Malaysian Artisans

Proudly Malaysian at The Artisans Haven

The Artisans Haven, Proudly Malaysian

August is the birth of The Artisans Haven with 61 Proudly Malaysian tenants. We take this opportunity to appreciate our Malaysian designers, artisans and business people. Here’s a few that we met recently:

Tina Winness


Tina Winness is an award winning painter and jewellery designer. Her designs are inspired by nature, fashion, geometry, textiles and traditions. She is a very talented lady, hard working and really passionate about her business. This artist won an award for her design of the Malaysian Wau.

Malaysian jewellery designer receives international award for 'wau ...

The Malaysian Wau is the traditional Malay culture kite, and one of the national symbols, that represent several shapes such as birds and the moon. Wau are handmade and can be upwards of 3.5 meters in length. When I was little, it was commonplace but as time passed, the tradition started to fade away. One day, my husband and I decided to travel to the state where the Master Kite maker resided, only to learn that he had sadly passed from this world. Therefore, I was inspired to honour the tradition by designing a piece that not only displays characteristics of the Wau, but also blend in Chinese culture aspects to represent the diverse cultures of Malaysia.

I wanted the work to show the diversity of cultures in Malaysia, as well as to bring attention to our national symbol. In particular, I also wanted to bring aspects of the Wau into the design. The curved nephrite jade and gold filigree represent the vines in the motif of the Wau. The tails of Tribute Wau move with the wearer, making it seem as if it was soaring through the azure sky.

Tina Winness

Durian Kingdom

晓阳伴手礼品 SUNSHINE KINGDOM – 致力打造大马榴莲特色文化

Aesos Lai is an exciting and very enthusiastic gentleman. He has lots of ideas, and is very proud of our country. He has an incredible shop with all sorts of durian products, His other store has lots of gifts featuring Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia.

The Company was formed in 2014 based on an idea envisaged by Aesos Lai who was in the T-Shirt design business. The idea of a “Durian Kafe” (a durian down-stream retail outlet), was mooted from a concept derived from one of his T-shirt designs which was popular as a souvenir amongst tourists. Aesos was encouraged by a close friend who told him that the “Durian Kafe” concept will appeal to people who like something unique, durian-related food items, and another friend told him that the next “BIG” thing is Durian which is getting popular amongst Chinese tourists from mainland China.

With this conviction, Aesos (who is strong in Branding and Marketing) invited Eddie Wong (who is a specialist in Retail and Operations and has more than ten years experience in managing retail outlets) to set-up Durian Kafe along with two other friends (Sashtri the designer, and Kaycee the Sales and PR person). In March 2014, Durian Kafe was set up in Central Market with products sourced from suppliers.

I Love KL

Inspired by the notion of starting a business that could cater to new faces every day, Aesos Lai created I Love KL Souvenir in 2010, a premium souvenir gift shop that has since been serving the ever-changing flocks of tourists travelling to Malaysia.

Besides ingraining flavourful local culture in all the products, I Love KL Souvenir also prides itself on being a whole-seller of top quality souvenirs, ensuring that all customers will be able to keep and cherish the memories they’ve made in Malaysia for years and years to come.

Asian Esteem


Ng Book Kuan is very knowledgeable about the frame moulding and furniture business. He shared with us, all his favorite products, and how he started in this industry. And even how he was the young star in the famed Big Strong & Friendly bank ad some 30 years ago.

Asian Esteem has beautiful frames for photos and painting. It says it would like to “frame you” (haha). Since its inception in 1994, Asisan Esteem is picture frame supplier, It is now a quality picture frame and moulding manufacturer with quality products and timely delivery.

In recent years, it introduced and developed high quality frames and mouldings for art paintings, picture frames, furniture, wood carvings and other material decoration for luxury homes and hotels.


In 1986, OGAWA co-founders Mr. Wong Lee Keong and Ms. Lim Poh Khian started up Morwell Sdn. Bhd. Thus began their enterprise into the trading of household and electrical products in Malaysia. Mid 1996, saw the enterprising duo venture into the health and wellness equipment market, simultaneously creating Fujiiryoki, formerly known as Healthy & Nice Sdn Bhd. This was then the beginning of the venture into the brand name OGAWA as former business ventures also adopted a similar strategy.

It was Mr. Wong and Ms. Lim’s vision in product design and brand development that formed the brand name OGAWA and the subsequent boom in business led to the creation of Healthy World in 2001. This strategic formulation was in line with the business strategy of strengthening the OGAWA brand name in the health and wellness equipment industry, locally and abroad.

Today, Ogawa World Bhd has successfully introduced various innovative designs under the OGAWA brand name.

