Category Archives: Attitude & Style

Capturing sashays down the catwalks and illuminating the latest trends in the fashion world and going up close and personal with the people leading the fashion industry to greater heights

The Home Whisperer

Vincent Chew

Managing Director of Pensonic Group

“There’s no room for complacency. Keeping my head in the game is the realisation that a certain mindset needs to be proven through example. Therefore, everyone is afforded the opportunity to display greatness and be rewarded for it.”

Be it telling the time, balancing revenue sheets, flipping channels on the TV remote, or punching in an old flame’s digits to reconnect, people rely on figures as a navigational compass to determine directionality, more than they realise. Keeping tabs is second nature and perhaps, rightfully so. In the rat race, the formula isn’t any different. Mathematical equations, scientific algorithms, and basic score-setting each have their place in profit’s grand design. But sometimes, the ‘numbers game’ travels further when coupled with poetic justice.

LESS IS MORE

What might that mean? Many, by stroke of habit, tend to beat around the bush when spilling their best kept secret to triumph, as if it were the roadmap leading right to the Holy Grail. Amidst the corporate-cloaked clutter, one man has risen to the occasion-doing so almost 20 years ago-to rewrite the pages of success in his mental journal. Setting himself clearly apart, he operates on the premise that simplicity is the most profound of complexities to conquer.

Pensonic Holdings Berhad group managing director, Vincent Chew, is the sales savant referenced in these chronicles. Over a recent Essenze exclusive in his office, he took it upon himself to address his personal style of leadership and ideas on growth. Sealing the measure of his worth, the dialogue which ensued, went on to uncover an amalgamation of the seventh integer on the numerical chart with passionate words, a code which best sums up the managerial mogul and intrepid traveller.

HONEST ACE

Truthfully, it did not take long in the conversation for his underlying philosophy to come through. Twenty-five minutes in and seven key words later, Chew’s personal recipe to his special brew gushed out from inside the barrel. “In business, you have to be trustworthy,” the 43-year-old shares, eager to educate. Without context, the message reads as generic but when put into perspective based on the findings he has leveraged thus far to pave his path, the writing is literally on the wall-and spells ‘PENSONIC’ in bold red against white paint.

The golf and cigar enthusiast’s unrivalled sense of integrity and ingenuity has everything to do with the fact that the public-listed venture is now a full-blown empire, the very one his chairman father, Dato’ Sri Chew Weng Khak, founded in 1982 out of Balik Pulau, a dainty town in Penang known for its durian plantations. Starting out in the early 1960s as a specialist electronics repairer and then moving on to the frontlines as a home appliance retailer, senior proved to be good with his hands and junior has followed in his footsteps.

“I believe in comradeship and trust. Most of my sales general managers are with me in KL. Decision-making and brand building are a collective process and my team understands and applauds that.”

HOT HONCHO

However, in his aspirations to drive his dad’s vision, Chew flew to Michigan in the United States during 1992, spent four years pursuing a formal education in human resources, and returned to Malaysia, only to be inducted into the company’s fabric as a core member of its manufacturing arm. He was only 24 at the time, but already, he had colossal shoes to fill-which is why his university training and degree came in handy. Two years later, while his peers were out job-hunting most likely, he had bigger fish to fry.

Rather than goofing around with confetti on his twenty-sixth birthday, the young chap clocked his first promotion, celebrated his fresh appointment as executive director, and immediately dived into the marque’s books as head marketer. In the role, he was commissioned to further cultivate sales across both the northern and central regions, establish balance between the two, fine-tune in-house policies, and set up the business’s regional sales office in Kuala Lumpur, which he has managed to nurture from just 10 employees to 120-strong.

AHEAD OF THE GAME

Since his entrance into the consumer electronics arena, the company has seen numerous gargantuan upgrades. From a miniscule shop lot in Balik Pulau to a second outlet in Georgetown not long after to the close to RM400 million annual turn-over and 30% mark in international export it currently enjoys, Pensonic is just getting started. “I believe in comradeship and trust. Most of my sales general managers are with me in KL. Decision-making and brand building are a collective process and my team understands and applauds that.”

