Stefen Choo introduced smoking cabins in Singapore to create a socially responsible smoking space. The aim is to bridge both non-smokers and smokers together with this innovative solution where it prevents passive smoking and protects the environments at the same time.
What’s your story?
Every time I would watch TV with my kids and we got hit by the strong smell of second-hand cigarette smoke from my neighbour downstairs, I would worry about the health of my 2 kids. By closing the balcony door is too late. It has given me a personal mission to reduce exposure of -hand smoke. And when I saw this great filtration system from Denmark at a Trade show, I took it as a god-sent solution and brought it into Singapore immediately.
What excites you most about your industry?
Our solution does not require people to quit smoking in order to have air stay fresh. Smokers are encouraged to use the Smoking Cabins, in a choice we call “Responsible Smoking”.
What’s your connection to Asia?
We are a Aviation Spare Parts Trading company based in Singapore. I have been running the company since it started operating here. We supply mostly to Indonesia. Smoking Cabin is a new and non-aviation diversification that we have undertaken.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, not because it is home, but because we conduct our ourselves and businesses with a level of awareness and integrity which I have come to appreciate.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“You have been retrenched before. If you think about it, employment is more risky than business. You have no control.”
Who inspires you?
PM Lee Hsien Loong.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
From MEWR (Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources), that cigarettes cannot be banned not because of the number of duties earned from the import, but because of the social impact (on the smoking community and their nicotine reliance) it can create if it were.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would enter business much earlier, so that I could make and learn from my business mistakes sooner. It would also help me learn to manage my limiting beliefs sooner.
How do you unwind?
I enjoy a science fiction or adventure movie.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bangkok, Thailand. It is a place I can eat street food without worry. Food and shopping is a joy because it is cheaper there.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Secrets to Winning, by Kelly Poulos and Emily Liu
Shameless plug for your business:
Posting in a Facebook private group of Asiaworks Leadership Program Graduates, about my business done in one of the Leadership Principle that we all know and understand.
How can people connect with you?
By being open and friendly. Over coffee will be nice but not necessary. Over a chilled fermented malt beverage is also good too, also not necessary.
I am not active on Twitter. On Instagram and Facebook, it would be @SmokingCabinSG.
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’.
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