Things They Don’t Tell You is a weekly online column that dives deep into the lives of Prestige 40 Under 40 class of 2020 laureates, where they share little-known stories and offer insights on things that go under-the-radar. This week, we get candid with Shawn Lee, Director of Key Account Management Group (Asia Cosmetics and Personal Care) at Shiseido.
I was working as a part-timer selling Issey Miyake perfumes in department stores. I enjoyed the conversation I’ve had with my customers, who told me how fragrance enhanced the “image” they want to build for themselves. It made me realise how the beauty industry can impact every man or woman in feeling and looking beautiful. There’s no such thing as an ugly person; there is only laziness. Everyone is beautiful!
I’m proud to be where I am now as a marketing specialist, but most importantly, to be able to inspire the younger generation to be the best in their work.
I dropped from a waist size of 48” to 36”. I had to lose weight for my own health, and to continue enjoying food!
I’m passionate in everything I do. I believe that it is important to be enthusiastic in my work, so other people will also be willing to put in the effort in doing their best. I find ways to uplift others — by being a listening ear to the people around me. It helps me to be grateful for what I have.
Different people inspire me at different stages of my life. For example, when I moved into a mid-management role, my former boss Susanne Arfelt was my inspiration. She’s always cheerful and positive no matter how bad the situation is, which helps me build that spirit professionally. She’d also push me to hone my strengths and build a better self. She never gave up on me even at the lowest point of my professional life.
I’d say that creativity, positiveness and compassion are my strengths. I always believe that there is a solution for all problems. Nothing is unsolvable. We need to think about the positive side of things, that challenges can be overcome in a creative way or in a compassionate way, since every problem starts with a person or people.
For me, the cup is always half full instead of half empty!
I’m quite the perfectionist when I am at work. I want to be the best and sometimes I will push myself too hard to achieve my goals. I get easily frustrated with myself and my team if we don’t hit our targets, which I know that created added stress to the team.
God forgive me, but I absolutely love shopping, especially for limited-edition items. That’s my personal weakness.
A random guy from America read my article on Straits Times and messaged me in my one of my social media pages to thank me for saving his life by sharing my story publicly on my struggles and mental health issues.
Covid-19 is one thing that everyone is negative about, including myself! That said, the pandemic has taught me to treasure my life, and how I am as a person. It has also given me the opportunity to explore Singapore during this period of no-travel. I think I might have jogged to almost all part of Singapore since April last year!
I’d rather be shot than to eat almond paste. It tastes horrible… right?
Fear is part of us and it will be part of your strength in the road to success.
I feel that we need to learn to slow down, to observe the world and people around us. To see that everyone is kind in nature. It is us who want to look at the bad part of a person instead of the good.
Dear little Shawn, your life will not be easy like the rest of the kids around you. You will be looked down as a poor man’s kid, and you will be called names like “sissy fatty bom bom”, “pig” or “faggy” by people. It is okay. It will make you stronger and appreciate others who might be different and you will grow up to learn to treat everyone equally.
The stupidest thing I’ve ever done is to join a HIV prevention march from downtown Washington to the gate of White House in my underwear!
I feel my best when I wake up in the morning to go to the gym. It helps me relax and keep healthy.
Failures are part of life and it will happen again and again, sometimes without you realising them. It will hurt you for a while but you can think about how to pick up the pieces, move on and be more compassionate for it.
Always be thankful with what you have in your life. Treat each day as a new present, forget the past and look forward to the future. This is my sign-off in my emails since I started work. It helps me to be cheerful everyday.
It is so important to be able to accept the word “no”. Not everything in life is smooth-sailing. There will be roller-coasters in our lives and great things takes time. Be still and know that your time will come.
I feel blessed to be in Singapore during this worldwide pandemic. Thank you, Singapore, for being such a safe space where I can do a night-run without worrying that I might be robbed.
(Main and featured image: Leslie Kee; all other images courtesy of Shawn Lee)