Part of the cohesion seen today is structured upon Chew’s ingenious multi-brand platform concept. Instead of diversification or fussing over price, Pensonic has conquered the home appliances sector by buying into partner brands and acquiring trademarks which cater to all segments of the local market. To date, it has 10 service centres and eight premium-range Kollektion Haus outlets nationwide with more on the way. It’s the move that has allowed the label to stay competitive without having to compete.

The strategic tackle also awarded Chew his step-up to group managing director in 2014. In fact, Kollektion Haus is the redefined retail business format incepted in 2012 by the man himself, to enable Pensonic to sell premium brands exclusively. Today, the brands under Pensonic’s multi-brand distribution network include Cornell, Princess, Gaggia (Milano), Indesit, and Lebensstil Kollektion. “All initial efforts are attributable to the hard work of the founder. My father was the chief architect with the blueprints,” Chew offers modestly.

TIME TO TREASURE

Piaget presents Limelight Diamonds, a collection of captivating fine jewellery watches that pairs the charm of solitaires with the art of fine watchmaking. Designed for the independent woman who lives for the present, the Limelight Diamonds is a stylish way to mark her own milestones. The refined radiance of the precious stones are enhanced with a subtle and feminine strap in black satin with white gold ardillon buckle set with a single diamond. With the intense fire and lasting beauty of a solitaire diamond scintillating around her wrist, Limelight Diamonds are destined to become lifelong treasures.

FASHION WEEK MADRID TURNS 60

FASHION FORWARD CREATIONS AT ICONIC SHOW

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid celebrated its diamond anniversary with a stunning display of fashion shows, replete with a host of new features. Over a period of six days the iconic event showcased Spain’s fashion thoughts and creative talents. 41 designers and brands  participated including designers Alvarno, Ulises Mérida and Leyre Valiente from SAMSUNG EGO, Maya Hansen, Rabaneda and Desigual

Images courtesy of image.net

What is Functional Medicine?

Dr Michelle Lim, MD (MA) Naturopath ND,
Dip. Holistic Kinesiology

Functional Medicine (FM) enables physicians and other health professional to practise proactive, predictive, personalised medicine, empower patients to take an active role in their own health and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working in collaboration to address the underlying cause of disease. FM addresses the whole person not an isolated set of symptoms.

Practitioners spend time with their patients by using a technique called ‘Listen to your Body Talk’ – gathering information about patient, looking at the interaction genetic science system biology, understanding of environment and lifestyle factors (sleep, exercise, nutrition, stress levels, relationships) that can influence long term health and the emergence and progression of chronic disease.

FM support patients-centred rather than a disease centred approach to treatment. This is what we call the therapeutic partnership, the relationship that forms between patient and clinician that empowers the patient to take the ownership of their own healing.

Scientific support for the FM approach to treatment can be found in a large and rapidly expanding evidence base concerning the therapeutic effects of nutrition (both dietary and clinical choices), exercise, stress management, detoxification program, Holistic Kinesiology Alignment, Manipulation, Mind/Body techniques using Vibrational Frequency formulas and many more.

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How is Functional Medicine Different?
To keep a tree healthy and allow it to flourish, you need to support the most basic & essential elements first – THE FOUNDATION, THE ROOTS, THE SOIL. Similarly, if a tree is not healthy, the first place you should look at for answers at those same foundational elements.

FM is highly cost effective for patients as it focuses on prevention and health promoting lifestyle changes and sustainable treatments that address the underlying cause of dysfunction, restoring patients to health.

It is a holistic approach in that one clinician looks at all aspects of the patients instead of saying “Oh that sounds like a Hormonal problem, that’s not my department.” Practitioners examine each patient’s lifestyle physically and psychologically using the ‘Art of Listen to your Body Talk’ (Holistic Kinesiology) to identify the underlying causes of their disease and find the right treatment to support and help return patients to optimal health.

