeated publication for the posts for another week. We went back again and again were rejected. This time she asked us to look for jobs in China.

My uncle promptly help the six of us to look for jobs from his contacts. Ironically, we all ended up in Shenzhen China, working in a micro circuit board plant. We were trained by the American to be testers as we know English. We did well, did so well that within 4 years, we developed a special test using Argon emission from induced current. Testing the board even more thoroughly and 40+ times the efficiency we were doing.

After a few months of trial, the company decided to subcontract all their circuit board testing to us using the new testing system and they got the test done at a fraction of their cost doing it manually. Within 3 years, we are testing all the circuit boards of all the companies in Shenzhen then.


We spread to include contract in a lot of companies of China, US, Germany and Finland. We now employed 7600 people and 1600 from Sarawak. Bumiputra or non-bumiputra who made the grade we after.

Why I am writing this…???

Today my company had been operating in Penang for 6 months. We are employing 200 staffs. I was interviewing the senior staffs for the job.

One of the person that came in for the interview was this Iban lady from Komat 10+ years ago. The lady who turned me away, the lady who told me I am not eligible for the job, the lady who told me the posts were filled when yet to select the first applicant of 250 and the lady who asked me to go to China to look for a job.

I had the satisfaction to tell her all these if I wanted to. Instead I listened to all her talks about how great she had done in her former employment and now she was out on a huge VSS. How well she will do for me with her experience and how much she like to work for Chinese boss. she said she is the daughter of an influential Bumiputra man and her husband doing well in business.. I let her raved on with her diatribe. Finally, when she realised she was the one doing all the talking and I was not even asking questions, she stopped.

I finally said, I know her. She was shocked, for now I was properly suited up and not in T-shirt and jean the first time we met.

I simply said, I like to thank her for asking me to go back to China to look for work. I did, I made it and what she is seeing today and the brochure I placed in front of her is in fact the SUCCESS from disgust and disappointment of being a Malaysian Chinese.

She was murmuring to herself. I told her, she will get a job from me but not as the senior HR, not as the assistant HR but as an assistant to the assistant HR. She was shocked, happy and almost cry. Then she confessed that her husband was a bankrupt and her 3 children had to be in the care of her sister.

I told her, she meant nothing to me, her race meant nothing to me, what she had done also meant nothing to me; the insult, the frustration the anguish of a young man trying to help his father. She like anyone, she get her job done or out like anybody.

I told her, I do not care for YBs, Bumi policies or business opportunities in Malaysia. I do not need Malaysia.



What goes round comes around. There is a Chinese saying that : “The wheel of Feng Shui changes every 10 years”.  The moral of the story is perhaps we should not give up and should persevere even when we meet with obstacles in our life.   We should also be colourblind when dealing with other people !!





22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Meng
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 11:14:01

    What a wonderful success story.

    I believe there are many more out there who have been in the same situation and made it big.


  2. andrew
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 11:17:37

    The sky is the limit said many successful people and it shows clearly in this man’s case. It doesn’t matter who we are as long as we have the right altitude in life. To strive with our given talents to pursue after our dreams. Wealth follows whenever ideas flourish !!!


  3. klm
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 11:24:53

    This is a real gutter story that say Out With BN.

    Dr. Hsu. Not sure if you received my email . It contained an paper written for University of Michagan to analyse all the screwing up by BN policies for the last 2 decades.


  4. Dr Hsu
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 11:33:22


    Sorry, have not checked this blog email since MOnday, as my internet connection is very erratic.

    It is now OK . Hopefully tmnet has rectified the problem.

    Yes, I just checked and I have recieved it.”Politics and econmic reformin Malaysia”. Will go through it. Thanks for the paper.



  5. Fi-sha
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 11:52:43

    Dear Dr Hsu

    Thanks for sharing this enlightening and inspiring story.


  6. Dr Hsu
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 12:00:06

    u are welcome.

    Come to think about it, sometimes when we are interviewing a person for a job and there are many applicants for one opening, it is rather tough to decide who is the best person just on the interview alone.

    How much can be learn from 5-10 minutes of interview? It is true that certain candidates can be immediately left out but it is really tough to decide on many others.

    SO, come to think about it, it may just be the person’s destiny that he was rejected in the interview. HAd he been taken in, he would not have the chance to reach the present status.


  7. clearwater
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 12:34:31

    For every one person who made it despite downright discrimination and unfair policies, there may be hundreds who did not and whose lives never improved because they were not given that one chance. They may even have chosen a life of petty crime such was their despair at rejection. Their stories are seldom told because such stories are not newsworthy.

