ProjekBrunei.com - Everyone has a Story
What's the story behind "Shiiz Candies"?
It is a husband and wife company, which we always wanted to start. Our vision is to be a one stop place/diner for anyone who wants a taste of the other side of the world, particularly the USA. We are more focused on this region as it has a lot to offer and that it is quite unique and can easily be accepted by our local tongue.
Who are we? For the most part I am the front man (Hafiiz Ar) of the business and not only do I do the initial cooking, my skill sets varies to the marketing and designing for the ads and other area of the business as well, and as for my wife Sajidah Abdullah, other than being the baker for Shiiz Candies, she has brought her calculative skills to the financial side of the business and see where/how we can further develop business.
A lot of people thought that the word "Shiiz" came for an abbreviation of our name, but in actual fact it came from Snoop Dogg (the rapper) way of describing certain things or action as "The Best" for example "Them hot wings are tha Shiiznit!" ... I decided to drop the "nit" but still keep the original word as a guidance to what we want to achieve, which is to be "The Best".
What motivated you to launch Shiiz Candies?
Like most things in life, family support is important, and with that in April 2012 my wife and I decided to start an online business, we started of selling cupcakes and sweet treats to family and friends and slowly build our customer base, through their continuous support and constructive criticism we moved forward positively.
And when I was in States for a two week trip, I had an epiphany while I was immersing myself with some Hot Buffalo Wings from Zaxby's. I said to myself "If cupcakes could be sold online, why not wings?" then I started to examine how they made these intensely flavourful wings, you could say I was studying every single bite! So as soon as I got back to Brunei, I made the decision with my wife, that we would change the business and that I am certain that this will work! Somehow I convinced her that this will change up the market and again that motivated us.
What are three lessons you have learnt so far from your entrepreneurial journey?
1) Be humble and be nice - Show great interest in everyone and take in every word they say, and the real secret is never look down at anyone that you meet as we are all human being and we are the greatest asset. Treat others as you wish to be treated and you will succeed in life.
2) Have a positive attitude and be professional - I believe in the law of attraction and that to have positive attitude, energy, thoughts and action...these shape up and reflect the outcome of what we do.
3) Appreciation and gratitude - it is very important to be thankful for all that has happened.
What are your three top sellers?
1) Hotlanta Wings "Brunei's Premier Hot Wings" with only three signature sauces and two of which are originally named Sissy and Bloody Spicy Wings. Furthermore, this is where we start the niche of selling Hot Wings online and we are thankful and humbled by it as it has emerge as a trend-setter, it is so popular that a few other vendors made the jump to sell similar Hot Wings on FB and IG and with that we can only hope a lot more will join in. we are looking forward to what everyone has to offer in a positive way.
2) Hotlanta Cheesesteaks "Brunei's #1 Cheesesteaks" which similarly come in three sauces - Sissy, Bloody spicy and Mushroom. This is an original Shiiz Candies spin-off of the "Philly cheesesteaks" (which is by the way, a must for everyone to have if they visit the States!)
3) Maine Shrimp Roll - This is a very different and again a niche, as this is more of a gourmet type of sandwich. It is fresh shrimp laid between hot buttered buns.
Greeting Readers! Recently I submitted a story to CrossFit and it got posted up on the Reebok CrossFit Games website. On that point, it got shared across the CrossFit Games and Asia Regional Fan Pages too (!). Here's a sneak peek.
I had just attempted 13.5. I was cooling down. And then I thought, “I think I will try doing a bar muscle-up”. Bam! On Friday 5th April 2013, I got it. My first bar muscle-up.
If you CrossFit, you would have a similar story. It may not be about a muscle-up, but we all have a CrossFit story. This is mine, a story about firsts. We all have a first story.
The first time I tried CrossFit. My first time attempting Grace. My first burpee. My first time in a Box. My first palm-rip. My first pair of Nanos. My first triple-under. The first time I watched Rich Froning Jr. The first time I fell in love with Julie Foucher. The first time I managed Fran under 10 minutes. The list of ‘firsts’ goes on.
I proudly train at Brunei’s first CrossFit affiliate – GetFit CrossFit. The CrossFit seeds were planted when founding members, Coach Rory Teo and Coach Gavin Sekhon stumbled upon it via YouTube in 2009. After digesting videos and articles about CrossFit, hours of home WODs, they went on to get their Level 1 Certification in CrossFit Perth in Australia. Soon after, the core team grew to include Coaches Gary Sekhon, Mas Idris and Haadi Samid. GetFit CrossFit held their first public session outdoors on the track-and-field grounds of University Brunei Darussalam in December 2010.
My CrossFit journey started on those very tartan tracks mid-2011. Up until that point, I considered myself a ‘healthy’ guy. I had an active lifestyle, I had gone through a ‘gym’ phase so I loosely understood what lifting weights were about, I ran every other day. It was a balmy Tuesday afternoon. My maiden WOD was a combination of air-squats, sprints, sit-ups and burpees. I do not mean to sound dramatic, but that one WOD unraveled me. “What just happened?” I was lying prone, sucking the wind and my body felt like it was on fire. I have been doing CrossFit ever since.
Photograph by Izam Hj Ahmad
Read the rest of the story here.
Greetings Readers! A week ago around 30 of us from Brunei flew over to Singapore for the Men's Health Singapore Urbanathlon 2013. In case you are unfamiliar with the race, it's a 14km run peppered with a number of obstacles along the way. Traditionally a men's only race (read about last year's event here), this year it was opened up to women as well. All up, over 3,000 people braved the race.
Why did I take part? It is one of the things about the human spirit - to see how far we can push ourselves physically and mentally. Singaporean parathletes Adam Kamis ("One Arm Runner") and Shariff Abdullah ("Singapore Blade Runner") took part in the race to help raise awareness of other local disabled athletes. Others of course, took part in it just for the fun of it!