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For more information visit http://www.michelleherbstherapy.com

BLOOD IN URINE: A WARNING Sign That You SHOULD NOT IGNORE!

By Mr Lau Ban Eng
Urologist
MBBS (Aust.), FRCS (Edin.), FRCS Urology (Edin.),
D. Urol (Lond.), FCS (Hong Kong), FHKAM

“Peter, a 57 years old executive chef went to the toilet one night and noticed that his urine was red in colour. The urine cleared up the next morning but Peter was very worried. He visited his family doctor who sent his urine for tests and found the presence of red blood cells. His family doctor referred him a Urologist. After some investigations, Peter was found to have early stage kidney cancer. Peter underwent appropriate treatment and is now cured.”

Seeing blood in your urine is a frightening experience for most people. When this occurs, it must be fully investigated by a doctor. Although in many patients no specific cause can be found, blood in urine – medically referred to as haematuira – can be an indication of a serious problem of the urinary system (Diagram 1) and is a warning sign that you should never ignore.

It is estimated that up to 20% of the population is at risk of haematuria. There are two types of haematuria. The first is called “gross” or “macroscopic” haematuria where the blood in the urine is visible to the naked eye. Macroscopic haematuria can vary widely in colour, from light pink to bright red with clots. It can result from as little as 1ml of blood in 1litre of urine, and therefore the colour does not reflect the degree of blood loss.

If the blood can only be detected with laboratory testing of urine, it is called “microscopic haematuria”. People with microscopic haematuria are often unaware of the problem and it will most commonly be detected from urine tests during a routine medical check-up.

Although the amount of blood in the urine may vary, the causes of gross and microscopic haematuria are the same. So, any degree of blood in the urine should be fully evaluated by a doctor, even if it resolves spontaneously.

Is there definitely blood in the urine?
Before you read on, it is worth considering whether you have recently eaten beetroot, red dragon fruits or food with colourings as these can make the urine to turn pink and cause unnecessary alarm. Certain medications and antibiotics such as nitrofurantoin and rifampicin can also turn urine brown or red. Check that the blood in the urine is not from the rectum/anus and in females, blood from the vagina should be ruled out.

What are the causes of blood in urine?
The cause of haematuria, whether microscopic or macroscopic are similar and may result from bleeding anywhere along the urinary tract (Diagram 1). 50% of patients with visible blood in the urine will have an underlying cause identified but with non-visible blood in the urine, only 10% will have a cause identified.

Risk factors for significant underlying diseases include: age over 40, smoking, exposure to certain chemicals, history of radiation, overuse of painkillers, history of diabetes and hypertension.

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Common causes of blood in the urine include:

  1. Infection of the bladder (cystitis) or kidneys (pyelonephritis). This usually causes pain when you pass urine and pain over lower part of abdomen and loin area. Fever can occur in severe infection.
  2. Kidney, ureteric or bladder stones which may be painless and may present as only haematuria.
  3. An enlarged prostate. This commonly occurs in older male and associated with symptoms of difficulty passing urine, slow urinary stream and frequency of urine.
  4. Kidney cancer. This is an uncommon cancer and may present as microscopic or gross haematuria. The gross haematuria may be intermittent. If it is detected early, the chance of cure is very high.
  5. Bladder cancer. Again this usually occurs in people aged over 50. Usually the patient is a heavy smoker. As in kidney cancer, if found early and treated, the cure rate is very high.
  6. Kidney disease can also cause haematuria. It is a common cause of microscopic haematuria in younger people. Most of the time, protein will also be detected in the urine.
  7. Medications that thin the blood like warfarn and clopidogrel (Plavix) can also cause bleeding in the urinary tract.

How is blood in urine diagnosed?
After taking a detailed history and carrying out physical examination, the Urologist will order a urine test which consists of testing the urine with a chemical test strip and examining it under a microscope. This is to confirm the presence of red blood cells. If three or more red blood cells are seen per high power field in the urine specimens on microscope, referral to a specialist, either an Urologist or Nephrologist for further evaluation is recommended.

