8 years later, I am still doing the same pose at the same place, with the same bunch of people. Some things don’t change.
My mentor turns 80 in 10 days! His brief birthday speech is basically gold nuggets of wisdom at every word. I am absolutely grateful that my professional career was shaped by such a visionary, good hearted person, and may I emphasise the word person. He really taught me character, and how to be a human being. He also always reminds me that what is most unique about me is that I dare to be me, and not to lose that. He spent 24 years in government service, another 25 years in private practice, so he says it will be another 26 years in his newly formed company. My SuperHero!
I also met my other mentor who is like a grandpa to me. Two of them have been working together for 40 years at least. BFFs! I am so lucky to work with and be guided by the pioneer generation – the very person who put Singapore on the map for planning, and the very person who planned and steered the number one port in the world then (until Shanghai took over a few years ago. growls). Everyone seemed to remember how sweet I am, and still think how sweet I am, and honestly, I have no idea why. When you work with lovely people selflessly teaching and guiding you, you really cannot help doing whatever in your hands to make their lives better.
There were lots of bubblies at the party tonight! Prosecco, champagne, some ice imperial thing, and I got really high. Just kept drinking! My “understudy” introduced me to the “speech factory”. I used to be the one preparing his lecture notes whenever he had to speak at some seminar, conference, etc. When I left, my “understudy” took over, and the poor guy was flooded as mentor took on more speeches, and now he has a team of minions to prepare them!
Mentor said today that life is like a savings scheme, you accumulate many things to tide over your entire life, and one of them is goodwill (he put it across in a much more poetic way than what I wrote). How true that was! It was only today that I recollect that I was indeed quite a good person, and the ex-colleagues (/juniors) shared so many good thoughts with me. One of them even told me what she admired about working with me. How nice! I had a great catch up time with the peers and seniors too, and had great fun singing and guitar-ing. It really felt like the eight years never passed. It felt just like home. But without the crazy time pressure, I guess.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou
I am so glad I heeded his advice to be a human being whenever I remember / I can. To my dearest mentor, with love, happy birthday and many happy returns. ❤ ❤ ❤