"On Family Affairs: "Dad's the BOSS""


On Family Affairs: “Dad’s the BOSS”

What is it like for a son when the man he calls ‘dad’ at home is also his boss at work?  Muhammad Asyraf Khalid, executive director of cosmetic brand Simplysiti (made popular by Datuk Siti Nurhaliza) speaks candidly about working with daddy dearest – Datuk Seri Khalid Mohamad Jiwa who fills the Executive Chairman seat of the company – and the demands he face running a family owned business.

What made you want to join the family business?
Coming from an entrepreneurial family, I figured it’s simply a responsibility to do so. If us children don’t continue the legacy of our parents in the future, who will?

Have you always been confident that this is the career path you wanted?
Personally, I always had a knack for entrepreneurship. I remember during my primary school years, I earned myself extra pocket money by selling stationery goods to my school mates. Having taken a business marketing course back in university, I knew that I wanted to find success in this field. I started from the bottom – I was about 17 when I started my stint at Simplysiti – and worked my way up, training in all areas of the company from day one. If I can achieve all my professional goals before I turn 30, I might move on to politics after that, who knows!

What is it like working with your dad?
I gotta say, it’s definitely not easy. I feel the pressure only because expectations are high. Him and I, we are similar (character) in many ways but even then, it doesn’t mean our managerial approach is always the same. The man needs a lot of convincing to get an idea approved, especially when we don’t see eye to eye on certain matters. That said, it doesn’t mean he is oppose to all suggestions. For as long as there are facts supporting the ideas, he’s all good. His ‘tough cookie’ trait is a challenge to work around but I have learned a lot from him and I’m grateful for that.

What is the one thing your dad has done for you that has impacted your life immensely?
About a few years ago I was at a low point in my life – I felt lost and had no direction in life. So my father sent me to a ‘sekolah pondok’ in Sukabumi Indonesia for a short course (three months) on Islamic studies. That changed my life in a way that it made me want to become a better person and a better Muslim. I started praying more and I strived to do good things. That’s not all, my stay in Indonesia actually led me to meet my wife (Tya Arifin).

How did that love story unfold?
Well, after my short course, I headed to Jakarta for an event and coincidentally she was there too with her sister. I tried to get her number, only to find out I was given her sister’s digits instead, not Tya’s. So I resorted to Instagram and initiated contact from there. Eventually I got her number.. and the rest is history!

What were you like as a child?
I was a little mischievous. But growing up my father was very strict – we weren’t always given the freedom to hang out with our friends as we please. At the most I would play football, and then head straight home. He was just that kind of dad. At that time I never really understood why he was so strict, but looking back at it now, I’ve come to realise that he was doing all that for our own good. That helped shaped me to become what I am today.

What is the single most important thing your dad has taught you about life?
To never rest on my laurels. He encourages me to always strive for more and that we are capable of accomplishing anything if we put our mind to it.

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