Usually the specialist will repeat the urine test and also obtain a culture of the urine to identify the presence of bacteria. Blood tests will be carried out to assess kidney function and identify any blood clotting abnormalities. Further investigations will be ordered depend on the findings of the urine and blood tests. If necessary, two additional tests, imaging and cystoscopy will be performed.

Nowadays, CT scan is preferred to intravenous urogram (IVU) as it gives a better, more detailed image of the kidneys and ureters. It is also the best method to detect urinary stones. However, CT scan cannot visualise the lining of the bladder clearly and therefore, a second examination called a cystoscopy is necessary.

Diagram 2 showing a flexible cystoscope2

This procedure uses a small (3mm in diameter), flexible scope (Diagram 2) which is inserted through the urinary passage (urethra) into the bladder to directly visualise any abnormality or source of bleeding in the bladder. It also allows the doctor to take a sample for examination under the microscope. This procedure takes about 10 minutes and is usually carried out with intravenous sedation and local anaesthetic gel.

Treatment
Treatment depends on the exact cause for the haematuria following a specialist’s evaluation and investigations. In patients where investigations fail to find the source of the bleeding, observation with repeat urine tests is necessary. Investigations like CT scan and cystoscopy may be repeated if haematuria recurs.

Conclusion
Any degree of blood whether macroscopic or microscopic in the urine, especially for those aged 40 or above should be fully investigated by a Specialist as it might be a sign of serious disease of the urinary system.

Modern Ethnicity

The Jakarta Fashion & Food Festival (JFFF) 2014 proved to be a feast for the senses. The Fashion Extravaganza showcased visually stunning collections of ready-to-wear designs by local and upcoming designers. Paying homage to the country’s cultural elements, many of the pieces displayed ethnic-inspired prints, textures and techniques.

Being in its 11th year, the fashion show was supported by partners and agencies in the fashion industry including the Association of Indonesian Fashion Designers Entrepreneurs (APPMI), Cita Indonesian Weaving (CTI) and Indonesian Fashion Designers Council (IPMI), all presenting a unified appreciation for the country’s fashion heritage.

Passion of the Rose

The rosey love affair of Piaget

In a love story that stretches back to the 1960s, Piaget’s fascination with the rose has taken a prominent place in the brand’s jewellery and this is no more prominent than its latest collection. The Piaget Rose Passion, which comes as a tribute to the queen of flowers, is a glamorous and bold haute jewellery line that is vibrant as it is colourful.

In 1979, the current chairman of Piaget, Yves Piaget, created the trophy for the Geneva International New Rose Competition, and in 1982, his passion for the rose was recognised when the winner of that year’s competition named his prize-winning rose breed the Yves Piaget Rose. This love affair with the gorgeous flower is captured in Piaget Rose Passion collection of 75 jewellery pieces and 25 watches.

Each piece of jewellery bearing Piaget’s name is made entirely in the brand’s own jewellery workshops using a myriad of precious stones. With choice jewels ranging from white and yellow diamonds to luscious emeralds and pink sapphires, the pieces in Piaget Rose Passion are fresh and feminine.

The Pearls of Hodel

Pearls of Fire

Hodel’s Fire Line Sizzles

While diamond is a lady’s best friend, the pearl is her soul mate. Luscious, exquisite and magical, pearls make for dramatic jewellery when paired with diamonds.

Celebrating the breath-taking natural form of the pearl, luxury pearl jeweller Hodel Switzerland, has created some truly divine pieces in which pearls take centre stage. As part of its Fire line under the Elements collection, these pieces blend fine pearls with other elements, and combines artistic vision with precision craftsmanship.

Hodel’s Fire line makes for an arresting work of art that can be worn, admired and cherished.

Pearly Perfection

Beauty of the South Sea
Luscious. Exquisite. Magical. These are a few words to describe Hodel’s new collection, which features an exotic combination of South Sea baroque pearl, keshi pearls, blue sapphires, white sapphires and diamonds in white gold. When worn together, the necklace and earrings make for arresting and admiring works of art.