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  • Writer's pictureVincent Lim-Teh

In Search of Silver Linings

"We know 2020 will bring with it more challenges but we are adamant that we will be part of the solution and not part of the problem. After all, we are here to help..." That's the last sentence of my end of the year message for 2019. This is probably one of those times when I hate to be right about something!

Like most of you, 2020 hasn't been a bed of roses for us. But it didn't seem that way in the beginning. It was to be the year of our expansion. The road ahead looked brilliant in the first month of the year. Well, yes there were some dark clouds in the horizon. The Aussie bush fires, the Influenza A outbreak, and maybe that little pneumonia thingy in Wuhan...but everything seemed to be coming together swimmingly. Boy were we wrong! Because in the following months, 2020 descended into an orgy of catastrophes taken straight from Lovecraft's wet dreams. Our plans for INTA 2020 were completely scuppered, during the lockdown hardly any work came in, we've been living/working in isolation for the past couple of months, and receivables are at an all time high as many clients struggled to stay afloat.

And now, as the annus horribilis draws to a close, we really hope we can finally flush 2020 down the toilet, maybe together with some of our hard-fought toilet paper. However, looking back, now with a little benefit of hindsight, 2020 hasn't been all bad. In fact, if we can look past the cacophony of doom and gloom, there are actually plenty of silver linings to be found. Instead of meeting at INTA, we had virtual meetings with many of our associates. And instead of talking about our business, clients or the IP Office, we spoke about our families, our home, our worries, the recipes we've tried and the redundancy of trousers in a Zoom meeting. During the months where work wasn't coming in, we were able to shift our attention to fundraising and managing the delivery of weekly humanitarian aids to the refugee communities in KL who've lost their livelihood during the lockdown. At its peak we were able to deliver food and other necessities to almost 600 individuals every week, and we couldn't have done it without the help of our clients, associates and partners who've so graciously given their time, money and effort. We've also provided discounts and relaxed our credit terms for clients who were facing financial difficulties and we're thankful that most of them have survived and are on the road to recovery.

Looking around, we find the same pattern cropping up everywhere. Whenever catastrophes hit, we see people rising to the occasion, coming and working together altruistically. In fact, most often our actions are what make the silver linings possible.

All in all 2020 has been a timely reminder of why we started Gordian. Next year, we will continue to increase the social impact of our company. Aside from working with the Chin refugee community under our Lametna Project, we will be working with St Nicholas' Home Penang on a project to provide entrepreneurial training to their trainees who are blind or visually impaired. We will also continue to assist local start-ups through our Start-up Assistance.

And finally, we know that 2021 may bring with it more challenges but we are adamant that we will continue to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. After all, we are here to help! Let's hope I'm wrong (at least about the challenges) this time round.

Happy 2021 everyone!

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