Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Get-together Dinner

I had been invited to a dinner on Monday night and was asked to be at Paul Penders office from 7.30pm onwards, when the guests were expected to be arriving. Upon reaching, I was amazed to see the brightly lit up office building. The lights made it look like a magnificent mansion from far away. See the photo of Paul Penders office taken during the day.

As I entered into the building, I was greeted by unrecognized faces but with firm handshakes and shy smiles. I proceeded upstairs and I saw Susan. I remember putting in a contribution from her into Paul Penders blog regarding the changes of her skin and life after using Paul Penders products. Besides, she is also a regular reader of the blog who leaves comments occasionally. Although it’s my first time meeting her, I felt a sense of familiarity with her. She looked beautiful in her midnight blue dress, which she paired with a seashell necklace. I was impressed with her fair and smooth skin that barely had any make-up on.

As the time passed, more guests began to turn up. I thought there would only be the Langkawi staff and I was taken aback to see more than 20 people showed up that night, who came from different places including Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi, Bangkok, Vietnam, and Netherlands. They were the distributors, the staff in the Langkawi headquarter, the website designers and the representatives from the manufacturing, packaging and shipping, and others who work indirectly with Paul Penders company.

I had also met Chan and Anne, a couple who is in charge of the manufacturing in Kuala Lumpur, Kaye and Lee Booi from the Green Meadow, and Mariek, the talented and experienced Executive Director of worldwide Marketing & Sales, and Nic and Krista.

After everyone had arrived, we made our way to the lawn in front of the office building for dinner. Although the buffet spread was simple, the food was wholesome and extravagant. Our meal was completed with fried noodle, fried rice, sambal chicken, mutton curry, stir-fried vegetables, salad, sambal prawns, fresh pegaga, hotdogs, nuggets and French fries, and pudding for dessert.

A variety of beverages were served to cater to different age groups and individual preferences, such as orange juice, soft drinks, mineral water, beer, wine and Whiskey.

After a hearty dinner, everyone started to mingle around and take photos to preserve the memories of that night. Some of the married ones brought their family along too and the kids were having fun playing tag and hide-and-seek together.

Although the party wasn’t a grand one, the chance to understand more about this company and the excitement of meeting new people made the night a memorable one. As the night progressed, the guests gradually left the party. We bid each other goodbye and wished goodnight. I went home covering sweat (due to the humid weather in Langkawi), but I was all wrapped up with friendly hugs and kisses. Thanks for the wonderful dinner and experience, everyone!

Photo-Shooting for the New Paul Penders International Website

By Krista Goon

In December, Katja, Paul and Noori flew into Penang for a day of photo-shooting. The new Paul Penders International consumer website was being built and we needed photos of our official model at her most flattering!

Keith working with Katja's makeup

That December morning, everyone was abuzz with excitement as we were bringing together not only Katja who flew in specially for the shoot at 11am, we also hired a team of 3 Penang professional photographers (Ty, SP & Jack) as well as a professional makeup artist (Keith). The lush and green Tropical Spice Garden in Teluk Bahang was the venue we rented for the photo shoot. Kat, the manager of the Spice Garden, was also present to lend her hand if we needed anything.

The makeup artist, who used to work in the US, among others for Estee Lauder, immediately set about prepping Katja for the shoot the minute she arrived at the garden. Read more about Keith and how he came to visit the Paul Penders Company the next day

The sun was beautiful. It was the perfect kind of weather for this outdoor shoot.

Katja had brought along a few changes of clothes – a dreamy, flowing white dress, a white tube, a sarong and a midnight blue pareo.

Keith did a good job on Katja’s makeup – it was natural, glowing and clean, showing off Katja’s strong features amidst a healthy tan. When she finally emerged from the makeup room, she was ready for action.

First the photographers shot around the cafe and museum area. It was already noon, with a hot sun beating down our backs but Katja kept modeling in the heat.

Next we all trooped to the lake, where Ty and his team got her to pose beside the water. Although Paul Penders Company rented the garden for this commercial photography session, there were lots of visitors in the garden that day as it was the school holidays and tourist season. Our photo-shooting actually managed to gather quite an audience!

Katja also posed while sitting on the gigantic swing overlooking the lake. The photographers had scouted the area early that morning and knew the specific locations which they wanted to shoot at.

After that, we took the trail that led to the Bamboo Garden where it was quieter. Here, we got Katja to pose on a bench. As the grassy knoll was too inviting to resist, we also got Katja to lie on the grass and the photographers had a grand time snapping away. By this time, the poor girl was truly exhausted and hungry. I quickly called the Spice Cafe and put in an order for a chicken pesto sandwich so Katja could tuck into it the moment we finished this session.

