Chalkboard is “a place of learning and sharing. Simple, effective and down to earth.”

With a finger on the pulse of industries, leading corporate trainer John Kam of DJungle People diagnoses trends and issues in the corporate maze and discusses them candidly with Mag on "The Chalkboard" on Tuesday 12pm-1pm.

Mary Anne Gomes

A versatile talent, MAG is always on the ball in delivering only the best, on-air and in-person. From on-air music based shows, to serious talk interviews and live coverage, there was no stone unturned and no path undone in the life of this radio presenter.

In fact, one can also say that MAG’s life completely revolved around radio. Having chosen this medium as her career path, MAG also found her true love in the form of her once upon a time “on-air husband”. MAG took a break from radio in 2009, however her passion lived on and when the opportunity came around to go digital, she couldn’t hesitate. So here she is, live and real, ready to woo the likes of the new and loyal listeners at a go.

So come and experience for yourself a truly down to earth, relatable and fun show with MAG on AFO LIVE, Mondays to Fridays from 11AM to 2PM.

John Kam.

John is the CEO of DJungle People and has nearly 20 years of experience in training. DjP was founded 18 years ago by two brothers who have successfully, through their combined talent, grown their company to be one of the top training companies in the country.

Their passion and commitment for the community is reflected in the company's philosophy to make a difference and build a sustainable environment.

John has also written a book entitled "Every Man's Everest" which speaks about the 4Ds to success.

Paul Kam

Paul Kam DJungle Group MD Led a wide range of start-ups successfully and currently manages four organisations in multiple industries. He has worked extensively with both private and public sector leaders throughout Asia and has designed and led several transformation, alignment and strategic change initiatives.

James Koh of Hometown Hainan Coffee

James Koh, a multi talented entrepreneur, is as eager to talk about his failures as he is of his successes.That is how he approaches the concept of being successful in business. “You must be able to move forward with failure, it teaches me where I went wrong,” said the Co-founder of Hometown Hainan Coffee.In advocating failure as an element of success, James admits that “out of 3 or 4 coffee outlets, there will be one that won’t make money.”With a little humility to show how he is not always successful James is able to get people to teach and guide him.At 38, James’ business life is a never ending story. He has witnessed the twin towers fall on 9/11, co-founded Hometown Hainan Coffee (a local chain of coffee outlets), dabbled in blockchain cryptocurrency and have a foot in the filmmaking business.He confesses that there isn’t a moment that he doesn’t think about business and his mind frames everything he sees into business opportunities.After a short-lived career in Wall Street, New York, James came home and subsequently went into business with his family to start Hometown Hainan coffee 10 years ago.Birth of Hometown Hainan coffee“We had intended to buy an existing franchise but found that we couldn’t afford that. Our hometown was in Kuantan and we missed the taste of the hainan coffee there. So the family decided that we should start a business to bring back the taste of good coffee and food from home,” said James.The siblings embarked on the business venture collecting recipes from relatives and working to perfect the taste of the original Hainan coffee. Finally after two years, the business rolled out to assert its presence in the coffee scene.“Hainan coffee has a longer history (compared with other local coffee) and we wanted to bring this traditional coffee into a local setting,” James assures that the coffee taste is similar to that of 30-40 years ago.Quality control, he insists, is a priority and across the 14 outlets, the coffee beans are ground just before the coffee is brewed in a special machine that maintains quality.“Strict SOP will ensure repeat customers. And we have repeat customers all through the week,” he said. The location for the outlets are selected based on whether they can bring value to the community there.While entrepreneurs are usually wary about doing business with family members, James said clearly defining roles for each member helps. His elder brother controls the central kitchen and his younger brother, the architect, is responsible for the new look of the outlets.Working with familyIn this family business, everyone gets a chance to make decision and they do not place importance on titles. His eldest brother would have the final decision and all would support him even though it is a mistake sometimes.“My parents taught us never to bring business to the dining table. And whatever disagree we have, we should argue it out and move on,” said James.Before going into the coffee business James was in the IT business and eventually got drawn into Blockchain investment until his recent position as consultant for cryptocurrency investors.“I like to play. I’m an entrepreneur. Without these challenges I would get bored,” he declared. This explains his dabble into cryptocurrency as he believes 80 per cent of youngsters he has met are interested in it.He said Hometown Coffee outlets are looking into using cryptocurrency as a payment gateway.New venturesAfter 10 years of working at the coffee business, James found new interest in a development joint venture and the movie making business.With such diverse business ventures at hand it’s easy to fall prey to being Jack of all trades and master of none. However, this is how James manages them.“I have strong partners. They have the passion and are qualified for the particular business. I will just fill in the missing pieces in the puzzle and make sure the company moves forward.“It doesn’t mean you can’t do everything. You just can’t do everything by yourself,” said James adding that in the movie business there are also many entrepreneurs.“What drives me to achieve success is the desire to take on challenges. I don’t wait for luck and I accept that failure is part of my life. “Podcast

