18 May 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
A 42-year old multi-millionaire CEO of KianClassic Design, Kenny Yap Kian Wee used to sell tofu and soft drinks for a living.
Growing up in Kampung Titi in Negeri Sembilan, he only knew how to speak in Hakka and Mandarin. And although he studied till SRP (now known as form three), he humbly professed that his education level was only till standard six.
“I just want to share with you how God can transform me into a successful businessman today,” said Kenny Yap, speaker of the FGB PJ Atria Chapter on May 15.
A risk-taking young man, 19-year-old Kenny Yap left Malaysia to work in England for extra income. For the first year, he would send his hard-earned income of working in the restaurant home. But for the following years, his money was sent to the gambling gutters at the restaurant and also casinos in England. He decided to flee from his addiction with an empty pocket to London. But his efforts failed. The gambling continued, burning a hole in his pocket and placing him in debt.
“I felt really worthless and I remember waking up at 3 one morning feeling depressed and suicidal,” said Kenny.“But I have also heard you meet God at rock bottom.”
During his time of depression, a Malaysian friend who was a believer in Christ came to visit him in England.
“My friend told me that I was beyond help and only Jesus can help me,” said Kenny.
Recalling the good-will Christmas carolers who had polite, gentle and nice dispositions, Kenny was naturally drawn to Christianity. So, he accepted Christ and would take a one-hour and a half subway to church every week.
Kenny’s personal life was transformed; he quit gambling and decided to return to Malaysia. But he was still the same Kenny who had little education and skills before he left to England. Touching down in Malaysia, he worked as an assistant chef in Central Market. He was contented with the job as a temporary landing. But after he worked there for one year, he cried out to the Lord, “I don’t want this kind of life of squatting down on the floor of the restaurant to eat.”
So, he quit his job and perused the newspapers’ classified advertisements for potential business endorsements.
His first business endorsement was selling soft drinks, which quickly failed due to established competitors.The next business he ventured into was selling tofu in the wet market. Although he could earn a higher profit, it was still not enough to make a living. But these experiences gave him an idea; a higher value product would fetch a higher profit margin. So, Kenny began a search and became interested in the kitchen furniture business. He prayed and God said to him, “What you’re doing now is that you’re exchanging products for money. First, you use water. Then, you use tofu and now, you are using kitchen furniture.”
“I realized that God is very wise. He was actually training me in all my previous professions for a bigger step as a businessman,” said Kenny.
The kitchen furniture business started rolling in, and it got to a point when he decided to release his tofu business to the uncle who sold fish balls next to him. The curious uncle asked Kenny what made him so busy. Turned out, the uncle was a part-time carpenter who worked on a project-to-project basis. In three months, both of them became business partners.
At that time, Kenny had to make do with the little he had. Using the old machines in the uncle’s furniture workshop, he had to send a particularly hard wood to another factory in Balakong to do the finishing. Only that factory had that kind of advanced technology, but the merchant was arrogant and money-minded. So, with only RM5000 to RM10,000 in his bank account for turnover, Kenny prayed to God in buying the machine that cost about ten times of what he had.
Shortly after the prayer, PWTC held a wood machinery exhibition, which Kenny visited day after day to the same store with the machine he desired.
“One day, it was raining heavily. So, I had nowhere to go but to stay in the exhibition. There were not many people too,” said Kenny. “I persuaded the exhibitionist quite persistently of the machine I was interested in. I asked for a selling price of RM80,000 but he politely declined because it’s actual price was RM100,000.”
Using his wits, Kenny reasoned with the exhibitionist that selling the demonstrating piece to him would allow potential customers in Malaysia to visit his workshop during downtimes of the exhibitions. Thus, this would offer a perpetual form of advertisement.
The exhibitionist agreed and discussed the proposal with his manager. To Kenny’s surprise, the manager agreed to sell him the machine for RM90,000! Kenny accepted the deal and handed him a check of RM5000.
“I was actually panicking because I didn’t have the money to pay for the machine and I have no background in borrowing loans from bank,” said Kenny.
Not only that, the company informed him that they would be delivering the machine four days after the purchase. This delivery also meant that he would need to acquire the funds to pay by then.
The day of delivery finally arrived and something strange happened. While the delivery truck waited for the traffic light to turn green on a slope, the machine slid off from the truck and fell onto the road. This particular traffic light at Bukit Puchong was known for its very brief green light.
The company agent then called Kenny and asked if he could wait for another three months, for a brand new machine. This delay was perfect because that would provide Kenny enough time to collect funds.
He began to increase his coverage of distributing fliers, from the condominiums to the shopping malls. During then, he also prayed hard to God.
One day, a man called in to order 40 to 50 kitchen cabinets. But Kenny was cautious because this man was riding a motorcycle. Hence, he quoted the man double the normal price of fixing the kitchen cabinets, amounting at RM100,000. Astonishingly, the man agreed and the full payments in checks were cleared within one week of receiving the checks! And this amount gave Kenny enough money to pay for his first advanced machine in the workshop.
Today. Kenny owns a three-storey factory in Balakong, filled with many advanced and very expensive machines. In fact, his success did not go unnoticed. In 2011, he won the Creative Young Entrepreneur Award, SME Green Excellence Award and Outstanding SME in Golden Bull Award. His story of success also appeared in Awani and Star Newspaper.
“I am not educated and I have no skills. But God does not look at what you have or lack. Like how He used me, He would also use you because our God is a good God,” said Kenny.
Not only God gave him success, He also gave him a wonderful wife, Sarah Wong and also his daughter Tirzah and sons, Yi Le and Jia Le.
Kenny Yap’s success is a great story of how we do our part in Christ while being fully dependent on God. Kenny was industrious in tilling his grounds in business, yet he was dependent on God in bringing forward his desires and decisions to make in business. It is apparent that God is his CEO, one that he reports faithfully to. And because Kenny was faithful with the little he was given, God entrusted him with more responsibilities. This is because ‘whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much (Luke 16:10).’
Be faithful in the little responsibilities you are given because it is the little responsibilities you fulfill which prepare you for bigger responsibilities in life.
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