"I am large. I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


This Friday marks the start of my 18th year here in Singapore.

I think it is fitting to celebrate that by talking about mentors.

When I think of mentors, I think of those people who have honed my skills, pushed me to become better, believed in my potential and were convinced that I had what it takes.

In my 20 years in the workforce, I have really only had two mentors, both women. The first is Ms. Yong whose company was my first client in my first PR agency job back in Manila. She is the reason I relocated to Singapore as she had created a job for me in her company here.

The second mentor I've been blessed with is Georgette, who hired me to fill a newly created position in a regional TV network. That was the start of my career in the Asia media industry.

Since then, I've not really had any mentors. I mean, I've learned from many people - both what to do and what not to do - but I can't say that any of them were like Ms. Yong and Georgette to me. It warms my heart to tell you that I'm still in touch with Georgette and that she continues to inspire me. She not only helped pave the way for my sister Piglet to get her first job here, she also contributed to some of my endeavors, including donating the most money when I ran the half-marathon for Jack, proving to me once again that (1) God loves me and (2) God sends us angels.

Tonight, out of the blue, after more than a decade, Ms. Yong called me asking for help in copywriting for a project. I told her we should discuss further as I was not in the habit of committing to a task if I cannot deliver. And she agreed to let me take a look at the requirements first. And you know, she said something I had never really heard her say before. She said she bragged about me to other people. About how good a writer I was and how I was so efficient, leaving at 6pm everyday but meeting all my deadlines and making sure the work was good.

And for the first time in a long, long time, I had the chance to thank her for believing in me and bringing me to Singapore. I don't think she'll ever really know how many lives she's touched by the opportunity she gave me. The ripple effect of all that.

And although those first two years here were going-through-fire years for me - on almost all aspects of my life, including my faith - I would not be who I am without those years. I am thankful for those years.

I'm grateful too for my mentors. God bless and keep them. May God continue to send me people with whom I can learn not just to be a good worker, but a better human being. And may God send me out to the world to do the same.

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