What do South Korean mega girl group BlackPink and traditional Chinese roast pork have in common? For most people, the answer would probably be ‘nothing’. But if you’ve been hanging around the Malaysian social media space for long enough, then you’d probably point in the direction of viral TikTok sensation @samous4861, otherwise known as Mr Samous Chok.
Back in September of last year, the third-generation owner of a roast-pork business based out of Lukut, Negeri Sembilan gained nationwide attention after sharing a short clip of his dance moves set to BlackPink’s latest lead single, Pink Venom, fresh from the group’s second studio album Born Pink.
M’sian roast pork vendor becomes social media sensation
Surprising audiences with his deft choreography that met every beat in precise rhythm, Samous effortlessly won himself a legion of fans online for his infectious charm and joviality. In an interview with Malay Mail, he explained that he was spurred to create videos of himself dancing on TikTok in a bid to drum up sales for his business when sales began taking a dip due to the rising prices of pork locally.
Since that point onwards, both Samous and his servings of roast pork have become a familiar fixture at many events as evidenced by the number of appearances that he has made in the recent months leading up into the Lunar Chinese New Year.
But viral sensation aside, Samous also recently took to his Facebook to commemorate the seven years since he had last received his Masters degree in Business With Marketing Management from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle back in 2015.
Explaining how the experienced changed his life forever, Samous said that he was forced to mature and grow up again in a completely new environment without the familiar comfort of his family as shelter when studying abroad.
“I grew up instantly, because I didn’t want to be looked-down upon.” he wrote.
It was also thanks to his time spent abroad that granted him the opportunity to strengthen his character and learn to look beyond people’s criticisms, so that he could stay true to himself.
Advising his readers to be their most authentic selves, Samous also urged parents to grant their children the opportunity to stumble and make mistakes so they too can learn to grow from them.
Determined to pursue a higher education in UK
Eager to learn more about the man behind the slick dance moves, WauPost reached out to Samous, who shared that he first started his academic journey at INTI University and graduated with a second-upper class degree in marketing. Upon entering the workforce and toiling for three years, he felt discouraged after failing to secure any career growth by means of promotions.
” I felt disappointed and really thought that I was not good enough. Even my ex-boss laughed at me when I told him that I decided to resign to further my study abroad,”
It was at that point that he decided to head to the United Kingdom to complete his Master’s degree.
And while one can expect the change in scenery to be challenging to adapt, Samous recalls enjoying himself in the UK while studying as he felt truly accepted for who he is in a new environment.
“Lecturers and classmates were friendly, I was encouraged to voice out my opinions, to think critically during the classes. “
It was by merit of their continued support that propelled him forwards and encouraged him to study even harder. It’s safe to say that his hard work paid off in kind, as Samous graduated with Distinctions in his specialty of choice.
As his time on campus came to an eventual close, Samous intended to settle down in the UK as he had already been offered a position to work with an education agency there even before completing his Masters. Unfortunately, it was simply not meant to be as he faced difficulties in obtaining a Tier 5 Visa, while his family was confronted with financial challenges at the time.
“Although I was also invited to work in corporate in Singapore, I have decided to take up the business after a family discussion.”
In the case of the roast pork business, Samous explains that it was founded by his grandfather and has been handed down three generations in their family, with him and his siblings being put to work helping out as children.
After taking over the business, he had attempted to diversify their offerings by setting up a restaurant that offered Asian fusion dishes, combining his family’s signature roast pork with other local favourites such as nasi lemak. This was when he also decided to incorporate the name ‘Heng Kee’, which they still continue to use.
Initially, business was good and the restaurant gained steady traction over a period of two years, until multiple Covid lockdowns forced its untimely closure.
Since then, he has focused his efforts on fine-tuning and promoting his family’s roast pork recipe under the Heng Kee brand name, which led to him promoting it over social media.
Combining his academic background in marketing with real-world circumstances, Samous applied what he had learned through his Master’s thesis on the impact of social video as a marketing tool and turned to the video sharing platform TikTok. Everything else, as they say, is history.
As for those who hope to venture out further into the horizons with their studies, Samous advises to choose a field that they are truly passionate in, as opposed to one that others may think will be better for your future.
“Stay focused and make yourself enjoy your studies, or else you will not just be wasting money but time as well, and learn nothing that is truly applicable to your life.” he adds.
And of course, be sure to put your learnings to good use and find ways to use them in a practical context! Knowledge is nothing if it’s only on paper, after all.