Monday, July 16, 2007

Never be shameful of what you don't have!

I had a chance to meet up with a busy client, Alan last Saturday. Alan is only 43 and he is a very successful manufacturer and exporter of office furniture. Although his main office is in Kuala Lumpur, he has network distribution all over the world. I have known him for more than 20years. About 25 years ago, he started only as a young salesman selling furniture by day and manning a pasar malam store in the night. Later with some borrowing, he started selling home furniture in an unused old warehouse. From retailing he ventured in manufacturing. Today he has factories in Malaysia and China. With his feat of achievement, he remains humble and not shameful to admit that he barely finished his form 3 education.

During our interesting conversation, he related his past and difficult time at the beginning of his life as husband and in business. Before he got marry to his wife then, she was prepared to work along with this man. During the day she worked with someone and in the evening she helped to man his pasar malam store. Instead of dating in park or movie, they had their early romance in work places only. At the beginning of their courtship, Alan's parents were not agreeable to his girl friend. Without his parents consent, he married her through the civil marriage by law. Later when his retail business was expanding, the lady requested him to marry her with a proper Chinese Customary wedding. He was debating with her not to waste any extra expenses coz after all she was already his legal wife then. However as typical Chinese woman, she insisted as getting marry is once in a life time, this customary wedding had to proceed. During the arrangement, she proposed that a borrowed or rented Mercedes bride's car was to be used. As Alan was a man of principle, he raised his voice loud, "Do you marry me or you want to marry a branded car on such a day. I have only an old secondhand Toyota LE and I would be driving it as my bride's car to fetch you on that day!" Although his wife wasn't happy at that moment, he explained, "Why should we need to show others the Mercedes when that car doesn't belong to us? I would still be proud of my Toyota coz it belongs to me. I would only drive a Mercedes when one day I truly could own one."

Yes! He was right! Today, Alan drives his whole family with his brand new Mercedes to work and to school for their children. There might be many who got marry with rented or borrowed Mercedes for status purposes, but at the end of their lives, they might still not able to do well in life to sit and own one for themselves. From Alan, I have learned, "Be proud and have confident of what you are. Never be shameful of what you don't have. Always stick to your own principle in life."

Thank you Alan, for sharing that part of your lives to us. I am proud to have been your friend.

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