So This Is My Why | Issue 10

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Hey STIMYers!

Welcome to Issue 10 of the STIMY Newsletter featuring Shawn Chong – one of Malaysia’s top mixologists & founder of Omakase + Appreciate!

But before that, if you’re here for the first time or would like to have this weekly newsletter delivered straight to you, click the Subscribe Now button below!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a very hot audio-based app that’s just starting to spread through Asia called Clubhouse.

A place where users can tune in to “rooms” where all sorts of people gather to chat without the pain of looking presentable on video. It grew its cult-like following first in Silicon Valley (Oprah Winfrey is famously one of its first users) and while there are lots of spammy, self-promo type rooms, there is also a lot of gold.

Clubhouse Good Times with Elon Musk

The biggest news this week was when the hosts of Good Times (by far my most favourite room) landed their most popular guest to date – Elon Musk.

An appearance that nearly broke the internet (not even kidding, it was even streamed on YouTube), created many spillover rooms (each Clubhouse room can only take up to 5k users & I must’ve been booted out at least 10 times due to server overload), with some rooms lasting for… 3 days!​

It wasn’t uncommon to enter a room & hear someone suddenly go, “So, did anyone listen to that Elon Musk talk? Remember when Elon was asked, what encouraging words do you have for entrepreneurs? He said:

Doing a startup is like eating glass and staring into the abyss for a long time. If you need encouraging words, then don’t do a startup. – Elon

In case you missed the Elon chat, never fear. Techcrunch did a really comprehensive write-up that you can read here.

China Version

It was only inevitable that because of the virality that Clubhouse has found, China has come up with its version. Launched on 3 February 2021 (yes, that recent!!), its founder is Chinese cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun, who made the headlines in 2019 after scoring a $4.57 million lunch date with Warren Buffett.​

The app in question? Audio-only live streaming platform, TWO.

Watch this space.

Fun Fact

Today’s Good Times guests featured two top officials from Facebook. One of them, Andrew Bosworth (VP of Augmented & VR at Facebook) thought it’d be fun to bring on Mark Zuckerberg for a couple of minutes and sure enough, he did!

And promptly broke Clubhouse lol.​

Maybe next week, Sriram & Aarthi can get Jeff Bezos? 🤔

Shawn Chong - x3 Diageo World Class Malaysia Champion, Mixologist & Co-Founder of Omakase + Appreciate

This week’s STIMY guest is Shawn Chong.

One of Malaysia’s top mixologists, a three-time Diageo World Class Malaysia champion, once listed as the No. 25 Bartender in the world, and co-founder of Kuala Lumpur’s pioneering speakeasy, Omakase + Appreciate. A speakeasy that was listed in the Top 10 of Asia’s 50 Best Bars Award 2016. He is also the founder of Bar Class Academy Asia.


  • 3:03: Having his first sip of alcohol at age… 5!
  • 3:53: Moving back to Kuala Lumpur from France
  • 11:50: How Shawn entered his first bartending competition
  • 20:31: Opening Omakase + Appreciate – Kuala Lumpur’s very first omakase bar
  • 22:57: Being inspired by the 1920s Prohibition Era in America
  • 25:13: Coming up with the omakase concept, and mixing their Japanese/Western approaches
  • 26:14: Changing the drinks menu every 6-8 weeks
  • 28:05: The unique marketing tactics used by Omakase + Appreciate
  • 29:02: Inviting big-name guest bartenders
  • 30:57: Mise en place
  • 33:13: Reaching the global finals for the Diageo World Champion competition for the second time
  • 33:13: Winning the 10th spot of Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2016
  • 37:30: Finances
  • 40:02: Deciding to close Omakase + Appreciate in December 2019
  • 42:23: Why Shawn’s endeavour in PJ failed
  • 47:33: Best way to enter the bartending industry

​You can listen to Shawn’s episode in full on: STIMY Website, Spotify, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Listen Notes

Looking for past STIMY guests in the F&B world? Check out:

  • Ep 15: Yi Jun Loh – Malaysian engineer turned food blogger, writer, and podcaster
  • Ep 16: Renyi Chin – Founder of MyBurgerLab & MyPizzalab – a unique & innovative burger chain in Malaysia
  • Ep 29: Darren Teoh – Restaurant Owner & Head Chef of Dewakan (the only Malaysian restaurant to make it into the 2019 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list)
  • Ep 33: Maurizio Leo – Software engineer, sourdough baker extraordinaire & founder of The Perfect loaf (award-winning blog on all things sourdough)

STIMY Episode 27 features Freda Liu – one of Malaysia’s top business radio host at BFM 89.9

Favourite Finds of the Week

Article: Making an Amazing Email Introduction

John Exley, VC at CASSIUS Family, is known for making fantastic email introductions and the author of this article, Eric Friedman, shares an example of how he does it.

