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Better Than The Best BY JAMES OH

Better Than The Best BY JAMES OH
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Sunday, 23 May 2010


Hi! Loving Readers and Visitors,

We are glad to see you back again as we believe you have benefited from our articles which we have broadcasted from time to time.

In this article, I am going to share with you some  success ingredients that I have prescribed and that have shaped and moulded me to achieve some success, though a small one.

I was born in 1961 with 4 Lbs 4 ozs and was made to understand that children with such weight are considered high risk. This message have been repeatedly told by my relatives and my parent's friends who found me still surviving when they visited us. I acknowledged and accepted the fact since childhood, I fell ill very often at that time.

They also highlighted to us when they saw my head is relatively bigger than the normal size. It should have been proportionate to my body size. Moreover, I was born with a small head like the size of the milk tin. That's how I ended with a childhood nick name like BIG HEAD (Tua Tow in Hokkein). 

I began to work at a young age (part-time) slightly different from my eldest brother, who started working full time at the age of 12. At that time, I discovered that Education is the only viable way for me to break off from poverty chain so as to raise my social status. Thank God for this wisdom. I enjoy reading those great successful ancient Chinese poets, grand kungfu Masters and Scholars . Those people have significant positive impacts on me and I just followed their foot steps. I noticed that some of their backgrounds are worse than mine and I don't see any reason why I can't achieve similar success like them so long as I adopt their core values.Some of them did not even have a chance to get access to education at all, not like me.

Thank God again as I was repeatedly blessed with more achievements one after the other. I choose to play the winning game and enjoy it, just like the way I play chess. I was the Captain who led my primary school (Tong Sian Primary School, Penang) in participating at MPPP under 12 Chess competitions in 1973. ( See the tag below) I still  remember the glorious time when I achieved an excellent track record for no loss/1 draw in the entire school event. Our school ranked 6 for the team event. That's earned a high expectation from my trainer, Mr Ho, who expected me to be in  the top 3 for individual event.

However, I was leading the game when I played with the champion at that year with only one additional pawn on my side and both of had one remaining rook. Thereafter, I was distracted when I was told by my replacement teacher, instead of Mr. Ho, that she need to send the other individual school team player back and left me behind. I was so worried of not knowing my way back if she did not come back and I know it is quite a distance from my house. If not because of my participation, I wouldn't have the chance to travel that far. As a result, I lost to the other game player who was not even a captain for his school. In other words, I lost two straight games that  really upset my trainer. I received a lengthy and good lecture from him the following day and I kept this secret till today. Since then I gave up and seldom play the game as it really hurts me and I never take played chess seriously anymore.

I blame no one as he (Mr Ho) had put lots of effort and time on me that warrants him to have high expectation on me. I know how he felt as I failed to deliver what I was supposed to achieve. I was under his training for two years and he spotted my talent when I was in standard 5 and put me as a reserve player for my school team event. He allowed me to play a few games despite I was a reserved player and as I delivered results, he bought me good meals. In the subsequent year, he appointed me as Captain for the school team event after I had maintained nil defeat at my school. We practised almost every day at school  and he coached us through books. At my hometown, I also played chess with my friends whenever there is a chance despite my limited available time because I also need to help my mum sells lottery tickets to supplement our house's income. Unfortunately she had an serious accident that broke her leg. Since then I took over and maintained the business till a few months before my M.C.E. examination. I took a painful decision to stop this business and focus on my study, which she disagreed with. My bold move was misunderstood as a Selfish Move by her in view of our situation, which I can understand. I knew I hurt her but I have not done wrong because I need to give myself a way out from poverty, which I do not submit to. I rather suffer short term than long term. She only realized and see the whole big picture many years later.

Another blessing came and I have obtained a Grade One in my M.C.E. ( See photo below) I was so glad at that time, despite no celebration because this is not a big deal for them. I waited and was greatly disappointed when I cannot even obtain place in Form 6 at government (public) school. I was so hurt and seek my teachers' help and they drafted an appeal letter to our education Ministry. A rejection letter came in, clearly stipulated that they have given it due consideration but without any reason.I re-appealed but rejected again without any reason assigned. I went to see our Penang Chief Minister, but he did not have time for me. I went several times but came back with empty hand.

Through a daughter of my mum's friend, I sent in my application as Laboratory Assistant and I got it because of my strong credit (C3) in 4 main subjects. The belated Professor (Associate Professor at that time), assigned me for World Health  Organisation and Sumitomo projects. He also sent me for the training in Chemical Analysis, by a Japanese Scientist (Mr. Masao Horiba;  Research Scientist - Analysis Section, Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd.).  I completed this training and trained someone else before I left for my Form 6. The professor gave me good encouragement. (See the testimony from him) I owed him lots because his encouragement spark my desire to pursue my dream further.

