Monthly Archives: March 2010

Better Looks = Higher Pay ?



I once read an article stated that women who wear make-up in business generally get better jobs, get promoted more quickly and get paid more. In fact, in a survey, 64 per cent of directors said that women who wore make-up look more professional and 18 per cent of directors said that women who do not wear make-up “look like they can’t be bothered to make an effort”.  You might agree or disagree with that, but I guess whether we like it or not, we live in a very visual world and we get judged on appearances.

In my personal opinion, I believe that every woman is already beautiful, and every woman can be even more beautiful! It's simply a matter of appreciating yourself, highlighting your natural beauty to project your own self-image and letting it shine through.


I like what Helena Rubinstein said: “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones”





I used to be quite ‘bochap’ with my appearance. When I first started my career, I don’t really care about my look so much. I hardly wear any make up and I never even do all those things that other girls normally do, like manicure, pedicure, etc.


And at that time, without even having the ‘good-look’ I already able to do quite well, so I thought all those things weren’t really necessary at all. Another reason is also because at that time I wasn’t skillful at all, therefore every time I wear my make up, I felt like I was wearing a mask. It really looks unnatural.


As times goes by, I then started to care more about my appearances, and I realized that when applied correctly, makeup can actually enhances our own natural beauty, it can emphasize our best features (e.g. eyes, lips, nose, etc) and on the other hand it can conceal our flaws too.  When it is done tastefully and skillfully along with wardrobe, hair, and nails – It helps us to project our own sense of ourselves.


Remember the old phrase “Beauty come from within” ?
I totally agree with that. Beauty is a state of mind. It's not a matter of whether you're "pretty" or "plain", young or old, thin or not thin… it's a matter of your self-image: 

When you look good, you feel good.
When you feel good, you look even better.


In other words, when you feel beautiful, you are beautiful!

Confidence makes you beautiful and beauty makes you confident!


So with this I would like to thank Bobbi Brown, who have taught us yesterday how to enhance our unique beauty through make up.
THANK YOU Bobbi Brown, THANK YOU MyPaper :)




photo time


“Beauty isn’t about looking perfect, it’s about celebrating your individuality” 
Bobbi Brown

Thank You :)

First of all, I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU for all of my family and friends who have faithfully voted and supported me starting from Day 1 (yesterday)  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU !! You've really made my day :)


thank you


Also, my friends told me that not only they voted for me, but they also asked their friends to vote for me as well, using their facebook, MSN, SMS, etc. So there might be some people whom I didn't know personally and yet still voted. Thank you again! :)

For those who haven't met me personally yet but want to know more about Who is Merry Riana?, I've just uploaded this short video for you to watch (just click on the picture)


who is Merry Riana

Time No Enough ?

I had an awesome session last Saturday at the SMART EXPO 2010, sharing my experiences on the the topic "Extraordinary Women in Business"


full house @ SMART Expo


One of the questions that was asked during the panel discussion is this: "Being a successful entrepreneur probably equates to spending a lot of time at work. What do you do on juggling time with family and putting in the hours at work? "


Well, I would say as an entrepreneur, we will need to spend a lot of time to build our business in the beginning. But, once we’ve set a proper system and get good people to manage it, we will reap the rewards in terms of time-flexibility. When I started as an entrepreneur 8 years ago, I worked 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now, with the system in place managed by a trustworthy team, I can spend lesser time in office and work during the weekdays only.


Having said that, even now, I still need to do a proper time-management to achieve work-life balance. And the key to do that is to know and set our priorities right in the first place.



Do you ever wonder how a juggler does it? With several balls in the air, how does she keep the momentum and even add more balls along the way?


Well, her first priority is the first ball that touches her hand. She catches it and throws it up at the exact angle and height that enables it to fall in her hand at precisely the right moment. If she started looking at all the balls, she would lose focus, and the chain would be broken.


The same rule applies to your life. You have to decide what is most important, what comes next, and what can wait. Your sense of priority is based upon your perception of the consequences of your action or inaction. A number of questions can help you decide when an activity needs to take place, what is required, and what outcome is expected.


Ask yourself:

"Who will be disappointed?"

"Will we lose a deal?"

… and the Million-Dollar Question:

"What is the worst thing that can happen if I don't do this?"


Be honest with yourself, and determine your priorities based upon your answers. Give yourself a break. If it's not so important, don't do it. Eliminate things whenever possible. Remember that being perfect and doing too much when it really isn't necessary don't make for a happier you. It's far better to do less and enjoy the journey!




