Photo: My sister and I receiving our French team jerseys to represent France in badminton (from left to right: Richard Remaud – President of Badminton Association of France, Teshana, Patrick Montel – renowned French sports journalist for France Télévisions, my sister – Sashina, and a representative of Badminton Association of France)

I believe that women are capable of achieving anything we want when we put our minds to it. Throughout my career as a professional badminton player, I faced many challenges that made me become the person I am today. 

I’m an easy-going person who absolutely loves sports, and a foodie too. My open-mindedness makes me want to talk to people to know how they live their lives, their experiences, or how they do things, but I also really adore my alone-time. I usually do and say everything I believe is good whether people like it or not. It’s not always easy but it’s definitely worthwhile. 

I was born and raised in Malaysia until the age of 15. In 2004, I moved to France, with my sister, to pursue my badminton career and further my studies. It was an opportunity of a lifetime. Moving to France at the age of 15 without knowing the French culture, the people, the food, nor a single French word, wasn’t the easiest thing. I went on to master the language, adapt to the lifestyle, complete my high school in a French school, pursue my upper studies in International Business at Edhec Business School, and all along playing the sport that changed my life – badminton. I also went on to obtain French nationality and represent France in international competitions as I was part of the French National Badminton Team.

When I moved to France, there were so many challenges. I was 15, I was away from my family, I didn’t understand what people were saying, I was made fun of so many times in the way I did things because of the cultural differences, socializing and making friends were hard because I didn’t speak French, I was not used to the cold weather neither to the food, plus I  wanted to excel in badminton so trainings were tough. I had badminton practices twice a day, and between practices I attended school which was in French, so basically I didn’t understand much of what the teachers were saying. So in the evenings and late nights, I had to take my classmates’ notebooks to re-write and learn up everything said in class for every subject. I knew my parents had worked very hard to give me that opportunity, so I wanted to give it my best. I knew that my persistence and determination were going to give me the opportunity to live my dream of playing badminton professionally, and living in Europe.

I come from a Malaysian-Indian family of five girls. Growing up wasn’t an easy task for my parents who were actually laughed at one too many times for having five daughters – it’s a cultural belief that a girl is less than a boy. When my sports-oriented parents decided to put us into sports, people laughed at them again saying: ‘You already have daughters and now you’re putting them into sports, you better make them study, they might succeed!’ My parents kept their focus on what they thought was best for us, which was sports. Sports builds discipline and when you have discipline you can do almost anything. So through my parents’ guidance, I shut down all those negative noises out there and channeled my energy into my badminton training and studies. Slowly I built a very strong inner strength. Today if someone tells me that I can’t do something, tomorrow they’ll see me being the best at it. That’s what I’ve built over the years.

So women out there should know their worth and never let anyone tell you that you are not capable of doing something. Women should have bold dreams and goals, and go out there and pursue anything you desire. When you are so focused on your goals, absolutely nothing can stop you. Go out there and create opportunities for yourself. Yes, going out there is definitely scary but taking yourself away from your comfort zone is what’s going to get you where you want be and what others can only dream of. Women are so capable of achieving anything we want when we know our self-worth.

Through my experiences, I have learned that the difficult challenges that I’ve faced are the ones that have built my inner strength and made me become so determined. It has taught me that when you keep persisting then achieving what you want is only a matter of time. What sums me up is that in anything and everything that I do, I actually do it with a lot of love. I always find a way to enjoy the things I do. It boils down to – if you have a goal and know where you are going then whatever you do is merely taking you closer to your goal, so you just have to enjoy the process of it. I always put myself out there and get myself into something that scares me. It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But anything that scares me challenges me to work harder and be the better version of myself. So I go out there and look for opportunities that scares me and do it. One opportunity leads to another and then another. Some people say I’m lucky but I believe that luck comes with self-discipline and hours of hard work. I have this urge to challenge myself to learn and do new things because I think that we are all capable of doing anything we want if we put our hearts and souls into it. It all depends on how badly we want it.

It’ll be 3 years in April 2022 since I moved back to Malaysia. My CEO and Co-founder, Benjamin Croc (also a French badminton player), whom I’ve known for more than 18 years now, managed to convince me in 2019 to join his startup based in Malaysia, BrioHR. I’d say pretty easily actually because the vision he has to empower people in companies made me want to be part of it. I’ve heard so many people hating their jobs, bosses, managers, and so their companies too, but still having to deal with them everyday. So I felt that if there was a way to somehow change this, even a little, I wanted to do it. I believe that it’s like in sports – your boss or manager is like your coach, and your colleagues are like your teammates. And together you form a team to go on to win championships together!