Monday, August 31, 2009

Hone Your Creativity

Friday, August 14, 2009


I am not a fan of so-called beauty pageants but feel I must share the inspiring story of Miss Malaysia Universe 2009, Ms Joannabelle Ng Li Vun.

Last year, a horrible accident threatened to end Li Vun’s modelling and beauty queen career prematurely.

Li Vun had hoped to wow the judges with a daring fire-eating stunt in the talent segment of a beauty pageant. Despite thorough preparation and numerous practices, things went horribly wrong on that fateful day.

Li Vun’s hand slipped and accidentally set her face, neck and hands on fire. The quick thinking Li Vun rolled frantically on the floor to smother the fire before she passed out.

When Li Vun woke up in hospital, she found herself bundled up in bandages. Li Vun suffered second degree burns on her face, neck and hand. At the lowest point of her life, her boyfriend of 3 years abandoned her. This and the thought of disfigurement made her so depressed that she even thought of suicide.

Fortunately, Li Vun’s family rallied around her and boosted her fighting spirit. With her sheer determination to recover, Li Vun’s wounds healed so well that even her doctors were amazed.

One year on, though her face still bore the scars from her ordeal, Li Vun made her comeback at the 2009 Miss Malaysia Universe pageant. Much more than the tiara, Li Vun wanted to regain her confidence and get her life back.

Li Vun reached even higher than she ever did. She not only took the tiara, Li Vun also won the 'Miss Friendship' title and was named the “Audience's Favourite”.

Li Vun is living proof of the power of positive affirmation. She shared her secret enthusiastically:

“For this competition, I created a dream vision board where I pasted pictures of past Miss Malaysia and Miss Universe winners and looked at it everyday. As can you see, I won! It works, I tell you. You just have to believe in it.”

It’s said that the depth of one’s struggle determines the height of one’s success. For Li Vun who came back from the brink, we wish her the best at the Miss Universe pageant taking place in the Bahamas now.

Impossible is Nothing

Nothing is Impossible

Be the Best

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Grace Teo is one confident and resourceful young lady. Grace knows what she wants, goes for it, and is not afraid to get help, when necessary.

Grace is proof that desire, plans, will, together with self belief, can get you anything you want.

Everything is possible; nothing is impossible

While doing her Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) degree at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Grace wanted to experience working in as many top overseas research institutes as possible. With creativity and thorough planning, Grace managed to shoe horned three overseas stints - in Switzerland, the UK and US – into her programme.

When planning her industrial attachments, Grace did not just accept whatever was on offer by her university. Grace took charge of her own programme. She researched the leading scientists and their work, and picked those she liked. She then contacted the scientists directly.

That was how Grace snagged a much coveted attachment at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. She e-mailed the Division’s Director and got herself a Skype interview, which she passed with flying colours.

Grace then negotiated with NTU which agreed to let her replace NTU’s prescribed one-semester industrial attachment with her Harvard-MIT stint.

The spunky Grace is not afraid to ask for help to blow away obstacles that block her way to her goals.

While in London, Grace had problems with her passport renewal and visa application. If these were not resolved in time, she will be late for her Harvard-MIT attachment.

Grace decided to get the help of Singapore’s Foreign Minister George Yeo directly.

Grace sent Minister George Yeo a late night e-mail explaining her predicament and got a call from the Singapore High Commission in London at 9am the next day. The embassy said everything had been sorted out.

Grace made it to the Boston in time.

Grace left such a deep impression during her attachment that she was offered a fellowship to do her PhD in medical engineering at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

Grace credited her parents for her plucky, can-do attitude. She said her mum is extremely capable and good at getting things done. Her dad is an adventurous chap, imbued with the pioneering spirit.

We wish Grace all the best and learn from her indomitable spirit.