Did you know? The success of Squid Game is a result of the creator’s persistence for over 10 years!
Although the latest Netflix series became a worldwide buzz overnight, it took the creator, Hwang Dong-Hyuk more than 10 years of rejection by many studios before Netflix recognize the gem and accepts his script. At a point, Hwang even had to stop writing the script and sell his laptop because of his financial struggles. But Squid Game is known by the world today because this man managed to keep it going despite the difficulties.
Now, it’s reported that Squid Game is on track to become the biggest show of any language in Netflix’s history.
It takes time, perseverance and a never-give-up spirit to reach success. This applies to anyone who is pursuing different dreams and goals.
In Malaysia, we also have many successful individuals like Hwang, who have grind for years before making their way to success.
Among so many of them whose stories are as inspiring and admirable, here are 5 Malaysians and their stories that we would want to introduce this time.
1. The badminton legend – Lee Chong Wei
Everyone knows his story, but we know it’s worth the mention over and over again.
Lee is best known for his never-give-up attitude. Being a veteran in the badminton field, he could have just ended his ventures earlier but he did not.
According to The Star, Lee was determined to be the world’s No. 1 for as long as he could.
As we all know, he lived up to his words and did not give up even when he suffers injuries. It was only until 2019 that he announced his retirement after battling nose cancer.
Lee Chong Wei is a name recognized by Malaysians as well as non-Malaysians all over the world.
The world number one badminton player impresses everyone with not only his badminton skills but also with his never-dying enthusiasm and perseverance in chasing for his badminton dream.
2. The singer-songwriter who was once “just a kid” to record labels – Yuna
Yunalis Binti Mat Zara’ai, best known as Yuna, is a Malaysian singer-songwriter who made it to the international music scene.
From being eliminated on a Malaysian singing competition reality television series to establishing her music label and debuting her self-titled global album, her journey is filled with ups and downs.
Her journey started in her final year of studying law at university. She pursued her musical interest and compete on a music programme One In A Million.
Although she was eliminated after she made it to the Top 40, she did not just stop there.
In her journey of searching for a music label, she was turned down by many music executives for refusing to conform to their stereotype of what it takes to be a successful artist.
According to a report by South China Morning Post, Yuna said many labels refused to sign her unless she took off her headscarf and sing Malay songs only.
We used to take meetings with record label giants and people who thought we were kids and never took us seriously.
Therefore she started her own independent label, Yuna Room Records with her manager.
Even after Yuna finds fame in her career, criticism grew as big as her fame. She faced criticism from the East and West for upholding her beliefs and values.
People say, ‘You should let your hair out; you shouldn’t be oppressed – you’re not in Malaysia anymore. You should show your curves and be proud of it’.– Yuna shared in a Billboard interview
So many voices but she was unfazed and believed in herself.
Perhaps Yuna is who she is today because she stayed true to herself and is clear of what is she doing.
3. The hawker-turned-entrepreneur who started with only RM3.40 – Tan Sri Datuk Tiong Su Kouk
Tan Sri Datuk Tiong Su Kouk is the founder of CCK Consolidated Holdings Berhad, which is one of Sarawak’s largest producers of frozen seafood.
As an ingenious entrepreneur, Tiong has expanded his business ventures beyond his seafood production business which now include shipbuilding, ship leasing, and even property development.
However, his empire was not built overnight.
Tiong started his career as a fishmonger with only RM3.40 capital given by his father. According to an interview with The Star, he had worked 16 hours a day for 12 years in the wet market before reaping the fruits of his success.
At a time when people said “frozen foods were stones”, that’s when Tiong opened Sibu’s first-ever frozen seafood outlet but he struggled to have customers.
That did not stop him.
Despite all the challenges, he managed to find ways to overcome them and that led him to be the successful entrepreneur he is today.
4. The entrepreneur who gave her best to realize her childhood ambition – Dr Maznah Hamid
Dr Maznah Hamid is the founder of Securiforce, a leading provider of security services in Malaysia.
Before venturing into business, Maznah pursued linguistics studies and was a tutor and translator for several embassies and multinational companies.
Coming from a family where her grandfather regards entrepreneurs as “drop-outs who will eventually end up selling fish and vegetables in the market”, she was determined to achieve her childhood ambition to run a business regardless.
She knew what she has always wanted to do and even took her RM5,000 savings to start Securiforce.
It was a difficult decision one can make as she might end up losing everything. But again, she was determined.
The beginning was tough for the company. Maznah even had to guard and patrol premises on her own with her husband because of the lack of manpower.
At worst, she even sold her house and stayed in an illegal house to fund the business.
Her determination to begin and her perseverance to continue her business made her the “Iron Lady” of the business world in Malaysia today.
5. The founder of 99 Speedmart who finds success despite difficulties in life – Lee Thiam Wah
Lee Thiam Wah is the founder of the well-known 99 Speedmart which outlets are everywhere in Malaysia.
Likewise, it was not easy for him to achieve what he has today.
When he was just eight months old, he lost the use of his legs after being struck with polio. He had to use a wheelchair to move around for the rest of his life.
Also, coming from a poor family, Lee did not continue his studies after primary school as his parents could not afford it.
Therefore, at the age of 14, he started to earn money by selling small items outside of his family home.
Knowing the importance of knowledge, Lee would read newspapers and magazines as well as borrow books from his neighbour to learn on his own.
Despite all the difficulties he faced, he managed to find ways to break through.
Beginning with his first grocery store named ‘Pasaraya Hiap Hoe’ in Klang, which he eventually sold for funds, he made history when he opened ‘Pasar Mini 99’ in 1992.
Today, Lee proved that his physical conditions and poor family background did not deter his life.
‘Pasar Mini 99’, which was rebranded as ‘99 Speedmart’ is now one of the largest mini-market chains in Malaysia.
Success doesn’t happen overnight
From all walks of life, these people have one thing in common: their willingness to work hard and never give up on achieving their goals in life.
They have made it, and you can too.
Dream big, work hard and make it happen.
All the best everyone!
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