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Passion Fuels Purpose: My Journey To Becoming an Entrepreneur Dietitian

26 Oct 2020

passion /ˈpaʃ(ə)n/ noun 1. strong and barely controllable emotion.

Passion is one of those words that is interpreted differently by many. People use it often without really understanding the original meaning of the word. Most people describe “passion” as strong emotions reflecting an intense desire or boundless enthusiasm. Just like how Google suggested above. What about you? What is passion for you? Have you ever thought about it and the meaning it brings to you? Passion – A funny thing is it not. It can either make or break us. It can boost or bother us. Passion has this tendency to sway our minds so much, whether we are talking about people, things, or PURPOSE. Let us discover how Ng Bao Ni a.k.a Bonnie relates with passion. Mid of 2020, amidst a pandemic, Bonnie decided to tickle her entrepreneurial gene by starting Weti-Beti. I know! I had the exact reaction; I too was wondering what it means. Weti-Beti is Kitchen in the Amharic Language. What is Amharic you must ask? It is an Ethio-Semitic language, which is a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages (Googled it of course and yes, this language does exist). Weti-Beti’s is an online business and its main product is Hearty Bowl. You get to pick your base, either grains or salads, then decide on your toppings. Bonnie plans and prepares the Poke Bowl herself. Sounds like every other Poke Bowl, right. Hold on, do not be quick to judge there is an IMU twist to this. Also, you must be wondering since when IMU has culinary courses (or maybe not). So, what is the twist? The twist is Bonnie uses her expertise and knowledge on food preparation and nutrition for a lesser calorie outcome from the original recipe (in a healthier way). Allow me to take you through different phases of Bonnie’s life on how she decided on her purpose. Little did Bonnie know; it all began from how her parents would reach out to her about things rather than searching the answers by themselves. Why? Well because Bonnie always had a little Enola’s investigative spirit in her. (Sidenote: Enola, is Sherlock Holmes’s sister. If you do not know who Sherlock Holmes is, oh my!). Anyway, let us get back to Bonnie. She never provides any information to her family without cross-checking and ensuring the information was accurate. She is that thorough. What has investigative spirit got to do with Nutrition you ask? This is the part we would like to let you know on a little secret. “Come closer and read the next sentence carefully”. “Every moment that takes place in your life has a reason to it.” There! Now everyone knows this tiny little secret. So, this investigative spirit took her through a research journey in identifying her passion for healthy products or food for her family to consume, as health is very important to Bonnie. Naturally in 2015, Bonnie decided to enroll herself in IMU to learn more about Dietetics with Nutrition. She enjoyed her life as a student in IMU and learned more than she expected. One of the skills that she admires the most was Medical Nutrition Therapy. A skill every dietitian will master. It is about nutrition-based treatment provided by a registered dietitian. Why not carry on with this path and why Weti-Beti?

The Aha Moment  
She went through a breakdown during her clinical training in year 4. She lost her grandma and that took a toll on her emotionally. Just to clarify, the lecturers and clinical instructors did prep their students beforehand about the conditions of the patients they will face. However, during her internship in the hospital, she saw an old lady and the thought of her grandma crossed her mind. This impacted her even more. Bonnie felt uncomfortable being in an environment of ailments and death. This was a turning point in her life where she knew this was not her path upon graduation. Hence, Clinical Dietitian is not something she wanted to pursue.

Her next best option was to pursue her career as a corporate dietitian and further her studies. She took a break for a work and travel programme in the United States upon graduation. Bonnie spent 3 to 4 months in Big Sky, Montana. Now that she is back in Malaysia, she misses the weather, people, food culture, and most of all their work-life balance. She mentioned that, once they clock out, no one speaks of work at all. Unlike us Malaysians, at dinner, home, and even at a party we still speak of work. She made wonderful friends who she keeps in touch until today. Having to leave was not easy for her but Bonnie knew she had to head home to create something for her future on her own. She had to come back in April 2020 and because it was during the COVID-19 lockdown she was not able to apply for a job as she intended to – Corporate Dietitian.

Here comes the second Aha moment 
She realised she has gained some weight and decided to go on a healthy meal plan to lose those pounds. Putting her degree to good use. She started an exercise regime and ensured she only ate a healthy and proportioned meal for her requirements. This was what triggered her idea for Weti-Beti (see, every moment in your life has a reason for it. It is how you perceive it).

With the support of her family (who are also very entrepreneurial), Bonnie was able to learn about accounting, marketing, and business strategies to uplift her Weti-Beti business.

Her plans are to create a website, where individuals can state information about themselves and the website will calculate the required meals and calories for them. An affordable one, as she wants it to be attainable to everyone. Bonnie believes that a healthy and energetic life equals happiness.

Tip from Bonnie
Never stop exploring the possibilities. You will never know, the things that you never think of could be the thing  that you need. Just like me. “Realised about myself more and then I knew I could. Never knew I could be a Food Service Dietitian. Most important of all never be afraid to try something new.”

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