This is one example that I can give. For me, my Family is my highest priority, and that's why despite my busy schedule, I personally set aside a time for important event for my family, e.g. accompanying my daughter for her 1st day at school. :)


vern school


And at the same time, besides my family and work life, now I can also set aside a time to do something exciting in my life, like participating in the MyPaper Executive Look 2010. :)




It takes mental discipline to set priorities. Doing the most important things first allows you to plan your personal time. First determine whether something can be delegated. If it can't, then prioritize it. Establishing priorities takes into account deadlines, ease of completion, urgency, and others' expectation. In the final analysis, whether something is worth doing at all depends on the answer to the Million-Dollar Question: What is the worst thing that can happen if I don't do this?" And again, you must honestly assess if the consequences are real or imagined. Often, we create the drama with performance expectations that are too high.


I know it's definitely not easy, but trust me, if you're able to master it, you'll definitely see a difference in your life.

A Geek Chic and An Extraordinary Woman

This afternoon I updated my facebook status to say: “Going to Balaclava later for the 91.3FM ‘Geek Chic’ party :)”

Not long after that I received messages from a few of my friends saying: ” Are you sure?”

Hahaha… That’s actually very true.. because for those people who know me, they definitely know that I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and I don’t go clubbing.  So, does it make me a ‘geek’? Hmmm….. I don’t think so.


Tonight event is part of the MyPaper Executive Look 2010 activity. And tonight, for the very first time they are going to introduce us to the public. I was quite nervous initially, because I’m not really used to go up to the stage within those kind of setting ( setting). I was worried that they are going to make me do funny, crazy and wild things. That is just not me… :p

Luckily Rod Monteiro (the DJ) was quite nice to me.. so I considered myself  safe (phew!!)

Here’s some moments captured

geek 2

Anyway, I didn’t get much chance to stay there for long also, because I have to go back early to prepare for tomorrow’s event.

I’ll be one of the panelists for this year SMART EXPO EVENT: EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN IN BUSINESS!
Saturday, 27th March 2.15pm – 3.15pm at SUNTEC Singapore International Exhibition & Convention Centre.

smart investor

So, if you want to meet me in person, do come to the event OK :)

In the meantime, here’s wishing you a great weekend!

From -$40,000 to $1,000,000

You've read about how I've made my birthday resolution, which eventually changed my life.
But some of you are probably wondering,..  After having a clear vision, What's next ?


There was another significant event that drove me to become an entrepreneur. During my third year in the University, I was doing my Industrial Attachment with an American-based semiconductor company. It was my first official nine-to-five job in the working world. Initially I was very excited about it. But after working there for a few weeks, I realised that I could never achieve my goal of achieving success and financial freedom if I were to work in a nine-to-five job.



The Missing 3Cs

One obvious alternative that came to my mind was to do some kind of business. But soon I realised that most of the things that I wanted to do needed some amount of capital in order for it to work. In fact, I think there are three Cs that you need to do well in business. They are: Capital, Contacts and Capabilities. Those were the three vital elements that I was lacking at that time. Since I was on a student loan, obviously I didn’t have much capital on hand (My study loan was $40,000 !)  I also didn’t have any contacts since I was new to Singapore. The only people I knew at that time were my peers in school. On top of that, my  English at that time wasn’t very good. And I studied Electrical and Elecronic Engineering, I definitely don't have any skills and capabilities in doing business.


But the drive to succeed early compelled me to try out a lot of different things. While I didn’t have a clear plan at that time, I was determined to find a solution. I thought maybe I could try to gather the three Cs one at a time. One of the things I tried was trading stocks and shares to raise my capital so that I could start a business. But instead, I ended up losing most of my savings. It was a very painful experience. However, I kept moving forward and experimenting with new things. It was like a process of elimination.


It wasn’t until later that I realised I could capitalise on sales. I saw that many successful people had a background in sales and thought I could start out from there. Going into sales would not require much capital. As long as I could sit in front of someone, I could do my job. In fact, sales would help me get capital and grow my contacts and network. At the same time, I could build my capabilities and skills along the way. I also realised that my biggest assets were my time, energy and my willingness to put in the hard work.


I’m Free To Live My Life

Immediately after graduating from school, I was $40,000 in debt and cut off from any income from the student loan. I had to start earning some income fast; for my living expenses as well as to repay the student loan debt. I had decided to become an entrepreneur and do a business in sales rather than to take the traditional safe path of an employee. But I faced a lot of resistance for my decision, from my parents, teachers and friends.


