Apr 27, 2010

Chilli in my Rojak...Part 4



We don't get to choose the people we meet each day. Nor the friends we keep for now or forever. Nor the ones we just want to let go. In all my years of working in the corporate world, I am truly thankful that my bosses eventually became great friends with me. Even after leaving my job, we kept in contact and I tried to see them time to time.

My most glorious time working was between 1995 to 1998. Where I worked as a DTP Specialist with Jardine Fleming International Securities. My job expectations were very high. From my boss, Su-Chzeng. She was with JF for 10 years and lived in Japan all that time. Our HQ wanted her to start a Asia HQ and she picked Singapore to be the place. She interviewed me over the phone. We spoke for the first time and she ask me questions related not to work but about life at home, my family and what are my hobbies.

It was more like getting to know each other. Su's way was always different. She is not like the usual bosses we all know. When we met the first time in Singapore, it was another interview. This time it was face to face. Again, we talked about life in general. Not about work. Clearly enough, she read my CV and found me not suitable for the job I was applying for.

Then how in the world I got the job? I got the job because Su thinks I can 'grow' into it. That my other skills that are non-bank like would help them in the work I was to do.

When I first started, Su was back in Japan. I was stucked in Singapore to run or pioneered the department from ground up. I had no one to help me. And remember,...I don't have the right skills either! It was then I learnt to be very thick-skinned, made friends in every department in the office and learn everything from everyone.

It is through this experience, Su taught me to be self-reliant. The very skills I needed now, today when I had my shop. Back then, I never knew why she did that to me. Leaving me alone to struggle on my own without knowing what to do. She felt that the best way to teach me was to leave me treading in the deep sea without any life saver(float) or a helpline.

It was the most important lesson I have learnt. And when Su finally made the trip to Singapore and settled here, the department was just the two of us. And that was in mid 1995. By the time I left JF in November 1998, the department grew to be at least 10-member strong. And it became the HQ for 13 countries.

One other thing she taught me was to travel alone. She would expect me to book my own flights out of Singapore to go to Hong Kong or Taiwan or Jakarta, etc. I would have to learn how to find my way around, spoke like the locals and find my own food.

To be frank, I never travel anywhere outside Singapore alone. Not until I met Su and work with her.

When I left JF, I was still very much in touch with Su. One of the things she taught me was to re-discover myself. To find my other strengths and talents that had lay hidden for a very long time due to the monotonous work I had to do everyday as an IT professional.

This was a poem I wrote for her when I was working (not with her). In the email I wrote to her...

***
Dear Su,

Recently a survey was conducted in-house by an account servicing staff to ask what was the first thing people thought of when the word "Splendor" was mentioned.

This is what I wrote..but not for them..its for you:

Splendor
re-written by Gina Choong


Hmm...splendor
What would that mean?
Would it mean "though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight?"

The only radiance I once knew
was knowing and working with you
for someone I hardly knew
could bring some radiance to the world I loft of

"Though nothing can bring back the hour"
and nothing can stop me thinking
of how once I hated tables and charts
and how now I missed Zielinski's 'ole figures and rants

"We will grieve not, rahter find
Strength in what remains behind;"

that our friendship stands to this date
dear and faithful through all the days

"in the faith that looks through death, in years that bring the philosophic mind"
For all I can say, Dear Su, its all your fault
I never knew I could be so poetic
neither did I know I could write
and its become a disease of some kind
and lest I do it, I am slave to this new find

and till the day, I find my cure
I know that forever you will have to endure
my one and many endless poetic or none to eccentric rants
of past and new I have to grant

Love, Me, your forever staff.

Note : Text in quotes are taken originally from William Wordsworth's "Splendor in the Grass"

Su is one chilli in my rojak. Someone I still keep very much in contact with. Someone dear to me.

ps..Su Chzeng is now a full fledged Life Skills Coach. I think she is the best person to do this. What would I be now, without her coaching all these years.

End of Part 4.

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