To read more about Guan Gong, please click here.

Guan Gong is highly revered and respected by the Chinese community. His birthday falls on the 24th of the 6th month of Lunar Calendar yearly.

image

Lions from the lion dance paying respect to Guan Gong at the temple

image

Lion dancers entering the temple

image

Lion dance at the celebration with fire crackers

image

The altar table is full of offferings to Guan Gong

image

Sg Way folks and temple devotees at the birthday dinner

image

More devotees

image

The menu. Wing Hing Leong is a very good caterer who will meet your budget and they even provide canopy, tables and chairs for the function only at the price of the food

image

Many devotees praying and offering joss sticks for Guan Gong

image

Hoong Ling at the celebration

image

Right opposite the temple at the first floor of the premise is the performance stage!

image

Uncle Cheah who helps out at the temple. He has great memory and can write my name correctly as I handed some donations for the temple. Always happy, easy to talk to

Blrrgghh only 7km! Arghhh my body ached after the run mainly due to my long absence in the home gym and running track.

I normally can run 6km at 55 minutes, slow and steady. I did the Buddy Run at only less than an hour but my buddy, Shiao Chin measured with smartphone apps – it was only 5.5km to be exact.

image

HL with Shiao Chin at start/finish point

image

HL was all ready... get set!

image

The start of the Buddy Run 2nd August 2015

image

Two kereta kuda there by DBKL

image

Young and old (err.. not that old) cycling for the Car Free Day

image

Saw a few friends from Dual Blessing

image

DBKL band played a few Hari Raya songs

image

Ukelele players spotted

image

Ukelele players walked, sang and strumming away!

image

Festive mood - dancers dancing to the tune of Hari Raya songs

Hosts of events happening on DBKL  Car Free Day – OCBC Cycle, Buddy Run, Raya Breakfast by DBKL and the whole Dataran Merdeka was in festive mood!

However, I noticed less crowd and despite a carnival, not many booths were there. I didn’t stay long. After the run, I had sample of Nestle cereal, had 2 cups of Milo from the Milo van and left. The celebration was yet to begin at that time.

I grew up with her music. Oh well, I only listened to The Chant of Metta and fell in love with it. The Chant of Metta lingers in my mind all the time and almost everyone who owns the CD could memorise the chant easily.

After 18 years of composing good music for Buddhism, Imee starts a world tour concert premiere in Kuala Lumpur’s prestigious Istana Budaya.

image

Aptly naming her concert “Sound of Wisdom”, I got excited when I knew that she even helped Subang Jaya Buddhist Association (SJBA) raise funds by contributing proceeds to the association.

image

Imee Ooi concert program book and ticket

As I participated in the Nuns Novitiate Program at SJBA and always felt indebted to the kind members who took care of us so well, I thought why not give back. Many SJBA friends were also at the concert.

image

Peter Chew (centre) from SJBA, his wife and I

image

Lee Swee Keong, one of the choreographers (right) with Hoong Ling

image

Hoong Ling with Imee Ooi

The crowd was good although it wasn’t a full house. Brisk sales was seen at the counter where people snapped up program book, music CD, special edition EP, concert bag and T-shirts.

image

The queue was long - for Imee and performers to sign the program book and CDs

image

Brisk sales at the counter

image

I got myself a set of program book, bag, CD and T-shirt too

image

Hoong Ling at Imee Ooi's concert

image

All lower denomination concert tickets were sold out and only RM350 tickets still available. For those who missed the concert can also have a “Meet and Share” session with Imee on Tuesday 4th August 2015, 10am-1pm at Nexus Auditorium.

Aidilfitri tahun ini….

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri kepada semua sahabat beragama Islam. Bagi penulis, agama Islam ialah agama yang mendidik sifat penyayang, persefahaman dan keamanan. Umat Islam membentuk lebih daripada 65% populasi Malaysia dan sudah pasti Hari Raya Aidilfitri disambut lebih meriah daripada perayaan yang lain. Malah, kekuatan dan keimanan umat Islam yang berjaya berpuasa sepanjang bulan Ramadhan, menjadikan kehadiran Syawal itu bertambah nikmat.

Namun tahun ini, insiden Plaza Low Yat baru-baru ini mungkin menjadikan suasana Hari Raya tahun ini sedikit tegang. Hal yang disyaki sebagai satu kes pencurian kecil dapat meletuskan perbalahan, mengguris hati kita dan mencetuskan huru-hara.

