Alex Chua sized up the man standing in front of him on the mat. He looked like he hadn’t seen the sun in ages. Visions of heading to the 2018 World Master IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship final crossed Chua’s mind as he bowed and bumped fists with his opponent. After a split second, the man had Chua in double underhooks and quickly brought him down.

“I was pissed at myself,” he recalls. “Based on his looks, I severely underestimated him. I didn’t know he was a collegiate wrestler.” Chua, who is usually the underdog, made a rare error. Still, he was proud. He won the bronze medal in his 82kg weight class, which had 72 competitors.

(Related: It’s time to demand more for Singapore’s art and culture)

Chua practises Brazilian jiu-jitsu or BJJ every morning while running Goldbell Financial Services (GBFS) and taking care of his wife and three children. The answer he gives when I ask how he manages his many responsibilities is: “Discipline and prioritising.”

He continues, “I always strive to be the best at whatever I do. My creative mind is always looking for new ways to challenge the status quo to stay ahead of the game. Having this kind of motivation drives me to pursue excellence.”

(Related: From otaku to making it big with rare toy collectibles)

In his day job, that also means helping the underdog to reach the next level. His company helps SMEs to achieve their vision. However, instead of lending the money using a traditional credit assessment approach, Chua and his team tailor financing plans that meet the needs of their customers, based on their game plan for growth and vision for the future.

As of March this year, GBFS has cumulatively loaned out over $1 billion. “We are constantly improving our core business. To stay relevant and ahead of the competition, we’re continuously innovating new services that will put us in the strongest possible position for the next phase of our business.”

When it comes to skincare, Chua has his mum to thank for a disciplined regimen. Every day, after school, he would go through a standard routine – cleansing milk, a light scrub, a gentle cleanser and then moisturiser. Twice a week, Chua put on a mask as well.


Due to the lack of time, Chua admitted he became less disciplined as his mother’s influence waned over time. Even so, he makes sure he cleanses his face every day and wears sunscreen when he knows he will be spending most of his time outdoors.

“You should always try your best to look your best, just like you do in work and other aspects of your life,” Chua says. “As long as you try your best, your heart will be happy at the end of the day.”

(Related: Make-up for men is going mainstream)