About ROV


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Singaporean Friends

It's something that I'll never take for granted.

As an expat, I move every year or two.
Each time, I know that my only chance of success is through the help of people who don't know me.
People who know that I will eventually leave.
People who could spend time with their long-term relationships, rather than with me.

Smile Singapore? No Problem!

Mei Kuan

People who have little to gain through my success.
People who, nevertheless, unfailingly, help me.

Every time it surprises me. And every time, I ask myself, why? Why do they take the time to help me?

And the only answer I can find, happily, is that people really do like to help. People prefer to be nice, when given the chance. And Singapore is no exception.

I mention this because Singapore has a reputation.
A reputation for rude people, bad service, and sour faces. A reputation that is not wholly undeserved.
Any country that has to run a yearly promotion to encourage it's citizens to smile, obviously has some issues to solve in the area of social interaction.

And yet this reputation is not deserved by the people I know.

The first person I met in Singapore was Mei Kuan, and she's been a great friend from day one.
Quick to smile, with a great laugh, she was eager to help me from the moment she knew that we might move to Singapore.
She lives in America now, and it's always a highlight for me to see her when I'm back there.

Another one of the worlds' great smiles is owned by my former administrative assistant,

Kevin and Jodi

Desmond, Jason, and Yin Yin

and current friend Jodi.

I've described Jodi as "the purest light I've ever known", and it's the best description I have.
Being around her is like standing under the bright sun. Without fail, she warms you up.

Desmond and Jason are typical of Singaporeans, as well. Smart, hard-working, but never taking work as anything more than work, they understand that there is always a balance that must be maintained in life.

When I think of the guys I worked with - Boon Hui, Wilfred, Vincent, Peter, Eric, Paul, Pang, Mat, Alan, and others - it's hard to imagine a need for the 'Smile Singapore' campaign.
It was always harder to get this group to stop laughing than to get them started. Not that I tried very hard.

But, of course, Singaporeans are not known for being frivolous. They are known as industrious, goal-oriented individuals. And that's also true.

When I think of someone being 'Singaporean', I usually think of Nicole. As a Chinese, born and raised in Malaysia, she embodies the multi-cultural aspect of Singapore.
As a working woman, she is typical of this country, where businesswomen can be as successful as men.
And like many younger people, she's interested in the 'quality of life' issues that older Singaporeans didn't have the luxury of pursuing.
She's ambitious. She's curious. She's thoughtful. She's passionate. She's smart. She's funny.


And she's one of the people who makes me optimistic about the future of Singapore.

But, I'm just scratching the surface.
There are so many people who helped me in so many ways.
Lilian and her food sharing, Puay Han and his advice giving, Ann and her 'above and beyond' help with our move, and people like Cecilia, Keith, Pan, Chee Ling, Watson, Romeo, Yin Yin, and others who were just cool to be around.

I probably can't ever return the many favors, but I can say one thing that I hope gives them some small satisfaction - long after the smell of durian fades away, when the taste of pepper crab is gone, and feel of moist air is a distant memory, I will think of the people - and smile.