Pengajaran

Insiden Plaza Low Yat dapat dijadikan satu pengajaran kepada kita semua. Pertama, rakyat Malaysia terlalu mudah mempercayai kata-kata di media sosial, terutamanya yang berbaurkan perkauman dan membangkitkan emosi. Pada persepsi umum, jika banyak orang mengatakan sesuatu perkara dan menaruh benci, maka sudah tentu perkara itu dikira betul dan boleh dipercayai.

Hakikatnya, sesuatu yang sentiasa diperkata-katakan itu tidak semestinya sahih dan benar. Jika penjelasan Ketua Polis Negara yang terpampang di dada akhbar pun boleh disangkal oleh peguambela kepada pemuda yang disyaki mencuri, dapatkah kita mempercayai segala kata-kata dan laporan berita tanpa menyaksikan keadaan sebenar? Oleh itu, pengajaran utama kepada kita semua adalah untuk menentukan kesahihan sesuatu berita sebelum dikongsikan di media sosial atau dibataskan sebagai muzakarah sahaja.

Kebebasan bersuara, berhimpun dan berpersatuan diperuntukkan dalam Perkara 10 Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan kita haruslah bijak menggunakan kebebasan ini terutamanya dalam media sosial. Penulis ingin memetik pandangan mantan Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr. Mahathir yang berkata bahawa banyak perkara dapat diselesaikan melalui perundingan. Perbincangan yang ditimbulkan melalui media sosial merupakan satu platform yang cukup baik untuk menajamkan minda dan meluahkan pandangan.

Namun, seperti dalam seminar atau mana-mana persidangan yang diadakan, panel penceramah selalunya dibimbing oleh seorang penyederhana atau moderator. Dalam ruangan media sosial pula, tuan punya status atau pandangan itulah yang harus menjadi moderator untuk mengawal situasi apabila komen-komen yang tertimbul tidak relevan atau mula menjadi rancak dengan niat yang tidak baik. Dalam forum atas talian pun begitu. Ada moderator yang ditanggungjawabkan untuk menjalankan tugas mereka. Jika kami berjaya menjadi moderator kendiri untuk segala hujah dalam media sosial dan bijak bertindak apabila berlaku perbualan yang tidak diingini, maka tidak akan timbul soal kawalan sosial media oleh kerajaan.

Kedua, penulis merasakan bahawa kes yang disyaki pencurian di Low Yat itu cumalah percikan yang amat sedikit tetapi apabila dicampur dengan cerita-cerita perkauman dan dibantu media sosial serta pengendali yang tidak bertanggungjawab, api itu dapat membakar hati setiap rakyat Malaysia. Ibarat menuang minyak ke api, seorang pengendali blog turut disyaki merosakkan keadaan dengan menulis blog yang tidak tepat untuk membangkitkan kemarahan segelintir rakyat.

Malah, selepas kejadian di Plaza Low Yat, liar pula disebarkan melalui pesanan telefon palsu bahawa kawasan sekitar Bukit Bintang, yang merupakan tumpuan pelancong itu, tidak lagi selamat dikunjungi. Penulis berkerja di Yayasan Usman Awang yang berpremis di Kompleks Sun dan masih selamat ke pejabat setiap hari. Jelaslah bahawa perpaduan kaum negara kita begitu rapuh, jiwa rakyat cukup mudah diracuni ketakutan dan keadaan begini tidak sihat untuk pembangunan negara yang sedang berkemudi ke arah negara maju.

Soalnya di sini, apakah langkah kerajaan seterusnya untuk menangani kes-kes sebegini agar tidak berlaku lagi? Apakah rakyat Malaysia turut bertanggungjawab dalam insiden ini? Mereka yang menyebarkan berita palsu, yang difikirkan mungkin benar dan menarik, melalui media sosial, jarang sekali memohon maaf atas kesilapan diri. Kalau mahu menarik balik hujah mereka melalui media sosial dan menanggung malu, jauh sekali.

Dato’ Seri Nazir Razak menyarankan rasisme sebagai satu jenayah. Walaupun penulis tidak bersetuju dengan cadangan itu, penulis berasa ada perlunya untuk kita semua sama-sama belajar dan bertambah matang selepas insiden Plaza Low Yat ini. Jika generasi muda tidak pernah merasa keperitan insiden Mei 13 yang menjadi tamparan hebat, cukuplah insiden Plaza Low Yat yang kecil ini mengingatkan kita akan kepentingan perpaduan negara dan kematangan fikiran.

