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Euwing Tham Tatt Wah, Co-founder of With Love

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Euwing Tham Tatt Wah was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur. He later travelled to Melbourne where he furthered his studies. He graduated with a Bachelor degree in Engineering with specializations in electrical and computer systems in 2005. He then started his career at Intel Malaysia in 2006 as a software engineer and then took on the role of a project manager later. Euwing found love and married Teh Win Nee on March 13th, 2010 whom he had met at Excel Point Community Church in Penang. In July 2012, Euwing quit his job at Intel to pursue my passion for mobile app development and videography. His wife, Win Nee followed three months later, and the two started With Love together.

Tell us about With Love, what do you guys do?

“Photo, Video, App” which translates to photography, videography and mobile app development. We started With Love with videography, producing short films especially for weddings, events and corporate. Win Nee turned her interest into business when she started selling cakes and such. Then, we added mobile app development into our portfolio by developing apps for companies, organisations, and even just fun stuff like games. Only just recently we added photography into our list of services which also includes party booths.

So what led to its’ birth?

Our company name is With Love, and our motto is “Do everything with love”. Because we believe that God is Love (1 John 4:8), and that God is always with us, when we do anything with love (1 Cor 16:14), we are doing everything with God. We started off with videography, but we knew we would expand the business so we made sure the name was scalable, and thus we did not to include our own names. From With Love, we introduced Bake With Love, Party Booths With Love and Apps With Love.

With Love officially started in 2011. It all happened when Win Nee, who also worked in Intel Malaysia as an Internal Communication Specialist, was asked by her manager to capture an event using a video camera. On the morning of the event, when she was supposed to arrive at 8am, my alarm clock didn’t wake us up until8am! Panicked, we quickly got up, washed up, and drove as fast as possible. It still took us an hour to get there but thank God, she wasn’t late because the event hasn’t started! She wasn’t feeling well so she passed me the video camera instead, and that got me interested in videography! Little did we know that that was a defining moment in our lives!

A couple of months later, despite little experience, and learning all about videography only from YouTube, we splurged on several professional videography equipments. Our financial status weren’t great then, especially after the wedding and the purchase of a home, but I knew it was something that God wanted us to do, so despite that, we did it. In 2011, we started working in the weekends shooting weddings as a part time. In the middle of 2011, there was opportunity to shoot and produce videos for Intel, so I volunteered. There were multiple projects at Intel but there was a special one, which was a short film that was entirely written, directed, and edited by us. All that took a toll on our weekends which led to us missing church services on Sunday.

On one occasion in church, God spoke to me and said that I should leave my full time. Although it was a calling, we weren’t prepared because where would we get the finances to support us? Exactly eight months later, missing church for all of those weekends, the pastor who married us, Pastor Mei Soon, sent me an SMS, “Hi Euwing, how are you? Haven’t seen you for AGES! Are both of you keeping well? Hope to see you in church soon 🙂 God bless!”. Exactly an hour later, Pastor Sam Surendran, our senior pastor left me an SMS, which reads, “Hi Euwing. Greetings to you. How are you? This morning as I prayed, I felt a burden for you. I have not seen you in church. I have not seen Win Nee even longer. Is all okay with you? Praying for you!”. The messages were timely! And no, they didn’t plan to send it together. It just felt like God has spoken to them to remind us about church and although we weren’t planning to go that Sunday, we did because of the SMS-es! The message in church that weekend was the exact same message I heard eight months ago, to take the step of faith and leave my full time! This time, I knew it was truly God! It was crystal clear and without denying God’s will again, we made our plans to leave. Within a few months, I had left and then she followed.

God has blessed us tremendously ever since! With the ability to manage our own time and with more time on our hands, we traveled to a few countries in Middle East and many more in Europe for 2.5 months. We have also managed to increase our savings! It is truly God’s abundance of blessings!

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How was the reception for With Love initially?

We had friends who were very supportive of With Love from the start, giving us the honour to be a part of their wedding. Our first paid wedding was a Christian couple. We knew it was from God. Time and time again He reminded us that He is always with us, and that this is His will for us. Very soon, we were shooting weddings all around Malaysia. On our very first year, we covered almost 30 weddings, and on top of that, we produced more than 30 videos for events and corporate. It was an outstanding first year!

How did you market it initially?

It’s all social media nowadays! So it was Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo. We also had a blog but we weren’t serious about it and left it alone after the first few months. It’s actually a good marketing tool but we just didn’t have time for it. Later, we bought our own domain, and hosted our website and blog. We still don’t update it as much as we like but it’s good enough. I’m currently working on a mobile app which will allow our potential customers to view our work from anywhere!

