What’s up in Malaysia?

It’s an Islamic country with more than 60% of the population are Malays. On almost every advertisement that I’ve encountered, there would be a woman wearing hijab, especially mobile phone advertisement. For example, a Muslim woman taking selfie with an Oppo.

And people drive car. In a normal family in the city, almost everyone has their own car. So tv advertisement would heavily be about car, petrol, oil…

Houses in Malaysia are well organized and they have only one architecture for the whole area, designed by a group of community developer. One cannot design and construct the house himself.

In the residential areas, a living house is normally shorter than the house in Vietnam but all the gov buildings look like the castles, so big, mysterious and weird.

People must be really in love with coconut here. They put it into almost everything out there.
There’re three races: Malays, Chinese and Indian. So there are three types of food accordingly:

  • Indian food is full of curry, not my type and I don’t wish to try much.
  • Malay food is still half-full of curry but the spiciest. Not fun at all.
  • Chinese food is similar to Vietnamese food. I eat it every day. It’s not as good as Vnmese food tho.

When I say I’m from Vietnam, ppl will normally ask: “But you speak English well” or “how did you learn English”Even the other day when I met an investor and he wanted me to recommend some good programmers and marketer in VN and he asked: `but can they speak English?`

Even the other day when I met an investor and he wanted me to recommend some good programmers and marketer in VN and he asked: “But can they speak English?”

People drive on the left, just like in the UK (they were colonized by Britain for a long time)

People use Whatsapp for everyday things and they will create a group chat for almost everything, chatting with friends, family, company-wide communication, the business community, residential community, hiring, shopping…
The other day when we met the Chairman of ipay88, he asked us to send him the pitch deck, but through Whatsapp, even though we had already sent through email.

In stead of getting email or facebook, people will ask for your Whatsapp.

Malaysians are so afraid of the number 4 as it’s pronounced the same way with `death`, so they try to avoid using it as much as they can. When you walk into an escalator in a big building. it’s normal to see 3A floor instead of 4. 3 – 3A and then 5.

I’m wondering when a kid reaches the age of 4, at the birthday party, people come and say:

Congrats, now you’re 3A years old already


Happy 3A birthday

There’s a road in Kolkata, India called Ho Chi Minh road, where the American embassy is located. Everybody there knows that and that’s how they started to know Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh city.

In Malaysia, the place of the meeting will depend on the role of two parties. If you’re asking anything from them, you go to their place or somewhere nearby they decided, and vice versa. It’s an unspoken rule.

Indian is black, Chinese is white, Malay is somewhere in the middle.
Wondering if there’re any connections :thinking_face:

Talking about Vietnam, especially when it comes to food, the normal conversation will be like.

oh, beer is really cheap there, right?


Vietnamese coffee is really strong

And one Malaysian asked:

You guys are still having a security guy writing the ticket for parking right?


how can you guys be so skinny?

First experience in Malaysia

The very very first experience: almost got ripped off.

When I arrived at the airport, I knew that my friend Stacey was waiting outside so right after going through immigration inspection and collecting my bags, I walked as fast as possible to the exit 8. My flight was delayed for half an hour and it took nearly one more hour for immigration inspection as it was Sunday, a lot of people were traveling. So we couldn’t meet as expected. I didn’t see her, I couldn’t call her (actually I already registered roaming service but somehow my mind was so dumb to realize that I can just call her from my phone), I wanted to get a local SIM card. I ran into two security guys standing near the exit 8 and asked for a place that I can buy SIM card. One guy was like this: SIM card huh? and then he looked around suspiciously and started to talk to the other guy in Malay that I could not understand a word. Then they asked me to follow them. Instead of showing me the telco store, they lead me to a corner, one guy turned his back to me and tried to pull something out of his wallet which I was not sure if it’s a SIM card, while the other guy asked me to pay RM200 ($50 or so). I wasn’t so familiar with RM, I did have a couple thousand of RM in my wallet that I can pay but after doing a quick math, I smelled something wrong. There couldn’t be that expensive. One more thing was that they were so suspicious. My instinct told me to run, and I told them softly:

“Hmm, you know what, I didn’t expect it to cost that much of money then I don’t have enough cash here. Maybe I should go meet my friend first and she will help me withdraw cash from my card then I will go back to you for that SIM card later”

I didn’t wait for them to answer, I walked away as fast as possible towards a group of local drivers there, to make sure that those two guys do not follow me.

A few munites later, Stacey picked me up and I found out that I can buy a SIM card with one-tenth of that price. I knew it.

My street philosophy

Almost everything we hear and see every day is just the matter of opinion. Somebody said that A is just an asshole, then somebody else said that A is super friendly and thoughtful. There is a book telling us that we have to burn our youth, we have to work 18 hours a day in order to have a successful life later on, there’s another book telling us that don’t be a dickhead, let’s have a life. Except for science facts that they seem to be the most credible things at the moment (maybe in the near future, people will find out it’s exactly opposite but it works for now), nothing is totally right or wrong, it just the point of view. I have to put a doubt on anything I encounter. It’s not that I don’t have faith or too skeptical but the way I choose to see things. as long as I feel good, it’s good.