Kita ambil yang jernih, buang yang keruh. Kita ingat-ingatlah pengajaran yang disajikan oleh insiden Plaza Low Yat ini, dan lupakanlah warna dan perbezaan antara kita.

Maaf Zahir dan Batin

Maaf-bermaafan merupakan budaya Timur dan adat umat Islam yang turut menular dalam kehidupan seharian rakyat Malaysia. Penulis merasakan bahawa insiden Plaza Low Yat mungkin tidak berlaku jika yang disyaki dan yang mensyaki itu saling maaf-bermaafan. Pemuda-pemuda yang dipukul oleh sekumpulan belia pada malam selepas insiden Plaza Low Yat pun tidak menaruh dendam. Patutlah juga mereka yang memukul itu diberi peluang memohon maaf atas kejadian tersebut.

Aidilfitri tahun ini, marilah kita kunjung-mengunjungi sahabat-sahabat yang beragama Islam. Jika tiada kawan Melayu, kunjungi sajalah jiran yang menyambut Aidilfitri. Setahu penulis, rumah mereka sentiasa terbuka kerana kaum Melayu memang terkenal dengan sifat ramah dan mesra.

Dalam penulisan pandangan ini, jika penulis menyinggung perasaan mana-mana pihak yang sudah pasti tidak disengajakan, penulis menyusun sepuluh jari memohon maaf. Maaf zahir dan batin dan semoga Aidilfitri tahun ini disambut meriah. Benarkan penulis mengungkapkan dua bait puisi Usman Awang sebagai penutup kata.

Malu aku seorang pemuda
kalau hidup belum berjasa
hanya cakap atau kata-kata
aku pemuda harapan bangsa

…..

Sedar dan insaflah saudara
mari bersama menyembahkan bakti
untuk bangsa dan negara
hingga tercipta merdeka abadi.

(Dipetik dari puisi Mari Berbakti oleh Tongkat Warrant, 13 Mei 1949)

SELAMAT Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all my Muslim brothers and sisters. For me, Islam is a great religion of love, understanding and peace. Over 65% of the Malaysian population are Muslims and definitely the Aidilfitri celebration will always be merrier than other festive seasons. Moreover, the victory in fasting the whole of Ramadan makes Syawal even more meaningful.

This year, however, the incident in Low Yat Plaza may somewhat dampen the festive spirit. But it serves as a great lesson for all of us.

First of all, we know that Malaysians believe postings on social media too easily, especially those with racial sentiments that arouse our emotions. It is a general perception that if a topic is being discussed repeatedly at large and when hatred is sown, then the issue could be considered true and real.

Sometimes, topics discussed on social media are neither true nor correct. Even the explanation by the Inspector General of Police, which was widely published in the media, can be refuted by the counsel to the young man suspected of the theft. How then can we truly believe all the words and news reports without being an eye witness to the real situation?

Thus, the main lesson for us is to determine the authenticity of any news before sharing them in social media, otherwise restrict them for discussion only.

Freedom of expression, assembly and the right to form associations is provided for in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, and we must wisely make full use of this freedom, especially in social media. Discussion through social media is a healthy platform to sharpen our minds and express views. However, just like any seminar or conference will have a moderator to guide the discussions, I feel that the owner of the post or sharing on social media should also stand as a moderator to control the situation before things get out of hand.

Many online forums have just that – moderators to guide a forum for discussion. If we can be self-moderated in the space of social media and act wisely upon unwanted conversations, there should not arise the question of whether social media should be curbed and controlled.

Secondly, I feel that the suspected theft case in Low Yat was merely a very little spark that, when mixed with stories of racism, cheating and aided by news spread widely through social media and so swiftly, ignited a huge burn in the hearts of people. To add fuel to the fire, a blogger was suspected to have written a blog that misled and caused the subsequent events, leading to a car being badly damaged and injuries to a few innocent people.

After that, there was also a viral spread of messages that the surrounding areas of Bukit Bintang, a tourist hotspot, were no longer safe to visit. I work at Yayasan Usman Awang where our office is at the Sun Complex and I find no threat going to and from work every day. It is very clear that unity in our country is so fragile, our people are easily poisoned by fear and this situation is not healthy for development, especially when we are on the final lap to achieve the status of a developed country.

What will the Government do next to deal with such cases so that it does not happen again? Are we Malaysians also responsible for this incident? Those who spread inaccurate news, which was thought to be true and interesting, through the social media, rarely apologise for their mistakes.

