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Bout of fever blessing in disguise
by Karen Arukesamy

PETALING JAYA: Little did Lim Kwong Choong (pix) know that his bout of typhoid fever 11 years ago would eventually lead him to set up a business in bio-activated energy (BAE) products. Lim, who was a property development executive at the time, lived a carefree social life and worried less about a healthy diet. However, the 1997 Asian financial crisis changed everything. Unable to take the pressures of the stock market crash, Lim’s health gave way. “I lost weight, couldn’t sleep and was always anxious. I was sick for almost a month, within which I saw five different doctors, tried all kinds of medicines, from Chinese traditional and Indian herbs to modern pills, but nothing worked,” he recalled. “Later, I was diagnosed with a rare type of typhoid fever,” Lim said. It was then that he met his father’s friend, who introduced a bio-activated energy (BAE) product to him. The product is said to be able to keep living cells active longer, improve general health and reduce body aches, neutralise air contamination and reduce water pollution. “I was sceptical at first because being Western trained I had not come across any alternative therapy,” he said.

However, thinking he had nothing to lose, Lim tried the product and after four days, realised that he gained a lot of energy and was recovering from his illness. “But I was still sceptical that BAE had anything to do it. So I spoke to my parents, who told me they had been healed from severe backaches and rheumatism after using the product,” Lim said. Being a curious person by nature, he began investigating BAE seriously and discovered it to

be a scientific breakthrough in many industries, after meeting experts in Korea and Russia to maximise the potential of this technology. Thus, he set up BAE International Inc, and managed to infuse BAE into consumer products such as tiles and various ceramic products. The products are also sold to consumers via a network marketing programme by his company, which invests in continuous research and experiments. Within four years, the business proved to be doing well with an annual growth of 25%. “There are almost 60,000 distributors, with about 10% active ones,” Lim said, who is among the 14 nominees in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2008 under the Emerging Entrepreneur category. “One of the major challenges in this kind of business is the need to constantly educate consumers,” he said, adding that this is where his company invested heavily in. “We do this by educating our distributors and business partners, which includes market planning, team-building, motivation and product development,” he said. Aiming to venture into Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and India as a shortterm goal, Lim plans to get his technology validated by globally recognised scientific journals. “In life, as human beings, we must have the desire and passion to succeed, get out of our comfort zones and believe that our dreams can come true,” he said. “This is what drives me every day as the CEO of BAE International.” Lim won the 6th Asia Pacific International Entrepreneur Excellence Award, under the Excellence Leadership category.

Europe poised to slash rates as global economy reels
TOKYO/BEIJING: Central banks in Europe were poised to cut interest rates yesterday to try to contain a global economic slump that appears to be spreading faster than policymakers had anticipated. Asia-Pacific nations kept up the flood of grim news after US data overnight showed private sector employers axed jobs at the fastest pace in seven years, and that the economy, in recession for a year, had deteriorated in the past few weeks. Japanese companies slashed spending, showing the economy was deeper in a recession than the government had estimated. Australian vehicle sales plunged and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand said it probably would have to cut rates again after a record reduction of 150 basis points yesterday. “With indicators pointing to an intensifying global adjustment in employment and business spending, our forecast of the deepest four-quarter GDP slide in the developed world since World War II appears to be on track,” JPMorgan economists said in a research note. A broad swathe of industries have been devastated by the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression, including the US auto industry, which has been lobbying Washington for a bailout. General Motors Corp and Chrysler LLC are considering accepting a pre-arranged bankruptcy as the last-resort price of getting a multi-billion dollar government bailout, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with internal discussions. The failure of the three biggest US carmakers could trigger a disastrous domino effect on the supply chain that feeds the industry, analysts said. Asian shares fell as investors braced for a sharp turn lower in the global economy and sought safety in US government debt, pushing benchmark yields to five-decade lows. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, told yesterday’s opening session of “Strategic Economic Dialogue” between China and the United States to prepare for the worst scenario, said an official from the central bank. Zhou expressed confidence that China could sustain economic growth and financial stability but said there was a need for “timely, effective and preemptive measures” to tackle the deepening crisis, the official said. China slashed interest rates last week to spur an economy now threatened by a crisis that began with US mortgage defaults last year. Australia and Thailand followed this week to avoid recession and the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Swedish central bank are likely to cut too. – Reuters

China urges US to do all it can to tame crisis
BEIJING: China urged the United States yesterday to spare no effort to stabilise its economy and financial markets to help avert a global recession. Speaking at the start of a fifth meeting of the cabinet-level “Strategic Economic Dialogue” between the United States and China, Vice-Premier Wang Qishan said Beijing was doing its part by pursuing fast growth. US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, whose term in office is rapidly drawing to a close, praised China for the responsible role it was taking to boost a fading global economy. US officials told reporters later that China gave reassurances that it remained committed to reforming its currency mechanisms along market lines. Washington wants greater currency flexibility to lead to a rise in the yuan’s value, something it regards as essential to shrink China’s huge trade surpluses. “There’s been progress. China continues to reinforce to us that they remain committed to reform,” a US official told reporters. “By that I mean appreciation over time.” Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xioachuan expressed confidence China could sustain growth and financial stability, an official told reporters. But Zhou said policy makers needed to take “timely, effective and pre-emptive measures.“ “In particular they need to prepare for the worst,” Jin Qi, head of the bank’s international department, quoted Zhou as adding. – Reuters