Rediscover Brunei Darussalam through the eyes of the People
Photographs sourced from the Entrepreneurship At Campus FB page
I was recently invited to speak at the Entrepreneurship At Campus Hari Raya Open Office. I was the last of three other speakers - Sabrina Wong of Sab Five Five, David Chen of Sunland Agri-Tech Pte Ltd and Hj Azaman, Chairman of GDG Brunei. The Entrepreneurship At Campus or E@C is a collaboration between the BEDB, the iCentre, Universiti Brunei Darussalam and their Entrepreneurship Club. According to their FB page, they exist to "nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship among the students in Brunei; regardless of age and level of education attainment." They invited the four of us to share around the topic of entrepreneurship from our life experiences. Of course I agreed.
I arrived. I scanned the room for familiar faces. I caught up briefly with mates. I sat down, right at the back of the hall. As much as I like having a "Reserved for Mr Keasberry" sign flopped on a seat on the front row, I also enjoy sitting at the back. When I speak, I try my best to speak to speak to the ones least interested in being there. They are often lurking riiiight at the back. Sitting at the back gives me different perspective which is usually followed by last-minute adjustments to my message and tone.
I should also say that sitting at the back is a great way to hide nervousness from the organisers and other speakers.
My turn. I walked up to the speaker's platform, set up my digital timer and started with a disclaimer. "I am a hybrid-entrepreneur." Within 10 minutes, I had touched on snippets of my journey including how BruneiTweet started, the power of social media, lessons from my journey to date, but I probably spent an extra moment explaining what I meant by hybrid-entrepreneur. In my opinion, "true" entrepreneurs are purists, fully immersed into their business without a safety net (read: assured salary) to keep them afloat. Me? I have a nine-to-five, but I also wear other hats, including managing this website. I also spoke about the importance of having an entrepreneurial spirit which is the other side of the entrepreneurial coin.
When it came to q n' a time, there was one question which caught me off-guard. It went something like this.
Q: What do you consider as your strengths?
A: Good question. Hmm. *looks at the clock wondering why time suddenly stopped* Well, one of them is in communications. Offline and online.
I then went on for a bit about the importance of being able to communicate.
Afterwards, I hung around for a bit, got to know a few of them, took a few group-selfies, had a play with Google Glass, thanked the organisers and walked back to my car (parked precariously at a location I will not talk about). It then hit me. Q n' A remorse, specifically regarding the question about strength. Marketing folks love talking about strengths. Why? Because it is easy to mask a shallow answer with fanciful words. I did give an answer anchored to past and current experiences, but in hindsight I should have shared around one of my favorite quotes: "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
Chew on that.
Shoutout the all you folks at the E@C!
More sights and sounds from my recent trip to London.
Just a few more sleeps until we get to watch Team Brunei's award winning performances folks!
The trio of Fakhrul Razi, Kevin Lo and Maria Grace Koh will be showcasing their winning performances. Fakhrul Razi will be belting out “One Moment in Time”, “Feeling Good”, “And am I Telling You”, “Someone like you” and his original work “Senyuman Gelapmu”. Kevin Lo will lead some of the local actors in doing “The Crucible” and an excerpt from “My Fair Lady” both of these plays are part of his award winning performances in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Maria Grace Koh our youngest delegate, will be playing her award winning songs “At Last”, “Somewhere”,” Wide Awake” and her original composition “ You”.
21 September 2013 is also the deadline for the submission of application to those who wants to audition and be part of WCOPA Team Brunei Darussalam delegates. Actors, Instrumentalists, Vocalists, Dancers and Variety Acts from age seven and up will be allowed to audition. [Get the application form from the participating outlets listed below and attach the audition slip and submit it on the same day of the showcase.]
Tickets are available from the following participating outlets: The Body Shop, Mr. Baker’s Bakeshop, Armtrix Enterprise, Laily’s Boutique, Deseo Boutique, BATA Shoes, Pho Real Restaurant, Kimchi Restaurant, Paddington House of Pancakes, Pet Link, Pet Vision, Virtuoso School of Music, Studio Scene, Vision Care in Kuala Belait and Muffins N Co.
Tickets valued at B$30 for Gold, B$20 for Silver and B$10 for Bronze. You can also call +6737236243 for more details.
What do you do?
A freshly graduated fashion designer specializing in conceptual womenswear clothing.
Describe yourself in a few words.
Optimistic and loves indulging in anything creative.