If you have not yet taken part in an Urbanathlon, I recommend you experience it. Here are some photographs from the event (taken with an iPhone 4S).
The race pack
Warming up with GetFit CrossFit
Bumped into Mr Channel News Asia, Brunei's own Steven Lai
We got to met Oli Pettigrew
People! People every where!
Post-race photographs with others from Brunei
"Nature's Avengers" Initiative – for youths, by youths. Established early of January 2013, this youth-led movement under Green Brunei looks to creating opportunities for younger kids to be involved with the environment. How so? We thought of getting them in the jungle!
Nature’s Avengers is an example of an independent group of youths to be able to self-initiate and be exposed to how volunteering projects like these are conducted with the lending hand of the Youth Centre.
The green initiative journey began by pulling eleven like-minded youths together to come up with a plan to educate kids about the environment, or to simply say, “to save the world!”. The initiative is aimed at collaboration with the community to explore habitats that might be endangered or to simply expose Bruneians to more than just the “greenery”.
Nature’s Avengers Team: Nani Azlan, Irene Lee, Hanna Hassanal, Bazeelah Rafaea, Nur Alya Syafiqah, Norizi Shahrol, Tiong Hua, Ahamd Zaki, Azhiim Ghani, Fadli Zaini, Nur Amalia & Muna Munjiyah Malik
Right now, the project is central to helping primary-level kids to let them independently interact with the natural environment while teaching them the importance of sustainability, conservation and preservation of our green jewels. This includes planting of Gaharu trees, creating fishponds and turtle hatcheries.
Earlier in the month, we travelled to Bintudoh located at Ulu Tutong to survey and prepare the project site. It turns out Bintudoh is an Eco-tourism site in development with huts already constructed. We took benefit to facilitate the fertile site while helping the Bintudoh community to develop the conservation facilities and to expose Bintudoh as an exploration site for adventurous travellers.
Some pictures of the Bintudoh trip
What do you do?
I am currently in my second year of a BA in Performing Arts, majoring in Pop Vocals. In my free time? Honestly, besides university and rehearsals? I like to curl up on my bed a watch a good movie. Probably a chick flick! But yes, I do go out, mostly to watch gigs done by friends and other artists. I also enjoy writing songs, reading new books and collecting CDs! Say NO to piracy.
Describe yourself in a few words.
Bubbly, outgoing, and optimistic :)
How long have you been away from Brunei, and what do you miss most about Brunei?
I have been away from Brunei since 2010 (did a Foundation in Performance first) and I would have to say that I miss my family and friends the most. But if I didn’t count that, then DEFINITELY the food. I miss the food so much! And how reasonably priced it is! (Thanks, now I am really craving some Nasi Katok and Thien Thien Chicken Rice :( not to mention Escapade and Lé Taj’s Indian food…)
Are there a few 'must-visit' places / events for students for a true Singapore experience?
Hmmm… if I were to bring you around in Singapore, I would most probably bring you on a food hunt. That is something you cannot not do if you come here. Other than that, I would recommend coming during the times where there are Music Festivals going on, like “Timbré Rock and Roots”, “F1 Concerts”, “Music Matters”… not just because I am a musician, but because the vibe that you get is something you cannot experience in Brunei. Plus, you get to watch awesome shows! Coming back to the food… there are tons of tourist-y places, yes. But thanks to my local friends, I have discovered all of the little coffee shops and eating places that you would not normally step into. And oh! You should really hit Gardens by the Bay – it’s beautiful!
When did your musical journey start?
Really, really start? At the age of three. I started doing JMC (Junior Music Course) at YAMAHA, and then Piano at age five. I then started the violin and only in 2008 did I start proper vocal lessons. PJC Music School believed in me then, and granted me a Vocal Scholarship.
Click in the picture link below to hear a preview of "Hello World" by Maria Grace, a.k.a. Eia
"With my dad, my producer and manager and sound engineer in Thailand"
"With a few friends after recent workshop"
What / When was your first public performance? What has been the highlight of your musical journey to date.
My first public performance was probably during a Piano Recital at YAMAHA when I was three, but other than that my first major performance would probably have to be Expression Music’s “The Dream Begins”, first major concert in their amazing chain of concerts they have done at The Empire Theatre / Jerudong Park.
Highlight of my musical journey to date… definitely working on my Album with the best team anyone could ever ask for. Performance wise, there are a few that I would have to name. The Jerudong International School (JIS) Concerts – if not for JIS, I definitely would not be the artist I am today. Singing In front of Prince Charles and Princess Camilla with the JIS Orchestra was priceless! As for Singapore, it was awesome performing with the LASALLE Rhythm Ensemble at Esplanade for the Sun Festival in 2010, being a part of the short set on the Roof Garden of MBS and doing charity concerts.
What opportunities has being in Singapore presented you with?
Singapore has really widened my perspective of the music industry, especially because in Brunei gigs and such are not common. I have done gigs and charity concerts here and there; these have introduced me to the most amazing musicians.
The BIGGEST opportunity Singapore has presented me with, was LASALLE bringing in my first producer, Joseph Curiale (composer and conductor for Santana, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross… to name a few) in. Thankfully I was brave enough to approach him after his talk, and he agreed to give me feedback on my songs and he really liked them! It was after this, that all of the recording stuff happened, getting introduced to Chris Craker (most recently the General Manager and Senior Vice President of the International Division of Sony BMG Masterworks) took place.
"My friends and I after watching Stevie Wonder at Java Jazz Music Festival, Jakarta"
"One of the many pictures I've taken of my fav artists at their concerts"
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