By June Ramli
Sydney, Nov 21: There has been some progress since last week. The manufacturer has finally made contact with me and my labels have received the green light and at press time has gone for print. This is the third time I am getting my labels printed. I have decided to get the labels in a sample version. I wanted to make sure all is right when it gets on the actual product and that it looks good and most importantly error free. Now comes the next challenge, the account manager. I had to change my account manager abruptly this year due to some issues.
Long story short, the change has been great because now the proprietor’s daughter is managing my account. But I think this is just a temporary fix as she tried to get herself replaced – citing her busy schedule with another staff member who is based in Iran. Iran? No way, I thought. I told her that I would prefer someone who was based in Sydney, Australia. She has agreed and said that as soon as someone becomes available, she would give that person my account to manage. But the sheer fact that she mentioned Iran brought back a flood of memories to me. You see I visited the country way back in 2006 when I was a staff writer with the New Straits Times in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Looking back, it was one hell of a trip – in a good way of course. We started that media trip in Karachi, Pakistan, then headed to Tehran and Shiraz before finishing off in Dubai.
I followed the Tourism Minister there to promote Malaysia under the MH2H (Malaysia My Second Home) program. I noticed that Iran was beaming with potential but alas had been curtailed after they decided to cut all ties with the Americans. You can find copycats of McDonalds and KFCs there but not the real thing. They have fast food restaurants that are replicates of famous chains, which was quite sad to see actually. Things are very expensive there and almost everything is written in Persian and not in English, even the price tags, so you would be lost if you don’t have a guide helping you. Fortunately, for me we had a local journalist by the name of Simin Saghafi helping us with our walkabouts and other things. In fact, when I first moved to Sydney in 2014, she even connected me with her Iranian friend who worked as an IT professional in AAP (Australian Associated Press). She did try to help me with a job at the APP but unfortunately that opportunity did not materialise but the sheer fact that she did try speaks volumes of her as a friend.
When I was in Iran, Simin even organised for her media company to interview me on my thoughts about her country. I have attached the copy of that article here. Her country is great but I felt that it was stuck in a time wrap. I also didn’t like the fact that we had to wear the headscarf 24/7 or risked being fined US$25. I was even stopped by the airport staff because my top was too short -did not cover my buttocks and an airport worker did not let me board my flight to Shiraz until I changed into a more decent top. She even went through the trouble of going through my luggage looking for a top for me to change into. At that time, I felt so mad and all I wanted to do was to wear something skimpy and have my cleavage shown. I guess this explains why loads of Persians have gone completely rogue when they move abroad, most of them renounce the religion (most Persians are Muslims) and go absolutely berserk with their new found freedom. I will never forget that trip. It was indeed an eye-opening experience that teaches you a lesson or two about bad leadership. Iran has so much potential, but unfortunately is led by wrong leaders. But the people there are absolutely gorgeous and have a good sense of humour despite living in adverse conditions and oh yes Persepolis is a great place to visit as a tourist destination, most of the stuff have been removed and placed in overseas museums but the place is still worth a visit. I don’t know if I will ever visit Iran again but the trip would be hard to beat memory wise. But back to the subject of hand – my products LazyBum Skincare and Blitz Hair Care. It is still a work in progress and I really hope that the products come out by the end of this year.
June Ramli is the editor of DailyStraits.com. To stay in touch with June, look her up on Twitter @junesairaramli