Catch the Moment: Furnish Now Dec 2015 Cover story

Furnish Now Dec 2015 - Front cover

Professionally 2015 has been such an exciting year, marked by an array of diverse projects that range from brand stories for business award submissions to intimate insights into local traditions for travel magazines, to insider trade stories like the recent cover article I wrote for Furnish Now, the official magazine for the Malaysian International Furniture Fair.

It’s not your usual interview-and-write kind of story. In the last two years or so, I’ve been working with the international team from Media Mice on what we affectionately call a “makeover project” for highlighted local furniture makers. In this case, we traveled to wooden frame sofa specialist Yee Guan in furniture town Muar, Johor, for a thoroughly fascinating look at why and how a successful company repositioned itself to adapt to the changing marketplace – one dominated by millenials, no less.

You can read the full story at this link:

Furnish Now Dec 2015 - Cover story

Here’s to an even bigger and better 2016!

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A love letter to Paris – Navel Gazer

Love letter to Paris

Read the article here.

I fell in love with Paris as a teenager, yet it wasn’t until early this year that I finally visited it.

The morning I found out about the attacks, I cried. To be honest, the strength of my own reaction surprised me. I’ve visited a lot of other countries where the people have shown me kindness and generosity. Perhaps this hit home because it could easily have been me.

I wrote this as a thank you, more than anything else, for the beautiful experiences that the city of lights gave me.

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Lee Ting San Group – SOBA 2015 winner and finalist!

SOBA 2015 Lee Ting San 1

Congratulations to my client Lee Ting San for their fantastic results at the recent Star Business Awards (SOBA) 2015!

After largely staying away from the limelight to fully dedicate its resources and energies to transformation, the Penang-based regional logistics provider has reemerged with a bang, chalking up commendable results:

– Won: Most Promising Award

– Finalist: Best Brand, Best in CSR and Entrepreneur of the Year


Read The Star news here.

I am delighted to have contributed to this success, and wish them all the best in their future endeavours!

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myBurgerLab’s Teoh Wee Kiat: Recipe for Success


What a treat! The recipe for myBurgerLab’s success – a not-quite-an-interview with one of its founders Teoh Wee Kiat – was published on my birthday 😀

I didn’t *intend* this for an article at all, but wrote it for fun for myself. I wanted to document the unusual circumstances under which Wee Kiat and I met, and so that I could remember the lessons I learned.

Then I thought, why not try my luck …

I hope I did justice to the guy. Before meeting Wee Kiat in person, I had this idea of a bunch of spoilt rich bratty millenials using daddy’s money to put their half-baked business idea in motion, but talking to Wee Kiat made me realize there’s a great deal of substance and maturity to these guys. A classic Made-in-Malaysia success story!

May you enjoy many more years of success!

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Stories about ordinary Malaysians (The Star) and Books by Ipoh Writers (Ipoh Echo)

Thanks so much for the lovely writeups, Amanda and Mei Kuan :)


Link to Star article here:


Link to Ipoh Echo article here:

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Malay Mail Online: “We are all made in Malaysia”

I’ve been a secret admirer of Kenny Mah‘s writing for a while now, so I couldn’t have been more thrilled when I found out that the MMO journo doing the interview was going to be him.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 — “Being Malaysian isn’t about one size fits all,” says Alexandra Wong, author of Made in Malaysia: Stories of Hometown Heroes and Hidden Gems.

She should know.

Her articles, including her popular Navel Gazer column in The Star, have been compiled into a collection of tales that show what it means to be truly Malaysian.

From a former nuclear scientist from France who has made Malaysia his second home to family life in an Iban longhouse, Wong digs deep into the lives of ordinary people and uncovers their remarkable stories.

“Their lives are so varied and different yet they are all uniquely Malaysian,” says Wong.

“After all, our country is a land rich in history, culture and diversity. We don’t have a single way to be Malaysian; instead, we have many, many stories.”

Wong’s own story would make for good reading. A bookworm since young, she grew up with the typical expectations that she would have to get “a real job” eventually. Writing was encouraged, but only as a hobby.

“In the mid-90s, after my Form Six and before I started at university, I joined The Sun as a cadet reporter. I covered mostly entertainment news and then the food scene. Honestly, I didn’t get paid much as a novice and I had to take several buses to work, but I really enjoyed it because it was what I wanted to be,” she says.

This early taste of the writing world made Wong long for more but, like every obedient Asian child, she continued studying and started climbing the corporate ladder soon after that.

“After graduating in English Literature from Universiti Sains Malaysia, I first worked at a non-profit organisation and followed this with a sales job at Dell for seven years. But I never gave up my dream of writing.”

In 2005 Wong left her managerial position at Dell to pursue her dream of being a full-time writer. During this period, she wrote for various national dailies and magazines while perfecting her craft.

“I was very blessed in that I made many people along the way, especially editors, who encouraged me. Right after I left Dell, I wrote about why I had quit my job. I sent the article to New Straits Times and I remember one of their editors Joan Lau liked it and even blew up the picture of my parents tending their flower garden.

“I was very moved by this and it gave me strength to continue writing.”

Another wake-up call for Wong was an accident she experienced in May 2005.

“It made me realise that life is so short; I had to pursue what I love while I am still able to. So I started ‘chasing my passion’ – as clichéd as that sounds – by writing as much and as well as I could.”

Wong became known for her heart-warming and introspective stories; even when she was writing about food and travel, she was really writing about people.

“I enjoy writing about warungs and kopitiams, and I love speaking to different people from all walks of life. Everyone has a story.”

Each “hidden gem” that Wong unearths inspires her to look for more.

For her, leading a simple life and taking public transport isn’t a sacrifice because she is happy doing what she loves.

