The Best Interviews of 2018


The Best Interviews of 2018

With 2018 coming to a close, we at AWANI Review want to thank you for your support throughout our first year of inception.

Here’s a look back at some of the top interviews and opinion pieces from the whole year. These are also some of our favourite conversations and takeaways with highly prominent individuals in a variety of fields.

Thank you for seeking us out, staying to share our musings and for those that did; voicing your viewpoint.

Let’s do this all over again in 2019.

Billion Dollar Whale: The Wrong Tom's Book is Putting Right

“We’ve got pretty sick of the taunts from the Prime Minister’s office under the previous administration. They constantly said we were liars and they acted as if we were some sorts of political force, as if we were taking sides in a political story in Malaysia.”

“That simply is not true. The Wall Street Journal was reporting on the facts of the book Billion Dollar Whale.”

“When people say that we are sensationalising it, I have very little time for that. This is a true crime fiction.”

Neelofa: Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Multi-talented Neelofa - actress, host, entrepreneur and brand ambassador offers insights into her life and business success through the Naelofar brand.

The first hijab-wearing ambassador for international beauty brand Lancome also speaks frankly about tearing down stereotypes.

Tony Fernandes: Ego is a Big No-Go

AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes practices what he preaches – forsaking stuffy formality for easy going accessibility. The airline culture is non-conformist but with a clear purpose and direction.

“I think young people want approachable bosses - people who are going to listen and help them develop their careers, people who are open and transparent and who can give them mobility to try different things.”

When You Are Fabulous and You Know It, Strut It!

Malaysia's top fashion designer Datuk Seri Bernard Chandran shares his recipe for success, and laments the lack of self-belief in their own talents among local young designers.

"We have to believe in what we do, and constantly believe in it. If we don’t believe in it, who else will? There is a common problem for us all - which is (getting) the opinions of our friends, relatives and people who are not in the industry. Really? Do we really need their opinions? No!"

Christine Hakim: Lessons Learnt from An Actress

Can an actress teach one to centre oneself in order to attain success? Absolutely. And no other thespian is more suited to preach this other than the Grand Dame of Indonesian cinema, Christine Hakim.

With a 45-year career embellished with no less than nine Citra Awards - the highest accolade for an actor in Indonesia - through carefully chosen roles in more than 30 films, she boils her success down to her three rules.

Countess Mary von Faber-Castell: Bridging the Generations for Longevity of a Stationery Dynasty

Faber-Castell is 257-year-old family business. Neither two World Wars nor the advent of the Industrial Revolution has broken the pens and pencils backbone of the company.

Countess Mary von Faber-Castell – who was instrumental in driving the illustrious brand into cosmetics tells how she intends to act as bridge between the eighth generation of Faber-Castell with that of the ninth; waiting in the wings coping with the wave of Digital Revolution.

Dr Yahya: The Man Who Tun M Trusted with His Heart

Cardio-surgeon Tan Sri Dr Yahya Awang is the heart surgeon who carved his name in Malaysian medicine for carrying out the first heart transplant locally and had a leading role in setting up the Institut Jantung Negara where he operated on Tun M’s heart.

“We might not be the most experienced team in the world but I felt we could do it.”

Racer Jazeman Jaafar: Money in the Tank - The Formula for Speed

Do you know what makes the motor racing world go round? Nope, not fast cars. It’s (que Abba)… Money, Money, Money.

So, how are Malaysian drivers weighed down by funding issues going to secure a seat at the top tiers of motor racing, let alone make an impression? It’s tough – but Jazeman Jaafar is determined to fight for his seat in an already crowded cockpit.

Cosmetics Clan Heir Wulan Tilaar: Future-Proofing the Martha Tilaar Empire

Whether it's taking on the mantle of running the family business or a simple desire to live up to her own expectations, Wulan Tilaar admits that she could have chosen life on easy street – being the daughter of Indonesian beauty and cosmetics icon Martha Tilaar. But the businesswoman is adamant to walking in her mother's footsteps and bring the brand to the global stage.

“My mum already laid the foundation; a very strong one; beautifying by using our own natural resources and culture.”

Haruno Yoshida: Women Can Wear the Crown in Corporate Japan

Haruno Yoshida is well known as a prominent female leader that counteracts with Japan’s male-dominated working environment. As President of BT (British Telecom) Japan, she is forthright about her vision as she intends to aid the Japanese workforce by including more women.

“If you want to see the business grow, you grow first and everything will follow. And that’s what I try to do every morning.”

Madam Kwan: Her Journey from Coiffure to Cafe

Behind the famous Madam Kwan’s restaurant is Madam Kwan Swee Lian. What you may not know is that the gutsy 84-year-old started Madam Kwan's in her sixties, after losing the business she built over four decades.

She is a living example that it’s never too late to chase your dreams.

Be End - This Nonagenarian Slayer is Not Seeking Revenge

The 14th General Elections has turned Tun Dr. Mahathir into a nonagenarian superhero saving this nation from danger. Not only that, Pakatan Harapan’s victory means Malaysia has a female deputy prime minister with Tun himself becoming this planet’s oldest PM.

MACC’s Shukri Abdull: 'Datuk Nak Apa? Datuk Nak Apa?'

In a gripping 45-minute news conference at MACC headquarters in Putrajaya, the then-newly appointed Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull revealed how the investigations into the affairs of SRC International– a unit of 1MDB – in 2015 was stymied by inducements, advice and the threats of bodily harm if not death.

Orange Birkins in Black Marias While Tun M is Happy Enough With a Bata

2018 will be perhaps be known as year of anti-corruption sweep in Malaysia. One of the case that garnered most attention was the discovery of more than RM116 million in cash and valuable items at a condominium owned by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at Pavilion Residences, relating to the 1MDB case.

Police also seized 284 boxes and 72 bags filled with expensive items such as branded handbags such as Hermes and Birkin, jewellery and watches.