It is rare to see someone withdraw their wrong arguments through social media and face up bravely to a shameful situation. Many chose to hide behind their computers and keyboard and stay as shadowless warriors that way.

Datuk Seri Nazir Razak suggested making racism a crime. Although I do not personally agree with the proposal, I feel there is a need for all of us to learn and increase our level of maturity after this incident at Low Yat Plaza. If we, the younger generation, have never felt the pain of the May 13 incident, let this Low Yat Plaza fracas be a gentle reminder of the importance of national unity and maturity of minds.

Let bygones be bygones. As the Malays say, “ambil yang jernih, buang yang keruh”. We keep that in mind, and the lessons learnt from this incident, and forget the differences among us.

To apologise and to forgive is our culture. I feel that the Low Yat Plaza fracas would not have happened if the theft suspect and the shop salesmen could forgive and forget. The young men who were beaten on the night after the fracas did not hold grudges against the youths who beat them. I feel that the youths responsible for the fight should also be given a chance to apologise.

For this year’s Aidilfitri, let us visit our Muslim friends to celebrate the occasion. If you do not have a Muslim friend, just walk over to a Malay neighbour to wish them Selamat Hari Raya. As far as I know, Malays are known to be always warm, welcoming and friendly.

CHEW HOONG LING
Chief Executive Officer, Yayasan Usman Awang

(Published in Letters, The Star, July 17, 2015)

Saudara Pengarang,

Sudah sekian lama penulis tidak membeli akhbar Utusan Malaysia kerana seringkali membaca berita dalam talian. Jika ingin membeli akhbar itu pun, penulis sentiasa memilih untuk membeli naskah hari Isnin yang memuatkan sisipan Utusan Melayu versi Jawi yang diedarkan percuma. Walaupun tidak diberi status bumiputera dan bukanlah anak Melayu, penulis suka menggunakan sisipan itu sebagai latihan membaca Jawi agar kebolehan itu kekal dan tidak hilang.

Bahan bacaan Jawi kurang di pasaran

Baru-baru ini, penulis melawat Pesta Buku Antarabangsa di Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra dengan harapan dapat membeli sebuah dua buku ringkas yang menggunakan tulisan Jawi. Harapan tidak tercapai apabila penulis cuma dapat mencari senaskah buku yang kiranya agak tebal di reruai Institut Terjemahan dan Buku Malaysia. Lain-lain buku yang menggunakan tulisan Jawi adalah dalam Bahasa Arab atau bahan bacaan agama.

Bacaan mingguan penulis terhenti apabila sisipan Jawi itu tidak lagi dimuatkan bersama Utusan Malaysia. Malah, hendak mencari buku-buku dalam tulisan Jawi juga begitu payah. Penulis seringkali memberi kejutan apabila kawan-kawan mendapati bahawa penulis rupa-rupanya boleh membaca tulisan Jawi.

Maklumlah, kebolehan berbahasa Cina penulis terbatas dan dipaksa ke perpustakaan setiap kali waktu Bahasa Cina diajar di sekolah semasa berada di Tingkatan Satu. Tahun kedua dan seterusnya, penulis diberikan kelas yang tidak menawarkan pembelajaran bahasa ibunda. Waktu dalam perpustakaan yang panjang memberi peluang kepada penulis untuk membaca dan mempelajari ilmu baru. Sebuah buku berkulit merah dengan huruf yang agak besar “Belajar Jawi” menjadi teman selama lapan bulan lamanya.

Buku yang  begitu bagus menjelaskan penggunaan dan penulisan jawi itu sudah tiada di pasaran. Nasib, yang penulis kira bertuah kerana masih dapat melatih pembacaan dengan sisipan Utusan Melayu, tidak menyebelahi pula apabila sisipan itu terhenti penerbitannya.

Semua orang boleh belajar Jawi
Tidak dapat membeli buku yang sesuai, penulis pun membeli buku belajar jawi sekolah rendah dan berjinak kembali dengan tulisan Jawi. Tidak faham kata-kata yang dimaksudkan, penulis tidak segan bertanya di Facebook. Mujurlah rakan-rakan dan guru-guru di sekolah dulu sudi memberi tunjuk ajar. Tidak kurang juga ada yang mengajukan ejekan sinis dan bertanya tujuan sebenar memperlajari tulisan Jawi. Mereka yang mengejek itu, sedihnya, berbangsa Melayu.

