Spring awakening

For good luck: Family and staff members during the recent lou sang dinner.

BING! Bang! Pang! Those were the exact sounds I heard while I was organising the stock at my showroom (in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur).

As it happens, not far from our place, there had been an accident. From a distance, we were able to see the motorcyclist fly off his bike and crash into the lamp post. He fell onto the road and, as he turned, we could see his leg bone sticking out. When he realised that his leg was broken, he began to yell. We were all in a state of shock.

What probably happened was, at the junction nearby our shop where U-turns aren’t allowed, a driver was making an illegal turn when the motorcyclist happened to pass by and, unfortunately, the car driver didn’t see him. It’s really sad … so many accidents occur at illegal U-turns yet we still see people making illegal turns, followed by the sound of honking cars.

It’s time for us all to think, behave properly and follow the rules because, really, there are no short cuts in life. Although a quick turn may be more convenient at the time, breaking road safety rules this way may take away someone’s loved one. I really hope the victim gets good medical treatment and pray that he will get well soon. That’s all we can do in this case, just pray.

But there was something else in this accident that was worrying. It took a long time for the ambulance to arrive. And I cannot for the life of me understand why. I mean, there are big hospitals just around the corner! According to the person who made the calls, the operator asked a lot of questions and didn’t seem to believe that someone was badly injured. In fact, he was almost refusing to come! Is this what our emergency service is like? I refuse to believe it.

Surely we Malaysians can do much better than this. We do have amazing first aid hospital facilities set up, so where does the problem lie? Is it simply people’s attitude? I’m aware this isn’t the nicest topic to bring up before Lunar New Year, but I just can’t help thinking about it.

I urge everyone to be careful, especially during the festive season’s balik kampong period on the roads. We don’t need to read or hear more news about deaths during what is meant to be a happy celebration. Let’s pray for a beautiful and safe nation to live in. All right, enough of sad stories. Let us take a deep breath and clear our thoughts for a new, and more upbeat, topic of discussion: Chinese New Year (CNY).

It’s just a few days before CNY and I am happy with how great the response to my collection has been. I’d just like to say thank you to all the media support, my fans on Facebook and, of course, my regular customers.

As usual, I had a nice pre-CNY dinner with my team and family last week, a tradition for most Chinese companies. This year, we decided to try out the fairly new Majestic hotel‘s buffet.

My team members were very happy with the dinner and the choice of food. The buffet had an open kitchen concept – you choose your ingredients and the chef will cook the food as per your preferred style. The selection of desserts was also great. Of course, we did the yee sang before the dinner.

For those of you who don’t know what this is, yee sang is a special moment shared with everybody to make wishes and say good things. Naturally, the first thing we wish for is good health, followed by good business. Then, for those who are still single, we mention that this is the last year to be single and for those who are married, we hope for more kids to come.

It is always fun to celebrate this dinner with a big group because, afterwards, we play a game in which little gifts are wrapped in recycled newspaper. And this is followed by a lucky draw. The night always ends in much laughter, as we wrap all sorts of funny items in the newspaper.

For me, the dinner is one way to thank my dedicated team for their hard work. Most of them have been with me since I started (more than 10 years!). Throughout the years, there have been much sweat and blood but, of course, also happiness from the successes that we have been blessed with.

Without my staff, there could not be a Melinda Looi brand. My team has supported me no matter what. They’ve stuck around through all the good times and bad. These people have become like family to me; a family where everyone helps each other throughout our long journey in which there are no short cuts. Every single thread that has been stitched was stitched with passion and love. I would like to thank every member of my team from the bottom of my heart. Every one of them is like my own child (I sometimes joke that I see them more than I do my own family … which is true!).

Besides my work team, I can say with all honesty that I owe much to my wonderful family. Without their love and support, I may not have made it as far as I have today. Most of us have been blessed with many wonderful gifts and opportunities in life. And I think it would be great for us to take stock of our blessings; and be happy with all that we have.

My wish is for everybody to stay healthy and happy, and for God to continue to bless us on this journey that is life. To those who are in business, have a prosperous and fruitful Year of the Snake.

I will be off to Jakarta for the Indonesia Fashion Week (IFW) on the fourth day of CNY. This is the first time that I will be away from my family during the festive season. I’m there to showcase my Sunset In Africa collection with totally new styling for the IFW show. Hopefully with CNY blessings, I will meet new agents, new buyers and new ventures. There will be a full report in my next column – so watch out!

Meanwhile, Gong Xi Fa Chai to everybody!

Mel’s Place is a fortnightly column by Melinda Looi for The Star newspaper.


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