It’s so ridiculous to see that people are spending too much time talking bullshit on social media. We are trying to show that we have a grand life, that we feel positive all the time and that’s the right thing to do. Meanwhile, other people are feeling shit because of seeing it. I do not have that thing, I didn’t try that, everybody seems to have something better than mine so obviously, my life is much worse than the average. I’m just a piece of shit.

We are all trying to be sophisticated and pretend to be nice to each other. I do it sometimes I whenever I do it, deep down in me, I found myself guilty for not telling the true feeling. Well, I’m way too sophisticated now!

Relationships matter. I don’t mean contacts we got from the networking events or ass kissing at work, which is bullshit to me, but the real connection between us with the ones we love, the ones we like. Our parents, our siblings, our close friends, our fiances, etc, the ones that we care about and want to do something good for them in return for nothing. Sometimes I took for granted that they are there and will always be there for me, no matter what, as if they have the responsibility to be in my life and I forgot how to appreciate them appropriately. Only until I started to wonder if they weren’t there, if they didn’t show up for me in my life, would I still be myself today, that when I realized how bad I behaved? That’s sad. We don’t need to tell them how we love them or how we feel thankful all the time, that sounds ridiculous, but to show them simply by being there when they need us.

Health is gold. There’s no strong mind inside a weak body, I hear it somewhere and that’s 100% true. There was the period of time that I didn’t do any exercises, even walking. I sleep next to the workplace, I eat at work. My schedule was to wake up, sit and work, eat, work and sleep, continuously. Then one day, I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, breathing hard. It’s like my heart wants more work but the lung insists that’s too much for the heart, they had a conversation and the lung was going to win, and the brain came up at the right time as a referee, to wake me up. I stayed up the whole night. I was freaked out. I didn’t even dare to go back to sleep because I was afraid that if I went to sleep, I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. As long as I was awake, I was still able to breathe normally and call for help easily in case something bad came up to me. That thought scared me for the next whole week that I couldn’t go to sleep until 2pm, and I tried to wake up at 6am the next morning, to escape the nightmare. That was a terrible time. Then I decided to workout. I started to run and do some pushup, plank at home. My health improves tremendously. I feel thankful for that.

30 Days Challenge

I started running.

For this year, my highest priority is to improve my health. A year ago, I joined a Yoga class but I didn’t seem to enjoy practicing it much. I found it addictive when I have to suffer the body pain of working out, especially those exercises that require a lot of fast moving and make me sweat like hell. It’s not enjoyable at first but I feel relieved. After a while, I will miss it and aspire to taste it again. That’s weird but true to me. That’s why Yoga seems so unfit to me as it requires moving slowly and sitting patiently. I decided to quit Yoga and run instead.

I challenged myself to run every day, at least 5km for the first month then increase the target on the way. I will 100% commit to this exercise for the first 30 days because I heard somewhere that if we stick with something long enough, says 30 days, it will become our habit and I want to make it a daily habit.

I have been running for over a week and it’s exhausted like hell but believe me, I can see that I turned to eat like a pig, sleep better and something new came along recently.

Things I hate the most at work

Things I rarely admit

1. Team-work is annoying

None of us that is as smart as all of us.

I know that.

But I’m just an introvert in the world that favors the loudmouths. And in that world, people’s respect for the others is based on their verbal abilities. Those who are thinking out loud and talk much are considered as the natural leaders. Then the whole education system is designed to develop those traits for everyone. But we need to understand the not everyone aspires to be a leader. If we are all the leaders, so the world would be in a complete chaos. So, be good at what you are passionate about instead.

Honestly, I rather spend time myself working my ass off on something myself than going out and having small talk. In a group work, people seem to be all in a hurry and take whatever they get out of a short conversation, or a meeting, as we name it. In order to have a great solution, I need data and process it thoroughly before saying anything, that takes time too. It’s virtually impossible to be a great idea out of a short conversation. Even when I can get it right, the party is mostly over. One more thing, when I am surrounded by the people that keep talking, the more I listen to them, the more I feel annoyed. That’s why my mind has to pretend that I’m alone, ignore the others and think on my own. That how I can focus and think of a solution.

For me, solitude is an important key to unlock the creativity and find the ultimate solution. So, all I want is to work independently. Sometimes I feel like I hate talkative people that I have a bias that “talkers keep talking and doers keep doing”.

2. Multitasking is bullshit

In order to achieve something extraordinary, I have to pay 100% attention to it. As I can say, if I am not obsessed with the problem enough, I will not find the best solution. “enough” to me means that I have to think about it every second, when I’m eating, taking a bath or even in my dream.

You have to spend time to consider which item to pay more attention first. Choices are tiring, we all know that.

Then you have to split your mind, which means, you just interrupt your thinking flow of problem A in order to switch into problem B.

