Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some Notes to End the Year

It's now that time of the year again when I try to make an intelligent statement about how the year ended and some more hopeful ones about how the new year will begin. End of year statements at their best should contain a gem or two of wisdom but since I'm doing the writing, I leave the wisdom to others. I also write from a different location this year. Instead of the tropical warmth of Bangkok or Singapore I now write from frosty Hamburg where it is now a nippy minus seven.

This year marks a special turning point in global affairs. As I write, the world is bracing for one of the most severe economic downturns and the Israeli's are up to their favourite activity - beating the crap out of the Gaza Strip. In Singapore the once infalliable government was caught making some serious blunders such as its investments in Citigroup and UBS and more seriously we saw Mas Selamat, a limping threat stroll out of a prison. Citizens and government bitched at each other and we reverted to the status quo.

Despite all of that, I managed to end the year in reasonable shape. I didn't strike the lottery but I made enough to sustain myself. I remain greatful to Mr Kuntal Joshi, General Manager of Alcon Singapore and Regional Director Alcon SEA for his continued support. Thanks to Kuntal and his team, I've worked with some of Singapore's leading eye care professionals and have been able to continue in the noble task of helping people learn more about one of their most precious organs while I get paid.

Despite the global economic slowdown, I am also greatful to Mr Ed Ng and his team from GE Commercial Finance. GE remains one of the greatest companies in the world and hanging out at GE's premises has allowed me to learn more about the intrcacies of running a business.

Speaking of business, this year marks the first of year I have moved from being a mere free-lance consultant to being a registered business. Tang-Asia Consultancy has had a respectable year in its first year thanks to the support of friends in the Indian IT industry.

There were also some sad moments, which should, God Willing, be an opportunity to develop new relationships. The main movement was of course the departure of HE Dr Amin Kurdi as Saudi Ambassador. His departure leaves me without a dear and more importantly honourable friend. Dr Kurdi provided me with the honour of working with him during Crown Prince Sultan's visit two years ago and during that visit he showed me the value of personal integrity at its best. Thanks to Dr Kurdi I believe that its important that we remember that integrity is not just a contractual obligation but a personal one. Still, I am glad His Excellency has moved onto better things, namely to his new ambassadorship in Brazil. As for me in Singapore, I look forward to growing my relationship with the new leadership in the Saudi Embassy, which will, God willing be established soon.

This year I was privlleged to meet Mr Mark Goh of Mark Goh and Associates. Mark has become a good friend in the time that we've worked together and just as I have introduced him to the media world in Singapore, he's helped me to take a glimpse of the justice system in Singapore. I hope our friendship will strengthen in 09 and many of this blogs readers will engage him in debates that sometimes take place on this blog.

On the personal front, this was also a significant year. If 06 was a year of playing Papa and 07 was a year of getting to know my brother, this year was a year I got to see Lee, my first stepfather for the first time in a decade. It's been good to renew my relationship with a man who has been so pivotal in making me who I am today.

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