While business centres offering instant offices are common, CEO SUITE is possibly the only chain that hires a Hong Kong feng-shui expert to ensure a stream of positive Chi energy permeates the entire 36th floor of Menara Maxis! MEE KIM, the CEO of CEO SUITE explains to KEE HUA CHEE why the decor of each CEO SUITE in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Beijing and Shanghai is based on feng-shui.
“Any new business can do with extra help in the luck department,” beams Mee Kim, the elegant and charming lady boss of CEO SUITE, touted as the region’s finest serviced office provider. “We offer instant offices to multinationals demanding quality, service, value for money and always, location, location, location!” “Menara Maxis is right next door to Petronas Twin Towers and we get the best views of the world’s tallest buildings, Kuala Lumpur’s city shape and verdant parkland. CEO SUITE has everything a modern, IT-savvy outfit requires, from broadband internet, video-conferencing, colour laser printers, scanners, multi-lingual business support to Zen cyber-café.” With the tangibles taken care of, Korean-born Mee Kim also tackles the invisible forces. A firm believer in Feng-Shui since her Australian schooling days in Sydney, she first learned about feng-shui Down Under! Though she does not profess to be an adept, she has read books on the subject and has her own views on this living skill. “However, I usually consult the experts when it comes to feng-shui. I have over 14 years experience in serviced offices, but cannot say the same about feng-shui! I hire only the most qualified professional to manage each CEO SUITE and likewise, hired a feng-shui expert from Hong Kong to deal with it.”
Mee Kim worked with an Australian company in the same business for 8 years before opening her first CEO SUITE in Jakarta. The timing could hardly be worse.
The year 1997… and yes, the Asian economic crisis hit a few months later! As you know, Indonesia was badly affected. Foreigners abandoned the economy and left by the planeload. And we depended mostly on foreigners! It was the most traumatic experience of my career. There I was, setting up my very own business, and I was watching my investment shrinking each day with the rupiah collapsing from 2,800 rupiah to the dollar to 16,500 rupiah at one stage!”
The fact CEO SUITE not only survived the crisis, but thrived, was attributed to two factors -excellent managers and team, and good feng-shui. “My teams are among the most qualified and experienced in the industry,” says Mee Kim with justifiable pride. “With a strong, committed and loyal team of staff, I could not go wrong. As the chips were falling, we managed to stay put as our competitors folded… The Australian firm I previously worked for closed six months after the crisis started. I even took over their premises!”
“Prior to opening my first CEO SUITE in Jakarta, I had the foresight to hire my Hong Kong feng-shui master. Each office has been analyzed by him. Even if my clients don’t believe in it, they don’t mind if it brings them success and happiness.”
CEO SUITE in Kuala Lumpur is on the 36th Floor of Menara Maxis. “I wanted an auspicious number, and 3 plus 6 adds to 9, which is a great number, as 9 is the only number divisible by itself. 9 multiplied by any number or numbers will always end in ‘9’. For instance, 9 multiplied by 478 is 4302. Add 4 to 3 and 2 and you get 9!” “Everything has been taken into account – from the position of doors, desks, shape of reception and pantry areas to color schemes, lighting and decorative elements. I practice feng-shui as I see it as a principle to run this universe for harmony and well-being. It teaches you how to position each object for efficiency and personal comfort.”
“I have certain tastes and also take into account the sensibilities of international clients. So I don’t display statues of gods and goddesses, mystic symbols or classical icons of religious significance. I don’t have waving red cats or tacky items, but go for plenty of natural light, open spaces, fragrance and well-lit corners with no sharp edges. There are no dark brooding corners and the color scheme of beige, brown, pale gold and earth tones are very soothing and harmonious.”
She toyed with installing an aquarium with goldfish or arowana, but decided to avoid such maintenance. Her feng-shui master translates traditional aspects into modern, contemporary designs for her. Even the seating arrangement of her marketing manager and financial controller are positioned for maximum effects as “the management office is the centre of our business!”
Unusually for a business, there are no large, imposing signboards as the lift doors open on the 36th Floor. “CEO SUITE occupies the entire floor, so there is no need for any name. It also gives visitors the impression that the whole set-up belongs to the company they are visiting.”
The reception area is brightly lit and glowing, the physical embodiment of the classical Brightness Hall in Chinese mansions and palaces. Directly ahead is the Conference Room, while the three huge panels at the receptionist’s desk are actually composed of individual leafs of ancient Tibetan and Sanskrit texts. The scrolls are arranged vertical and horizontally, vaguely resembling the I-Ching or Book of Changes.
The main floral centerpiece features the ‘five-generations fruit’ while the various framed masks on the walls are from various Malaysian tribes. “They give an ethnic, local touch and are carefully selected to create positive energy,” says Mee Kim.
“When people walk in, they have this sense of lightness and well-being, and their mood is lifted. Even the choice of background music is tailor-made! As a result, I constantly hear visitors remarking, “There is something about this place I like!” They may not be aware of the feng-shui aspects, but feng-shui certainly works to achieve the desired effects!” In KL, her fax number ends in ’88’ while the city code is ‘50088’. In Singapore, her fax ends with ‘7070’ while in Jakarta, it ends in ‘8080’ and ‘7799’, all very auspicious numbers!