Think about this. I’m dealing with the falling of revenue this month at work, but at the same time, I know that I have to fix the water pipeline in the house. If I don’t finish the new sales plan this morning, I won’t be promoted next month. But if I do not fix the pipeline this morning, the house will be a total mess, and my mom doesn’t like it, or my dog might have to suffer from draining in a locked room filled with water. So, if I do it one by one, that’s ok to me. But if I draw a strategic plan while still thinking of the other problem at home, I might end up drawing a meaningless pipeline on the board. It’s like you are dating two girls at the same time and want the best outcome of those relationships, in the end, you might get the best, but it’s just the best of the average. So if you want to achieve great things in life, stay hyper-focused.

My mantra is always, “One thing at a time.”

Korea Trip

First day:

I got a fever on the plane. The immigration lady stopped me and asked if I acknowledged my super high temp. I told her I had got medicines on my own, so no worries and tried to run into the immigration as quickly as possible. I felt super tired, I had to stand in line for more than one hour then. I felt super thirsty, no water. My whole body turned red and hot like hell. The only thing I wanted to do was lying down on the floor waiting for my turn.

We got to the Airbnb house and it turned to be so relieved lying on the bed for a nap. I was sleeping until the end of the day.

Second day:

Being a zombie due to a mix of back pain, cough, sore throat, and fever. I couldn’t enjoy anything. I went out to go shopping. Korean people are mostly shy and they would try to avoid talking to me every time I started speaking English to them. They did not smile, with a cold-bold face answering No.

I went to an Apple store and asked if they have a Macbook Pro 2016 with a touch bar and the girl there answered No without any hesitation or further eye contact. That’s weird tho.

We went to the Triipmeet event. It seemed like not so many people were going to attend it. Then we went back home, had a big dinner together until midnight. I, Nhien and Trevor had a very interesting conversation about Korean Culture and how travel has changed our lives, then we went into the biggest decisions of our lives.

Third day:

Got recovered but still had body ache. My team went out to see the city with a local expert. I went to see the electronic market with Hans and Dat. It’s quite tedious.

What you thought and what it really meant

You went to an e-commerce website to buy a headphone, the nice image somehow mislead you to an irrelevant one and you hit purchase, then you see a button called “Purchase by accident”, you immediately thought:

I just clicked on the wrong button, now I can go back. This site is brilliant!

The actual meaning was:

I just did a stupid thing, and now I’m regret!

You were browsing Facebook and you saw an appealing shoe ad with the sales price of $100 on the original price of $250, you thought:

This is a super good deal, I’m gonna save $150!

It actually was:

I’m gonna waste another $100 on my 4th pair of shoes this month!

While reading a self-help book, you thought:

This is great, I’m so motivated now. I will change to be successful!

It actually was:

Nothing new, just a nice written theory. I already knew it but I didn’t practise

When your cat was walking around and looking at you, screaming, you might think:

She loves being around me. She is so sweet!

But she meant:

I’m hungry, feed me now, my slave!


When you had a meeting and the other was still missing, she called “I’m on the way, just 5 more minutes”, you might think:

Oh, she’s almost arrive

But she actually meant:

I’m sleeping, what’s up? Oh shit, I forgot it. Wait a minute, I’ll be there. Wait wait wait, when I say a minute, I mean an hour!

When you felt bad and someone asked, “Are you ok? Do you need my help?”, and you replied:

I’m fine!

But you meant:

I’m not fine, but it’s none of your business anw

When you were lying at home, some called:

Are you free now?

You replied:

No, I’m busy!

Then you were supposed to say:

Yes, I’m totally free but I don’t like hanging out with you, or I’m having a good time at home

Someone asked “Can I borrow this one?”, then you were like:

Uhm, ohm

Your face said:

Hell no

When you were being asked about your success story, you told them:

Well, I saw it an opportunity, then I worked very hard and it’s got me today.

Your true story was:

Well, I didn’t know what to do then. I picked one random business. It failed. I tried another one, failed again. Then I kept trying. I started from the scratch with an idea about A, then I built B, got fucked up a lot. It turned out that C was the most successful thing and now I’m telling you about D.

You saw a random girl passing by, you walked along an said:

You are pretty!

What you actually wanted to say:

You are pretty. Netflix and chill?

You were browsing FB at the midnight and you thought:

It’s too late. I have to go sleep now!

Then, you realized:

Just five more minutes browsing to see if there’s something new. Oh not really. I have to check email… It’s been 5 minutes already, there must be something new, I have to check it out…

When you started to learn a new thing, you said to yourself:

I will spend at least 2 hours per day practising it. Soon I’ll become a master!

But, the true you said:

I’ll be learning for several days, then unless I have to use it at work, I’ll feel bored, or too busy, and quit.

When you said:

Fuck you!

You meant:

It’s not literally fuck, and I didn’t mean to fuck you, but fuck you!

When you were submitting a request and then a small box popped up:

Please wait a minute!

What it really meant:

Please wait a minute, but remember when I say I minute, I mean an hour, or maybe a year. So, good luck!