Did you find any particular aspect of working on With Love challenging?

I’d say that it was really challenging working with Win Nee. Everyone says not to work with your spouse and there’s a reason for that, especially when both of us have different creativity, but that’s where we learn about each other, adapt to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That eventually helped mature our relationship as husband and wife. It was not easy, but we pulled through because we know why we’re doing what we’re doing. We always remind ourselves the defining moments in life and what decisions we made based on those moments. We know that all we want to do is to fulfil God’s plans for us. God is the centre of this relationship.

I’d say that it was really challenging working with Win Nee. Everyone says not to work with your spouse and there’s a reason for that, especially when both of us have different creativity, but that’s where we learn about each other, adapt to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That eventually helped mature our relationship as husband and wife. It was not easy, but we pulled through because we know why we’re doing what we’re doing. We always remind ourselves the defining moments in life and what decisions we made based on those moments. We know that all we want to do is to fulfil God’s plans for us. God is the centre of this relationship.

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How is the videography industry like in Malaysia?

Our work is very much related to technology and as you know, technology is hard to keep up these days, but we try our best to by following websites such as Peta Pixel, No Film School, Engadget, Cheesy Cam, to name a few. It’s always good to attend online trainings such as those on Creative Live. It serves as a good refresher, and sometimes you pick up a trick or two that will help with the business. It’s always good to continuously improve and I’d say, never live in your own comfort zone cause that’s where you’ll lose the excitement of being an entrepreneur. We also keep ourselves in touch with what our counterparts are doing in terms of shooting and editing styles, latest equipments and gadgets. There’re many Facebook Groups and even social gatherings among photographers, videographers and even entrepreneurs and technopreneurs who meet up once a while to learn from each others’ experience and network.

How do you guys manage to stay relevant in this industry?

Our work is very much related to technology and as you know, technology is hard to keep up these days, but we try our best to by following websites such as Peta Pixel, No Film School, Engadget, Cheesy Cam, to name a few. It’s always good to attend online trainings such as those on Creative Live. It serves as a good refresher, and sometimes you pick up a trick or two that will help with the business. It’s always good to continuously improve and I’d say, never live in your own comfort zone cause that’s where you’ll lose the excitement of being an entrepreneur.

We also keep ourselves in touch with what our counterparts are doing in terms of shooting and editing styles, latest equipments and gadgets. There’re many Facebook Groups and even social gatherings among photographers, videographers and even entrepreneurs and technopreneurs who meet up once a while to learn from each others’ experience and network.

Are you guys working on anything new at the moment?

We’re in the midst of bringing With Love over to Australia. We are working with photographers, videographers and even wedding planners here. We hope to start offering our videography services here in Australia as soon as next year. We will ramp down on videography in Malaysia to focus on mobile app development. We’re in the midst of working with several Malaysian startups who needs assistance in mobile app development. We will expand both the businesses as much as we can.

Why did you choose the path of an entrepreneur?

One of the defining moments in my life is a visit to a church in Singapore. Most of them run their own business, which means they have full control of their time. They can do whatever they want whenever. They can take however much time they need for church ministry, and on other times, they will use it to earn a living. It has changed my perception of life! Think about it. An occupation is just to occupy one’s time. It shouldn’t be taking up most of the hours of one’s life! Ever since that trip, I was on the look out for something that will help sustain us without our full time and thank God He brought videography into our lives. We believe strongly that it is God’s calling for us to step out, and videography is just to help us sustain it. We’re sure that He’s got greater plans for us!

Do you attribute your results so far to any particular principle that you have?

First and foremost, we believe that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour. Our motto from 1 Cor 16:14 which says, “Do everything with love” is our main motivation. We strive to serve and we want to serve with love.

Money is not everything. It is important but it shouldn’t be the main motivation or end goal. I’ve seen opportunities missed because of money. I’ve seen relationships break down because of money. I’ve seen rich people who has made it but are still looking. Money doesn’t fill the void in us. If we’re running for money, we will never stop running! I strongly believe in 1 Timothy 6:10 which says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs”.

Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us”. This very much relates to what I’ve mentioned earlier about the use of the words, “should have” and “shouldn’t have”. I always believe that when God closes a door, it means it is not the right time for it now, but He will surely have another one open at the perfect time. We just have to keep knocking and knocking. There’s no harm in knocking, so why not knock? There’s no harm in trying, so why not try? If we fail, we will learn, and move on with it the experience of failing. We would then know one way that will not work. We should try a different way. If we don’t try, we will never know if there was a door opened for us or if we’re able to go through it, and we will never know what fails and what doesn’t. There’s really nothing to gain in not trying but there’s so much to lose. As mentioned earlier, experience is priceless!

