#IntiFMIdol: Mr Lim Zhi Hwa

Evanna Phoon

#IntiFMIdol is a project initiated by FounderMethod to promote 15 physically challenged entrepreneurs in Malaysia & is 100% a Malaysian Made Production by 70 Gen Ys from Inti Diploma of Mass Communication

As a proud Malaysian, I hope you can make full use of #IntiFMIdol Stories as your motivational communication to your sales force, staffs, colleagues, friends & loved ones. Thank You in Advance ....

Evanna Phoon, www.FounderMethod.com

Click on Above to share #IntiFMIdol Story of  Mr Lim

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Here is the story of #IntiFMIdol Mr Lim: Light in Darkness

In the busy and ever developing area in Subang Jaya, SS15, shops have bloomed or closed down over the years. Behind such a busy and trendy town with new shops opening up and closing down, there are still shops and owners sustaining their very own hard work themselves.

No one would've realised that there is a 56 year old man trying hard in leading and sustaining his own shop in this competitive environment. The shop once had a very stable status in SS15 but slowly drifted away with time as buildings, railways and highways began expanding in the area. The recent construction has affected the business around this area.

As any other normal day of the 365 days in 2014, many are running errands, some are rushing to work, some are enjoying the morning cup of coffee which SS15 is widely known for, some even hanging around with a bunch of friends while one man opens up his shop around 10am day in day out.

The front porch lights are switched off and shutters pulled up. He leads the other employees to start preparing for the coming customers. One makes the bed, one prepares the towels, another sweeps the floor and he checks the daily customers’ booking list.

This rather secluded place doesn’t look like much but has a lot to offer. “Tai Jo Lim”, a reflexology shop is just a floor above the famous Pelita Restaurant in SS15. Mr Lim Zhi Hwa, the current owner would open the front door to greet his customers with open arms as they walk up the flight of stairs to his shop.

Mr Lim's shop in SS15, Subang Jaya.

This passionate old man who is currently single, treats his 4 employees like his very own family. Although he may be their “boss”, this term was never used in their working environment. Instead he is referred to as “Uncle Lim” by all of his employees showing a family-like feel.

One of his employees, Mahindran pitches in by saying, “Sometimes Uncle Lim would buy us food before we come to work and he even provides us with a place to stay the night if it gets too late or when the weather is bad”

He is very much different from any other business entrepreneur in SS15. All his employees are blind. He started the business due to his drive and motivation to brighten the lives of the blind to show them that there is still a ray of hope in their future despite being visually challenged.

"He never fails to motivate me to work hard and to have a strong desire in the things I do,” says his 27 year old blind employee, Chong Lei Ching.

Just by looking at Lim’s kind heartedness, and the way he works, what makes him ever the more unique is that he too, is blind.

Interviewing Mr Lim

Born in the state of Tampin, Negeri Sembilan, he used to be like any other normal little boy who had literally everything living under the care of both mother and father. At first, Lim suffered from minor vision problems. Everyone in his family thought it was just a normal eye sight problem. Technology back then was not as good as now. The doctors could find nothing wrong with his eyesight. Over the years, it worsened.

Being brought into this world, his parents did not know that he was suffering from an inherited disease passed down from his mother’s side. This disease unfortunately did not only attack the surface but also his inner eyeball. Hence, no surgery can fix the damage. As his vision worsened over the years, finally at the age of 36 years, it left him – His vision was gone in just a blink of an eye.

“I can only see shadows just enough to picture that there is something or someone in front of me,” he explains.

The disease attacked him drastically without alarm one day.

“I woke from my sleep and I could barely see anything except darkness,” he said. “I was extremely terrified and lost.”

The confidence in this matured grown man dropped like a stone. It was hard for the man to accept at first. In terms of his work, Lim slowly failed to complete his job scopes as a restaurant chef. Everything seemed very unfamiliar to him. It was like a whole new environment that forced him to adapt to as soon as possible. He was forced into a situation where he had to “either adapt or die”.

