Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Master has left the building...

Amazing People #1 - Chris Chi-Hong Tang

Good Evening everyone..

It's 8.15pm on Sunday the 13th May 2012, I'm writing to you from the hard semi-comfortable wood IKEA chair in the living room of my place in Singapore. In front of me I have a double shot Cappuccino from The Coffee Bean (like Starbucks only not quite as good for those who haven't heard of it), my personal laptop from which I am writing this message, my work laptop as I've done some heavy overtime this weekend for the Big D as I'm on leave all next week and my unconscious roommate Enrique half naked face down on the sofa recovering from two days of excessive alcohol consumption.

I'm feeling rather melancholy writing this blog but I need to endure this sadness to give thanks to a wonderful human being; the human being in question today is a gentleman known to many as simply The Master, by his English name Chris Tang and his Chinese name Chi-Hong Tang.

After more than 10 years of traveling in excess of 200km a day (yes you read correctly, 200km a day!)  working for the big D in Amsterdam Chris' last day in the business was 23rd April, another attrition in a long line of amazing people I had the pleasure of working with in the Netherlands. I never fail to fall into this pit of melancholy when someone I've known leaves this business but the pit is deeper when it's someone I directly worked with, someone from my old team for example like Marijn, Shirley, Katarina, Jelena, Jenny, Eva, Jeroen, Kitty, David and now Chris...

It's a long standing tradition that when someone leaves the Big D (I presume also the broader corporate world where emails are the foundation of your work communication) they send out a big email thanking everyone, some do the corporate thing even in farewell emails and others do very non corporate things which always amuses me. The man in question wrote a truly sincere email with no hard grudges and no sly comments towards the business which is always easy and tempting to do I should imagine..

The Master - one of the most sincere people I've ever met..

I'm making this blog to say thank you; Thank you for holding my hand in the corporate world for those first few months.. When I was new I asked so many questions, so many questions so many times and I could see stress and frustration on the faces of most, when I couldn't ask anyone else or when I was obviously struggling in silence Chris was there. He taught me how to work with the system (and how to trick it). He taught me how to communicate with the customers and how to communicate corporately with peers and stakeholders. Although I'm only a ground worker, a low level employee - I owe him a lot, without him I doubt Id be here in Singapore today.

For a reserved conservative guy we also shared a few moments talking about ladies, very differently from how we talk about it back in Sunderland but I'll also remember his comments "Dangerous, dangerous for your heart this one" *smiling to myself*

Chris, if you are reading this thank you. Thank you very much.

I dont want to diminish the impact my other colleagues and friends who I've lost along the journey also had on my life, those mentioned earlier... Marijn Baaij, Shirley Hooy, Katarina Bekavac, Jelena Dzida, David Peeters, Eva Latozinsky, Kitty Long, Jeroen Lantzendorffer, Mila Costa, Perla Romero, Peter J Harrison, Ulrika Quaison, Jenny Bergman, Carla Bowe, Mauro D'Errico, Fred Drenth, Rianne Van Schie, Dieuwke Swain.. all of you, have helped me on this journey they call life in one way or another and you know you have. If I hadn't given it before you will always have my eternal gratitude and a place in my heart guys (except you Marijn, you only have my gratitude - I know you'll call me gay if I give you the last piece).

Ex-Asia Team Colleagues - from Left to Right - Katarina, Chris, Wei Wei, Dieuwke, David and Mila
Chris and the others, I wish you all the best for the rest of the journey they call life and I'm sure what you do or where you go you will be succesfull as you are some of the finest people to ever walk this earth.

Love you all (except Marijn)