Three and a half years have elapsed since I left Teck Guan Group in Brunei to return to Miri. I spent ten years at Teck Guan so it is with great nostalgia every time I recall my life in Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei. And I treasure the farewell card and the farewell gift that my ex-colleagues gave me at the farewell lunch three and a half years ago.
Nothing can beat having great bosses, friends and colleagues. And I have been most privileged to have been surrounded by such people during my time in Brunei.
I will always be indebted to the Ong family in Brunei. They are a great family who has touched the lives of many not only in Brunei but in many countries around the world. Their commitment to charities and Christian missions around the world are so rare in our secular business world. And they do so quietly without seeking any media publicity in sharp contrast to a lot of rich people who seek great media coverage whenever they do something for charity or their community.
Spending 10 years of my life working for this family was such a wonderful experience and a great learning journey. Their modern management style veers sharply from the way many traditional Chinese family businesses are run.
Of the three Ong brothers, only two are actively involved in the management of the family-owned businesses. I worked most closely with Stephen; he is a very fair boss who reaches out to all the staff, including the security guards and gardeners. It is so rare to see a boss visiting the house of very junior level staff during Hari Raya or Chinese New Year but Stephen is one such boss. He impresses me with his balanced lifestyle, making time for his leisure activities, his family, his church, his community and his country. It is because of him that I accepted Jesus Christ into my life when I was in Brunei.
During my years with Teck Guan, I also reported to Timothy, the oldest among the three brothers. Tim is a very successful and high-profile businessman in Brunei with great public speaking skills. He has valuable insights into a lot of business issues and I count myself lucky to have been able to learn from him.
When I bade farewell to my Teck Guan colleagues three and a half years ago, it was with a great tinge of sadness. I will always treasure the friendship that has blossomed between us. How can I ever forget the fun we shared in the office, at our annual dinners and our family days!
As accounts manager for Teck Guan Group, I was responsible for the running of the accounts department. As the related companies (hotel, general insurance and motor workshop) in the group have their own accounts departments, I just worked with a very small group of accounts staff based in Teck Guan Plaza. When I joined Teck Guan, Marissa Cuba had already been working there for a few years and she is still there. As an accountant assisting me, she was invaluable and took care of all the little little details so that I could concentrate more on the reporting aspects of my job. Thanks, Marissa!
I also had the privilege to cross paths with Sharon Liaw and Yvonne Ho who were a great help in carrying out their accounts clerk duties efficiently and conscientiously. Thanks, Sharon & Yvonne!
I was indeed fortunate to have great help from the admin department especially when I needed to rush out reports for my boss. To Sophia Tan, Josephine Lim, Jenny Hiu, Lilah and Stephanie Chang, a very big thank you to all of you. I miss the jokes that we used to share and the food and fun we had in the pantry. Sophia is still my ex-boss’s personal assistant at Teck Guan. She is a fun-loving lady who loves outdoor activities. And despite her personal trials and afflictions, she has great faith in the Lord instead of asking God “Why me?”. I admire her faith and courage. Josephine has been busy raising her young family in Brunei, inspiring to them to great achievements. Jenny, aka Miss T to me, has been learning to be “kiasu” in Singapore for several years and is doing well and enjoying her life in the “fine” city. Lilah is now known as the FB Oren whom I like to jokingly address as OKDB. Stephanie, if I am not mistaken, is still enjoying her life in Brunei. And she really knows how to enjoy life!
I also miss those in the maintenance and security department. There are too many people in this department but I would like to specifically mention Lo Chung Khiun, Albert Leong, Juban, Pg Rosley and Fam. News of the death of Juban came as a great shock to me as Juban was so young. I know how grieved his family must be. May his soul rest in peace!
I would also like to thank Sadik and Alaudeen for helping me to despatch documents. I didn’t know what you two were talking about whenever I heard you two “andrelay manderei” to each other but it sure was fun trying to imitate your language and the way you liked to shake your head when you were talking.
I also miss Ruby and his family. Ruby was the caretaker at the Sri Pelangi Apartments where I stayed. Ruby was always more than willing to help whenever I asked him for favours. I remember his lovely little daughter who was initially very shy whenever she saw me. I bought her chocolate, biscuits and candies from time to time and she grew out of her shyness. Often when she saw me coming back to my apartment building, she would make her way towards me. I hope to see her again one day.
A few days ago, I heard from Marissa that they would be having their annual dinner in Miri again. It was a great piece of news as I would be able to meet many of my ex-colleagues again.
Richard Bach was right when he wrote this: Don’t be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.
Yes, I managed to meet some of my Teck Guan ex-colleagues yesterday at Eastwood Valley Golf & Country Club where they were staying. It was great to be able to meet them and catch up on news about our colleagues.
To all the Teck Guan staff who came to Miri yesterday for the annual dinner, I hope you enjoyed your dinner last night and the trip to the Niah Caves this morning. I know a lot of you went shopping at Bintang Megamall, Boulevard Shopping Complex and E-Mart. Hey, with an exchange rate of B$1.00-RM2.425, you can shop to your heart’s desire.
Till we meet again, bye and take care!