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A Meaningful Business

St. John’s Institution, this could be where it all began with the school magazine Garudamas.

Back when we were graduating from high school, I helped put together the pages for our class in the school magazine. There was but one error when computer wasn’t as easily available as it is today, I allowed a classmate to label the headline – “The Non-Phodatious”. None of us knew what it meant then and I still wonder till today what that Iban-classmate of ours had in his twisted mind.

Fast forward to 2016, I have been in the business of content publishing for about a decade now.

I didn’t start out as a book junkie and neither was I an avid reader. If at all, we, the teenagers then, were just the masterminds of the VCRs, low tech TVs and the newspaper’s listing of TV programmes. We could tell when McGyver would come ahead of Airwolf and how the most popular postcode of 90210 made it into the corridors of gossip queens. We also saw the demise of Michael Knight before he met the beach sirens on Baywatch. It would make you popular in school just to be able to mention one name from the TV. Today, you’d have to be a mobile addict to even stay in the race for that mini-super-stardom.

What began as just a daily habit of perusing the newspapers and magazines have today become something I do for a living. It didn’t really begin that way but it is the way now. For the curious few, I do have a proper qualification in IT from the good IT school called Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology back in 1996 and I also have another proper Finance degree from Monash University out of the Clayton Campus in Melbourne, Australia. How I ended up in publishing is a peculiar but exciting story to be told…but not here.

Herald by multi-disciplined property consulting firm Henry Butcher, a monthly newsletter that has been a good communication, marketing and even recording tool for the three-decade old company.

Here, I’d like to say that the publishing business is one that serves to be a meaningful vocation. I could’ve built IT programmes and portals, of which I did, but the satisfaction is different when you’re in the publishing world.

I could’ve joined the banks or finance related companies when I graduated but I didn’t….thankfully so…look at the meltdown everywhere.

Armed with the knowledge of traversing the Causeway with a stint in the dotcom Singapore at the turn of the millennium and then relocated to Melbourne for university and Sydney for a “People Friendly Product” startup, the experience has been a blessing to my journey into the publishing world. Of all things, it lit the fire with a property magazine with my brother in 2006. What a ride that was, seriously!

Water will always find its level but where is the property market heading to right now? The secrets can be uncovered from the publishing world.

But what I’d really like to say is this, in the publishing stratosphere, you’re exposed to people, stories, trends, history, places, products, mindsets, beliefs and more. It gives you an idea of what is the flavour of the month and what is the trend that may be knocking on the doors. It also sharpens your taste for what’s good, better and best for the world to consume. You may even have a chance of setting the standards…for the lucky few, the gold standard!

From whence it began, I’ve seen why property prices began to escalate, how the herd mentality behaved, who began to make quicker money than others and why the government was not fast enough in catching up.

I’ve also seen how some dreams became reality and those that turned awry. You understand a little better why the marketplace moves diligently in one direction towards all things dollars and cents but often forget the principles they should abide by.

My time in the publishing world began with only facebook making its presence felt in Malaysia. Today it has taken over the world.

Travel agents heading into the digital economy, led by big brother Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents.

My time began with only Quark Express to design the pages of magazines, today InDesign dominates all.

My time began with writers sending in stories by rushing to the closest terminal or their laptops, today even a mobile phone can do the trick.

It started when Cyberjaya was only beginning to take shape after a good decade of just being everywhere but nowhere. Now it has grown to be an admirable address where even the MSC status is no longer confined to its geographical boundaries.

It began when I’ve only just returned to Malaysia after being away for a good seven years, today, 11 years later I’m here, writing this and still in the publishing business – the single and longest discipline I’ve ever dabbled into since reaching adulthood.

Today, with a few more publishing titles of which I’m blessed to be a part of, I’m seeing how the property world is progressing in the halted momentum of the market, I’m learning and witnessing the tourism insights from licensing to permits and travel agents vying for a share in the digital economy, and I’m also seeing where the elite trendy segment of the market is heading to and it’s not necessarily just viral for viral sake.

There are products and there are science, there are stories and they’ll make history. Through the lenses of a publishing professional, you peep into the world of how this world is made and where it is heading to. It is a business that comes with satisfaction – the satisfaction of knowing what is happening before us, around us and how you can be a part of that story.

A Beautiful Meaning – that’s all I can say of this profession!


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