Since moving to Malaysia, my son Bastiaan always seems to be surrounded by beautiful women — as seen here with members of our staff at Paul Penders Headquarters in Penang, Malaysia..
Was it coincidence or fate?
When my eldest son Bastiaan decided to leave his banking career in Holland and join my company in Malaysia, we took together several days to drive around Penang island and happened upon a sleepy little fishing village. We turned a corner and there was a compound featuring offices and warehouses, which had a sign out front advertising space for rent.
It seemed like a happy coincidence – here the Paul Penders company could have a laboratory, warehouse, and office space as well as comfortable housing just next door. Bas would be able to enjoy the city life and tourist comforts of Georgetown and still retreat to the peace and quiet of the little village where the pace of life is slower.
It can take a bit of doing to get there but Penang is worth a visit!
Only an hour by plane from Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, the tropical island paradise of Penang is a world-class tourist destination. Most travelers head into the gorgeous historic district of Georgetown, the main city on the island of Penang, where the global mix of Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Western cultures appears in the architecture, art, and world famous Penang food.
Many consider Penang the most livable place in Asia. It combines both busy city and quiet country, historical sites and ultra-modern services, with skyscrapers overlooking vistas of mountains, forests, sand and sea.
While the home and heart of Paul Penders International remains on the Andaman sea island of Langkawi, obtaining supplies, shipping, and crucial services like internet and telephone can all be problematic on that tiny island three hours at sea.
With both bridges and short ferry rides to the mainland, close to 2 million population, and bustling trade and industry, Penang island, by contrast, offers some of the best services in the world – and those are available even in the most peaceful, rural corners of the island.
Just a short ride out of the city takes you past green mountains, lush tropical foliage interspersed with elegant residences, and sandy beaches with views out to the fishing boats and yachts lying just out at sea. In less than an hour, we pass through the famous seaside resort area, and then after a short drive along a narrow, twisting road, we arrive at the ageless village of Teluk Bahang where Paul Penders now has its headquarters.
Nowadays Bastiaan no longer wears a suit and tie to work every day. He often appears at the office in a comfortable t-shirt and shorts.
Father and son agreed; Paul Penders International would have its headquarters in Penang. This is in addition to manufacturing facilities in Kuala Lumpur and the Langkawi offices. With today’s communications, it’s almost possible to operate a business anywhere in the world!
Tags: Paul Penders products, Paul Penders International, PP Headquarters, Teluk Bahang, Penang, Malaysia, Bastiaan Penders
Welcome to the Paul Penders headquarters on the island of Penang, Malaysia in the little fishing village of Teluk Bahang!
Our “second home” is not far from the beach in a green valley surrounded by gentle hills. From PP Penang HQ, we often see tour buses on their way to the nearby Penang State Park and its enormous lake and dam. Or they could be heading just up the street to the attractions tucked into the nearby hills: the Butterfly Farm, the Tropical Spice Garden or the new Escape Adventure theme park.
PP International now has two main offices – one on the island of Langkawi and one on Penang island. As a UNESCO-designated “GeoPark,” Langkawi is a garden of paradise. It’s gorgeous there but services can be less than satisfactory; on the other hand, Penang is a commercial hub and a world leader in IT and related computer services. It’s been almost 2 years since we opened the Penang HQ and it’s turned out to be a good common sense solution to maintain both places.
Neighbors count. Our HQ is located right next to a mosque and there’s an excellent medical clinic across the way. The community surrounding our Penang HQ is primarily Malay Muslim with many carrying on a family heritage of fishing or operating small but excellent restaurants and food stands. Many also head to the tourist town of Batu Ferringhi just next door to work in the hotel and hospitality industries.
People here seem to have balanced life and work very well. They live in a strong community of family and friends and live a “laid back lifestyle.” Some of our neighbors are quite ambitious — a new coffeehouse has recently opened downstairs in our complex. We often stop in for tastings of the variety of excellent Malaysian coffees.
Every day, delivery trucks back up to our warehouse doors on the street level. Whenever I’m in town, I peek in to say hello to the hardworking staff there. The warehouse is stocked nearly to its high ceiling with boxes of supplies and items ready to be shipped out to distributors all over the world.