What does success look like to you?
Success to me is to persevere despite the many obstacles and negativity that you may face.
When I see the words 'fashion designer', I think of The Devil wears Prada and Ugly Betty. Exaggerations? Or pretty close to reality?
Perhaps some scenes are quite true as being in an industry where competition is always never-ending, catty attitudes are not uncommon. But, the way they portray interns in the movies is probably exaggerated as it really depends on the company on how they treat their interns, as generally interns are not paid as we are giving free labour but, I guess it is up to us individuals on whether we can find ways in learning through that experience. There are times where I had to do simple errands such as walking around the city to collect things or send things; it may seem boring but I take it as a way to observe the sights and sounds of the city whilst doing so. At the end of the day, it is how you perceive these small tasks in a different light.
Apart from that, designing clothes may seem like a glamorous career but it is actually a lot of hard work, talent and dedication. I remember being in the studio doing my own tasks and observing the long hours that the designers dedicate their time towards their designs.
Have you always been creative? Or was it something that grew on you?
I have always enjoyed drawing and making creative crafts as a child so I think that came quite naturally to me. In middle school and high school, I was in the Science stream so, for a few years I did not have any formal education in art and design and did not have the opportunity to yield my creativity. However, that is the period in my life when I realized that I wanted to pursue something creative as I really missed drawing and having the freedom to create something artistic on a daily basis.
A peek into my sketchbook
Hunting for fabric
Editor's Note: Greetings Readers! Here's a write-up by Brunei's own Angelyn Choo. Her Instagram profile (@angelshameless) reads "I followed my heart and it led me to my fridge." She also has a tumblr you can check out - ChooingOnThis (hah!). I asked her for a short snippet about herself.
"My name is Angel Choo, and I am 22 years old. I enjoy long romantic walks to my fridge, and I like my coffee black. While working and finishing up my final year in Universiti Brunei Darussalam, I go on food adventure around Brunei (and across the oceans) to try all kinds of everything. Occasionally, I document things as I go. The world is delicious."
Bistro Chez Fio
By Angelyn Choo
This is the third time this week that I've visited Bistro Chez Fio [bis-troh; shey; fee-oh].
Tucked in between Netzone Cafe and Bridgelink Enterprise, Bistro Chez Fio also sits right across Petlink, Kuilap.
I'm always welcomed by Fiona's warm hello and the smell of freshly baked (flavour of the day) muffins.
In one word, Chez Fio, is quaint. Wooden tables and chairs, jazz swimming through the air and two Canadian flag sitting proudly at the front counter.
According to Fiona, “Bistro Chez Fio started off as just a dream that one day I would open a business in the food industry.” Having lived most of her life in Vancouver, Fiona brings her heart for Vancouver to share with us here in Brunei.
To start, I had my usual order of miniature coffees. A tray of four different styles; latte cappuccino, macho and one with a little surprise.
I know I always talk about decreasing my caffeine intake, but now that Chez Fio is just within a ten minutes drive from my way to work, it's really hard to say no.
Since her opening in January, Chez Fio changes her menu once in every few months. Keeping the Canadian favourites like poutine and constantly adding in something new for her customers to try, as well as for the chefs to make. Good to keep everyone on their toes.
PB Extreme Burger is my current favourite on the lunch menu. Sink your teeth into a juicy beef patty, topped with cheese, a crunch from the crispy beef rashes and a unique peanut butter sauce that just gives it an extra punch of delicious.
Even though Hui Ting, Abi and I were stuffed after sharing two mains and two sides, I could not resist ending our meal with the dessert special of the day; Chez Fio's signature cheesecake. It was love at first bite.
I quickly called Fiona over and asked her what she added into the cheesecake. She answered, “cinnamon and.. sweet potato” Sweet potato! And my heart swooned. I love it when a not so typical ingredient is added in something we're all so used to.
It's easy to lose track of the world outside while you're in the bistro. There have been times when I leave the out the door, and I have forgotten how hot it is outside or where I parked my car.
Kudos to Fiona and her team for making an effort to serve every meal with friendly smiles and warm conversation (which to me, is just as important as the food and ambience). All that said, I already look forward to my next visit and definitely to explore the rest of the new menu.
Bistro Chez Fio (Facebook)
Unit 13, Ground Floor,
Block A, Q-lap Complex,
Kg. Kuilap, BE 1518
Mon – Sun, 8am – 6pm
Closed on Fridays, 12pm - 2pm
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