Mr. N was trying to have an office of emminent stature with not just a place to work but more of a place to show-off his choice of furnitures and finishings. Our Chinese funder had promised Mr. N that he would pay for the renovations and everything for the company to have a best corporate office that money could buy. There was this furniture shop on the ground floor of the building where our new office was situated and that was where Mr. N managed to convince the owner of the shop to supply us all the furniture just by paying less than RM2,000-00 for a RM30,000-00 worth of furnitures.
This new office was just a phase for Mr. N before the building which would house a bigger corporate office on the fourth floor of the corner unit across the street with a clinic at the ground level would be built. The building was owned by our Chinese funder and he was willing to give the whole corner unit as part of his contribution to the company which would, of course, be capitalised later. The only snag was the popular Chinese coffeeshop at the ground floor of the unit which was giving our funder an income of RM15,000-00 per month. When Mr. N met the owner of the coffee shop, he said he was pulling in RM3,000-00 to RM5,000-00 per day according to the day of the week and he was not going to let some guy chase him away from his feng shui spot. Mr. N was determined to influence the funder to allow him to take over the unit including the coffeeshop and he promised to replace the coffeeshop with an upscale coffee shop such as a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf franchise (Starbucks was still 2,3 years in the future, then)
That Chinese coffee shop was amazingly run as they only use the inside of the shop during the day where they sell economy rice and such but during the night, the whole area outside the shop became a one big night market with everything under the sun (or moon) including Japanese food stall, VCD vendor and a magazine stand. For each stall, the owner would charge these people who use his space a fee of RM200 per night. It may be steep but they were more than willing to pay as they did brisk business which more than cover the charge. Just imagine 30 stalls around the restaurant and how much the owner make per night. By the way, he controlled the most important component of the so-called food court, which was the selling of beverages. That alone netted him some more income.
That was what Mr. N was up against in trying to convince our funder of the viability of his business of a franchise clinic. He ran the figure again with the funder and he promised to open up 15 clinics around the Klang Valley to recover any investment the funder would sunk into. His figures were attractive but he was still lacking the manpower and the locations. Our meetings with the funder were nearly every day and it would be either at his office, which we have to wait for a few hours or at some place where he had a meeting before, which we would also have to wait for some times before sitting down with him.
After office hour, nearly every day, Mr. N would asked us to go to a club near Bukit Kiara where we would have a karaoke session and sometimes meetings with certain people. Mr. N had this weird concept of not needing to be a member of a club to enjoy the facilities of the club. As the club opened its doors to just about anybody but with a two tiered systems of payment for member and non-member, we would sometimes conquer the bar where the members usually ignore at this particular club. When we arrived there, Mrs. N would have already waited for us and well into her second glass of ice lemon tea.
This was what we did for nearly the whole of 2000 until our Chinese funder introduced us to a Turkish businessman who he got to know as his capacity as CFO of the conglomerate which he was working. That was when the demise of our partnership became apparent...