My friends thought I was crazy when I told them about my thoughts of becoming an entrepreneur immediately after graduation. Some of those who were not close to me even thought that I was forced to become an entrepreneur because I couldn’t secure a proper job. While those closer to me knew that I chose this path because of my goals, they were also sceptical and tried to discourage me. My teachers, tutors and lecturers also thought that it was a bad idea to go into business based on sales upon graduation. Of course going into sales would give me less stability in terms of my monthly income. There was also no guarantee that I would be successful. All of them advised me to pursue a more stable career in the engineering field instead. These opinions didn’t really bother me or deter me in my determination to do sales. After all, it is my life, and I am free to live it the way I want.


However, I still decided to get my parents’ consent for my choice of career. As I had expected, they were extremely uncomfortable with the idea of me wanting to do my own business in sales right after graduation and with a $40,000 debt to repay. They wanted me to get a stable job with a fixed income instead. After much persuasion, I eventually came to a compromise with them. I promised them that I would only try out this business for three months. If at the end of three months there were no signs of growth or success whatsoever, then I would stop and give up. I assured them that when that happens I would get a normal nine-to-five job with a stable pay just like what they wanted. They finally agreed and with that, I started my first business in sales.


A Million-Dollar Stepping Stone

The initial resistance that I faced spurred me to want to prove myself even more. Of course it was not always smooth sailing. I faced a lot of rejections and disappointments. Being human, I had moments when I felt down and disheartened. But through it all, I never seriously considered giving up. What made me go on was my desire to provide a better life for my parents and the goals that I wanted to achieve. I’m also very fortunate to have had the support and encouragement of my husband, Alva, who has been my business partner since the beginning of my journey.


By the third month after I started the business I was already making more than the salaries my peers were earning as a fresh graduate. So I saw the potential of the business and I focused all of my efforts in it. As I said, my biggest assets were my energy, time and willingness to work hard. So that was what I did. I was working 14 hours a day, seven days a week. If you calculate mathematically, I was doing three years of work in just one year.


As a result, I broke many records and won many awards in the industry. In my first year, I was the TOP ROOKIE CONSULTANT in the company and not only that, I am also win the title of STARCLUB PRESIDENT for having the highest no of sales, beating other 3,000 experienced and senior consultants at that time. It was something that I feel ready proud of since no one in the company has ever done it before. 


My first award


Because of that, I was then featured in The Strait Times. That was actually my very first Media Appearance.




And for the very first time I really felt like a Queen. When I went for overseas trip, they flew me in First Class Singapore Airlines, and when I reached the airport, while the other consultants were fetch by a Tourist Bus, the one already waiting for me is a limo, complete with its personal driver, ready to take me anywhere I want to go during that whole 5-day trip. So cool !




It was the moment that I would never forget because from there I was again convinced that we can be anything we want to be.

That same year, I earned over $200,000. I paid my student loan in one lump sum of $40,000, in cash. That felt really great!
And in just four years, I earned my first million dollars.

The reason why I'm sharing with you all this is not to impress you, but to really impress upon you that everything is possible.
Hardwork always pays off, it's just a matter of time.


I'll continue my life story in my next post

You deserve to be successful

One of he reason that is stopping people from becoming successful is because they are afraid to be successful.
You might be thinking in your head right now: "How is it possible that people are afraid to be successful? What is it that they are afraid of?"


You will be surprised, but in many occasions during my seminars, a few of participants have shared the same concern. They worried that if they become rich, or famous, or too successful, than people might think that they will be boastful and arrogant, and that's why they prefer just to be mediocre rather than outstanding. In my personal opinion, actually money, fame and success are neither good or bad, they are neutral. It's the person who owns them who will decide whether to use it for good or not.


Another possible reason that stopping people from achieving their success is the "I don't deserve" mentality. Some people always have this questions asked on the back of their mind:  Who am I to be successful, happy, and beautiful ?"  Well, who are you Not you to be ?


I would like to share with you one of my favorite poem. Every time I read it, it never fail to give me positive energy and inspiration. 


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,talented & fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

~by Miriam Williamson~


It is really a very powerful poem, and it has strengthen my belief that I am here for a reason, I am here for a greater purpose, and I was born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within me.


I received this message from my Facebook yesterday. (for privacy reason, the name is not be shown)

fb message


It is my greatest joy to know that my life experiences and my success journey has made an impact in the life of others.

As much as I've been inspired by many successful people out there, I do too want to be an inspiration for others.
As much as I've been blessed, I too, do my best to be a blessing for others.


