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Thursday, August 9, 2012

There were good bosses too.

Please do not get me wrong. There were good bosses I have worked for all those years and as in all things there were less good ones than bad ones.  Below were some of the good bosses and I like to pay tribute to them.

At one time we had a senior vice president by the name of Yap Kim Wah. He was transferred from the SIA cargo division to cabin crew in the 1980s to boost the morale of our crew and staff which was flagging. Yap was a general manager in cargo and was a capable boss.
Yap was a boss who could empathise with his subordinates. There wasn't any airs about him like most svps. The crew felt comfortable around him.
To understand the difficuties the crew were facing, he made his managers worked as crew on the flights. Yap did the same.
He held frequent meetings and social gatherings with the crew. He was a good listener to the crew's problems. Not only did he listen but took action to alleviate their problems.
Under Yap's leadership, passengers' complaints dropped drastically. Compliments from passengers soared.
Yap was eventually promoted to the position of a svp.
He was so capable that SIA transferred him to be the svp for the personnel division after less than 3 years with us.

I met Yap recently at his beloved wife's wake. We have not met for a long time.
It is not my practice to visit people's wake especially my seniors or their spouses. For Yap, I did not hesitate on hearing his wife's passing.
He hugged me when we met. " It's such a long time we have not seen each other...thank you for coming".
He showed me his wife who was lying in the coffin and in his amicable way he said...." Darling this is SS Tan and I believe you have met him before..."  Yes, we have met some 30 years ago at his house over dinner. Yap was in tears and I could see he missed his wife dearly. I comforted Yap by saying " Mr. Yap, your wife is now in a better place than here...". Yap nodded his head in agreement.

Yap put his arm around me and walked me to the table where our other colleagues were seated. We had a chat and after a while I left for home.

Yap gave me this feeling that he was still the same person I knew years ago. His warmth and sincerity was genuine. By the way, he refused to accept donations from the visitors for the wake expenses.

I wish I can be like Yap, an excellent boss and friend.

Another boss that I admire was my manager Cyril Teo. This was a man who was gracious and kind to many undeserving people.
This was a model boss who helped many crew to be what they are today.
Cyril was taken advantage of by many. He was cheated by his own friends and died penniless.
Cyril passed away a few years ago after suffering from prostrate cancer.
I salute Cyril and may his soul rest in peace.

There was also a manager called Eddie Lim who was gutsy and one who did not kowtow to his svp. He fought for the crew and was decisive not like one of my svps who was fond of  " I will consult  Mr.Micheal Tan first" when asked to decide even a small thing like our roster. FYI Michael Tan was at that time a evp or something like a deputy ceo.

Albert Tay, my senior was also gutsy and decisive. He would speak out at meetings even if it meant going against the boss. Few were like Albert.
There was an occasion when I wanted leave to attend to my wife who was going to give birth to our first born but was flatly rejected by my manager. Albert spoke up for me and without the consent of that balless manager granted me leave.
I am till this day very grateful to Albert.

Last but not least that svp called Eddie J.

What about svp Eddie J? He was superb, a kind boss who would help you in time of trouble. He wrote a cheque of $5,000 to help a colleague stave off bankruptcy.
It was not a loan but a gift to help a subordinate in his time of need. Many bosses and so called friends  boasted about their wealth but none would spare you a cent if you are in financial trouble.
In fact Eddie was asked by his ceo to terminate that colleague of ours.
Later on when Eddie retired, his successor terminated that colleague. What a contrasting boss this one was!
Eddie was a warm person,gentle and always willing to listen to his subordinates. He was one boss whom you can't easily "curry favour". Eddie was also an unassuming svp, seldom talk about his achievements but like to praise others.
I wish him well and may he leads a healthy life (which he is).


Former crew said...

Cyril i remember u too. My your soul RIP.

I was there said...

Ah Yup bestest director of cc