Thank God again. At the same year I also obtained my LCCI intermediate book-keeping which can bring more than double my pay in the U.S.M as the advertisement ( i.e. around RM 750 at that time) if I get that type of job. I took the book-keeping cost because this is the only course which I can afford from my earnings. I signed up for the course somewhere in Aug 1980 and insisted that I wanted to take up the intermediate book-keeping exam in the subsequent year, which the teacher initially refused because I have not even completed my elementary level. To convince her I bought the elementary book and promised to do self study at the same time attending her intermediate classes. She finally agreed and the journey began. Till December 1980, she wanted to cover the rests of the syllabus in her additional tuition classes, which I do not want to fork out any extra money for it. Again, I have to take a painful decision to do self study and not attend night classes, which she assured me that I would fail. I took up her challenge and I passed the examination (See the cert below) as God is with me. I then discovered my talent and I began to dream to becoming an Accountant. You see now I entered into this profession by accident.

Prior to my LCCI exam, I also have another project of rearing tiger prawns with one of the Biology school's student, Mr Kok. He is also my professor's bright student. Our best record at that time was to successfully maintained the baby tiger prawns in the aquarium for continuous 7 days before they died off, for unknown reasons.

At that time, I did not know why my dream of becoming an Accountant was much stronger than to be a  tiger prawn businessman. Again, I approached my family members to discuss my proposal of pursuing my Form 6 in Private School with 2 main conditions as follow

a) self sustained for the entire period of my Form 6
b) ceased whatever allowance I contributed to the family and will pay back after my graduation as my salary will be four to five times more.

Unexpectedly such a sound proposal was rejected and again I have to take a painful decision to go ahead despite all these objections. I can understand their existing situation and I don't blame them. The long term solution warrants me to take such drastic action despite I hurt my loved ones. With the encouragement from the professor I work for in reaffirming my action as right, I just pressed on. Besides that I also wanted to express my heartfelt thanks to those, especially my loyal customers at that time, including my teachers (Mr Sunny Lim) who bought my products regularly.

Another battle began when I took up my Form 6 because all subjects were in Bahasa Malaysia (Our National Language) and my year is the last batch for MCE. Will, Determination and Staying focus helped me to overcome these great challenges apart of having to give tuition to 3 primary and 1 secondary school students, from Monday to Saturday at their houses. The tuition fees I earned just covered all school expenses and my bike installment of RM 50. I stopped giving tuition three or four months prior to my STPM examination. I approached the headmaster to allow me to quit from the school and do self study as I do not have income to pay for my school fees for that month onwards to the year end. After appeal and re-appeal, they fall to deaf ears. I have no other options, but just continue to attend classes without paying school fees and not sure what their next course of action.

Thanks to them again as they allowed me to sit for my exam which I have paid for. However they refused to release my result until I settled all the outstanding fees. Thank to my good friend's (Choo LS) mother who voluntarily lend me that sum of money to settle my bill even though I have tried hard to secure a job during the break. Unfortunately, I couldn't get one. Ultimately, I approached fire extinguisher dealer but I couldn't come up with the deposit money or guarantor. Finally my former classmate (Mr. William) came into the picture and introduced both of us (Choo and I) to be  TV screen sellers and he acted as our guarantor, our sales was good but they couldn't deliver the size (popular size is 20 inches) as our credit was extremely low and waiting period was too long that we couldn't make much money out from this venture.

Thank God and I obtained a result that enable me to enter into a local university that we could only afford. I was so happy because I made it at last after all the hassles I had gone through and I received some "ang pows" ( cash insert inside the red packet) from my relatives, as a result.I then used part of money to settle my debt with my friend's mother. Whereas, my friend pursued his professional course in TAR college. 

I share with you all of my academic achievements because I received some feedback from our readers that due to various reasons that caused them to  get stuck in the situation they were in from the beginning. Contrast this with our article to hold ourselves responsible rather than blame other . Here, we like to stress again that you dictate the path you want, and no one or circumstance can stop you so long you don't give in or compromise. It is hard and not easy but not impossible. You need to be decisive and committed to your decision. The journey can be very painful and you need endurance to sustain and maintain through. One thing I learn is to stay focus to the end and it  will give you the extra energy to sustain through the pain as you go along your journey. The above success formula is not invented by me but I read a number of books which records those successful and great heroes and men - in all professions.

I also believe that everyone can do it, if they prescribe to the above proven recipe. Please throw away the blaming culture and hold ourselves responsible for whatever action we take. That is the true accountability we advocate.  

We will share with you more exciting stories in our forthcoming articles.

Stay tuned and see you again. 

Your Chief Servant,

James Oh

Founder and Group CEO

Skype me at james.oh18

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