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July 18, 2012

I’ve had a chequered life. Ups and at times, spectacular downs. I’ve also been very fortunate to have met a variety of people during my course of living my life. This privilege comes from having the said ups and downs. It has to be said that when you reach a high in your career you meet different types of people. The reverse is true when you’re down.

I’ve been in the company of CEOs, big time company directors and the like. I spent a year manning my own stall at the Danau Kota Uptown night market, as such I’ve also spent a lot of time with Uptown night market vendors. Uptown night market guys are just simple people. No frills. I’ve learnt to love and appreciate them. I remember this Kakak who sells labu sayung (a container used to store water). She goes to Perak to buy her stock. Does business at the night market with her husband. Utterly nice people. And then there’s Sufian, a guy who sells blankets opposite my stall. I vividly remember helping him out with his customers when I am free. We instantly became good friends. The thing with retail business is at times it’s booming. But when things run dry, it’s simply unbelievable. We used to support each other and provide a much needed dose of encouragement. It was never easy. But being such simple folk it was all very straightforward, without a hint of pretension and personal agenda. Those were good times, socially of course.

Now things are a lot different. Back in the rat race, I experience the daily grind of employment. I record minutes of meetings, draft agreements and provide legal advice. Being at the level that I am, I now meet a totally different set of people compared to the night market days. I have a group of good friends who watch out for me. I do the same to them to. The type of people you talk to about the issues you face. There are hardly any secrets. As said earlier, there are hardly any secrets.

That’s the good part. There are also people who you somehow feel have personal agendas. In my many years in practice and in the corporate world, I have developed the ability to read people. Not with Freudian accuracy, but enough to get me by. And this ability has served me well. Through my study and observation, I could reasonably see if I’m facing trouble or not. If I detect trouble, I’ll just stay away. If I can’t, I’ll be wary. There are people who seem to be looking after you (and say so) but in reality they only look after themselves. I think I may be naive where this is concerned. But I am a firm believer of watching over your friends back. The same goes for your colleagues and your subordinates. Of course in the end you fight your own battles but I will help unreservedly as far as I possibly can.

Friendship means more to me than mere acquaintances. And I truly believe you may have many friends, but not that many “sahabat”. Can’t find the English equivalent to that word. I guess things were a lot simpler back then. No agendas, everything was straightforward. Nowadays you’ve even got to be wary of who you talk to and the things you talk about. They say nowadays even walls have ears. Well maybe they’re right. It’s tiring at times. And it definitely stops you being yourself. Anyway, this post took me two days to write. So I beg your pardon if the content seemed a little disjointed. I’ve got a lot more to write on this subject, but it would inevitably come to the same conclusion.

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