Sunday, May 25, 2008

Good As Gold

Today is a happy day for me. As the island celebrates its first full-blown family day, I celebrated my years at the company with a Long Service Award & Dinner at Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Celebrating 15 years in the company has its fair share of ups and downs. Challenges fought through and mostly won... and the valuable experiences gained. Tonight, I and the rest of the 200 odd employees celebrated our 5, 10, 15, 20 and even 25 years with the company.

Where Are My Friends?

Sitting at table 17, the front row seat to the stage beside the VIPs was not bad at all. The only Muslim food person at the table of 10, as they dug-in to their 8 course dinner, I had my Halal a'la-carte 5-course served with a nice presentation each time. Yes, each tasted deliciously too.

Sad thing is, no spouses were given invitations... which would have been great otherwise, except for those who were given award for serving 20 years and above... 12 of them had the pleasure to celebrate it together with their partners.

3rd course Fish In Sambal Sauce

Coming from a sister company to the HQ, there were not many faces that were familiar to me. I was left standing alone at the reception amongst the mingling clusters of good looking crowd, keeping my cool and waiting for the banquet hall to open to get seated at my table.

That was the time, I thought Wifey would be great company... I always felt awkward without my Wifey beside me.

Do I Really Have To Wear That?

"You have not decided what to wear yet?!" Wifey sounded shocked.

At a certain point, she began to get worried for me because I did not bother to pick which clothes to wear. I guess she did not see me standing in front of the wardrobe contemplating what to wear... she finally asked.

Until the last minute, I had not thought about what I should wear to the event. I would have just grabbed the first pair of pants and shirt that were hanging in the closet. At least they matched, that was my simple plan.

Wifey made a fuss about it... to at least wear something different than the clothes I normally wear to work or weekend outing. She picked out the "combination" for me and had me tried out my "old, glamorous, while-we-were-dating" clothes at the final hour.

A few pants had outgrown me... too tight at the waist, while some were fortunately still wearable. Phew!

She had me posed in my glamorous getup while Sonny snapped some pictures of me before I left to collect my 15 gram gold pendant... the sole purpose I attended. Else I would rather not attend and go cycling and be close to nature... watching nature than the shows at Grand Ballroom.

Well, it turned out that I was overdressed... my most uncomfortable, long, long night solo act.

I was picked as one of the 5 best dressed at the event upon registration. My name was called out first to be on stage amongst the other 4 men while I was about to dig in to the 5th and last course of assorted fruits dish.

Our CEO was also harassed to be one of the best dressed men, alongside us were the 5 best glamorously dressed ladies.

We each had to parade on and off stage cat-walking like a model to win the title for best dressed woman and man of the night. The loudest applause wins.

That was the most nerve-wrecking moment of the night... all that time, I thought being solo at the reception was the worst.

Well, as expected our CEO was the man of the night. He had better win, so that we could get a good bonus next year. The ladies were tied, between two glamorous aunties who in fact, looked gorgeous tonight.

Home, Oh Sweet Home.

I was uncomfortable to leave home looking the way I was, so I took a cab to the hotel to escape the stares that might come my way while I am on the bus and train. However, I had no such luck coming back home.

The taxi queues I could find everywhere in the Orchard area were all long and the fare will not be cheap either... with all the midnight charges.

So I braced myself and took public transport.

Yes, some stares, but none derogatory... I think, without my glasses I am "blurred" to oblivion with facial expressions. Thank God.

I noticed that people nowadays have seen it all. Being a cosmopolitan city with an enormous mix of people coming from all over Asia, minding their own business is a prerequisite somehow.

Something I came to realize now as compared back to my dating days... oh, over a decade ago. It was a relief for this overly self-conscious old brood of a guy.

4th course Rendang with Yellow Rice Entree for Muslim

One qualm though... everyone at the table was happy that the second course was shark fin soup... highlight of the night it seemed.

I am not against tradition... but mentality wise we are still far, far away from eco-friendly, here. A friend remarked "Not sure what quality this shark fin is... most probably low grade..." I just wonder how many low-life, low-grade sharks had to die to deserve that critique.

Driving a certain species of sharks to extinction is still "not our problem."

I sound political. Though I do not like sharks... or snakes or crocodile or spiders, but no humans have the right to drive another being to extinction the way the... Dodo bird did.

As for a more selfish perspective, the average price of 916 gold is S$35.00 a gram, 15 is worth S$525.00. Not bad for a night's dinner 15 years after.


  1. What a night for you, Imran! At the next long service banquet your wife will sit beside you! It looks like the dinner was elegant, and so were you. I'm sorry to hear that your effort to dress for the occasion made you part of the the "best dressed" contest. Too much attention, I think! Congratulations on your loyal work. It's good to read the story of your evening, and think about how your family was with you in spirit even if they could not sit with you at the table.

  2. You looked smashing m'dear! lol You really did! Dinner looks yum and 15 years! Fantastic! You get a woot. Woot!

  3. scrub up well for a middle aged man...and not a wrinkle in sight.Lucky old you.
    Wifey dressed you well...good for her.
    Hey, who knows, if you had won best dressed dude you might have ended up with a modelling contract.
    Glad you made it to the 15 year mark. Quite an achievement.
    Am I right when I say that you give the gold to Wifey? by tradition.
    She ill be by your side on the next one...and you will feel complete.
    Great post.

  4. you know what bro, you should let your mrs dress you up more often ala asian Ken-doll, cuz you looked very dashing! :D

    You sparkled as much as the gold you recieved. so whacha gonna get your wifey out of that?

    And btw, the food... yummy!

  5. Hello Everyone,

    Thank you for stopping by and your compliments.

    MomPoet | It was a bittersweet night for me indeed that would have been fun if at least Wifey was there too.

    Yes, she put lots of effort to dress me up... but I'd rather blend in with the crowd. I don't like attention that much.

    DeeJay | I look uncomfortable if you looked really closely.

    Thanks for the cheer. I know I will be pumped-up and gained confidence enough if I had it before I left the house.

    Ellen | All thanks to Wifey. Wrinkles... the photo is too small to see any details. You wouldn't want to see my teenage zit marks, because I surely don't.

    Yes, Wifey gets the 15 gram gold pendant for her efforts as she did for the 5 and 10 grams before for the 5 and 10 year annivesaries respectively.

    Crashy | I would, if I'd feel comfortable in it... but I don't. Formal gatherings makes me nervous.

    I'm more of the casual Ken-doll type of person with tank-tops and track pants with sneakers.

    Thanks again all. Have a fun week ahead.


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Muhd Imran
PAL Blogger