As a sessionist and freelance musician, Tiew Tok Khon is used to remaining away on tour, just about every single 7 days, with the community and international artists whom he performs the piano for.
Internationally, he’s been functioning with Taiwanese singer Rene Liu rather a bit and locally, he’s the musical director for musical ensemble Russell Curtis and The Rowdy Gentleman, amongst some others.
But all that transformed given that the pandemic.
With no dwell exhibits for shut to a yr now, pianist Tiew and his wife Sharon Wong, who’s also in the tunes organization, have experienced to locate other techniques to maintain their family members of five.
Although they however educate tunes (on-line) at community institutions of increased learning, the loss of revenue from Tiew’s touring has been important and the few wanted to obtain an alternate way to generate till “things go again to normal”.
They turned to food stuff – not convenience ingesting but marketing remedied meat or panceetta which they make, pack and deliver from their home in Petaling Jaya.
“We appreciate to try to eat and we like to cook dinner and have been cooking a ton given that the MCO so this form of created feeling, ” suggests Tiew.
Adds Wong: “We had been each blessed simply because we experienced moms and kin who are great cooks. We ended up also inspired by my brother in legislation, Wong Sze Ming, who is really superior at curing meat and my cousin, Wong May possibly Chew, who ran a food stuff company. We were being also encouraged to see so lots of mates in the songs circle commence firms.
“Our pals and loved ones were also pretty supportive, urging us to market our foodstuff. Our initial item was the pancetta. For Xmas we also offered Turkey and some facet dishes and we have also launched the (common Chinese dish) ‘Treasure Pot’ too.”
Getting confined to the residence considering that March past year has helped them hone their cooking techniques, the pair share.
“I could only fry an egg when we 1st met, ” shares Wong. The few satisfied whilst finding out at the Intercontinental College or university of Tunes below in Kuala Lumpur. Friendship grew into like when they each furthered their studies at Berkeley School of Music in the United States. “I learnt to cook dinner all through our college days in Boston for the reason that we skipped Malaysian foodstuff, ” adds Wong.
Despite the fact that the uncertainty of position possibilities in the in close proximity to upcoming is unnerving, the partner and wife pick to glimpse at issues positively believing that “when a single doorway closes, another opens”.
“Of system, we are nervous about our foreseeable future. If we had been to count on new music entirely, we would not be ready to survive even while I saved considerably from the earnings I bought from touring. Everyday living as a musician is unpredictable and so I produced it a level to normally put aside income for the relatives and our foreseeable future which has verified to be a excellent point in this pandemic.
“Although music is not using a back seat, we will need to go on for now. Not remaining ready to tour usually means I have shed additional than half my profits. It’s a make any difference of survival now, which is why we started our company, Healthful Foods Answers, to earn a dwelling. We had to assume of anything to help the loved ones simply because if I solely cling on to my songs career, we will not survive, ” suggests Tiew.
They started off their corporation just a thirty day period-and-a-half back. Just before that, they designed sure they bought their meals managing certification done as effectively as typhoid shots which are a need by the Health and fitness Ministry for food operators. The few also used a lot of several hours investigating on line – from how greatest to operate their company to internet marketing approaches to, of class, means they can increase their solutions and providers.
“At to start with, we just built it for our spouse and children and pals but quickly ample term got about and we started out getting orders. It was in fact our spouse and children who encouraged us to offer our pancetta. It is nerve-wrecking pondering if people like our products and solutions. Right after shipping and delivery, the waiting around for feedback is when we are the most nervous, ” shares Wong.
They commenced modest, employing whichever tools they experienced in their kitchen. But immediately after earning some cash from their early gross sales, they invested in a slicing equipment so that their slices of pancetta could be steady and cater to the requirements of their clients.
“I was fortunate plenty of to locate a 2nd hand slicing machine, an Italian product, at a great rate. It even now cost pretty a little bit but we necessary it to ensure regularity in our item. Hopefully afterwards, once our business truly can take off, we can commit in a proper room and much more devices, ” suggests Tiew.
So considerably, with just posting their goods on social media, they have been able to maintain a “decent” volume of small business. Largely, states Wong, it’s from tips of their present purchasers and repeat orders.
“Thankfully, 98% of the time, we get a thumbs up. We know we just can’t remember to anyone but we intend to maintain improving upon on our goods so that we can provide our prospects far better, ” states Tiew, incorporating that they now even have orders from the United States.
The few have a few young children aged 14,12 and 4.
“There is a huge hole concerning the older two children and our youngest which is excellent for the reason that the older two girls assist search soon after their brother when we are busy, ” claims Wong.
The affect of the pandemic did not strike them quickly.
“In the initial few weeks of the motion regulate order last March, it felt like a getaway. We did not have to operate all over sending the kids for their lessons and it felt awesome to commit time at house. It was only a little later on that we felt it. Even the children have been getting it difficult currently being at dwelling all the time and we genuinely sense sorry for them and attempt to regulate as best we can, ” suggests Wong.
Even though the pandemic has impacted the livelihoods of several, the pair urge Malaysians who may well be facing career losses to “try anything new”.
“I usually notify my college students that just for the reason that we analyze music, it does not suggest that is all we can do. In moments like this, we have to be empowered to transfer on and test other things. There are lots of matters we can do. In the starting (of the pandemic) I tried out several factors like immediate advertising. We have to alter the way we think and the way we generate, ” she concludes.