Friday, December 17, 2010

Down does not mean out

Been pondering about what have been asked to me from a fellow comrade in arms and a few government officials of the Negeri Sembilan Investment arm and the Office of the Prime Minister made me change my game plan since last year when I was still involved in the R&D and Chocolatier Business.

Being in R&D, we take many risks and are tiresome with the rewards that prove futile or enormous returns. Research takes money, loads of it and with a technology company whose key stake holders are in Biotechnology and Herbal Medicine, we tend to pour as much as we can with the resources we have and that means not taking profits at all.

Chocolates are a specialty. Not any Tom, Dick or Harry can be a Chocolatier and claim they are better than Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsey overnight as it takes dedication, effort and love for the trade. After seeing more than a 300% increase in the Small Medium Industries concentrating on Chocolate Confectionery in the past 2 years, I decided it is not worth my time to compete in something that drag the brand and life out into the mud. Chocolates are a premium, not just to be sold at flea markets or Pasar Malam for that fact as Cocoa is expensive in itself. The Cocoa Board are not doing themselves any favor by spoiling the market with low quality entrepreneurs who does not have the technical background and education to understand the essence of a Good Chocolate Bar.

I told the officials that we are shutting the operations down. We will only provide top quality grade at low prices as everything are hand made and specialty products that we have been researching and in the process of patent protection as these are under the FDA regulatory acts. Chocolates have been researched and found to be great for the health, especially kids as the anti oxidants and stress relaxants in the therobroma ( Dark Cocoa Liqueur ) are great for health, even published in many papers such as the Telegraph and Medical Journals.

It was disheartening and demoralizing when we had our research grant for commercialization of the products with a herbal extract that actually was found to accelerate the healing process taken away from us due to lack of government funding in the Ministry. The amount was quite substantial, close to US$5 Million over a period of 3 years, with a return profit potential of at least US$ 20 Million.

Of course, being the Director of Business Development, I had to take it somewhere else for funding and come to show that despite the Malaysian Government wanting and promoting Biotechnology as a core business in Malaysia, they are only willing to evaluate small scale biotech projects which in my opinion carries no weight nor provide added value to the country or community. The fact that Pfizer discovered Viagra from a Malaysian wild root extract 13 years ago which the locals know of the aphrodisiac capabilities don't give Malaysia credit for the USD 17 Billion revenue , which the Kentish research team in England are laughing their way to the bank.

I had to find other means now to get ahead, and thus one of the many reasons the brain drain in Malaysia, heck even Singapore for that matter. Not being able to go beyond the box is the issue and taking risks. If only the officials understood that the country is still lacking of the brains and Vitamin M (money) into the field, will not only they procure and attain fame and dignity but high income from the products of these brainiacs.

Even many of the ideas came from children and now many of these neglected children have grown up, educated themselves with their own hard earned money like an illegal working abroad, came back with a vengeance against these tyrants. If they only learned what Dr Mahathir was trying to say.. the country will now be far better off than in EU or US in terms of Research and Development.

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