Penulis terasa kurang senang bukan kerana diejek tetapi suka menyoal adakah tulisan Jawi itu terbatas kepada golongan Melayu atau yang beragama Islam sahaja? Bukankah tulisan Jawi itu khazanah kebudayaan nasional yang membawa makna yang lebih besar? Apa salahnya jika orang bukan Melayu turut menggunakan tulisan Jawi? Sekurang-kurangnya rakyat Malaysia nanti faham jugalah tulisan-tulisan yang tertera pada kertas belanja yang kita gunakan setiap hari untuk menukar barangan seharian. Ataupun pandai membaca papan tanda yang bertulisan Jawi.

Tulisan Jawi tidak terbatas penggunaannya hanya kepada golongan Melayu dan untuk tujuan agama sahaja. Lihatlah tulisan katakana orang Jepun yang digunakan secara terbuka, diajar di setiap pelosok dunia dan digunakan sebagai bantuan membaca suku kata bahasa lain.

Tulisan Jawi juga merupakan satu seni warisan lama. Warisan yang patut diteruskan kepada generasi muda. Pada pendapat penulis, penghayatan tulisan Jawi berkurangan bukan kerana kehilangan minat atau generasi baru yang tidak mengambil inisiatif mempelajarinya. Minat dan insiatif masih meluap-luap, cuma bahan bacaan dalam tulisan Jawi kurang dan tidak mudah dicari.

Tambahan pula, tulisan Jawi semakin dilihat hanya digunakan untuk mendalami fahaman agama dan diajar bersama mata pelajaran Agama di sekolah. Lama-kelamaan, Jawi dianggap satu alat untuk menguasai subjek agama sahaja. Tidak hairanlah apabila terdapat ahli politik yang menuduh bahawa penggunaan nama jalan dalam tulisan Jawi itu merupakan salah satu cara memperluaskan ajaran agama Islam dan mengatakan budaya itu bertentangan dengan negara sekular!

Luaskan penggunaan tulisan Jawi

Dalam tahun 1960an, tulisan Jawi diajar di sekolah sebagai mata pelajaran wajib. Mereka yang bukan Melayu turut mempelajarinya. Dalam berita “Wajibkan pembelajaran jawi di sekolah – Kok Seong “, Utusan Malaysia, 18 Januari 2011, Timbalan Pengarah Institut Alam dan Tamadun Melayu (ATMA), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Prof. Dr. Teo Kok Seong berkata tulisan Jawi harus dijadikan sebagai mata pelajaran khusus atau sekurang-kurangnya dimasukkan ketika pembelajaran Bahasa Melayu dan Kesusasteraan Melayu.

Penulis juga ingin mencadangkan agar lebih banyak bahan bacaan Jawi diterbitkan untuk bacaan umum. Untuk menarik minat membaca Jawi, bahan bacaan dalam versi Jawi diberikan diskaun atau ditawarkan dalam harga yang jauh lebih murah berbanding dengan bahan yang sama dalam versi rumi.

Kembalikanlah sisipan Jawi dan bukan sahaja dalam Utusan Malaysia malah akhbar lain. Janganlah terhenti dengan “Jawi mingguan” sahaja. Penulis menyarankan agar Utusan Malaysia mendedikasikan satu muka surat, atau lebih baik satu segmen setiap hari menggunakan tulisan Jawi.

Semoga dengan usaha-usaha begini, khazanah budaya ini dapat terus hidup dan tidak lelap dalam hati kita.

Many young people these days can’t do without a “decent” car which normally is at par or better than their peers, a good smartphone, looking good, having food outside all the time and sometimes some branded stuffs to adore. There’s nothing wrong though, is sometimes good to pamper ourselves.

As soon as employment begins, it is also tempting to have your own home. In fact, is also good because attempting savings for your own home is better than those who spend all their salaries away without some savings.

Yet, once you get a home, a car and perhaps some luxuries of which a middle income person would think is a normal life, you are STUCK! What? Stuck? I have 2 precious assets now! I still need a roof above my head and transport!

Assets or liabilities

Well, you carry a 7-year hire purchase loan with another 30-year home loan, both of which will force you to work to pay the installments. Stop working, no money, no repayment, assets not yours anymore.

Call them assets but they are actually liabilities because in the rich-men-world, whatever that takes money out of their pockets is called liabilities. I don’t care whether is a property, a premise, a car – as long as money flows OUT, it is a liability.

