I Am Her: Siew Yen Ng On Finding The Meaning Of Happiness | Clozette


Our “I Am Her” series features the female movers and shakers of the industry to learn how femininity and power coincide beautifully and seamlessly together.


What are your goals in life? We're sure that attaining happiness is one. But sometimes, with life's ups and downs partnered with challenges, our perception of bliss and how to attain it easily gets blurry. So for our Happiness Issue this month, we decided to talk to Malaysian Association of Certified Coaches member and inspirational writer Siew Yen Ng to redefine and rediscover the idea of happiness in our ever-evolving lives. 


woman holding yellow balloons

Fill in the blank: I am a life coach, an inspirational writer, and _________.


"...someone who enjoys making others feel happier and better about themselves."

Can you tell us more about your journey to becoming a life coach? Was it a career path that you pictured yourself in when you were younger?

"Life coaching was not something that I had pictured myself doing when I was young as I was not really familiar with it. The earliest memory that I had of a life coach was Tony Robbins and the impact that he had on other people to change their mindsets.

I actually took a coaching course with the hopes of coaching myself first because I was very fascinated with the power of the mind. Our thoughts are so powerful that whether our life is good or bad is based on how we perceive our life to be in our minds. We are the architects of our lives and we can design it in any manner that we want.


Siew Yen Ng book covers


It was through this journey of self-discovery that I decided to combine my passion for writing and happiness by publishing two self-help books. The first is titled Be Happy Now, while the second is Being Happy in Tough Times."

Define happiness.

"Happiness is a state of living in peace and joy. I think it's not just about living in the absence of fear, anxiety, and negative emotions, but being able to accept that this is a normal part of the human experience. It is about embracing life’s challenges, its imperfections and flaws, and still finding a reason to smile in spite of them."

What makes you happy? Is there a key to achieving a certain level of satisfying bliss or is it an ongoing process?

"I have learnt to be happy over simple things such as listening to a great song, indulging in a good meal, and spending quality time with my family and friends. It’s nice and fun to be happy with the small things that happen on a daily basis. This is in comparison with postponing it for when a big milestone happens.


woman holding smiley face card

I used to think that I could only be happy when I get whatever it is that I wanted and when every area in my life is perfect. I then realised that I was only setting myself up for misery because it is simply not possible for everything to fall perfectly in place. As much as we would like our lives to be free of worries and problems, this is not the nature of life. It also makes me happy knowing that I can make a person feel better even with just a small compliment or a small gesture of kindness."



Can you cite a memorable moment in your career?

"It was quite meaningful for me when I was able to help a person to have a different perspective on happiness. The person was feeling frustrated because she felt she was not good enough and needed to achieve more goals and earn more money before she could be happy. I could identify with the sadness that she was feeling, and I did not want her to feel that she was unworthy because she had not achieved what she had wanted yet.

Too often, we wait for others to provide us with love and validation. In reality, she did not need to wait for anyone or anything to make her happy. Her happiness need not be conditional on outside factors. She can already be happy now.


Woman in front of happiness quote

Happiness is a way of life and it’s about being happy with what we already have while we continue to strive for goals that we believe in and are passionate about. It is a journey and not a final destination.

Here’s a short poem that I wrote that conveys my thoughts on this:


Find beauty daily,
In the ordinary days that we have,
And in the quiet nights that unfold.
Why do we often wait for something?
For life’s beauty is not about waiting,
For something magical to happen.
It is about embracing the simple moments,
That we have in abundance.
It is also knowing how lucky we are
That we have this day to be grateful for."



Name five Clozette essentials you can't live without. 

"The five essentials that I can’t live without are my phone, a warm and cosy jacket, eyeliner, mascara and a good lip balm!"


Woman in black and white stripey dress in garden


What's the best advice you've ever given to your clients? How about a piece of personal advice you've given someone outside of work?

"The best advice that I have given to people is to practice the art of being grateful. When we stop and observe the blessings that surround us, it can be a very humbling experience.

I personally write down 10 things that I am grateful for every day. This makes me focus on the positive things that have happened during the day instead of the negatives.

Our brains are naturally wired to have a negative bias due to our evolutionary needs for survival in the past. This means that we are always on the lookout for danger. In order to override this negative bias, it is important for us to have a habit of being thankful for what we have. We each have the power to choose and live a happy life."


This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.



Read more empowering stories of women here.

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We've got only 51 days to go till we ring in the new decade! Not so thrilled? We feel you. Starting a new era can surely stir a mix of emotions in us, but the good news is there are a lot of exciting things to look forward to. For one, the theme for next year's Met Gala may be the most relatable yet and we're already excited to see how it will pan out. There's also the release of anticipated movies like Mulan, Black Widow and A Quiet Place II. Keep reading to know more about what to expect in the coming days.


