Although he is required to travel overseas often for work, Supermax Corp Bhd executive chairman-cum-group managing director Datuk Seri Stanley Thai finds he has “the best job in the world.”
DATUK Seri Stanley Thai Kim Sim is one who always looks at things from a different perspective. He has never complained or regretted choosing the business he is in today.
As Supermax Corp Bhd executive chairman-cum-group managing director, he has put his heart and soul into making the group a success. Over the years, he has secured businesses in North America, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Latin America and other countries.
Although he is required to travel often to meet overseas partners, distributors and clients, Thai finds his job very exciting.
“I am passionate about my job and travelling around the world. It is a job that I am proud of and I always tell my friends I have the best job in the world.
“Life is not just about making money. One has to enjoy the work, too. If one likes his work, it actually makes him more productive,” Thai told StarBiz.
Sometimes one needs to move forward and enjoy what one does, and be passionate about the task one has been assigned, said the father of three.
Thai’s wife, Cheryl Tan Bee Geok, 45, is executive director of Supermax. She also heads the finance, operations and administration of the group.
He takes his family on a holiday at least once a year.
Having been to most parts of the world, the 46-year-old businessman stressed that besides seeking opportunities during his trips, he also takes time off for sightseeing and finding out more about the culture, people, local food and history of the place.
When he has the chance to shop, he always buys souvenirs for himself, his family and friends.
“Time management is very important. If my trip is over a weekend, I will go sightseeing and shopping. Otherwise, it’s just work,” Thai said.
Of his favourite cities, Copenhagen, is top of the list.
He enjoys its cool weather and admires the beautiful lights lining the streets of the Danish city.
In Irvine, California, the resort-like city makes him want to extend his stay.
When he wants to relax, he heads to Australia’s Gold Coast or Auckland.
“Chicago is the best city to enjoy quality and luxurious living,” he said, adding that New York was a “happening” city that was full of excitement all-night long.
Brazil’s Curitiba is where he enjoys the local friendliness, while Toronto makes him feel at home, especially with the easily available Asian food.
Supermax has an office in Brazil and Thai goes there three or four times a year.
He has not seen the Amazon River but plans to do so soon, perhaps in January.
“I want to see the anaconda. This is one trip I am really looking forward to,” he added.
As South Africa is famous for gemstones and diamonds, Thai has bought a few money plants made from gemstones and jade there.
He bought his first money plant from South Africa in 1994 and now has a good collection.
Thai remembers that year well because Malaysia reopened diplomatic relations and he was a member of the trade mission to South Africa.
Displaying one of his money plants in his office that he bought from Brazil, Thai jokingly said it had brought him good feng shui.
He next pointed to a dark brown wooden figurine of a panther he bought in Jakarta in 1996.
Thai said he has a “panther family” - a set of seven of different sizes, which cost about RM800 each.
“I treasure this because Supermax’s logo has the figure of a panther and the set is very meaningful to me.”
When Thai travels with his family, he tries his best to avoid doing any business. However, it is sometimes impossible.
Thai claimed he was an “expert” at finding good food.
”In Boston, lobsters and mud crabs are the best. Lobster tails are my favourite.”
Thai also loves steamed crab legs and deep-fried mud crab, Oriental-style. In Australia, he loves the deep-fried oysters and steamboat with fresh abalone.
“Timing and the skill in cooking fresh abalone is very important,” he said.
“Only experienced chefs can do it as the abalone must not be over-cooked.
“Those who try to be smart will end up eating ‘rubber’ or ‘chewing gum’,” he added.
In Mexico, Thai has tasted some dishes made using almost every part of a cow.
Where work in concerned, Thai said he would study the rules and regulations of doing business in emerging countries before seeking growth areas for opportunities.
He named China, India, Brazil, Vietnam, Egypt and South Africa as the new emerging economies.
Thai often travels to Vietnam, focusing on the glove-manufacturing potential and new players there.
Recently, he visited a condom factory there and was surprised by the advanced technology used.
However, he feels that the glove-making industry in Brazil and Mexico is not as advanced as Malaysia.
“In this competitive industry, I always look 10 years ahead to see how it will evolve.
“For me, to run a successful business, the chief executive officer has to be visionary,” Thai said.
He said glove manufacturing was a good industry to be involved in because the demand would continue to grow, and there were no restrictions to growth.
In the past, the industry focused on healthcare.
But, in recent years, the focus has shifted to hygiene industries like food services, food handling and meat-processing plants.
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