Thursday, March 22, 2007

Here I come Middle East.(Jan 1980)

Life in Singapore

“Chiam” (Hokkien Dialect meaning Fortune Stick)

In the earlier blog, I mentioned about “Chiam” meaning “ Fortune Stick . You can always find them in most Taoist temples. As a practice, the devotees or visitors to the temple will have to pray first to all the Chinese “god” and then later go and kneel in front of the Main God and use the Fortunes Stick to enquire anything they want.
By shaking the Fortune stick in its circular container, one will eventually come out. To confirm whether it is the right one, one must throw a pair of kidney shape wood called “Poi” into the air and if it appear to face opposite of it other than the “Chiam” you have picked is correct. With the “Chiam” you have to go the counter and pass it to the caretaker who will then pass to you a paper slip. Printed on this slip will be a story telling you what you have wished or want to ask for. Miracle, most the time question ask i is correct.

Tough and Hectic working life
I have to work quite late each day and by the time I reached home, it would be 12.00midnight. The project was behind schedule and with the help and proper guidance of my Senior Mechanical Engineer, Mr. Sundram, I manage to finish my work on time. He guided me very well in spite of not being a civil engineer.
The only time that I left early was on my payday. On that day, I would go to Orchard road and sat along the Boulevard opposite Lido cinema eating my favorite Mcdonald, Fillet O Fish. and returned home by 10.00pm. A good place to rest and for stress relieves.

One day back at the apartment, I met my college husband, a Senior Mechanical Supervisor, Mr. Chai Kum Fook, who came back from Middle East. He is a man with a macho built and is very friendly. He was talking to me one night about work in oversea and he would help me to ask whether any of the civil Project Managers need me to work in Middle East. I thanked him and just prayed for the best.

Finally, I completed the project and my Project Manager called me back to the Main office at Tanjong Kling road. Upon arrival, I went over to meet him and he told me that the Personal Manager would like to see me. I went and see the Personal Manager and introduced myself to him. He was very surprised and asked how old I was. My reply was 23+. He immediately took up the phone and dialed to someone and was discussing over with him in Mandarin After the call, he took out an air ticket and told me that I will have to go to Iran as per schedule on my ticket. His secretary will brief me more later and at the meantime I will have to go back to see my Project Manager. Taking the ticket with me, I went back to my department. My project manager told the personal manager was very shock that I am so young and asked him whether I was capable to go to Iran and he told him that two engineers who were working before me in the Chemical Plant could not finish the project but I did it. That news was a shock to me.

With the air ticket, I went back to the apartment and told my college wife that the company was sending me to Iran. I have requested and diverted my fly to Penang first so that I could be with my dad and mum for a few days. .Back in Penang, I was rescheduled to fly to Bangkok and for I have to apply for my visa personally at the Iran Embassy at Wireless Road, Bangkok. All documents for my application will be send to a hotel patronizes by my company.

On 10th January 1980, my parent sent me to the airport and after waving goodbye to them, I fell very sad and went straight into the departure hall.
From the departure hall, I could see them slowly walking out of sight. Teardrop started to drip down from my eye. I was very worry for them. I turned my head and when I was about to take a few steps forward, I heard a voice talking to me. The words were very clear and warm. Young man, why do you feel so sad? Those two are your parent right?. DO NOT BE SAD FOR THEY WILL KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES. GO FORWARD WITH YOUR CAREER. I turned around and said THANK YOU. She smiled and then walked away to her departure gate.

After getting my visa at the Iran Embassy on 12th.January, 1980, I flew from Bangkok, Thailand by Air France into Tehran, capital of Iran.
(edited on 14 May 2007: additional pic)

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