I always think with the end in mind, especially in difficult situations. Thinking, and pondering about a difficult situation will not get you anywhere, and in fact may cast more doubts and affect your performance. Focusing on the end goal is most important. For example, it is tough getting on stage and speaking to hundreds of people, but there’s really no point in answering questions such as, “What if I embarrass myself? What if they think it’s a foolish idea? What if they laugh at me?”. Instead, focus on what you’ll have to say, and focus on the end goal, which is to deliver the speech. In just a matter of minutes, the speech would be done, you’d be breathing a sigh of relief, and you’d be off the stage! Be positive and let not negative thoughts rule

Words of advice for entrepreneurs out there.

Compete with yourself! Once you’re satisfied with a result, set a higher expectation for the next one, then try to exceed that new expectation. Throughout the whole process, you will learn to be creative, and it will give you the drive to further improve and better yourself. If a person is satisfied where they are, they will slowly be complacent and lose the motivation to go further. It will just be downhill from there.

If it’s money you’re after, stay in the corporate world and climb the corporate ladder. Yes, we’ve heard of many entrepreneurs doing well, making it great, but do you know that the majority of us fail? It’s safer with the steady income, and with the benefits, you can save. If you think it’s all great being your own boss, think again, cause without a steady income, you’ll not know how to pay the rent, the bills, or even putting food on the table!

We all go through ups and downs, and sometimes, it could be down for a long time and it would discourage you, but always remember the answers to these questions – What was the defining moment in your life that made you do what you do? Why do you do what you do? What is your purpose in life?

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Connect with Euwing Tham and With Love today:
Website: http://withlove.my/
Facebook: http://facebook.withlove.my/

Callum Connects

Jason Feng, Co-Founder of Pillpresso

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Mr. Jason Feng is re-engineering the healthcare industry.

What’s your story?
I am an engineer at heart. I enjoy the process of problem solving and have been actively developing innovative solutions to existing problems. Me and my co-founder settled on the problem of poor medication adherence among the elderly. This was a problem which struck a chord with us because we all have loved ones who have to take multiple medications on a daily basis. The complex medication regimen, coupled with declining cognitive abilities of the elderly tend to exacerbate the lack of medication adherence, which may lead to disease relapse and hospital readmissions, ultimately increasing the burden to caregivers and the society.

What excites you most about your industry?
The problem of medication adherence is not a new one in the healthcare industry. In fact, lack of medication adherence is a well-researched problem in many countries. Solutions which have been developed to address this problem face three major issues:

  • Entrenched mindset within the healthcare system, many of which are used to and unwilling to change from the legacy systems which were implemented decades ago.
  • Complex nuances in healthcare delivery across different countries, making it hard to “copy” and “paste” solutions which have worked well in other areas.
  • Because poor medication adherence is multifactorial, and many solutions focus solely on a few aspects, and do not employ a holistic approach.

Nevertheless, entering this industry at this time excites me because we are in the midst of a global shift in healthcare models; one where the industry is moving away from a service-based model, towards a more value-based model. This shift means that traditional players such as insurance companies and pharmaceuticals are under increasing pressure from patients and payers to demonstrate the value of their products under real-world use. Medication adherence data is one crucial missing link in this puzzle to deliver better care to patients. Being able to build a business around these incumbents and pioneer a new way of care is something which I look forward to.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I am a Singaporean. Most of my experiences throughout my life have been in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I have not worked in other Asian countries outside of Singapore, so I can’t comment on other Asian countries too much. Singapore has a relatively low barrier for starting a business, and all business rules and regulations are clear and transparent. The startup ecosystem is also rather comprehensive and easily accessible. Being a small country, Singapore has a very limited market for products and services. However, due to its size and efficiency, it serves as an excellent test bed for new ideas. Being a travel hub, travelling to other Asian countries is cheap and easy.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Fail fast, fail often. The greatest lessons are never learnt through success.

Who inspires you?
Elon Musk

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Successful launch of Falcon Heavy and the recovery of the 2 side cores. The way the 2 cores landed was like something you’d only see in CGI. Very well calculated.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Applied for NOC (NUS Overseas College)

How do you unwind?
Go rock climbing.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Nepal. I’m an outdoors guy. Being able to trek around the Himalayas is probably the best form of relaxation for me.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Creative confidence, by the Kelly Brothers

Shameless plug for your business:
Pillpresso is an award-winning health-tech startup that aims to improve medication adherence. We’re developing a medication management system that empowers seniors to manage their medicines independently and deliver proactive healthcare in the community through technology. Comprising individuals with complementary skills across business, engineering and medicine, our team is driven by a desire to improve healthcare and the human condition.

