Close
Exit

FROM winning The Apprentice Asia to being hired by co-founder and CEO of AirAsia Group Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Jonathan Yabut has accomplished so much – and he’s not done yet.

This year, apart from renewing his contract as AirAsia’s Chief Of Staff, the 29-year-old Filipino native has also become an author, following the release of his first book, From Grit To Great: The Journey To Becoming Asia’s Apprentice.

At 27 years old, Yabut was the youngest male contestant in the competition. In the final round, he beat Singaporean Andrea Loh, 25, to be the winner of the reality television show.

At 27 years old, Yabut was the youngest male contestant in the competition. In the final round, he beat Singaporean Andrea Loh, 25, to be the winner of the reality television show.

His new role was a natural progression for Yabut, who started a Facebook fanpage to track his progress when he joined The Apprentice Asia in 2013.

“I wanted my fans to understand that not everything was as seen on the show. I started talking about leadership, management and marketing, and people responded positively to it. They kept asking for more,” said Yabut.

“At that point, I thought it would be selfish to keep this knowledge to myself.

So, From Grit To Great is basically all those blog posts packaged into a book.”

After winning The Apprentice Asia, Yabut (left) was hired by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes as Chief Of Staff at AirAsia under a one-year contract. He recently renewed his contract with the aviation company

After winning The Apprentice Asia, Yabut (left) was hired by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes as Chief Of Staff at AirAsia under a one-year contract. He recently renewed his contract with the aviation company

In the book, he documents his life pre and post The Apprentice Asia and includes tips on becoming a successful entrepreneur and tackling the corporate world, apprentice style. The best part is, everything is based on his experiences and mistakes.

Yabut didn’t mind including his missteps in print, because he admits that it was those same mistakes that propelled him to success.

Plus, he wanted to show young adults that if he could achieve success in his 20s, they could too.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I was the smartest guy on the show. But I think I won because I was the grittiest,” he said.

“It might take a while to achieve what you want because you might fail many times, but there’s a certain dignity in completing a task. It all depends on how much a person is willing to strive for the best.”

With his philosophy that you can never be too small to dream big, he proved that it is possible for someone like him to rise from humble beginnings and succeed in life, which explains why he is also a motivational speaker who travels to the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore to speak about youth empowerment and leadership.

Yabut is also at pains to underscore the importance of preparation and not buying into the whole #YOLO (You Only Live Once) idea.

He explained that a lot of youth nowadays believe they can wing it for job interviews, examinations and presentations.

But Yabut is of the same school of thought as Benjamin Franklin, who said “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.

Yabut also advises young people not to be in a hurry to get a promotion or climb the corporate ladder because success takes time.

So, just enjoy the journey while it lasts, he said.

Yabut met his idol – entrepreneur and winner of The Apprentice season one – Bill Rancic at an event in Kuala Lumpur. “I was a big fan of Bill after watching him on The Apprentice and I told myself if there was Apprentice Philippines or Asia, I would join,” he said.

Yabut met his idol – entrepreneur and winner of The Apprentice season one – Bill Rancic at an event in Kuala Lumpur. “I was a big fan of Bill after watching him on The Apprentice and I told myself if there was Apprentice Philippines or Asia, I would join,” he said.

He reckons that success is measured not just by how much money you make, but how much you give back to your community and country.

“Remember that life is also about giving back. You’ll be forgotten the moment you die, but the thing that will always be beautiful is if you leave a legacy for people to remember you by,” advised Yabut.

“For example, people always have this mentality that moving abroad is better. But in the spirit of giving back, youth should help their country by applying the knowledge and skills acquired overseas back home. If youth don’t invest in their countries now, future generations will practice the same vicious cycle of moving abroad and never returning home.”

From Grit To Great: The Journey To Becoming Asia’s Apprentice is available at all leading bookstores in Malaysia.

There will be a book signing and meet-and-greet session with Jonathan Yabut at Kinokuniya, KLCC on March 29 at 3-4pm.

About

Our entertainment and celebrity news expert who happens to be disturbingly good at laser tag. Graduated with a degree in communications at 21 and went straight into the magazine business. She not only writes for R.AGE now, but also coordinates our long-running BRATs young journalist programme.

Tell us what you think!

BTW…

Championing children’s education

Education director-general Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim speaks on the importance of empathy-based education, the challenges of adapting education policies in light of the Covid-19 situation, and her “dream” education system.

Read more Like this post0

I lost my mother to the Japanese war

 Whenever Allied planes bombed Sandakan town as part of its campaign to liberate Borneo, Daniel Chin Tung Foh’s grandfather would rush the whole family into a bomb shelter behind their house.  During its heyday, the British North Borneo Company had developed Sandakan into a major commercial and trading hub for timber, as well as […]

Read more Like this post0

A witness to the Double Tenth revolt

 Chua Hock Yong was born in Singapore, but his grandfather moved the family to British North Borneo (now Sabah) to establish their business in 1939 when he was a year old.  The Japanese invaded Borneo shortly after, but the family continued living in their shophouse in Gaya Street, Jesselton, now known as Kota Kinabalu.  […]

Read more Like this post2

An encounter with victims of the Sandakan Death Marches

 When the Second World War came to Borneo, Pelabiu Akai’s mother moved the family back to their village in Nalapak, Ranau.  Although the Japanese were known to be ruthless and brutal conquerors, they left the villagers to their own devices and Pelabiu had a largely uneventful life – until she came across gaunt-looking Allied […]

Read more Like this post4

Sarawak’s only living child prisoner of war

 Jeli Abdullah’s mother died from labour complications after giving birth to him and his twin brother. To his Bisaya tribe, this was seen as a bad omen, and his father did not know what to do with the twins.  Fortunately, an Australian missionary couple decided to adopt the newborns. But misfortunate fell upon the […]

Read more Like this post2

Lest we forget

AFIO Rudi, 21, had never thought much about his grandfather Jeli Abdullah’s life story until an Australian TV programme interviewed the 79-year-old about being Sarawak’s last surviving World War II child prisoner of war (POW). The engineering student then realised that despite living in Sarawak all his life, he also didn’t know very much of […]

Read more Like this post5

A native uprising against Japanese forces

 Basar Paru, 95, was only a teenager when his village in the central highlands of Borneo was invaded by the Japanese Imperial army.  “The Japanese told us not to help the British. They said Asians should help each other because we have the same skin, same hair,” Basar recalled. “But we, the Lun Bawang […]

Read more Like this post2

Left behind in wartime chaos

 Kadazan native Anthony Labangka was 10 years old when the Japanese Imperial Army invaded Borneo during World War II.  Sitting in the verandah of a modern kampung house on a hot afternoon in Kampung Penampang Proper, where he has lived his whole life, Anthony recalls the hardships of the Japanese Occupation.  The villagers were […]

Read more Like this post1
Kajai R.AGE Wan Ifra Journalism Documentaries Digital Media Awards

R.AGE Audience Survey 2019 + Office Tour contest

Want to be in the running to meet R.AGE producers and journalists? Take part in our R.AGE Audience Survey 2019 by Feb 17, 2019!

Read more Like this post1

BRATs Goes to Genting!

The final BRATs camp of the year promises to be the coolest – literally!

Read more Like this post0

The Hidden Cut

Female circumcision is a very common practice in Malaysia, but the procedure is still almost completely unregulated.

Read more Like this post2

#TeamSatpal: Turtle-y in Trouble

The 21st century brings unseen threats to local turtle conservation efforts.

Read more Like this post0
Go top