Our responsibility at the polls

In 8 days Malaysia will go to the polls. While in most offices business goes on as usual, pantry talks will inadvertently touch on party candidates and outcome of the polls. In John Kam's office at D Jungle People, discussions are encouraged to acknowledge the diverse opinions.Recognising that there is certainly a lack of intellectual discussions in the country, he said "We don't have enough debates in the country. It is important for people to have a point of view. This allows voters to have an informed decision in the elections."However, he added that people who debates should not base their discussions on emotions but on information. And employers, leaders and role models has the responsibility to encourage mature discussions. "Our responsibility lies in sharing and education. And employees should not feel like if they said something their boss would get angry," John said who attributed this behaviour to power distances.John encourages employers to ease their staff into expressing their opinion. However, they also need to ensure that speaking about politics do not get into other people's space. And if people get offended by what others say they should know that they have a right to speak up in rebut."We are getting too sensitive and defensive as a society. Just because someone has a different opinion, it doesn't mean he is insulting you," John advised.His opinion about the younger generation and their perception about voting is that they tend to be blase and don't feel their vote would make a difference. "We should make them see that it may not make a difference to them as an individual but as a country every vote counts."So, go out and have discussions and listen to different view points." 

Celebrating Women - Jackie M

Jackie M is a celebrity chef who is collaborating with Tourism Malaysia, Penang State Tourism and a number of hotels on a project called Wok Around Asia. It’s an ongoing web series and travel guide with a focus on food, from the perspective of a cook travelling with a very special child.But behind this Malaysian-born chef, who is based in Australia, is a fighter with an inspiring story. Her rise to fame came at the darkest moment of her life. Here are some poignant memories of her journey.Is Jackie M a professional name and what was the name you left Seremban with?Yes, my first husband’s name was Macedo, so I was Jackie Macedo (hence Jackie M) for the 16 years we were married, which was when I started my business. I was Jackie (Min Nyok) Tang when I left Seremban.1. Of all the challenges that you have encountered professionally and personally, which one(s) was most formidable? Or are you still struggling to resolve it?My biggest personal challenge took place 5 years ago when I gave birth to my son. As a newborn, Noah was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and an often fatal condition called hydrops fetalis; he spent his first 217 days in hospital, during which time he received 2 heart surgeries and a bowel surgery among many other procedures.The doctors tried to convince me on numerous occasions to withdraw treatment and let him die, and I refused. I’m sure some of them thought I was deluded to think he would ever make it out alive, since I made a conscious effort to appear stoic in public. In fact, I would break down in private, during the daily drive home from the hospital or when I was in the shower. In my darkest hours I wondered if maybe I was in fact so deep in my despair that I’d lost my mind - that maybe instead of silently sitting and watching and whispering to him for hours in the ICU I was actually in a straight jacket in a mental hospital.The most pressing incident took place at the 3-month mark. The supervising doctor told me that Noah’s heart was failing despite his first heart surgery and they would have to operate again or they would miss their window of opportunity. However, because he was so weak, they would need to hook him up to a heart-lung machine, which in turn would cause irreparable brain damage.On those grounds, he strongly suggested I let him die. He said he could tell I’m the sort of person who never gives up, but that I should see it not as giving up, but rather, giving in.I said no. I told him if the only option was to operate, then to go ahead. Turned out I called his bluff, because the cardiac surgeon refused to operate on Noah in that weak condition. She said she refused to be his executioner, and wanted to wait until he was stronger. So much for the “window of opportunity” argument.Noah was transferred to the paediatric ICU where a different team of doctors looked at his very complex condition with fresh eyes, and suggested different treatment. As a result of that, he got strong enough for his second heart surgery after a couple of months, without need of the heart-lung machine. Talk about a blessing in disguise.Today, Noah is an active, joy-filled child with Down Syndrome who makes me laugh every day, and who has touched and enriched more lives than, I guess, that ICU doctor could ever have expected. I continue to face challenges due to society’s perception of his special needs, but that’s another story for another day.2. Are you a self motivating sorta person? Was a significant incident in your