Words Rubin Khoo
Photography Kim Mun @ Hopscotch Studio
Styling Andrea Wong
Make-up Joey Yap
Hair Bibian Leong
Location The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur
This story first appeared on Prestige Malaysia November 2018 issue
After spending the morning at “Sports Day” with her son Kayden, Meera dedicates her afternoon to us, her motherly nature coming across as she opens a box of chocolates, enquiring whether the crew have had lunch.
Her calm demeanour indicating that Meera is someone who is quite balanced in nature. After all, she has succeeded in combining the demands of an active social life while fulfilling her soccer mom duties and also as executive director of Kimgres Marketing Sdn Bhd, one of Malaysia’s largest integrated ceramic tile manufacturers.
“I always try to find a balance, stay connected with meaningful people and look at things in a positive light,” she says. “We all have ups and downs in our lives, but I remind myself not to sweat the small stuff and focus on the bright side and possibilities that are before me instead.”
Positive thoughts, she adds, attract good vibes which in turn lead to a life with greater purpose. Her point of view, perhaps, is not entirely surprising, given Meera’s interest in Feng Shui, the art of which she delved into in a bid to learn the Chinese science.
While growing up she recalls Feng Shui masters flown in specially from Hong Kong, advising her parents and their friends. But the advice often seemed quite impractical, sometimes requiring yearly renovations.
“Every master seemed to have a different take on the subject,” she says. “I wanted to learn the scientific explanation,” she elaborates, “and understand the techniques so that I could make informed decisions.”
Meera decided to study the science but since then she has explored it further while also looking at Indian astrology in a bid to find balance between both perspectives. She was able to put theory into practice when it came to building her own house.
“I did the entire Feng Shui myself!” she says, “from the facing direction of the house to the calculation of auspicious dimensions for the staircases, doors and window frames.”
It may seem a complicated science to the uninitiated but Meera breaks it down for us. It is simply about balancing the yin and yang, she says, understanding how the elements – fire, earth, metal, water and wood – can be used to create harmony and dispel disharmony. Often, she adds, it is just “common sense.”
“You find yourself placing furniture in areas you feel comfortable moving around them in an easy flow,” she says. “If you have young children, you naturally gravitate towards rounded-off surfaces/walls or furniture without sharp edges (known as shar chi or poison arrows). Mirrors should not be placed opposite your bed, as you could feel uncomfortable with reflections when you wake up in the middle of the night! The reflective edges of mirrors in the bedroom are said to send negative“sharchi/poison arrows”onto the sleeping person.”
From the way she speaks, it is evident that Meera surrounds herself with things that have positive vibes. Bright, vibrant colours seem to dominate her wardrobe.
“They naturally make me happy,” she says. “Life starts with a blank canvas, you need to paint all the colours of the rainbow on it.” Her walls are adorned with art that is “meaningful” and “speak” to her. An avid reader, she is drawn to poetry and stories about love. The Chicken Soup for the Soul series is a particular favourite since it speaks of courage, hope and gratitude. Right now, she is buried in Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks, a heart-breaking tale of the unconditional love of a single father.
This romanticism that comes across may seem at odds with her “previous life” in corporate finance and banking. It was by chance, she admits, that she studied Accounting and Finance, eventually becoming a chartered accountant.
“You would have seen a different me during my corporate banking work days – dark business suits with double cuffed shirts and cufflinks (a bit of influence from the bankers in the city during my London days),”she says with a laugh.
But it was after work and social events that the “real” Meera would emerge, expressing herself through her love for fashion. It was after she married Dato’ John Chua that the business suits were buried, while Meera went on to use her discerning eye for design at Kimgres, focusing on branding and marketing initiatives.
“I do see much synergy in the fashion, building & design industry. Having an eye for good design helps when it comes to product development, establishing new tile designs, surface textures and fashion trends,” she says. “Under Johnson Tiles, our company offers bespoke tile customisation where you can provide your own personalised design or photograph which we can digitally print onto the ceramic tiles. I do love that level of freedom and personalised touch, as everyone can be their own designer!”
Her varied interests, however, do little to detract what’s truly important to her, which is the time she and John spend with their only son Kayden. John takes care of the morning run, she says, while her afternoons are spent with after-school activities. Weekends are at soccer matches as Kayden plays competitively every week. Off the football field, mother and son bond further by taking baking lessons together. Meera is also in the midst of prepping him for boarding school, having already received a couple of offers from abroad.
What she wishes for him is a “happy, healthy childhood,” much like what she had growing up, visiting family in Seremban and going for walks at Gasing Hill with her sister Rekha von Bueren.
“Children now are exposed to much more especially with the Internet and technological advancement and we have a more challenging task of raising them to be effective global citizens,” she stresses. “I think it is important to bring them back to nature and keep them in wholesome grounded activities where possible.”
Values, independence and hard work are what she tries to inculcate in Kayden’s upbringing to ensure that he contributes back to society. Weekly Sunday school is a must to encourage faith and service as well as getting involved in fund raising for charity through baking, spending time playing and sharing his toys with the children in shelter homes and visiting old folks homes.
“For me, kindness, compassion, gratitude and having civic consciousness and respect for others far outweigh education in a world-class institution.”