Once this was done, we had one more final session where Katja had to change into her tube and pareo. She gamely sat for her makeup session again for the final photo shoot.

All did a good job, but the photographers’ job was not finished yet even if the live model photo session were complete. They had to photograph the rest of the ingredients used in the 100-year-old LevensESSENTIE Gold formula. The ingredients were carefully taken out, arranged and snapped. We ‘borrowed’ props from the Gift Shop – a wooden bowl, cutlery made from coconut shells, and even had Kat go get some banana leaves for this session.

Finally everything was wrapped up by 5pm. We were all tired, hungry and hot.

But we were all quite happy and satisfied that we accomplished our goal.

Look out for the gorgeous photos in the new, soon-to-come Paul Penders International consumer website with ecommerce capabilities.

Until then,  Click here to find YOUR nearest Paul Penders store

In Memory of the Tsunami

5 years ago, in 2004, on December 26, the countries around the Indian Ocean were struck by a disastrous catastrophe. The Tsunami.

Suddenly, people all over the world got to know this new word, Tsunami.

At 07.59 AM Malaysian time, an undersea mega thrust earthquake occurred off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. With a magnitude of 9.2 it is supposed to have been the third largest earthquake since measurements began.

Countries most affected by the Tsunami - Langkawi is situated 2 mm under Phuket on the map

Two hours later – at 09.59 AM – the up to 30 meters (100 feet) high waves hit Malaysia and Langkawi. At the end of the day, 230.000 people living around the Indian Ocean had lost their lives.

It might seem like an odd thing to remind you of this on a blog, which normally concentrates on natural organic cosmetics. The thing is this has nothing to do with cosmetics. Nothing at all.

Personally, the Tsunami is something I will never forget, even though I was far away from here when it happened. But the memories come back every year up to December 26 when TV broadcast the old footage from the disaster. We could be cynical and say this is the media’s usual way of making TV out of disasters, or we could – as I do – let it remind us of how fragile and temporary life is and can be.

This is the reason for today’s Tsunami article.

Someone, who actually was on Langkawi in Malaysia when it happened, was Paul Penders.

I asked him to tell about the day and what he remembered – and here is his story:

On a beautiful sunny morning,  I drove by the yacht harbor and suddenly saw total devastation. I had no idea what had happened. Some boats were crushed; some were partly under water and some lay on the bottom of the water with only the upper part of a long mast visible. It looked like a warzone!

It really struck my mind what could have happened, because the water was so calm!

I saw people in distress, looking at what was left or had totally vanished. I was completely lost and ran to some people who told me about the big, rolling waves. I felt more and more puzzled and wondered if this was the so called end of the world so many people always talk about? And then these anxious and worried people told me that soon another wave was expected…

There was nothing I could do, so I went home (just minutes away) and turned on the TV in the hope of learning what had happened. Nothing on CNN! I switched to a local station with the same result: not a word about what I later found out was called a Tsunami. I felt strange, like being in another world.

A few hours later, new waves indeed came, and more boats were destroyed. On another island very near, the lives of 60 people were lost and even here on our small Langkawi a woman in a wheelchair was pulled into the water by the waves and died. I saw many houses flattened and people in distress. And again, no word or reaction from the local government – or even something on CNN.

Only later, CNN started to report about what they called Tsunami and in the evening I saw my American president on television, not even able to pronounce the word tsunami, telling the world he would make $300,000 available – thus I knew the guy had no idea what was going on, because this amount was not even enough to take care of even a small percentage of the calamity here on Langkawi alone.

Not before evening, the local Malaysian government started to talk about the tsunami and the news started to spread that hundreds of thousands of lives had been lost in several countries. I am proud that Paul Penders Co. was probably the first to open its pockets and a sizeable amount of cash was donated to the imam of the mosque on our island. The donation was made this way to ensure the money would go directly to the most affected people, making it possible to cover their most immediate needs.

This was a day I will never forget! My father in law was here and he is a local Malaysian. I asked him to give the money to the leaders of the mosque, so they never knew our company was involved – and for five years it has been this way.

I am so lucky to be able to live and work with great people on one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Though it is seemingly the ultimate beauty, let us always keep in mind that all things are vulnerable, and that one single minute can change everything, and paradise becomes like hell. Let us be happy with the potential we all have in us to act, to protect, to respect and to love.

Life is precious – and sometimes very fragile.

Paul Penders