So, what’s assets? Something that puts money into your pockets. Say, a property you rent out where the rental pays for the installments and all other expenses, even comes with some surplus (positive cashflow) monthly. Then is an asset.

Wait a minute but you just said a property is a liability. If you are staying in your own home, still paying your home loan every month, it is a liability because it takes money out of your pockets. But turn that property into income generating “machine” by collecting rental, that’s an asset – the surplus puts money into your pockets.

Knowing this very early helped me a lot. In fact, I can’t spend each and every cent that goes through my hands or bank account without having them invested in some kind of assets. I attempted to only spend money that comes from positive cashflow of my investments. But frankly, I’m in the spender category too.

So I rented a modest home and bought an old Iswara which carries only 4-year loan. I fully paid the car within 3 years and still drive until now.

Cut short all commitments

What basic needs do we need for a decent living, let’s see.

Income
Job
Investment
Rental income

Expenses
Accommodation
Transport
Food
Bills – water, electricity, phone
Entertainment
Others

I remember sharing a room with a friend at only RM200 per month. Then, we moved to a bigger place which rents at RM450 per month. Then I stay with my Dad at RM650 rental and now at a better home at RM850 per month.

The increment in rental already dug in to my nerves because to me, if I saved RM200 per month from rental, that’s RM2,400 annually for investments. Imagine if the investment grows 10% per annum, that’s extra RM240 annually.

Remember, if I stop working, I must have at least RM850 per month just for a roof over my head. How about car/petrol, food and bills? That’s a commitment!

Look, in the income list, there can be only that few but our expenses list can be infinite. Thus is very important to cut short all commitments including perhaps, having a partner in life!

Liberate yourself as soon as possible

Many people think of retirement as age – at 55 or 60. It took me a while to shift my paradigm after reading Robert Kiyosaki’s book. It says that as long as your passive income (income that comes in without working) exceeds your monthly expenses, you are retired.

With my very low commitments and sharing rental with my Dad, my monthly expenses was between RM1,000 to RM2,500. Rental incomes surplus and my other investments gave me RM1,000 monthly at that time when I decided to quit from a daily job. I began taking emcee jobs seriously (which I did part time for many years) which pays higher per hour, more flexibility and I had much free time for myself.

I quit my job in 2009 at the age of 30. It gave me freedom and much time to think and plan for myself. I have more time to spend on new opportunities, new ventures, looking for more investments and getting things done.

In year 2010, I wrote a book and launched it to promote organ donation. In 2011, I kayaked in a 300km expedition from Mukah to Kuching also to promote organ donation. 2012 I was approached to be a Parliament candidate in the general elections and I started a “Spread Love, Save Lives” organ donation campaign which signed over 1,000 pledges. 2013 was general elections and I stood as a Parliament candidate. This year is my spiritual journey. I’m participating in the nun novitiate program, going for 2 meditation retreats and a youth camp.

All these expereiences helped me grow as a better person than I was years ago. If I didn’t have the time freedom and flexibility (after quitting my day job), I will not be doing so much exciting and experience such adventures.

So whenever I heard a friend or family member says she is buying a new home with a 30-year home loan, renovating their homes at high costs (of which can be invested to grow) or getting a new RM150,000 car, I sometimes do not know if I should congratulate them or feel sorry for them having to work for at least another 10-30 years plus the money they earn must pay all these luxuries instead of being invested in growing their portfolio.

image

Of course, I’d understand everyone has different needs and for the route they chose, I wish them all the best.

Yes, I may not have luxuries of a new renovated big home or an expensive car which I felt could lock me in a job for many years to come. However, I have 3 rental generating properties which give me a net worth of RM600,000 (if I sell all the properties, the new big home and luxury car is affordable), a passive income of RM1,000-RM2,000 per month which support my simple life now and no job to tie down my time and freedom.

With the time and money I now have, I can find more investments and continue to grow and one day I will have both the luxuries (if I want to but I doubt I will want them) AND the passive income. Looking at most people retiring at 55, I quit my job at 30. I have just bought myself 25 years of freedom. To me the 25 years of freedom is worth much more than the luxuries that may make me stuck for another decade or so.

All the best in your journey of liberation!

A million ringgit Malaysia today is not a dream. In fact, typical homes only cost at most RM500,000 merely 30 years ago. Now, homes can be 10 to 100 times over. One may wonder, where do these millions come from? How do people afford these?

