Thursday, June 16, 2016

From Winner To Loser (从精英到失败)

You know, once upon a time, people who were able to work in MNC electronic firms in Penang Free Industrial Park were thought to be creams of the society and they were high and mighty. When you talk to them, their eyes would be looking upwards rather than looking at you. I am not about to put any more cynical remarks on these folks as their good time is over. What I am interested to tell you is a bizarre story about a senior manager, Mr. Tan.

During the beginning of millennium, an electronic firm with initial ‘I’ were expanding rapidly in Penang. The company built one factory building per year for a consecutive of a decade; and Mr. Tan was the person in charge of this rapid expansion. It was a local custom that prior to construction projects, a sumptuous offering session would be in order. However, since Mr. Tan is not local to Penang and he is not a believer in supernatural things; not only he scorned at the suggestion, he also forbade his fellow workers and contractors to set up any forms of worship at work site.

Now, Mr. Tan was a high-flyer in his company and he was pretty respected amongst his fellow workers. It was said that he was the ‘next in-line’ in the top company management…

Due to Mr. Tan’s very important position in the company, he was given a brand new company car to facilitate his position as the project manager of several construction projects. Just as everyone was jealous about Mr. Tan’s success, an unexpected incident happened:

During one of Mr. Tan’s site survey trips, he dropped by a petrol station to refill his tank. Suddenly his car caught fire unexpectedly with him trapped in his car. Although the station workers and passer-by tried to put off the fire, the fire was too fierce to be handled and fire brigade was called. When the fire was finally put under controlled, Mr. Tan’s brand new car was completely burnt to bare bone. Luckily this Mr. Tan was pulled out by a worker at the last minute. Though he was escaped unharmed, Mr. Tan did inhale much of the smoke and he was sent to hospital for observation.

Everyone thought Mr. Tan’s ordeal was over and he finally returned to his office. Though Mr. Tan seemed to quite himself in his work, everyone worked with him could feel that this Mr. Tan is not the Mr. Tan that he/she used to know. Many of his instructions to his fellow workers were quite harsh and plans were changed at the last minute. Consequently, many of the projects were delayed and underestimated. As I heard, this poor Mr. Tan was put in ‘cold storage’ until he left the company.

Please bear in mind, before the fire incident, Mr. Tan was a sharp and capable person and he could manage multiple projects at one time. No one knows for sure what caused Mr. Tan’s performance to drop dramatically. People who sat closed to Mr. Tan claimed that they felt Mr. Tan became dumbed and he always had his eyes fixed towards the space in front of him and self-talked in his office. He used to mummer: “I saw her… I saw her…”

I am not about to guess what happened to good old Mr. Tan but perhaps it was the fact that he didn’t made offerings to the Datuk spirits in his project sites?

Coincidentally, I came across Mr. Tan a year ago when I was having dinner with my business partner but he tried to avoid me by going out from the restaurant back door…

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