Last time I used to have this "Personal Mentorship Experience" where I dedicated certain portion of my time every week to mentor young people, but due to my schedule, I wasn't able to do that anymore. But I'm doing my best to always be accessible and offer my help for those who need it. Most of the time they can connect with me thru my Facebook or my email which I will answer it personally. Sometimes If I do have a chance, I'll chat with them on facebook too :)


fb chat



True success in life is not measured by how much you make, but how much of a difference you make in others.


So, don't be afraid to be successful, and don't think that you don't deserve it. Because believe me, EVERYONE of us deserve to live our best life!

Always choose to be successful. Always choose to be outstanding.
Then, use your blessings to bless those around you too.

MyPaper featuring Merry Riana

Today, it's finally my turn to be featured in the 2 full-page spread in MyPaper. Eventhough this is not the first time I've appeared in the media but I can tell you that the excitement is totally different.


Initially I planned to wake up earlier today so that I could be the first person who saw it myself. It turned out my Mom woke up earlier than me. I think she is even more excited than me. She even messaged her friends and relatives back in Jakarta to ask them to check it out. (That's the beauty of having a newspaper that is accessible online.)


My Paper MR


When I reached my office, my staff actually already got a few copies to be put in our reception area.




Even the cleaner aunty in our office approached me while holding a copy of the newspaper and asked (in Mandarin): "Xiao jie, is this you? "  It's so sweet that she noticed. She didn't speak English, but she do read the chinese section for MyPaper. I guess that shows how wide is the range of the readership of MyPaper.
I've known her for 7 years. She is the most polite and nice cleaner aunty I've ever known.  



The whole day I received many sms from various friends, i.e. colleagues, ex-staff, university friends, church friends, etc

Even my high school principal called me from Jakarta to congratulate me. (I guess it was my Mom who told her.) :) How cool is that? 

So far all my friends have been so nice and supportive. One friend of mine, Julianto, feedback to me when my blog in MyPaper website wasn't working properly. It seems that people couldn't access my blog for the past few days. (Thanks to him, it has now been fixed by the organizer). Another friend of mine, Richard Gavriel, grabbed MyPaper early this morning, scanned it and put on facebook (He was even faster than me.) hahaha… :)

And, of course,  many other friends and colleagues that I can't mention one by one here… But thank you so much, you all have been a blessing in my life.

Fitting Day, Image Destroyer, and Fun Quiz

Today post, I would like to begin with pictures

clothes fitting 1


clothes fitting 2


clothes fitting 3


To me I think the BEST Clothes in the world is the one that fits our personality.

So as long as it potrays my personality and I am comfortable and confident in wearing it, that's the perfect fit for me.

And at the same time, there are also things that we must watch out. These are actually what a lot of people called as 'Image Destroyer'


*) In a survey of 300 men to find out what destroys their first impression of a lady, these are the top 10:

1. Messy Hair

2. Heavy Make Up

3. Platform shoes

4. Lisptick on the teeth

5. Strong perfume

6. Scuffy shoes

7. Wearing revealing clothes to work

8. Chipped nail polish

9. Run in the stockings

10. Visible panty lines


In a survey done on 300 women, these top the list of what will destroy their first impression of a man:

1. Oily hair or hair that's very well-greased

2. Scruffy shoes

3. Crumpled shirt; shirt not properly tucked-in

4. Body odour

5. Bad breath

6. Socks that are loose and gathered at the ankles

7. Trousers that are too short

8. Belt that looks really worn-out

9. Color of shirt not co-ordinated with trousers

10. Nasal hair showing


So with that I think I'm ready to give my best for the Finals :)


Before I end my post today I have 1 last photo that I personally think is very cute…


That's a photo of me and the other finalists in our 'geeky-looks' 


(got prize one !!)

Also, a simple quiz  for  you to guess…
Which shoes belong to which Finalist Ladies?



Those who got it correctly, will get a very special prize from me :)


Till my next post :)

*) Taken from a book "Enhance Your Image Quotient", by Suzenne Zheng

Why do some people jump onto MRT Track ?

The first news that I read after I woke up today is the news about a passenger who jumped onto the track at Tanah Merah MRT Station and was hit by a train. It was so saddening to read such news.



It reminded me of an incident almost 8 years ago. One of my friends did the same thing. It was the year of our graduation, and for the past few weeks before that we noticed that he looked very 'disturbed', and true enough, few months after that he jumped onto the MRT track. Luckily for him, after he jumped, few passengers noticed and shouted, and at that time he suddenly 'awoke' and realised what he was doing, and jumped to another side of the track. He was safe, nothing serious happened to him, just a broken leg. But it was indeed a very traumatic event.