As Asian traditions dictate, you must take off your shoes before climbing the narrow staircase up to the offices above the warehouse. There I am greeted by our friendly office staff including Yen or Louise who are usually on the phone working on marketing and sales.
The facility is spacious and super clean. There’s a conference room where important meetings take place. People gather in the central office space which has a large workstation with adjacent cubicles that accommodate 4 or 5 people at their computers at once – giving both privacy and proximity.
Yen meets me in the nearby kitchen to share coffee and cookies. We peer through a glass wall and wave to the chemists working in the most fascinating space of all – the special temperature-controlled laboratory.
One evening, we invited blogger Teviot Fairservis to watch as Bas and senior chemist Dr. Gatot Pulanggono and I “cooked up” a new shampoo product. Here’s what she wrote:
Much of Paul Penders business is conducted by Skype or by phone, or when Paul and Bas personally visit distributors in near or far away countries (see Paul’s travel blogs about India and Hong Kong visits with heavy traveling only done over a short period of one month).
Paul Penders products are shipped out to distributors in some 15 countries – and to nearby locations or to the other end of the world — from our facilities in Penang or Kuala Lumpur.
I am wading through a sea of dogs! And wondering about the choices we make to create beauty, happiness, love and even purpose to our lives.
It’s a hot sunny afternoon on the island of Penang in Malaysia. A golden light slants in through a green jungle of palms and bamboo. I am following this small woman in a butterfly T-shirt through a rusty gate and into a cool and shady paradise – for dogs! Dogs bark greetings and crowd around us in welcome. There are hundreds of dogs here!
‘Pack leader’ to some 240 dogs is “Mama” Barbara Janssen. Like so many of us as we get older (and as many younger ones seem to be discovering), she left cold German winters for the year-round equatorial sunshine. Settling on the historical island of Penang, she began to notice stray dogs fending for themselves amidst the ever-increasing traffic and commerce of this prosperous community. Soon she found herself mothering a pack and in need of a larger place to shelter her growing ‘family.’
We’re about an hour outside of the historical city of Georgetown, on the western tip of the island facing the Andaman Sea, where the fishing village of Teluk Bahang sits surrounded by green hills. Barbara picks me up at the Paul Penders HQ Penang Office and drives me up to her home tucked into a hillside above the town. Her ‘receptionist’ – a lone dog — comes out to greet the car. From behind her comes a happy sound: a symphony of barks.
This place is truly doggy heaven — surprisingly clean and well-maintained, with no noticeable doggy-smells or ‘surprises’ underfoot. People can also live here quite comfortably – Barbara and her 4 helpers sleep here as well.
We push slowly through the pack as Barbara explains that dogs needing homes arrive almost every day. Social creatures, the dogs seem happy — they have lots of company and room to play or just hang out on a couch or a table. And towards the back, the buildings open into sunlit gardens above a gently flowing river.
I can’t help but admire this woman who devotes her life and her pension money to sustaining this home for homeless dogs. “My pocket is my sponsor,” Barbara says. In the past few years, she has begun to receive some outside support from city councilmen, other animal care organizations, and a few companies like Paul Penders– all dog-lovers. She was able to incorporate and receive non-profit status and now you can find “4 PAWS” – Penang Animal Welfare Society – on Facebook and it has its own website at http://4paws.com.my.
Most of the responsibility for the continuance of the shelter rests on Barbara’s shoulders. Her smile shows clearly that she receives great rewards for her life choice – she knows the names of all the dogs, knows which ones need special attention or veterinary care. Why does she do it? I think the answer is simply Love. She gives it and gets it back many times over. The dogs obviously adore her!
The choices we make can give meaning to our lives. Barbara is just one of the many throughout the world who choose to devote time, money, and care to providing for animals. Other people have found a community or a cause that they care about and work for a higher, greater good. It may not be a logical or practical choice to devote your life to caring for others in need but it does give your time here on the planet an important purpose.
Giving love is a beautiful choice.
— Frederick Buechner
By Teviot Fairservis.
A simple touch can change your health, relationships, even your state of mind.
