With a long weekend coming up, Rockstar and I followed Kings down on his regular(ish) errands in Singapore where we stopped over in Sentosa for the night, after which he wants to spend the weekend at a beach resort in Bintan. Great shades of When I Start Work I Don't Know When I Will See My Son Again - which might have something to do with his new boss actually telling him repeatedly to go on every holiday he can before stepping into the office.
(Another reminder there is just no way we could ever both keep our jobs and if I told you I'd morphed into a different person overnight and feel no tiny twinges of excitement at hearing the "pressure-cooker talk," I'd be lying. It's like being in AA maybe, you never completely lose the urge, you just learn to not let it control you?
Pre-Rockstar I remember loving the quiet, calm feeling of leaving the office late - the muted glow of the few office lights still left on - I signed up for gym membership nearby because of the comfort of shower and locker facilities within walking distance of the office and at one point had 6 pairs of shoes under my desk. (I cared for comfort - 3.5 inches are my max, but when I was tired, I wanted often not-as-attractive flats. And sometimes post Prada-Warehouse lunch hour decompression-shopping I simply forgot to bring my purchase home because I was going over what I did in the office for the day, when I left the office.)
And then post-Rockstar........ I no longer saw the lights for the rushing guilt-ridden to get home. My former bosses might not have been able to tell the difference from my work quality, but I could tell, from the quality (or lack thereof) of my enjoyment for it.)
So then we on the Recreation Club Committee had scheduled this event from before they announced who was buying our bank and after dithering for a bit, morale being low and all, decided we'd go ahead with it. There were people at this local Singapore bank who'd been there 15, 20 years, and they were so emotional about the merge (with another Singapore bank) that they asked us to take down the signs we'd placed around the island pointing the way to the venue - because the signboards had the old bank logos and names on them. Today, if you find other X-This Old Singapore Bank people and introduce yourself as someone who also was there once upon a time, you might get an "Ohhh" <glimmer of nostalgia>.
(That's not to say I loved everyone there - some of em thought it was hilarious to pull my chair back when I was sitting in it in best eager-beaver skirt-suit I could afford, no less, and see if I screamed. Yes I did. Humiliating. There were people who said things to me like "You Want To Do Well Ah? Then you just gotta "suck"-kar (ie "angkat," shoe shine - but their way of saying is quite crude). Those can just go and drown themselves - can't believe they have kids, most of them.)
Amara Sanctuary, Sentosa was also where I stayed while pregnant with Rockstar, after my then-employers in Hong Kong signed me up for a structured products conference. Kings was not letting his unborn child out of his sight, so he promptly scheduled a business trip to Singy at the same time.
And the room/ hotel look pretty much the same as I remember (sorry accidentally deleted room pics)...
But from this old local Singapore bank that no longer exists also came some brilliant guys. One could price anything - as in all kinds of hairy stuff, and he would literally give the big i-banks a run for their money when they showed him crap. He already had a several USD million personal portfolio but kept up the work habit to keep from "boredom". Better believe he didn't give two hoots about office politics. Another was a swaps trader who didn't blink when hitting the market in USD 50-100 million sizes - but whose voice might shake if you made him speak up in a meeting, he is a shy quiet (very nice) guy who is blessed with twin boys maybe a year younger than Rockstar. Another, who was barely in his 30s at the time, (ok actually I think all 3 were about the same age around 5 years my senior) spearheaded the creation of Singapore's first Asset-Backed-Commercial-Paper Program (some similarity to now-infamous CDOs and no to the best of my knowledge it didn't blow up). I considered getting to sit in on some of their meetings a privilege.
And no, none of these guys ever did anything like pull a chair out from under me - I'd like to think people with some substance have a bit more class than that.)
During my first bank job, the first merger of my work life, we had a final, Bank Recreation Club event here on Sentosa. You know, those events where people in dealings rooms like to "arrow" wide-eyed eager-beaver interns to sit on organizing committees for. I was pretty much the widest-eyed, eagerest-beaver intern, pre-chopping off my long hair from college days into my first very short pixie. Now I look back I wouldn't be at all surprised if ex-colleagues (some of whom are still my friends today) tell me I was perceived Intern Least Likely To Succeed, just "packaging-wise".
(Come to think of it, Kings got a talking-to of that sort from his seniors as well. For some years he's since overtaken some of the seniors who in all sincerity thought he really wasn't going to make it and that they were doing him a favor sitting him down to a Get Your Act Together talk. Me, well, they were right about me, I'm jobless now haha.)
So we spent then night, then had breakfast in the foodcourt nearby, then Rockstar had a playground fix and it was time to check in at the ferry terminal to Bintan.
About SGD 140 gets us 3 "business class" tickets on the ferry. You get to hang around this so-so lounge with coffee machine and Teh Tarik (Rockstar turned his nose up at the "too sweet" Milo) with gorgeous sound of real waves and coconut trees and playground. We are so always ferrying "business class" from now on.