Her complexion is luminous while her glossy jet-back hair falls in waves around her petite shoulders.
For our photo shoot – held at Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur – businesswoman and socialite Mi-Ki Choong is dressed in a blue lacy outfit by by Self Portrait. She looks positively Instagram-ready.
As the middle child, Choong has an elder sister and younger brother. “I come from a close-knit family,” says Choong, adding that she was sent to Australia for schooling when she was just nine years old. “I went into university at 16 and returned back to KL at 19.” Entering tertiary education at such a young age, Choong was very advanced academically and was the youngest amongst her college mates.
Studying business and commerce, at that young age, Choong didn’t really have any career path in mind. But she knew she wanted to be successful in whatever she set out to do.
“I wanted to reach a level of success where I would be respected and have some influence, mainly to help others.” she states. On this accord, she’s achieved her ambition. Choong started working immediately after returning from Australia in an international property company. She did marketing followed by a stint in an architectural firm, quickly learning the ropes along the way. With her exposure to her family property business, Choong got into property development with the Nusmetro Property Group, where she was a founding member.
Today, she’s the founder and group strategist of the Centurise Group, a company engaged in property development and investment, timber trading and concessions, media content and IT. And despite her family legacy – her grandfather, Choong Ah Choy, was a pioneer in the lorry transportation business in the country and was often referred to as the “lorry king” - Choong is intent on achieving success on her own terms.
But she isn’t all bottom line and business. She points out that success for her means having the power to help those who can’t help themselves.
“Success for me isn’t just measured by monetary value. It’s fine and dandy if someone reaches a level where they can measure it in monetary terms. But my definition of success is whether you lead a fulfilling life where you can help others in return.”
Choong has helped raise funds for The Star Tsunami Relief Fund and The Star South Asian Quake Fund and also teaches and mentors university students from Enactus Malaysia Foundation, a non-profit organisation which implement community empowerment projects around the world.
But where did she derive her beliefs from? “I have incredible parents and a father who gave me the love, encouragement and belief system that I could be anything I set my mind to be,” she says. She is quick to add that her mother is a strong influence and the glue which brings everyone in her family together.
Choong’s latest project involves bridging the art community – be it artists, collectors, art lovers, dealers and galleries – and creating awareness about art.
Called ArteSpree (www.artespree.com), it is a web service with the aim to provide easier access to the players in the art world and give budding talent a greater audience. “It’s for both amateurs and professionals and the aim is for the art community to help each other by sharing their stories,” she enthuses.