“I’ve thought of giving up on life,” expressed the old man gazing back to the past.

Everything made him unfit for his working environment. He had no choice but to survive, like a stray jumping from job to job. From being a waiter, to a promoter and finally he was left jobless.

The man started to have a huge rejection towards himself and slowly decided to shut himself out from the rest of world.

“Just when I thought all hope was lost, I was asked to go to the Blind Association in Brickfields,” mentions Lim.

It is the pure deeds of the association which has been giving hope to all who are blind in this world. Acting not only as a shelter but a place where all types of skills are taught in order for them to survive with pride.

Mr Lim's achievements over the years framed up on the wall.

During his time with the Blind Association, he met friends with a similar condition as him and some even worse. Story after story he hears from all his newly made friends. He learned a lot. From reflexology skills, to skills to survive as a blind person and even things that could not just be described with words. – “A blind persons’ spirit”.

When he passed the learning course, he worked with an owner ofa reflexology shop. This man was too old to continue supporting this shop. So, Lim, determined to continue the owners’ initiative of helping the blind, took the risk of taking over the shop 3 years ago and this is how and where this special entrepreneur’s journey began.

Lim is very much satisfied with the fact that although he’s blind, he is actually able to run his very own reflexology shop. To top it all off, they have customers who have supported them continuously for 3 years because of their unique massages.

“The blind are very sensitive to their touch,” he points out. “Hence, they are good at pressing different points of the body with the correct pressure making this the unique selling point of our centre”

Every job has its own challenges even when carrying out a simple task in everyday life. The most challenging part of his job however is when it comes to handling some of their customers’ health problems. Some of which experience bone spurs or diabetes that can’t be cured with a mere massage. But what can be done is to improve the blood circulation and to relax their muscle joints. If it’s anything more beyond muscle pains and stunted blood circulation, customers need to consult a doctor. Lim somehow felt sorry for his dearest customers but his massage techniques managed to relieve a lot of pain his customers were suffering previously. This in turn made his customers into long term loyal clients.

As said by Lim, before, the number of customers coming in was hard to even keep track but nowadays, he finds it harder to even estimate the number of customers they have in a day due to the construction of the LRT and the jam it causes. The number of customers has gone down over the years because of it. He couldn’t do anything but watch the customers coming in fewer and fewer every day that made him feel helpless. However, there are still a handful of customers who still go to him.

It is without a doubt that this business is struggling at the moment, but all he wants is to increase the job opportunities for the blind people. For everyone that noticed, success is not lying within his business’s sales. Think about how much happier you will be” Having a meal with your own hard earned money rather than feeling guilty begging from another.

“It was never about the success of this business, it was always about my employees,” says Lim.

His goal is to ensure that his employees get the motivation and optimism that they need to find a direction in life. Those are the only objectives that he feels are needed to sustain this business and nothing else.

Lim having the “best” of sight as compared to the rest of his employees, who are completely blind, would lead the group. With Lim in front, they form a straight line with one hand placed on another’s’ shoulder and the other holding a white cane. In that formation, Lim will lead them to their destination.

It is a parentalinstinct that Lim takes care of his employees. On alternative weekends, he would walk them to the nearby shopping mall, First Subang to get necessary groceries for themselves or items for the business.

Mr Azhar, a security guard from First Subang states, “I have been working here for the past year and I found it very interesting the first time I saw this group of blind people walking in a straight line into the mall,”

“They come here at least once a week and I notice that the person in front would always lead, bringing them to wherever the group needs to go.”

Passer-by’s could easily see without question that this old man is very much obliged to take up the leadership role and responsibility to ensure the safety of his employees at all times.

“Mr Lim will always walk us to the bus stop and get onto the bus with us to ensure that we get home safely first before he makes his own trip home,” says Lingkeswari, another one of his employees.

An inspirational saying from Mr Lim himself.

The effort that he has put in is not only for himself to prove that he is capable of being independent, but with the hopes that it reaches out to all the disabled out there; be it blind, crippled or mute. Nothing is hard.

