In the Land of Women
Tatler Magazine March 2009
TO MARK INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY THIS MONTH, MANSOR TUN ABDUL AZIZ AND MICHELE THESEIRA SEEK INSPIRATION FROM FIVE MALAYSIAN WOMEN WHO HAVE TRAVELED DIVERSE HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS IN LIFE YET COMMUNICATE THE ESSENTIALS OF BRING A WOMAN
On March 8th the eyes of the world look to women – seeking to learn from their struggles alongside their achievements. Women's rights remain an important social issues and in Malaysia three main women's associations. WAO – Women's Aid Organisaitons; AWAM – All Women's Action Society and SIS – Sisters in Islam amongst other women's organisations are busy helping improve the lives of women, championing their professional growth and reforming laws. But there are many women in Malaysia who are inspiring others simply by the lives they lead, both in the workforce and the home.
Five talk honestly here about the paths they've travelled and obstacles they've overcome. While the bumpy ride may have been easier for some, all concur that words of wisdom, a helping hand and encouragement from other women has made the journey a little bit smoother. All agree the female is no greater nor lesser then the male. Both require immeasurable respect for the roles each takes on, and both need to understand and be aware of the challenges each face in order in order to appreciate and support the other.
She may only be a youthful looking 31-year-old but already she has notched up an impressive amount of experience. Pretty and petite she is a powerhouse of gutsy determination with the world now seemingly at her feet. It's been only over a year since she walk down the wedding aisle with her business partner of many years, and she laughingly admits, “I wouldn't mind getting married again – of course to my same husband.”
The CEO and President of the own company, eOneNet.com Sdn Bhd, Fione remembers how she ventured into her own business. “I worked for an insurance company and was astonished to see people who had dedicated 15 to 20 years of their lives working with the company, simply fired.” This got her thinking and with a four-page business plan she resigned and went out to look for a financier, someone who believed in her and her plan.
"In the Land of Women - Tatler Magazine - Fione Tan"
Coming from a family of non-business orientated individuals who all worked for companies, Fione was all the more determined. “My mother was a working mum and always encouraged me to be independent. I've learnt from her that it doesn't prove a point that a mother who stays at home is the best mother. One can spend quantity time, yet not quality time with one's children,” shares Fione, who reveals her mother is now working for her, running the company's finance department.
Her mother has been constantly supportive, even when Fione quit that insurance job without another job in hand. “I come from a simple and hardworking family background and my mother never made me feed bad, nor flared up when I told her I resigned. Instead, she encouraged me although she had no idea what business I thought of going into.” And Fione admit, “She used to see me typing furiously on the computer, thinking I was working, when actually at that time, I was chatting online.”
Today Fione has office in KL, Singapore and Hong Kong, travelling the globe giving talks as a consultant in internet business and marketing.
One of the few CEOs of a top UK training company, Janette Faherty, comments, “Studies show that ethnic women are two-and-a-half times more likely to start a business than their white counterparts. However, women are less likely to believe they have the attributes to start or run their own business compared to men.” To this Fione agrees having traveled and given many business talks. “I notice there is a lack of self confidence in women, not necessarily the uneducated. I've come across many high-profile women who are not very confident in themselves and need a lot of reassuring. I have to keep telling them not to be so fearful of coming out into the world of business and assure them they can do it.”
The optimistic CEO admits she rarely meets people who give her a hard time. “I believe if you have self confidence and are true to yourself and your line of work, people will respect you,” she says. However she does recall one incident when another women made a snide remark at the dinner table during a corporate business event. Being a professional she is, Fione simply brushed off a comment, through she remembers the other guests at the table looked on appalled by the discourteous remark.
Blessed with good looks, Fione feels that inner beauty is most importants, “depicting one who is not pretentious.” Her fear for women of today covers areas of security and safety, looking at the many unfortunate incidences befalling the female community.
However, the dynamic, Mrs Independent doesn't miss out on girly get-togethers with her three favorite female friends from kindergarten and primary school, and even manages to find time for an essential does of indispensable retail therapy with her mum.
"In the Land of Women - Tatler Magazine - Fione Tan"
eOneNet.com, ranked Asia's top Internet marketing company with offices in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, and ranked No.1 Internet marketing company Asia by Google, specializes in helping SMIs to expand their business globally and get top rankings in international and China search engines, and offers services including guaranteed top rankings in international and China search engines, email marketing in the legal way, and Internet marketing training and coaching. Clients include both multinational companies and SMIs in the region. For more details, visit http://www.eOneNet.com.