life where you really had to work hard at motivating yourself to get up and going again?The day after I gave birth to Noah via emergency caesarean, I was contacted by Google Australia. They wanted to schedule a meeting to discuss Google Hangouts-on-Air, a new live video platform they had just rolled out. Keep in mind this was years before Facebook Live, Periscope and all the other live video apps that saturate the market nowadays. Google had noticed my activity on Google Plus and also saw that I owned a restaurant, so they suggested I could use live video to do online cooking demonstrations.I was still recovering in hospital, my baby’s prognosis was very poor, and if ever I had an excuse to say no, that was probably it. I thought hard about it and then, via video chat from the hospital, I said yes, just give me 2 weeks.My first live broadcast was a complete failure and a technical disaster, and I was trolled badly online for it.I persevered and as a result of being an early adopter of live cooking videos, Google promoted my profile as a “suggested person to follow” on Google Plus, hence how I ended up with 1.8 million followers online.3. How do you describe your own personality (yr strength and weakness) ? Do you think it was your natural talent that led you down this path of being a celebrity Chef? Or were you trained for it?Like most people, my childhood experiences played a large part in moulding my character. My dad left school to support his family at 13 years of age, when his father died. He sold street food in Seremban, pushing homemade carts around town. By the time I came along, he had finally secured a small canteen inside the Odeon cinema, and I, along with my brothers and sisters, worked there every day. I saw how the Odeon cinema general manager bullied my dad, constantly giving him dress downs for no reason, threatening to raise his rent or kick us out, all the while helping himself to our food for free.My dad had 11 mouths to feed and no education, so all he could do was smile, apologise and kowtow to the guy every time, then offer him more free food from our stall for the privilege of being humiliated in front of his kids. Which the guy never rejected, by the way. That memory formed the basis of my own path in life - I had nothing but contempt for the Odeon general manager, and I swore never to be in a position where I had to kowtow to self-important people in ridiculous suits when I grew up.I’ve probably over-compensated for that experience through my own education and through a knee-jerk cynicism towards those in positions of privilege. If you’re the type who hides behind your fancy job title or your fancy car or your fancy designer labels, it’s likely we won’t have much to talk about at a dinner party.I’ve also been described as someone with a take-no-prisoners approach to my work, and I’ve jokingly referred to myself as The Curry Nazi (à la Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi) because of the insufferable questions I get asked about the food I sell.In my head, I’m not naturally-talented in any way. I do have a lot of resilience, and I do think that anything worth doing is worth doing right, whether it’s learning how to cook, or being comfortable in front of the camera, or anything else associated with my work. My advice to those looking to succeed is to decide what areas you need to work on, then be prepared to put in a lot of persistent, hard work until you get there.4. What is your last thought before your head hit the pillow at the end of the day and what is your first thought when you wake up in the morning?Honestly, because Noah refuses to go to sleep unless I’m in bed with him, my last thought is usually - I’m just going to lie down for 30 minutes until he falls asleep, then I’ll get up and work for a few hours. It follows that my first thought in the morning is often something like - ugh, I slept through the whole night again :)On a more serious note, because I’m a member of some hydrops support groups, I spend a lot of nights thinking about these parents and their sick babies and praying for them. The odds of survival for hydrops fetalis are extremely low and there is a lot of medical pressure to give up. It’s sometimes overwhelming because it’s hard to keep track of all of them, and their stories and pictures are a constant reminder of the 7+ months Noah spent in hospital.5. By your own standards, what are some of the incredible things that you have done?I’ve acquired some academic and professional vanity metrics that are of no eternal consequence, so I won’t bore you with them. One thing that did change me was my experience with Noah; by God’s grace, despite my failings and brokenness as a human being, I found the strength to fight the good fight for him, and I hope my story in turn helps give strength and comfort to others undergoing similar challenges in their lives.Re: What I’m shooting in Malaysia and CambodiaI’m collaborating with Tourism Malaysia, Penang State Tourism and a number of hotels on a project called Wok Around Asia; it’s an ongoing web series and travel guide with a focus on food, from the perspective of a cook travelling with a very special child. It will feature videos and recipes from local chefs, and eating guides for each destination.