​As well as breaking it down to show the purpose behind each section of that intro email:

  • the email introduction
  • an in-depth introduction of the people he’s introducing to each other (how Eric met each of them, and relevant links to their social media accounts & news articles!);
  • Why this email introduction is happening for the first time.

​Maybe it’ll change the way you do your own virtual introductions? It’s certainly changed mine!

What Makes Work Meaningful - or Meaningless - MIT Sloan Management Review

Even in the direst circumstances, people seek out their purpose in life. – Victor Frankl

MIT Sloan Management Review published an article on what makes work meaningful or meaningless – the result of interviews with 135 people in 10 very different occupations dealing with the basic question of, “What’s the point of doing this job?”.

Main Takeaways

It’s a long article but here are some main takeaways:

  • “Meaningfulness” tends to be intensely personal & individual, relating back to personal memories with their family. When “meaningfulness” happens at work, they tend to be serendipitous & unexpected.
  • It’s easier for employers to discover the sense of meaningfulness, whereas the cultivation of meaningfulness is akin to carefully nurturing a delicate flower.
  • The 5 features of Meaningful Work:
    • Self-transcendent: Where the work mattered more to others, than to themselves. E.g. a garbage collector found his work meaningful when collected waste was sent to recycling, thus contributing to.a cleaner environment for his grandchildren.
    • Poignant, not euphoric: Meaningfulness isn’t always a positive experience. And people tend to find work meaningful when it’s linked with mixed/uncomfortable/painful thoughts, rather than joy/happiness. E.g. A nurse easing the passing of a patient.
    • Episodic, not sustained: An awareness that work is meaningful tends to have peak times & weren’t forced. E.g. A sales assistant helped a customer when she passed out in the store.
    • Reflective: When people can see their completed work & connected that work with a wider sense of life meaning. E.g. An academic, whose 20-year result (that seemed meaningless at the time) resulted in touch-screen technology.
    • Personal: The meaningfulness of work is understood in the context of work and personal life experiences. E.g. A priest shared her own life experiences to support her congregant through a time of personal tragedy.
  • The 7 Factors that Create Meaninglessness
    • Disconnect people from their values, e.g. lawyers who have to focus on profit, rather than helping clients
    • Take your employees for granted, e.g. lawyers who are criticised for not working fast enough despite pulling long hours
    • Give people pointless work to do, e.g. having to do bureaucratic tasks or poorly planned projects
    • Treat people unfairly, e.g. not giving pay raises where due, bullying or lack of career progression
    • Override people’s better judgment, e.g. lawyers having to cut corners to finish cases quickly
    • Disconnect people from supportive relationships
    • Pur people at risk of physical or emotional harm

Twitter: Mini Modern House

Mini Miniature House made during COVID 19 lockdown - viral on Twitter

We all have different ways of coping with the global lockdown. And recently, a particular Tweet thread went viral.

The author? Scott T. Miller – who shared how his mother & step-dad had spent their quarantine building an incredibly intricate & well-thought-out “Mini Modern House” with, get this, functioning electricity (the lights work, the garage door opens & shuts, and the 4 fireplaces have glowing logs!!)

The Mini House consists of a man cave, game room, living room, master bedroom & 2 kids’ bedrooms, garage, boiler room & laundry room. And here are some of the gems you will find in the MMH:

  • actual teak wood used for all the outdoor decks & pergola
  • mini rugs that were all knitted by hand
  • a tiny stuffed dog in the corner
  • a mousetrap at the base of the water heater…

​Consider me blown away.

Oscar-Contending Animation: Umbrella

If you love Pixar & recall how the first 10 minutes of UP made you cry, well…

Get ready for Umbrella.

Umbrella is a 7.55 minutes Oscar-contending animation inspired by true events and features Joseph: A boy living in an orphanage & his relationship with a yellow umbrella.

​I’ve always been blown away by storytellers that can move me without saying a single word and Umbrella hits hard.

I won’t say more so that you can experience the magic yourself, so go watch! Link below.

Upcoming STIMY Guests

  • Kai Yuan: Co-Founder of Our Grandfather Story – a Singapore-based company whose mission is to bring timeless & often overlooked stories across Southeast Asia. Stories include the last giant joss stick maker in Singapore, horticulturalists working at Changi, crab hunters at Pulau Ubin & more! Fun fact: Our Grandfather Story started when Kai Yuan created a viral video at film school and together with his college friends, decided to build on that to create their own Gen-Z savvy media company!

Also, do you know anyone with an interesting/inspiring story? Or someone whose backstory you’d love to hear?

Feel free to hit me up @ sothisismywhy(at) 😊

Until next week!

Ling Yah

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