I’ve been doing a fair bit of travel for work. Not every week but often enough to miss home and miss hanging out with my loved ones. Leisurely coffee sessions are hard to come by and my days are spent dealing with corporate egos.
Doing what I do allows me to see the kind of people there are in the corporate world. The kind of exposure blogging cannot offer and it is this kind of world one needs to tackle in order to advance in the real world. Which brings me to this — what is it in this corporate world that lures me and keeps me in?
You deal with male chauvinists on a daily basis, egos flying around like flies on food and talks about money, in the millions. And I don’t mean rupiah. It’s easy to spot such people especially the men. Oversized but expensive suits, branded but ugly shoes and Rolex watches they think are still the in thing. Even though they aren’t. And the women there although few, have earned their stripes in the world dominated by testosterones.
Dealing with this species of people require a thick skin and an even bigger ego. Also, you need to use your brains to match the ego. Otherwise you’ll be red meat to them. I like to think I’ve done fairly well in this line of work. Despite my disadvantaged start. Many of them were informed of my pageant involvement and I had a hard time initially, convincing them that I meant business.
In countries like Singapore, you need to double or triple your efforts. The corporate world in Singapore is more vicious. Almost like the one in Hong Kong. After all, we are talking about the third richest country in the world so you can imagine the level of testosterone there.
I become a different person at work, so I was told and I noticed. After more than three years in this industry, I’ve gotten good at the tricks of the trade. But I wonder often — am I truly happy where I am? Does my job give me satisfaction?
Or have I become Mr Hyde? My job gives me power, even at my level. I’m allowed to make decisions and take charge, which ultimately gives me a high. It’s an evil but addictive high. The kind of feeling no other industry can offer unless I’m moving within the industry. Sometimes I worry if my work personality has gotten the best of me.
Anyway, I digress.
During my work trips to Singapore, I noticed a few things I liked and disliked about the city. Men and women (in the corporate world especially) dress better in general. They wear well fitted clothes and shoes. I like that because personal grooming is very important and self conduct is equally of importance. I know of some people who dresses nicely but all positive impressions die as they open their mouth.
Singaporeans eat well. Healthy. But sometimes, it is good to have a bit of junk in your system, just to make sure the engine is seasoned, I feel. The curries in Singapore are lackluster and I absolutely dislike the bak kut teh. But the western food here is of better quality and standard, which is why I find myself in this city so often, for leisure.
While things are a lot more orderly in this city, I sometimes find it lacking soul. My Singaporean counterpart tells me they spend their free time finding expensive hobbies. Like buying expensive cars and watches. Something I don’t condone but this is the kind of drive some Malaysians need. The “tidak apa” attitude is doing us no good.
But one thing’s for sure — I’m always happy to return to boleh land. There’s no place (and no curries) like home. My favourite speech from the captain when I land? “To all Malaysians, welcome home.” And that’s how I know how proud I am to be a Malaysian and always will be.
Happy Malaysia Day to all my fellow Malaysians!