Enfiniti Academy

Teaser Trailer | Puteri Gunung Ledang | Enfiniti MY - YouTube

Enfiniti Academy is an award-winning performing arts training centre providing your best choice in speech and drama / acting classes, vocal / singing lessons, dance and theatre classes for children and adults in Malaysia. For young and working adults who want to pursue a full time or part time career in performing arts or boost their communication and leadership skills, we also offer a performing arts career certificate worth 10 university credits. 

Enfiniti Academy was established by award-winning actress Tiara Jacquelina with its course director, award-winning actress Joanna Bessey.

We are very proud of this team of Malaysian Artisans.

Xandria Ooi

Xandria Ooi talks about being happy in Life and at Work. She wrote about practices to overcome life’s challenges in her book, Be Happy Always – Simple practices for overcoming life’s challenges and living each day with joy.

She had a glamorous start, and the glitter has not ceased. She started writing for The Star newspaper 16 years ago. Her bi-weekly column Sights and Sounds is about life, work & happiness.

She won the Astro HITZTV UVJ competition and became one of its iconic television hosts. She expanded to become a Broadcast Journalist & Host at Media Prima hosting and producing the NTV7 morning show Life!Session. She spent 2 years on Capital FM 88.9.

Her own production company, Xtraordinary Productions created Xandria’s Weekend Discovery. ExxonMobils sponsored the food & travel show on NTV7. Discover Perak, a food and travel program was aired on The Asian Food Channel.

Today, she is in her 6th year, as the Happiness Guru, Happiness Speaker and Coach. She produces and hosts two-minute inspirational videos on how to live each day happy in life and at work. Her videos reaches millions worldwide. She travels regularly to give keynote speeches and conduct workshops for events and corporations.

Oh Kah Beng

In the golden years of the 80’s Oh Kah Beng dominated the GP bikes races as the top local rider for both Suzuki and Yamaha. He was 2nd overall at the Macau GP production race on a Yamaha FZ750. He raced alongside biking legends such as Barry Sheene, Randy Mamola, Ron Haslam, Eddie Lawson and Wayne Gardner. In 1991, he was invited out from retirement by Suzuki Malaysia to take part in Suzuki RG250 as a guest rider, and he went on to win that race.

His stint in the corporate world included a stint in Shell Malaysia heading the motorsports division, and in PROTON Malaysia where he headed the Lotus Cars Division.

Thomas Foo

Life is an adventure | The Star

Thomas Foo’s life is an adventure & his explorer business is a success. He has a record of 100 countries visited and is a pioneer in overland expeditions. Thomas is a partner in Explorer Outfitter an adventure outdoor retail store in Publika Solaris Dutamas, Atria Shopping Gallery, Giant Cheras and Damen Mall. He also owns a camping shop, Outdoor Centre, in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. He made his passion for adventure into a retail success.

Wandering through the shop is an experience. It has everything, big and small. It truly offers a diverse choice of different outdoor gears for climbing, hiking, travelling, camping, adventure lifestyle, 4WD expeditions from local and international suppliers.

The company also organize overland expeditions and outdoor workshops to spread the knowledge and skills of outdoor lifestyle. Enthusiasts can learn how to set up camping tents, how to set up fires, how to perform CPR, tie the knots and other useful skills for outdoor activities.

Trio Ulti

Ben & Ee Va Ong with their cool, fun sports wear

Ben and Ee Va Ong are two fun loving and dynamic power couple, who started Trio Ulti. As the name suggests, it is all about ultimate fun, extreme sports and adventure. These super fit millennial are also fans of flying discs and Ben is the former president (and after 2 terms, now vice president) of the Malaysian Flying Disc Association.

The company specializes in designing and outfitting individuals and teams with top-notch merchandise that will showcase and flatter your every move on and off the field. These are really cool designs, and reflect the quirky & dynamic nature of the husband & wife team.


Matthew Gan headed the student placement business, ET Education for past 16 years. Seeing the high demand for scholarships, he hit on the idea, four years ago, of a scholarship platform that would provide convenience and ease of reference on the scholarships available.

“Parents came looking for scholarships; at the scholarship fair in 2017, about 6,000 people had registered,’’ said Gan.   

Besides listings of universities and scholarships, the standard assessment for eligibility that is provided also helps students to save on costs and and time. They do not have to go round hunting for scholarships and sitting for various eligibility tests.

From the initial idea, the process of setting up took six to nine months; the company turned in some profits last year. The response from educational institutions is good. Besides filling their empty seats, they are happy to get good students as this will boost their rankings.