Grand Prize Winner of the 2017 Tech Factor Challenge
https://www.opengovasia.com/articles/8072-top-4-grand-prize-winners-for-3rd-edition-of-ageing-in-place-tech-challenge-announced-in-singapore

Grand Prize Winner of the 2015 Modern Aging
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/3-teams-receive-s-125-000-of-seed-funding-for-elderly-friendly-i-8246318

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Entrepreneurship

Will Financial Liberalisation Trigger a Crisis in China?

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The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been liberalizing its financial system for nearly 4 decades. While it now has a comprehensive financial system with a large number of financial institutions and large financial assets, its financial policies are still highly repressive. These repressive financial policies are now a major hindrance to the PRC’s economic growth.

The PRC is at the beginning of a new wave of financial liberalization that is necessary for supporting the country’s strong economic growth. The country’s leaders have already unveiled a comprehensive program of financial reform, which includes 11 specific reform measures in three broad areas: creating a level-playing field (such as allowing private banks and developing inclusive finance), freeing the market mechanism (such as reforming interest rate and exchange rate regimes and achieving capital account convertibility), and improving regulation.

But could financial liberalization lead to a major financial crisis in the PRC? What would be the consequences for financial stability as the PRC moves to further liberalize its financial system? If the PRC repeats the painful experiences of Mexico, Indonesia, and Thailand, then it might not be able to achieve its original goal of overcoming the middle-income trap.

International experiences of financial liberalization, especially those of middle-income economies, should offer important lessons for the PRC. In our new research, based on cross-country data analysis, we find that financial liberalization, in general, reduces, not increases, financial instability. This powerful conclusion is valid whether financial instability is measured by crisis occurrence or by fragility indicators, such as impaired loans and net charge-offs. The only exception is that financial liberalization does not appear to significantly lower the probability of systemic banking crises, although it does lower the risk indicators for banks. These results have higher statistical significance and are greater in magnitude for the middle-income group than for the entire sample.

The insignificant impact on banking crises, however, should be interpreted with caution. One of the possible explanations is that under the repressed financial regime, the government supports banks with an implicit or explicit blanket guarantee. This reduces the probability of an explicit banking crisis, although the banking risks may be even greater because of the moral hazard problem. In fact, government protection of banks could also increase the probability of a sovereign debt crisis or even a currency crisis before financial liberalization.

If financial liberalization significantly reduces the likelihood of financial crises, especially in middle-income economies, then why did some middle-income economies experience financial crises following liberalization? We further investigate whether the pace of liberalization, the supervisory structure, and the institutional environment matter for outcomes of financial liberalization.

We obtain three main findings. First, an excessively rapid pace of financial liberalization may increase financial risks. The net impact on financial instability depends on the relative importance of the “liberalization effect” and the “pace effect.” In essence, what the “pace effect” captures could simply be the prerequisite conditions and reform sequencing that are well discussed in the literature. Second, the quality of institutions, such as investor protection and law and order, also matter. International experiences indicate that investor protection can significantly reduce the probability of financial crises. Third, the central bank’s participation in financial regulation is helpful for reducing financial risks during financial liberalization. This is probably because central banks always play central roles in financial liberalization, especially in the liberalization of interest rates, exchange rates, and the capital account. If a central bank is responsible for financial regulation, its liberalization policies might be more cautious and prudent.

Our research findings offer important policy implications for the PRC. (1) Further financial liberalization is necessary not only for sustaining strong economic growth but also for containing or reducing financial risks. (2) Gradual reform may still work better than the “big bang” approach, and sequencing is very important for avoiding the painful financial volatilities that many other middle-income countries have seen. (3) The government should also focus more on improving the quality of other institutions, especially market discipline, to contain financial risks. (4) It is better for the central bank to participate in financial regulation. The new regulatory system should focus exclusively on financial stability and shift from regulating institutions toward regulating functions. It should also become relatively independent to increase accountability.

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About the Author 

This submitted article was written by  and  of Asia Pathways, the blog of The Asian Development Bank Institute was established in 1997 in Tokyo, Japan, to help build capacity, skills, and knowledge related to poverty reduction and other areas that support long-term growth and competitiveness in developing economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

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