Jean WU Ching Yi
Operations and Recruitment Manager (Malaysia)
I am Jean WU, the only Taiwanese national working with AUG Malaysia. I started with AusEd (as it was known then) in year 2000 and have many stories to tell about my journey.
Now, fifteen years later, the staff refers to me as ‘mum’ especially the young ones. You may be wondering why is it that they chose to give me this nickname ? Well, working at AUG, it gave me a feeling of family and a home environment. My 2 daughters grew up with AUG and got on well with all my colleagues.
I remember when I started, we have only a young team comprising of 3 staff in our Subang Jaya branch but today, we now have more than 100 staff in all our Malaysian offices. I am also very proud that we started with one office in Subang Jaya and today, we have 10 offices in Malaysia and 22 offices worldwide.
I am lucky to have good colleagues over the years. I know them all intimately and personally. From day one of them starting at AUG, many of whom were still single then, to seeing them day getting married and then having babies. I love seeing my young colleagues starting innocently at AUG, now all blossoming and working enthusiastically on 7 days week, day in day out. I have attended the staff wedding of Soh Fong, Cherry, Angeline, James, Jing and Ellen and I am eagerly waiting for a few more to come this year and next year.
There are so many interesting stories to share especially during our yearly group conference and activities. In particular, there are a few stories I would like to share during the good old old days when we were just simple AusEd .
The first one is this. During our very first AusEd conference in Holiday Villa Subang in 1998, I remember when we were taking a group photo, our Manager Marilyn, shouted to the group—“ Let Mr. Wong to sit in the middle lah.” Julius ( senior staff then, now ex-staff) then quickly sat to the next available chair when he realise that he was sitting in the middle seat, which Marilyn has sarcastically referred to ” The bosses, I have seen over the years are generally bossy, but not Mr. Wong.
My second one is this. At another of our company conferences; a four days star cruise around SEA in year 2006. During one of our fun night, we had an Oscar award ceremony where each staff gets a title of acknowledgement. I feel like I am working with an International BIG organization like IBM or Apple. It’s good to feel appreciated by the management for all your effort.
I also remember when during another one of our company dinner, James Kon always bring along some bottles of red wine to share with everyone. This is how I started drinking red wine. After the conference, Marilyn and I followed Mr. and Mrs. Wong to China to source for a new office setup in Beijing. During those few days, as part of the Chinese culture of introduction and re-introduction for “Quang Xi” we have to meet up with many Chinese partners there for meetings and dinners.
I remember on one occasion, during a dinner hosted by them, Marilyn and I were totally ashamed of our behaviour, as we were totally drunk!!! The story is this - each of the Chinese man were trying to “Kum Pei” with Mr. Wong, so both of us “protected” our boss by telling each of them to “yum seng” with us instead. This is a really bad thing to do. My advice to anyone, - don’t drink with the Chinese! These guys don’t know what they are drinking, mixing and drinking every mixes of cocktails, wine, whiskey, brandy and MouTai. The Chinese guy mixed our drinks so much and so badly ....and yes, we were totally smashed! From now on, I don’t trust Chinese men when drinking with them and also learn to not mix alcohol drinks and don’t get drunk so easily.
At AUG , there are no dull moments!
Operations and Manager (Australia)
I am now in my 15th year working at AUG. My initiation with AUG ( known as AusEd then) started when I was a student at Sunway College in Malaysia in 1998. One day, I went to AUG’s Subang Jaya office, hoping to get help and assistance with my application to a good university in USA. AUG was my first stop and the counsellors there were very friendly and helpful. I guess they were so good that they ended up convincing me about going to Australia. I ended up going to Griffith University in Queensland to study for my Bachelor degree. As my academic results were not that good, Marilyn Chong, the counsellor there suggested ( I have to agree with her because she was fierce)! to me to take up the degree of Bachelor of Hospitality (Hotel Management). It was a good choice as the degree was not too difficult to complete and graduate upon. Up to this date, I am still convinced that Marilyn (with the pressure from Mr. Wong) at that time was promoting heavily Griffith University and that I was the first student they sent to this university!!
After graduation, I went back to Malaysia and started looking for a job. I saw a small advertisement in the local newspaper that AUG is hiring a student advisor and it was the last day to submit the resume. Being an AUG alumni, I find this job description interesting so I decided to send in my resume. Not expecting much, I received a phone call to attend the interview. Marilyn interviewed me and I remembered that the interview was quite loud and full of laughter. Three days later, I got the job. Not difficult at all. :)
So when I started work, I find myself very lucky as I have 3 really good mentors who provided a lot of guidance. Marilyn is the fierce and loud one but the most that I’ve learnt from. Until today, I have always regarded her as my师傅(Master). When I just started I would just sit beside her when she is counselling students and try to pick up as many things as I can. I gave her a lot of trouble and always make her angry but I think she enjoyed it.
Su Pheng and Soh Fong were also there at that time and they gave me a totally different side of learning. Both of them are very soft and motherly. They were very patient with me and helped me through a lot as well. We spent a lot of time together at work and also outside work. We will often have dinner together after work as we worked till late each day.
After working for a year there, I decided to return to Australia to further my study again. While I was studying in Sydney, I got a part time work at AUG Sydney. I was then offered a full time job upon completion of my course there. At that time Ivan Hui, Joey Chung and Tori Zhang was fulltime staff there and we all were squeezed in just the small office. Having no marketing background, I was given an opportunity to learn some marketing. Joey was my mentor in Sydney and I would see how she liaised with institutions. She taught me a lot of things from the marketing side. I also learnt a bit of the Migration part as she was also our Registered Migration Agent then.
In 2008, Mr Wong asked if I wanted to transfer to Brisbane office. I took the challenge and moved to Brisbane. It was quite tough and challenging. Everyone there was new too but we worked together as a team. Year by year passed, we have staff members come and go. And now I am very proud of our current team. We are like a family here. We often meet up for gatherings and most of the time is to do with food J. Family members are also invited to join as we want them to see how close we are.
During my years in AUG, I was given a lot of opportunity to travel to different offices such as Subang Jaya, Beijing, Hong Kong and Indonesia. The managers always welcome me with great hospitality. Other than work, food is always in my itinerary (I think everyone knows this). I also get to learn how different offices operate and bring my experience back to share.
I would like to thank Mr Wong for being very supportive and giving me a lot of flexibility.
Whenever he comes to visit Brisbane, he will ask me to go out for a coffee (although I don’t drink coffee at all). Listening to him talk inspires me a lot. So if he asks you to go for a coffee, go go…. go….
Sometimes I wonder, what have I been doing for the past 15 years? I have spent most of my time working at AUG and you may ask what have AUG given you. I’ve never really gave a thought to this (maybe I should now). All I know is that AUG provided me with an opportunity to pursue a career.
The management has given me a lot of time to learn and keep on learning. And I believe if you are willing to learn, the company will give you this opportunity.