For young people, starting to make money, unless their parents help them, it is quite impossible for them to purchase their own properties now.

A few years, possible?

In just 2008, a property which was RM120,000 then, rise to about RM350,000 now. That’s just 6 years ago, a 200% appreciation.

If I have only 4 such properties in 2008, it is very possible I am now already a millionaire. So being a millionaire in just 6 years, or perhaps to add on a few more years for you to save some money for the downpayment of the 4 properties and add on some time for you to learn about properties and source for good investments – under 10 years – it is still very possible.

I had 2 such properties and another which I bought quite recently. That already make me a millionaire in net worth. What I am about to share will be some regrets and what would I do if I were to be back in 2008.

Education and start saving EARLY, live frugally, delay gratifications

At that time, after reading many books, attended many seminars and learning about investments, I started saving a lot of money when I first had a job. My first job only paid me RM2,500 but I saved at least RM1,000 every month to invest either in shares or mutual funds. At the end of a year, I cashed out all my shares and funds (with profits of course!) to put a downpayment for the first investment property. I did the same the second year.

DON’T ask me how I lived on only RM1,500 per month. The fact that there are people earning much lesser and could survive with only a little, I tell myself I can, too! I didn’t buy a car until I figured that the time spent on waiting for irregular public transport and the savings did not match. Yet, I only “indulged” in a second hand Iswara which I still drive.

I would always attend any invited events especially if they provide food and drinks, savings to my pockets! I learned something new, met more people and had free fillings for my tummy!

Spend in Education

The only thing I wouldn’t be stingy of, was education – books and seminars.

I was clever in asking “sponsorships” from friends, family members and employers! Employers are busy but they know they too want to make money but no time to learn. So they pay my course fees and I share them workbooks, generous notes I took in classes and materials I got. Win-win situation!

It takes discipline (yawn!)

I now regret for slacking and not doing the same (saving RM1,000 per month and investing) the 3rd, 4th, 5th year. Otherwise my journey towards being a millionaire will be on an express lane rather than now on a slower lane.

I spent most of my money and having a habit of a spender, it took me more than 3 missed opportunities before I recollected myself and started anew in my financial management and planning.

There were 4 properties auctioned at only RM72,000 each. The market value of the properties were RM120,000 each. I didn’t have the money to buy. The big spender (me!) spent and didn’t saved. Now the properties are easily worth RM300,000 each!

Then there was a period of market crash. Shares went so cheap, DiGi was less than RM2.50 (now over RM5), Tenaga was less than RM5 (now over RM12) and Maybank was less than RM4 (now over RM9) Ah, you know lah, the spender spent all…

Yes, it takes discipline and consistency in managing your DAILY finance and investments. Yes, routine work can be very boring but it will be worth all the efforts.

Have a goal and plan

I was a “if I think I can, I can” person but I didn’t stick to my plan. I had a goal of RM16 million. If you think RM16 millions is way too big a figure and too greedy, think again. Try putting this figure or even bigger figure as your goal. The bigger the better as the figure helps you to expand your mind!

Also list as many things you really wanted to do as if your goal of RM xxx million is in hand. Feel how it feels when you reach the goal. For me at that time I wanted to do thing only when I want to vs *having* to work for a living. I wanted to have so much free time to attend seminars, learn new things, spend time with family and read as many books as I want. I wanted to be able to spend time and money without thinking too much of my finance.

Goals have special effects on the body and mind. While I have not reached RM16 million, I have already reached my goals of doing what I wanted to. I’m not working at the moment, supported by rental incomes and consultancy/ emceeing jobs. I loved my work and choose to work only when I want to. I have attended over 4 courses this year and plan to read more books. I have taken a course in writing, something I really wanted to do for a long time.

I’ve signed up for a diploma in Buddhism and on a spiritual path. All these will not happen if I had not had a goal of RM16 million and imagine what I can do with those money I have. Yet, while the numeric goal is not here yet, my goals all worked and I am very elated to share this experience – the RM xxx million goal helps to expand your mind and reach your desired lifestyle faster. Is not so much about the money – it is what you can do with the money that counts. In the end, you need not that much but you have gained the desired lifestyle.

While many are still working and have to work till 55. I have stopped “having to” work at 33. I have bought myself 22 years of freedom. I’m not sure what will 22 years mean to you but I really didn’t want having to work till 55. Therefore I started early, continue learning and continue investing.