Emerald Brilliant

Madam and her beautifully crafted cheong sam

Madam Kong Yoon Yoon is an incredible lady, who at the age of 60 something, still helps her customers choose and fit cheongsams. She has a great eye for colors and fabric for her beautifully bespoke outfits.

Emerald Brilliant Cheongsam Boutique has a long history in Cheongsam making with more than 40 years of business experience since 1973 . It specialized in making exquisite oriental clothing , nightgowns , Chinese fashion , suits , elegant Malay fashion and all kind of Uniform.

Madam Kong established Emerald Brilliant and started branding in 1973 at Cheras . She graduated as a Fashion designer at IFTC (International Academy of Fashion & Design) in 1973.


S-T-U-F: Malaysia's First Eco-Friendly Streetwear Brand
Estee with her Eco Friendly T-shirts

Estee Chan launched S-T-U-F, an eco-streetwear brand that uses eco-friendly fabric for its clothing. She is a young lady with a passion for fashion, and the environment. This dynamic lady spent about RM50,000 in capital to start up the company.

Microplastic pollution is where synthetic materials treated with chemicals, rub off toxin on our bodies. And when the clothes are discarded, and end up in landfills, the chemicals continue to leach and into the earth.

Estee Chan ensured that her fashion line did not add to this issue. Her streetwear brand is eco-friendly. Sourcing to manufacturing the garments is all eco-friendly. The first launch is mostly t-shirts. The brand’s motto is “Save the Uncertain Future”.


Autism Awareness: Artist Kirtanraw lets his art do the talking ...
Kirtanraw, young autistic artist
Kirtanraw Art Gallery at the artisans digital mall

Kirtanraw got A for Art for his Form 3 exams, but his autism ended his further education. His parents were simple people working in government in Kedah. With what they could afford, his father bought him paint, canvas & art materials and even sponsored a short stint with an art teacher 68km away in Penang. His father, Subramaniam, still keeps the 1000+ drawings of Power Rangers. He remembers fondly how his then teenage son was always painting, sitting on the floor.

His father took his own savings and his EPF money to set up a show room in his own house for his son. The artist now has a simple art gallery. He does oil on canvas, and pyrography (fire on word). Most of his painting are created from imagination.

When his father lost his job in 2018, father, mother and sone started to showcase Kirtanraw’s art work at shopping mall bazaars in Kuala Lumpur full time. They made the 382km journey for their first one at Citta Mall. They were very encouraged to have sold several pieces. They have since participated in mall bazaars in Atria, Starling and Publika.


Hand & Brush By Sashtri Art Gallery at the artisans digital mall
Sashtri doing beautiful sketches

Sashtri is a young talented artist specializing in hand and brush work. He sketches life like portraits with emphasis on the eyes. Check out his instagram @sashtri_vivekanandan where he showcases the many of his artwork including famous personalities, super heroes and animals.

Liz & Syed

Liz and Syed busking in Jalan Bulan

This talented couple, Liz & Syed has been singing and busking for a long time. The coronacrisis has forced them to reinvent themselves, and they are re-branding their show. We continue to support these talented Malaysians at The Artisans Haven, and hope everyone will visit them at our centre court to enjoy their music, and contribute a tip for encouragement. Virtual Busking, yay!

Outliers and Success Stories

In his book, Malcolm Gladwell noted that success is not just about innate ability. Other factors are opportunity, meaningful hard work and cultural legacy.  Meaningful hard work is the 10,000 hours to gain mastery.

The success of these talented business owners and artisans is the result of their long and hard dedication & work. This has given them their 10,000 hours of mastery.

Support our Malaysian Artisans

David Keirsey found that artisans have exceptionally keen senses, and love working with their hands. They want to be where the action is; they seek out adventure and show a constant hunger for pleasure and stimulation. 30% of the population are artisans and they create beauty, grace, fun, and excitement the rest of us enjoy in life.

Our Malaysian artisans are talented and their crafts admirable.

The Artisans Haven, Proudly Malaysian

The Artisans Haven is 100 acres of virtual real estate with select artisans and retail stores. Attractions include a bazaar, art gallery, convention centre, theatre, studio, comedy club, happyness retreat, study abroad campus and adventure park. We built the artisans digital mall to help Proudly Malaysian entrepreneurs conquer the online market. We want to share the passion and stories of our tenants with the world.

See the Passion. Hear the Story. Visit now.

Yap Leng Kuen Series | Demand for Credit Information.

Demand for credit information set to increase.

Demand for credit and business information is expected to increase on concerns from banks and larger corporates of any credit deterioration in their existing portfolios.