I don't really know the reason why all those things happened to some people. And I'm not here to judge.
Having said that, after reading the article today and recalling back on what happened to my friend few years ago, I thought of writing about something that in my opinion is very important, i.e. Balancing and Harmonizing ourselves.




We live in a very fast and sometimes hectic society. Therefore it is even more important for us to keep ourselves balanced. Total there are 4 aspects in our lives that need attention, i.e. Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual. Much of our pain, both physical and emotional come from a lack of harmony in those aspects. In the contratry, when we honor the four aspects of our being and give them daily positive attention, I can safely say that we are harmonizing ourselves.


Here are some examples of positive attention


To our physical selves: exercising, eating well, and sleeping enough.
To our emotional selves: sharing with friends , spending quality time with our kids, writing a journal, and helping someone else.
To our mental selves: learning a new hobby, cooking a challenging meal, solving puzzle, and reading quality book.
To our spiritual selves: praying, meditating, reading uplifting materials, and appreciating nature.


I know it is not easy to do all, especially if it is on daily basis. I have to admit, even myself sometime I lacked in few areas, due to my busy schedule. BUT… I always do my best to balance it at the end of the week. So Sunday is a precious day for me, because that is the time where I 'harmonize' myself and be re-charged for Monday.



Here's what I normally do on my Sunday:

1. Physical: Sleep longer than my normal day :)
    (sorry, I don't normally take picture when I sleep, nor I let anyone taking picture of me, so… no picture for this section)

2. Emotional: Spend fun and quality time with my family

family day



3. Mental: Read at least 1 chapter of a book (since I don't cook ! :p)




4. Spiritual: Go to Church :)



Having the courage and discipline to balance our lives leads to a more healthy, harmonious, joyful and fullfilling lives.
If I can do it, so can YOU !

My 2-in-1 Event

Everyday in our lives, we make choices. Some are easy ones, some are difficult ones.


Yesterday I did make choices also. In the same evening, there are 2 events that are equally important that I have to attend.


One of it is Prudential Annual Awards Night Event. It is a yearly private event where they recognize their top producers in the company. Every single year I never failed to attend. It is an important event that I wouldn't want to miss. And definitely it is important for me to be there to support the rest of my guys too.


At the same time, on the exact same night, there is another important event that I do also need to attend. It was the Business Etiquette Class for MyPaper Executive Look 2010. It is something that I already gave my time commitment to it too.


I was a bit sad initially knowing that I have to choose between 2 things that are equally important. But I guess, God really helped me this time. When I received the invitation card last week, it was to my surprise that the Awards Night event actually started 1 hour earlier than it normally starts.




In that case, I could make my presence there before I made my way to my next event.

So here are some photos capturing the moments.




The theme for this year awards night is Carpe Diem, which means: "Seize The Day"

As usual, cocktail time = picture time ! :)


award night




Too bad, eventhough in the invitation card it stated that event start at 6.15pm, eventually it only started at 6.45pm.

So I really had to rush in order to make sure that I can still attend my next event. So I sat in until the opening speech, then I made my way to the SPH Auditorium :) 






This was actually the 2nd class that My Paper provided to groom us to be 'The Perfect Executive'.
Our trainer, Suzenne has given us many useful and practical tips that we can easily implement.


Last week, she actually went on to observe our facial shape, and gave us advice on what hairsyle suit us best.
For me, she mentioned that my face shape is ROUND, therefore I should avoid having perm hair. And the best hairstyle for me is the bob-style, just like Katie Holmes.




What do you think ?


Hahaha… not bad for a change right? :) Well.. actually after last week, I did go to my hairstylist and ask him to change my hairstyle to the 'Katie Holmes' style, but too bad, he said my hair was too layered, so I'll have to wait for another 2 few more months if I want to do that kind of style…


Also, I've learned a lot of valuable lesson from Suzenne yesterday. She taught us about basic manners and etiquette. 
One of the examples is dining etiquette. Let me ask you this, normally when you go for a proper dinner function, which side of the table normally you put your bread?  left or right ? Well, if you're always confused, I guarantee you that after reading this blog, you'll remember it forever.

It is very simple. Look at the picture below


bread and drink


b = Bread, and d = Drink.

So the bread should be on your left side, and the drink should be on your right side. Very easy, rite? :)

Lastly, it was really a fun night, and for the very first time, we managed to get our GROUP PICTURE (all 18 of us, with Suzenne)




See you again in my next update, in the mean time, wishing you all to have a FABULOUS WEEKEND