So, is definitely possible. Even if the journey takes longer, it will still be well worth it! In fact the journey to become a millionaire is the same as the journey to be a better human. Look, consistency and discipline help in work and life. Having a goal, target settings and plans are all helpful in being a better human.

No wonder Lee Ka Shing said “before doing business, be a human first”

My next big thing

My ultimate goal now is still to have RM16 million of which I will do the below:
1. RM3 million to build a home on a minimum 5 acres of land for plantation of crops for the needy. Crops will be distributed to nearby homes and monasteries, excess to be sold and proceeds to be reinvested in planting more crops.
2. RM3 million to set up a Buddhist centre which will be meant for meditation retreats, Dhamma talks and various holistic personal growth activities -**UPDATE 1/12/2014** and a nun training centre for Malaysia
3. RM10 million to set up an investment arm, aiming for at least 10% annual returns. The annual returns will be used as our family funds – monthly allowances for those over 55 years old in the Chew family, subsidize our annual family trip, family insurance, emergency and medical funds as well as to maintain and sustain dream 1 and 2.

I hope your journey to being a millionaire is as wonderful and more exciting than mine.

A lot of us always think that the rich MUST help the poor generously and when we see that they don’t, we accuse them with all sorts – greedy businessmen, stingy rich men, he will surely be cursed soon…

Well, I understand, I had had such thoughts too. When I was poor or stuck at the middle income group, I always envy the rich and start saying they MUST help the poor, should be generous and must spare their money to the society. Such thought was because I thought life is fated and the rich is fated to be rich so that’s why they surely must do more charity. But I didn’t accept my “fate” though – of which I thought I must work all the time so money comes. I fought, I worked hard, I re-educated myself about money topics, attended a lot of seminars, read hundreds of books with an open mind to change my financial mindset and eventually saved a lot to invest in a few properties which now gave me comfortable rental incomes as well as gaining in appreciation of the properties values.

When we see a rich family member thinking we are safe whenever we need money, that very family member says no when you need some fish from him. I too understand them. They have worked so hard to fish and they too faced enough difficulties many many years to reach the rich level. They would like their family members to be rich too so they share their knowledge, books they read and seminars they attended. But family members who are stuck at the poor or middle income levels often think differently – they thought “Ah.. these rich fellas always say different things..”

IS TRUE, the rich and the middle income is only separated by what’s in between our ears – their mindset! So, seeing his family members unwilling to learn to change their mindsets and learn how to fish, how would the rich who strived so hard to reach the rich level (trust me, is never easy!), be willing to hand over the fish to another? The rich, especially those who worked their way up are often very generous with knowledge and will tell you how they got there, but call them stingy, they do not mind. They think if they too can make it, the people around them should be able to. They think that giving a handout will destroy rather than helping. They think each cent and dollar was from their blood and sweat and therefore their finance management tells them to keep and grow further, not giving out or lending them just like that.

I have also heard from the ultra rich that they have helped a few of their friends and family members to be millionaires, but in the end a few of them tuened their backs against him. Stories like these sadden me.

When I was semi retired, and had some money in hand from my many years of savings, I tried to find ways to invest for at least 10% annual returns. There were friends and family members getting loans from me. Thinking that the rich should help others so I gave them. I still live frugally, driving an old Iswara and dine at home or cheap restaurants. Indulgence in luxury restaurants was only available if I was with my mom, who can be considered rich. Sometimes, I thought I’d change the loans I gave them as gifts. But looking at those who borrowed from me dine better than me, drove better cars than me, not frugal in their spending, and even angrier was when they refuse to attend seminars I offered to fully pay for them (of which could change their financial mindset and management), I began to think if giving money is the right way.

After a few cases, and experiences from my mom who was previously a money lender, I began to stop giving out money. I recalled a few loans. Call me stingy but if you do not change your financial mindset, no one else will.

I always recommend people to attend the 3 full days of Millionaire Mind Intensive (MMI) seminar. The course is still affordable even with a VIP ticket and was my turning point in topica about money. I even offered my tickets to friends and forced a few to attend. Now they know why I forced them and they appreciate how it has changed them too.

Is very frustrating to ask one person if they want to attend and towards the last minute – just a few days before the seminar they turned down your offer. I have wasted a few VIP tickets also. Well, those who cannot make decisions are not good in their finance management too, is true.

So, either you change your financial mindset and understand why the rich are stingy – they are often the most hardworking and worked longer hours than most of his employees OR carry on your lifestyle and stop calling them stingy.