The Malaysia Influential Educators (MIE) is a recognition given to the outstanding educators who have achieved excellence in education services by demonstrating their strong acumen and talent.
Today we have an exclusive interview with MIE awardee Sean Looi
Could you share with us your family background? (e.g. how you were brought up, value instilled by your parents/families etc)
I'm blessed that I was raised in a loving family where my parents did everything they could to provide the best for me. Even though they worked almost everyday of the week, they would spend quality time with me to play and to teach.
One of my life lessons was from my father. As an 8 year old boy, I used to click buttons on the family computer just to see what happened. Every time the computer would crash and my dad would have to spend RM100 to format it. This happened for for 5-6 times and my dad spent RM500-600 just to repair the computer.
On the way back from the computer store, I apologised to my father for wasting money. But his response threw me off guard. He asked "did you learn something when you were clicking the buttons?" (I said "yes"). And he replied "then it is OK to spend the money because you are learning".
Since then, I learnt from my father that it is OK to make mistakes in life, the most important lesson is that we learn from them and improve. This single principle has brought me to where I am today. Life is full of experiences, keep exploring and keep on learning. (Thank you dad).
Could you share with us your education background or academic qualification?
ACE - Accelerated Christian Education (Home-school program)
AOP - Alpha Omega Publications (Home-school program)
O Levels - Segi College
Bachelor of Engineering (Civil), University of Southern Queensland
The institution you currently work for, and your position.
Institution: VKids Trend Sdn Bhd
- Education Consultant
- Motivational & Public Speaker
- Digital & Network Marketing Trainer
Could you share with us your experience in education industry?
In the education industry, I'm grateful to be in personal contact with thousands of children and parents to support them in learning.
As children are growing up they are very keen to learn, absorbing information like a sponge. Because of today's technology, children learn much faster compared to how we did before. Knowledge is ready and available at all times and at their finger tips. When we are with children, we feel their excitement and enthusiasm every time they are given the opportunity to learn new things.
In my journey, I realised that whether a child is keen to learn (or not) is highly dependent on his/her parent. When a parent actively encourages their children to learn, investing in their education (ie. buying books, subscribing to learning platforms, enrolling them to extra-curricular classes), this results in a child that is motivated to excel in life. (The opposite is true).
As a summary, children are blank slates and ready to absorb new knowledge at any given time, but this habit needs to be actively encouraged and nurtured by the parent. And perhaps, the true education is to educate the parent more so than the child.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in education industry?
I chose to pursue a career in education because I believe in education, and I know that everyone believes in education too. Although we have helped hundreds of thousands of children in their learning, we always remember the power of one.
To touch the life of a child, to give the gift of education, is a chance to change the future. He/she may because a future doctor, healing the sick. A future pilot, bringing people from one country to another. A future accountant, helping companies with their finances (and so on).
When I choose to pursue a career in education, I choose to be a part of the solution to create a better future for Malaysia, and for the world, one life at a time.
Please share with us - your view of education
Mission: To create a better future for the country and the world.
Objective: To provide EVERY CHILD a chance to learn and change his/her life for the better.
Principle: We must take responsibility and adopt an "If it is to be, it is up to me" attitude. To change the world, we must first change for the better.
Please share with us - who have influenced you the most in your career
In my career, the ones who have influenced me the most are VKids Trend Sdn Bhd's founders Dr. Vivian Ker, Dr. Denise Lim & Dr. Eric Ang.
Through Dr. Vivian Ker, I learnt that we must always strive to be the best in everything that we do. Either you go all out or not at all. This shows because VSchool Trend Learning Program has been recognised in the Malaysia Book of Records (TWICE) and is the Top 1 E-Learning platform in Malaysia.
Through Dr. Denise Lim, I learnt that you don't build a business, you build people. We have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of people from different walks of life. Some are achievers, and some take some time. Dr. Denise shows that it is worth putting in time to groom and build someone as she has spent countless hours in coaching & mentoring me (and many others) to be a better version of myself.
Through Dr. Eric Ang, I learnt that there are no speed limits on the road of success. I also learn that a leader is one who walks the talk, goes the way and shows the way. Whenever Dr. Eric gives a directive, he also shows us through examples and his actions. This is true leadership in motion, because when a leader does it, he shows the team that it can be done, and the team follows.
So far, what was the greatest challenge in your career? Please share with us how you overcome the challenge.
As someone who graduated and worked as an engineer, to make the shift to education came with its set of challenges.
One of the challenges I faced was to speak to someone (or anyone). In my 7-year career as an engineer, I was hiding behind the computer, crunching numbers on a spreadsheet and working on designs, not communicating with anyone. So the idea of putting myself in front of someone to talk to was very scary to me.
I was able to overcome this challenge through the help of my mentors & leaders in the company. Not only did they teach me what I had to do, but they even showed me and challenged me to take action. It is only through actions that I finally learnt how to communicate and talk to people and eventually become a public speaker & trainer.
They key lesson here is this: if you want to be a better version of yourself, surround yourself with people who challenge you to be a better person.
What do you think is the critical success factor in this industry?
To be successful in this industry, we need to be committed.
We live in a world today where many people give up at the slightest discomfort. Never have a "test first" or "see how it goes" attitude, it will not work.
True growth comes when we commit to the cause. To commit is to have laser focus in the industry that you have chosen. Learn everything you need to learn, pick up all the skills required and practice until you become the best at it.
The best quote comes from Bruce Lee saying: ”I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Have you ever thought about giving up as an educator? Why did you choose to persist instead?
Yes definitely. The feeling of "giving up" is very normal especially when we are learning new skills and new knowledge.
I choose to persist because I simply recognise that 'giving up' is a way my body wants me to go back to what I was doing before, to go back to my comfort zone. I learnt that it is basic biology for the body to want to keep itself safe by staying in the same conditions.
Knowing this, every time I have the feeling of giving up, I just decide to push forward and move on. The result of this process is the expansion of my comfort zone, personal development and breakthroughs. No matter what happens, just keep moving forward.
Do something that others won't do, so you can have what others don't have.
What drives you forward?
What drives me forward is knowing that what I do will create a better future for Malaysia and eventually the world.
Every person has the potential to make a difference. Whether that difference is going to be a positive one, or a negative one, it is up to us to make it happen through education.
Could you share with us your career plan?
In the next 5-years, we aim to groom and build 5,000 education consultants. Our education consultants are able to reach out to parents all over Malaysia to give parents a solution to provide the best education solution for their children in a cost-effective way.
Have you received any educational award before? Kindly share with the details if you have.
VKids Trend Sdn Bhd:
- Most Prominent Leadership (2020)
- High Performer Ambassador (2021)
- Top 1 Legend Ambassador (2021)
- Top 1 Super Legendary Circle (2022)
- Top 1 Leadership Award, Legendary Circle Category (2022)
- Top 1 Recruitment Award, Legendary Circle Category (2022)
Have you published any articles and/or papers in any educational publications before? Kindly share with the details if you have.
Yeah sure we have a write up here:
Thank you so much for your time
It is my pleasure.
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