“I remember bringing my mother to Nasi Vanggey in Ipoh. It is opened by a relative of the famous Nasi Ganja founder. The Nasi Vanggey owner, who has a degree in commerce, told my mother that I was an ‘experience millionaire’ and that impressed her!”

Wong’s tenacity as a writer is balanced by a practical and methodical work ethic.

“I will always test the viability of an article by posting it first on my blog.

“If the post garners a lot of comments, I will then expand it into a full article. This is how I can survive as a writer; I don’t sit around waiting for an acceptance letter from an editor. I keep writing and selling my work.”

Two of the people Wong had interviewed in Made in Malaysia died — the last chapter is a moving dedication to one of them — and this has reminded her yet again on how brief life can be.

“I feel the sense of urgency and my motto is to ‘try everything once’. 

“The least we can do for ourselves is to give ourselves the chance to chase our dreams and to conquer our fears.

“I used to worry I couldn’t do justice to the people I interviewed. I understand now that these are their experiences, what they went through, but what I write is told from my perspective.”

These stories that Wong tells? They are stories that can only be made in Malaysia.

Still puts a smile on my face every time. Thanks, Kenny for nailing it (as usual!); May for taking the superb photo, and Joan for the opportunity :)

Link to original article is here

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Introducing Ipoh writers – a Perak Academy event


(L-R): Proud Ipoh mali authors and their favourite cartoonist! Dr SK Teoh, Lat, Bridget Eu, yours truly, and Jasemin Sibo

For this Ipoh-mali girl, 9 May 2015 would always be a special moment in my life as a writer.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my favourite cartoonist (make that every Malaysian’s favourite cartoonist) would be officiating the launch of my book. I’m talking about none other than Lat, of course!

And to have it happen in one of my favourite hangouts in my own hometown, attended by a whole bunch of loving friends who took the trouble to brave the sweltering sun and nightmarish parking to share this moment with me, made it even more special.

To Perak Academy, thank YOU for organizing an OUTSTANDINGLY successful event!


For more pictures of the event, check out

First writeup by Emily2U 

China Press Ipoh writers

China Press

Sin Chew Ipoh writers

Sin Chew

Oriental Daily Ipoh writers

Oriental Daily

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On TV!

Guess who just popped her live tv cherry! 😀


Ntv7 wanted an author to join their panel on the topic of “Happiness” for the 24 Nov 2014 show of Bella Confidential. And my publisher volunteered me – and I’d be an idiot to pass up the opportunity right? :)

In all honesty, I was freaking out until minutes before the show. After makeup, it all went by really fast. When the crew started counting down and I felt the warm glare of the lights on my face, only then did it hit me that holy crap I am stuck to this sofa for the next one hour, better not sound like an idiot!

I must say, host Lisa Wong did a really good job. It’s one thing to watch TV hosts on the screen, quite another to experience it in the flesh. Observing her in action, I could appreciate – and admire – just how fast her brain works to articulate intelligent things that hold all our disparate answers together, coax witty answers out of guests who may be tongue-tied (me-lah) and maintain an rapid-fire pace that’s timed by the second. Definitely not for the faint hearted 😛 And the next person who dares say that all entertainment personalities are bimbos will get a shelling from me!

Thanks so much ntv7, for having me on Bella Confidential!

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Things that matter

Star - Lin Rouwen.doc

Say, did anybody pick up the Star paper on 30th September and chance upon this article?

Here’s the link. 

Thanks Rouwen for the fabulous writeup :)

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Made in Malaysia, my first solo-authored book :)

Made-In-Msia-COVER (FB)

This project took me nearly nine years to complete, but it’s finally done.

Folks, meet my new baby, Made in Malaysia: Stories of Hometown Heroes and Hidden Gems :)

What’s the book about? Here’s an excerpt from MPH Publishing editor Alan KW Wong’s blogpost:

“A compilation of Alexandra Wong’s popular Navel Gazer columns in the Malaysian English-language daily The Star and other stories, Made in Malaysia: Stories of Hometown Heroes and Hidden Gems is about one woman’s journey of discovery across a historically and culturally rich and diverse land.

When Wong left her corporate job in 2005 to pursue her dream of being a writer, she didn’t expect to open a treasure chest of experiences. 

She soon made a name for the heartwarming tales of ordinary Joes and Janes in Malaysian society, all of which she’d serendipitously encountered during her travels. Each gem she uncovers inspires her to seek out more.

Culture shock and curtains of mosquitoes give way to familial warmth at an Iban longhouse. A French former nuclear scientist who embraced Malaysia as his second home makes a weekend in Gua Musang even more memorable. 

Pointers on how to be a serious and caring teacher emerge from one of her school’s naughtiest girls. And stirring displays of chivalry shine a different light upon titled and supposedly aloof public figures.

In the search for herself, Wong gets reacquainted with her homeland through the stories she’s told: stories of lives that can only be made in Malaysia.” 

… yes, this is why I’ve been so quiet. Had no idea there was so much to do for a book, but I’m enjoying every minute of it so far!

I’ll be posting major updates here but for the latest real-time news, stories and photos, the best place to go is the Facebook page I’ve officially created for the book. 

You can also listen to my interview with BFM89.9’s literary reviewer Umapagan Ampikaipakan here.

Can’t believe it. I am finally an author! :)))

Thank you to MPH Publishing Group for publishing my first book – I couldn’t have chosen a more committed publisher to work with! And to everybody who has been cheering me on all these years, big hugs to all of you!

Made in Malaysia is now available at all MPH bookstores in Klang Valley and Selangor, and will be arriving at Borders, Kinokuniya and Times, and other states very soon!

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