ONG Hong Chee began his working life in Sweden as a janitor in a government hospital, but he has worked his way up in LB Ericsson AG to be one of the few persons equipped to install the next generation mobile network worldwide.
I was on my way to England to study computer science after my MCE when I did a stopover in Sweden to see my cousins. At a family gathering I was introduced to a Swedish girl Anne and was smitten by her. There and then, I decided to stay on, Ong told StarBiz.
Ong forewent his computer science studies to work as a janitor in a government hospital for a year. He also took the opportunity to study Swedish. He then proceeded to work for the Sweden postal service as a clerk and worked his way up to the back-office transactions where he dealt with data operations like postal banking.
His heart, however, did not waver from his ambition to study. Ong took the opportunity to complete his diploma in computer science at the Linnea University in Uppsala town after working eight years with the post office.
In the meantime, Ong also asked for Anne's hand in marriage after courting her for eight years.
It was after getting his diploma that Ong joined Ericsson. From then on, he has always been involved in programming for the future in IT.
Ericsson has truly given me the opportunity to advance in something that I truly enjoy, he said.
His first job with Ericsson was at Finans Rutin AB where he worked in servicing the transaction programme for financial houses. After six months, he moved on to join Ericsson Data under a new provider for the PABX phone systems for large companies.
In 1991, we started with the PABX system for phone operators in large firms. Three years later, with Ericsson Enterprise, my job was to showcase and install the digital PABX for fixed-line service. We were truly ahead of technology, he said.
I would go to different companies and show them the new phone system equipped with caller identification, hold buttons and everything then on was moving into digital.
Ong was sent to Malaysia to install the Enhanced Data Rate for Global Evolution (EDGE) at the Ericsson office in Cyberjaya early this month.
The EDGE technology can be viewed as complementary to the Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) technology to provide a fast, cost-effective route to third generation (3G) coverage.
The EDGE is a 2.5G technology that can be added to the Global System for Mobile Communication (GPRS) network.
With the set-up of the EDGE in Cyberjaya, any interested party from the Asia Pacific can come and experience the technology firsthand and view its features without going to Sweden, he said.
The system installed is truly a real showroom as the 2.5G can be picked up via any handphone or even a PDA system within a 10km radius. However, the phones must be equipped to pick up the service.
Ong is usually on the move. He is sent by the head office in Sweden to anywhere in the world where there is demand to install the EDGE system.
He does miss Malaysia and is always amazed when he returns because the country is developing quickly.
In fact, Malaysia is in the forefront in technology, at times, even ahead of Europe in IT.
Ong, who grew up in Pulau Tikus, Penang, misses Hokkein mee most. My sons, Ken, 20, and Kezli, 16, love the curry-flavoured Maggi Mee. I am sure they expect me to bring some home for them.
I believe Ericsson has provided me the opportunity to advance into the technological world ahead of our time. I am continuously seeing how advance technology is developing and am really happy to be a part of it. I know I will never regret being where I am, Ong said contentedly.
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