From a neighbourhood troublemaker to a map maker extraordinaire, Ho Chin Soon shares his journey in putting Ho Chin Soon Research on the Malaysian map.
Text by Mira Soyza
“Anybody can be a map maker” – those were the humble words uttered by the man famously known as the Master Map Maker, Ho Chin Soon. Anyone who has known him since his mini bus-hopping days and the small instant office at Jalan Bukit Bintang would beg to differ. It takes a special brand of person to leave a steady-income job and pursue a venture that was (then) almost unheard of and achieve everything he has today.
Ho has never had the privilege to further his studies, what more to pursue his education overseas— yet the man has achieved so much more than an emblem on a piece of paper could have given him. “My family was too poor to pay for my education. So I did my articleship at CH Williams, Talhar & Wong and the company paid for my tuition and external exams fee with the Royal Institution of Surveyors, UK. That was how I became a property valuer.”
After 12 years of devoting himself to the corporate world— working for several companies in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Port Moresby and Singapore— Ho decided that it was time to start his own venture. With no prior experience to guide him, it was a tough uphill battle for the budding map maker. “I knew nothing about starting a business but had to learn fast on the fly. The biggest challenge was overcoming the psychological barriers that is in everyone’s mental makeup.”
Ho knew he had to build a presence in the market in order to be recognised—from making cold calls to dropping by property developers’ front doors—and he was relentless in his pursuit. The first map, he recalls was the hand-drawn ammonia print, ‘Chin Soon’s Golden Triangle’ and that iconic map marked the birth of one of the most respectable figures the Malaysian property industry has ever known.