Saturday, January 10, 2009


I am now back in Singapore, the land of swealtering humidity, no mudity but plenty of prostitution and even more con-artist. After the cold winds of Northern Germany the local weather takes a wee bit of adjustment but by and large, it"s good to be back in this little Red Dot. I mean, I already miss the family in Europe and I do notice how the Europeans seem to have found a way to achieve prosperity without sacrificing their sanity, but there are plenty of things I need to do and this happens to be place where I plan to do them - though like most confused thirty-somethings, I'm probably not very sure about what exactly are the things that I have to do. 

Europe, or more acurately Hamburg or even more accurately, Am Karpfentiech 78 was great. My mother, who sells herself as "Mrs Anti-Family," has a field day whenever the family gets together. She grumbles that Tara and I are way too fat for our own good (more me than Tara) but then makes it a point to ensure that we are fed properly - Tara with Asian food and me with good old fashion Northern European cuisine. She even ensures that there's plenty of drinkable red wine and good German beer. She's even added a new hobby, ensuring that her kids are clothed properly. I got a new suite this Christmas from my favourite Gentleman Outfitters - the kind of place where the sales staff know the right size and colour for you just by glancing at you. 

This holiday was, as I've mentioned particularly significant because I managed to have a reunion with Lee, my first stepfather, whom I have not seen for nearly a decade. Lee looks pretty much the same - not as large as I remember him to be but he somehow remains a presence. 

It was also the first time that I got to see Christopher, my mother's youngest as an adult. It took allot of self control on my part to refrain from doing the silly cutesy stuff like attempting to tuck him to bed and jumping on him in the morning. He wouldn't have taken it too kindly, I think but it takes a while to adjust to an adult when you're so used to seeing a little baby. Still, we managed to click - he's a wizz on the computer - think Vincent needs to take him under his wing. 

Still, I have plenty to do in Singapore and it was good to get on the phone again chasing up a few old friends I had not been in touch with. Singapore is one of those wierd places where everyone seems to be related to everyone and life is for the most part about how one makes the most of being related to everyone else. I once remember having to sheepishly admit that I got my Citibank internship through Dad's golfing with the local VP. The reply was - "Don't be embarrased to admit you got your job through your contacts - how do you think we all got hired." In simple terms - being a meritocracy has made contacts all the more valuable in today's job market. As far as every HR recruiter is concerned, everyone who hands in a CV has impecable credentials and more for the job - so the only CV the recruiters read are the ones they are told to read. It is, as my ex-boss used to say, "Not about the best for the job but the person who best sells him or herself for the job."

Self-promotion is, of course going to be on everyone's agenda as jobs and money become even tighter. I wonder if there's even going to be a book on the most outrageous but effective ways that people use to sell themselves in the current and gloomy economic forcast in the months to come.  

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