    We like to hear of rags to riches stories, of success despite insurmountable odds because these are uplifting and make good reading. What of the educational failures, of those whom the system failed and who consequently fell through the crack in the wooden flooring? They are young and many; the illegal VCD peddler, the illicit numbers runner, the ecstasy pill pusher, those that live on the fringe of society. What of their stories?


  8. A true Malaysian
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 12:34:36

    Dr. Hsu,

    If it was because of “genuine” reason for not being selected after a job interview, so be it. But, in this case, it was because this guy is a Chinese Malaysian, not because he is not capable to fill up the vacancy.

    This is happening to almost all civil services and GLC, but it turns out as non-Malays are not interested to join them, and so being spun as not patriotic, a divisive factor to achieve unity amongst Malaysians and so on and so forth.

    In the end of the days, Chinese Malaysian still the biggest tax contributors which paid civil servants’ and politicians’ salary, pension, allowances and so on, not to mention, ill gotten monies.

    Any fairness here? We are still being accused of “ungrateful”. We might as well stop paying ….you know what I mean?


  9. Michael Ng
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 13:23:11

    To my knowledge, most senior officers in govt departments are humble and listen to voices. Most of the time it is the middle and lower rank officers who are giving the public the unneccesarry troubles.

    It is the duty of all civil servants to serve the public because the public is their boss as civil servants salaries come from tax payers pockets.

    Hope to see some good results with the implimentation of KPI in all departments.


  10. Taikohtai
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 14:13:16

    If only BN had followed Deng’s famous uttering:
    ‘It doesn’t matter if it is white or black, so long as the cat is able to catch mice’.
    Now even Najis has to kowtow to China for support, otherwise the Chinese in Malaysia may well come under more affirmative policies.
    But we all doubt BN can reform itself – too much systemic problems in every corner and nook!


  11. Yasir
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 15:47:51

    That was an amazing story.


  12. klm
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 18:31:15

    I hope the writer of the story came in as a foreign company instead as a local company. A foreign company can squeeze the govt. A local company get squeezed by the govt. This is the difference.


  13. Ketuanan Cina
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 19:36:22

    Mal is only good for changing the language use in textbooks every couple of years…….

    Imagine how confuse the kids are…… Amazing country!!!


  14. Ketuanan Cina
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 19:42:14

    Btw, the only reason that the Mal Chinese papers list out the students whom did well and not got a scholarship, “is to inform the foreign countries that these students are available for their taking via their scholarships ect”. In return these students will live there and help the adopted country better themselves….

    They sure as hell (the Chinese paper) did not do this every year to highlight to the relevant authorities in Mal as they know it is a futile exercise….

    Good on you Editors of Chinese papers!!!!


  15. can do
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 22:03:04

    Dear Dr Hsu,

    Thank for sharing this inspiring story.

    There is a will, there is alway a way.


  16. NumbPrick
    Jul 09, 2009 @ 02:27:54

    Dr Hsu,

    Do you mind to share who the writer of this article since i want to relocate back to Penang to work and currently looking for jobs so that i can be closer to my family.


  17. Chauncey Gardener
    Jul 09, 2009 @ 02:45:48

    The story is inspiring but was the “MCE” still applicable in 1997 ?

    For those who ask what is “MCE”, you are way too young !

    This and the lack of the name of the company operating in Penang makes me a little wary of the authencity of the events.


  18. Dr Hsu
    Jul 09, 2009 @ 11:07:51

    The guy’s name is S. H. Chan. That was what is available to me . This was sent to me by a friend via email.

    Perhaps when he mentioned MCE, it is the english translation of SPM. (my guess only).

    There are a few grammatical errors in the article but i have not corrected. The article is as what i received


  19. klm
    Jul 09, 2009 @ 13:47:09

    Dr. Hsu. What is your reaction to the Cabinet decision on the teaching of maths and science?


  20. Dr Hsu
    Jul 09, 2009 @ 21:36:10

    pls read my latest writeup. I have sent them to MI too.


  21. Borneo Warrior
    Jul 10, 2009 @ 07:52:09

    Hi Dr Hsu,
    thanks for the inspiring story. Unfortunately am sad that the episode centred around one Iban lady, and, being an Iban, am quietly ashamed of the way she treated the “eventual millionaire victim”. more so when he is of another race, albeit a Sarawakian himself..the story and personalities involved are very “familiar” indeed.
    Bias people come from all kinds of mankindI reckon…Regards Dr Hsu, tks again.


  22. free
    Jul 13, 2009 @ 21:52:01

    i was rejected by a company that promote/sell streamyx back in 2006 just because i unable to speak chinese language

    maybe their potential clients only chinese but those people are the one who always begging people to subscribe streamyx at kaki lima…


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