Met Gala 2020 theme is very 'timely'



There's no doubt that this year's Met Gala Theme — Camp: Notes on Fashion — is an experimental and futuristic one. However, for next year (which marks the 150th anniversary of the museum), it's gonna be the opposite. Called "About Time: Fashion and Duration", it will be about looking back and celebrating the evolution of fashion and the style trends from the past 150 years. With throwback looks still very much in vogue, we're sure this one will give us major fashion inspiration. 


Takashimaya x Temasek Polytechnic's School of Design


Takashimaya Temasek Polytechnic's School of Design


Getting ready for the gifting season? Check out Takashimaya's collab with Temasek Polytechnic's School of Design for festive gift wrap options. Third-year students from the institution were invited to design the shopping mall's Christmas packaging for 2019. To showcase the creative designs, there will be an upcoming exhibition that will be situated at the atrium of Takashimaya Shopping Centre. It will remain open to the public until 21 November. Follow their Instagram account for updates.


G-DRAGON's Nike Air Force 1 "Para-noise" is about to launch


G-DRAGON Nike Air Force 1 Para-noise


Sneakerheads, rejoice! G-DRAGON's hotly-anticipated Nike Air Force 1 "Para-noise" sneaker is about to be launched. With an upper fabrication that features a black painted overlay designed to slowly wear away over time to reveal a personal artwork created by the hip-hop icon, this pair is really a unique gem that will add value to your shoe collection. Exact details of the launch are yet to be released, but what we do know is that in Singapore it will be available via an online raffle at Dover Street Market


adidas x MISSONI



For quite some time now, luxury brands have been dipping their toes in streetwear territory and it looks like the trend is going strong. Sportswear label adidas has been making some major advances in this fashion category. Following the success of their limited-edition line of Ultraboosts, adidas has partnered with MISSONI to give their Pulseboost a space-dyed makeover that will feature the Italian fashion house's iconic pattern. Aside from that, adidas is also rumoured to have another luxury sneaker collab next month with Prada. How exciting, right?



L’Oréal is developing paper bottle packaging



The race for sustainable packaging has officially begun. Leading cosmetics company L’Oréal 
— alongside Carlsberg, Absolut and Coca-Cola — gets a headstart by partnering with PaBoCo (The Paper Bottle Company) to accelerate its paper-based packaging innovations. Right now, all eyes are on the first carton-based cosmetic tube, which is made with a bio-based certified paper-like material that can harmlessly degrade if accidentally put in nature. The first development is underway with a target launch date in 2021. Any thoughts?


Missed last week's updates? Catch up here.


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Since sustainable fashion is becoming more popular, you should consider shopping for vintage pieces the next time you go abroad. You never know where you’ll stumble upon a classic treasure as you roam around, taking in the sights. It’s not only sustainable to purchase investment pieces like bags, but such finds also hold a certain charm and character that only comes with time. Interested to know where to start your treasure hunt? Read on for the places to visit for shopping vintage bags in Tokyo.


Komehyo



Numerous floors of both new and second-hand treasures can be found within Komehyo. From jewellery to clothes to bags that range from new to well-loved, you will have a great time digging into their wide range of selections. While the newer bags can be found right on the first floor, the third floor is the treasure trove of second-hand luxury bags with brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, and Balenciaga available. Komehyo uses a ranking system that identifies if the item on display is brand new, slightly used but in near-mint condition, to well-loved. They have a lot of stores strewn around Tokyo, so you can browse through their wide selection of genuine luxury bags.

Don Quijote



This popular drugstore is not only the home for Japanese snacks and skincare, they also have a section in their Akihabara store where they have both vintage and brand new luxury bags. Bags from Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Prada are tucked away behind a glass display. You can also find luxury-brand watches and wallets in this section. If you’re a tourist and happened upon this aisle, make sure to bring your passport to claim the tax-free perk on purchases that amount to JPY5000 and above. Luxury items sold in Don Quijote are examined and certified to be authentic prior to going on display.


Amore Vintage



Amore stores can be found in Shibuya, where they house vintage clothing, accessories, and bags from beloved brands such as Chanel, Hermes, Christian Dior, and Fendi. This boutique vintage shop also has very rare finds so take your time to browse through their aisles or research their stock through their blog.


Vintage Qoo Tokyo


Vintage Qoo Tokyo


Vintage Qoo Tokyo is a well-established vintage shop found near Omotesando’s alleyways. Its white and pink interiors give a feminine, sophisticated chic vibe as you shop the rows of designer bags and shoes. Their display is proudly '80s- and '90s-centric, including some vintage furniture and interior décor. They have two other stores in Osaka and Hong Kong.


The flea market



It goes without saying that some of the best vintage finds won’t be found in-stores. If you have the time to stroll around on Sundays, some areas of Tokyo have a weekend flea market where locals sell their wares. You can score some second-hand vintage bags that hold a lot of character here.


(Cover photo from: @vintageqoo)


Check out these Japanese fashion trends to try before the year ends.


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