I have explored therapies for wellness for many years. Whenever I am back in Malaysia, I return to Mr. Seng, an expert foot massage therapist on the beautiful island of Penang. For me, it relaxes my mind but at the same time, I feel my organs are all massaged as well.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on the idea that there are energy lines, called meridians, that run through the body and that pressure on certain points can stimulate energy flow resulting in better health. Modern reflexologists take the idea even further. They are trained to stimulate points on the feet, hands or head that correspond to specific organs and glands throughout the body.
Does it work?
Many people will tell you that they feel something in another part of their body when points are pressed on their feet. People fighting headaches, insomnia, muscle aches, and other symptoms report relief. Most will also tell you that they just feel better after a foot massage.
A recent study by Michigan State University Researchers in the US shows that cancer patients who received foot massages not only benefited psychologically but physically as well. Breathing and mobility were improved after regular foot massages from reflexology professionals, and those who received ‘placebo’ foot massages from family or friends also reported less fatigue.
I made foot massage a regular part of self-care – a simple thing that anyone can do to improve health and happiness. When I lived in Europe and later on in California, the words acupressure and foot massage had little meaning to me.
Actually right now living much of the time in Asia, foot massage has become a part of keeping me mentally fit. And when I travel to Europe and USA now, I truly miss getting my regular foot massage. It may sound strange that foot massage can improve our mental state of mind– but I believe by heart it is really true.
Effects of foot massage affect simultaneously parts of the internal body.
I go to Mr. Seng for my foot massage as he takes my treatments as a form of art. In that respect he is a true healer as well. He puts exceptional energy into his one-hour treatments. It affects many internal parts of my body. Each session is an inspiration and he gets fully into it – almost a “trance” state. He was trained by a Master in China and for 7 years has had a practice in Penang.
Many internet websites and YouTube videos demonstrate foot massage techniques you can do at home. It’s one of the nicest things you can do for a loved one — massaging their feet can help improve their health and state of mind.
Kicking off the holiday gift-giving season, our ‘dream team’ could be seen giving away samples of Paul Penders products at the annual Golden Christmas Charity Bazaar in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.
Located not far from our Penang laboratory and warehouse, the prestigious Straits Quay mall was the scene for a fun-filled day of Christmas entertainments and shopping! Our marketing and sales team looks for opportunities like this to reach out to consumers and raise awareness of our exceptional natural beauty products.
But Golden Christmas was more than just a marketing opportunity – this is a great model for any small business owner to connect and ‘give back’ in personal ways with their local community.
It was all for a good cause – the International Women’s Association Penang hosts the bazaar each year to support a number of local charities, most devoted to the welfare of women and children. Golden Christmas was a hugely successful event in a city that is world renowned for its many festivals and cultural events. Ninety-one vendors set up sales booths; 19 charities were given free tables to share information about their causes. Cosmetics, essential oils, handmade accessories, paintings, china and housewares, imported clothing, and all sorts of holiday merchandise were just some of the many items on display.
Penang has an exceptional international community with expatriates from all over the world moving to this exotic city of one million. Paul Penders marketing representative, Yen Dinh Phipp, has come to Malaysia from Vietnam. She commented:
“Penang has an active community of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which was well-represented at the bazaar. Operated by entrepreneurs who do their best to promote their products directly to the end users locally, indirectly, this charity event gave international exposure as well as the bazaar was attended by numerous expatriates and tourists.”
It was a great – if exhausting! – day for our team who made many new friends for Paul Penders products, and our sister line, bioPrevonda.
Manning (and womaning) the Paul Penders booth throughout the day from 8 AM until 10 PM were Zaimah, Siti, Bas, Yen, and Louise. If you’ve seen Paul Penders promotions through the years, you might also have been pleased to meet our ‘poster girl’ in person at the bazaar – Katja Penders has recently returned from Europe to Malaysia to work in marketing and sales.
Joining the team for the day, we were delighted to have Celine, a professional beautician and owner of a salon at Island Plaza Penang, along with one of her beauticians, Phaik Xiang. Also distributor Lee Booi was there for a time and helped to answer questions from buyers.
The marketing team reports they got lots of positive feedback on the products from end users and they will post testimonials on the FB sites.
It was a great day! And a great start to the holiday season! We hope you’ll consider giving a gift of natural beauty products to your loved ones – or maybe to yourself!