Recently, consumers have started to ask for their personal credit reports and scores as an indication of their overall credit standing in the eyes of the lenders, said Experian Information Services (Malaysia) CEO Dawn Lai.

But the overall demand for credit checks and scores may be impacted in the ongoing economic slowdown.

Along with cost cutting measures, many small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) that are struggling to make ends meet, may forgo the need for credit checks.

The demand for new credit applications may also come down as consumers hold back on making major purchases.

Despite the challenging business climate, Experian Malaysia is hiring eight to ten more staff on top of the current 120, for specific functions identified in its growth plan.

With Experian, a global information services company, taking a major stake in RAM Credit Information, the focus has been on accelerating growth by leveraging on Experian’s global capabilities, expertise and solutions that fit the market in Malaysia.

Among the various propositions being considered are the development of alternative scores and models which leverage on Experian Malaysia’s data assets for thin-filed (SMEs) and consumers.

Having a thin file with limited credit history, a consumer may find it difficult to get credit or loan approved.

Leveraging on Experian’s capabilities, the company also aims to offer end-to-end digital customer onboarding solutions to facilitate and support companies wanting to go digital.

This is as companies race to keep up with the new normal of staying and working from home, and in view of a digitally savvy population.

Based on data points collected especially on trade payments, comparing the period from late last year until April this year, there is an increasing trend in the longer number of days that companies take to pay off their creditors.

This is seen in industries such as food and beverage, wholesale, construction, as well as retail and manufacturing.

The trade bureau platform which was set up ten years ago, tracks data on payment aging information which shows unpaid invoice balances, not just on a blacklist of negative payments but also on the entire customer payment profile.

Through collaborations, this information sharing is together with several industry associations  such as building materials, motor spare parts, hardware wholesalers and freight forwarders.

Having been through the 1997 Asian financial crisis during the start of her career, Lai finds this round of crisis, which is caused by a health crisis, to be more challenging to deal with, as it cuts across all business sectors and markets.

“It is unprecedented and comes with a much stronger intensity; already, the global economy is in recession,’’ said Lai.

This may be a time of extreme crisis but Lai does not see any need to change her management philosophy.

“It has guided me in my past ten years of leading a motivated and performing team to achieve constant business growth,’’ said Lai.

Providing a working environment where people strive for high standards and think positively, is her priority.

“I believe in hard work and place my trust in my people, and strive to keep their morale high by providing clear cut rewards to strong performers, and encouragement and guidance to the low performers,’’ she said.


Yap Leng Kuen had a respected career as a senior business editor and widely read columnist speaking plainly, for the leading local newspaper. She continues to write Plain Speaking for The Star Online.

I am delighted to share her view points and insights, here.

More Stories By Yap Leng Kuen.

Success Story | Cybersecurity Excellence Award | Victor Cheah | Vigilant.

Award Winning.

The Cybersecurity Excellence Awards is an annual competition honoring individuals and companies that demonstrate excellence, innovation and leadership in information security. In 2019, Vigilant Asia was the Cybersecurity Team of the Year, and also won the Product of the Year (Managed Security Services) and Service Provider of the Year.


Vigilant Asia part of Efficient E-Solutions Berhad, is a Managed Security Service Provider, with a 24×7 security operations centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that provides a complete range of cybersecurity services to companies of all sizes from SME, corporates, FSI to government across the ASEAN region.

Product & Services.

SOC 2.0 is end point detection and live response with big data and machine learning algorithms. It also generates contextual forensics data as alerts. What this means is that it will monitor, detect and respond to an attack in near real time. It sends responses directly to devices such as firewalls.

It also has automation & orchestration, dark web scanning, mobile threat defence, threat intel & hunting, SIEM, behaviour analysis, file integrity management, vulnerability assessment & management, dashboards and reports.

It also provides services such as penetration testing, security posture assessments, vulnerability assessments, security audits, security consulting, digital forensics, cyber security framework & strategy, cyber risk assessment, social engineering assessment and cyber range training.


Malcolm Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point talked about the Law of the Few. With a good proposition, what he calls “Stickiness Factor”, and solid “Context”, a tipping point can be achieved with a few key people – Connectors, Maven and Salesman. The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behaivor crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.

Vigilant is part of Efficient E-Solutions Group, with an established network and connections in the market. It developed an innovative, comprehensive and affordable cybersecurity solution. The coronacrisis is pushing more companies to digitalize their business and work from home is an inevitable alternative. Ransomware, data theft and other cybersecurity breaches are constant concerns among businesses.

Vigilant’s solution is the right product in the right place at the right time. This is a company to watch. Congratulations to Victor and the Vigilant team for the awards, and keep up the excellent work.