“If you think too much, you won’t be able to take the risk,” he says.

In this realistic world, it is a cruel fact that the current generation in our community today often look down on the blind and think that all they want is sympathy and money like beggars. This had triggered and motivated Lim indirectly as he never wanted such thing to happen to him. He worked very hard and took up every challenge along the way, hoping that this will be a lesson to all the disabled to not let their pride down.

Every disabled person has an equal chance to start up their own business. It is only, “If you dare to take the first step that hope will come,”

A friend of Lim once mentioned that if he wasn’t blind, he would’ve been a very successful and recognised man by now. But he replies saying, “I was just like any other ordinary man before I became blind, nothing special,”

“Instead, being blind has made me a much better person. I am more independent and optimistic towards life now.”

A message from this special blind leader which he has learnt throughout his amazing journey – the disabled should never give up or complain when they face an obstacle because, “We might be slower getting to our destination, but it doesn’t mean that we will never reach it"

If you happen to be in Subang Jaya, drop by “Tai Jo Lim’s Traditional Massage” which is just a floor above the famous Pelita Restaurant in SS15 and try out his relaxing reflexology.


Business Information of #IntiFMIdol - Mr Lim

Name of shop: Tai Jo Lim (Traditional Blind Massage)
Operation Hours: Everyday except public holidays (10.30 a.m. - 9.30 p.m.)
Address: 6-1, Jalan SS15/4C, Subang Jaya, 47500 Selangor
Contact Number: 018-3663132 / 03-56359233
Nature of business: Reflexology
- Foot Massage (1 hour): RM 38
- Body Massage (1 hour): RM 40

Group 13 members


Group Members

1. Majorie Loone Li Ann

2. Ong May Kay

3. Desiree Charmaine Tan

4. Jerobin Austin Danay Tinawin

5. Jeremiah Wong

Thoughts of Group #13 on #IntiFMIdol Project

Evanna Phoon: Being a Gen Y, I got blown away by your  determination on producing such high quality article and video documentary, what are your thoughts about #IntiFMIdol Project ?  

Students of Group #13: Doing this project called #INTIFM Idol has been a blast. Although it was a long process, it was without a doubt that each and every one of us left with something great to take back home.

Throughout this project, our team has gone through many ups and downs. There were definitely certain areas as well which we found easier to do than the rest. First of all, we were glad that our team was very cooperative. With the same motivation and goal to achieve, we can honestly say that we worked pretty well together as a team. Our jobs too were delegated evenly amongst each other which were completed the best possible by each of us. Since it was delegated based on the job scopes we were most comfortable with, it was easy to execute. Not also forgetting that Mr Lim, our entrepreneur who was ever so supportive towards our project. He even took the entire day off to allow us to shoot what he does in his daily life together with the rest of his staff.

With things that came easy, we also stumbled across roadblocks along the way. What we found rather tough was trying to find the best time for everyone to meet with Mr Lim. Mainly because not all of us are from the same semester and timing wasn’t really on our good side. Translation was also a slight problem as the interview was conducted in mandarin and only 2 of us could speak the language. Translation did take some time for the rest to understand but with teamwork it was possible. It was also not easy to find a disabled entrepreneur in the Malaysian market as it is a niche market and to find out that they actually exist makes people like us students wanting to strive and push ourselves to the limit.

We didn’t know what to expect and neither did we expect what was to see. Most of us would probably feel sympathetic towards the disabled as they do not have the same advantages as we do but our thoughts changed.

After this project, we’ve learnt more than we had never expected to gain. We have understood the true meaning of teamwork. Everyone played a huge role in making this project a success. Listening to what Mr Lim had to say, it is important that we each live a life full of optimism and happiness. Once you’ve stumbled upon a problem, it doesn’t mean that it is the end of the world. We have to keep striving to become better people just like what Mr Lim had done. The world is not as scary as we make it seem, and he taught us that. It is that first risk and step that you have to take to know if it is really worth it or not. Nothing is easy in life and this is how we understood how important perseverance and determination plays a very important role as well.

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