Ng Yin Chan
It was great to see so many of my schoolmates at the recent reunion held on August 10, 2002. At the reunion, we saw many of the most treasured photographs of Class 1971 and extracts of the school magazine, which brought back sweet memories of those years.
After I left school in 1973, I took a course in Fine Arts at the Malaysia Institute of Arts in Kuala Lumpur but did not get to complete the three years course, as it did not work out as planned. Went back to Seremban to help my sisters in their tailoring business after taking a short course in Fashion Designing from a Korean lady.
Got a job with Cathay Pacific as a Flight Attendant and left for Hong Kong in February 1980. The in-flight work was terrible but the places that CX flew to were interesting. For long haul flights to London, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, I really enjoyed all these places because we get to stay a couple of days when we were there. When I flew to London, I met up with Lai Cheng to catch up. It is always good to see a friend when you are out station. I love to fly to Japan because the place is nice, people polite and the food is super if you like raw fishes. I bought lots of things from the places that I flew. Of course, there are incidents that I would like to share with you - the worst experience was operating to Bombay with passengers kept asking us for vegetarian meal when they have eaten their normal main course. We have to tell them that we only have exact number of meals on board, if they have eaten their main course, we don’t have a spare one for them. Another embarrassing incident was a flight from KL to Hong Kong – we have a tour group on board, when we collected the trays at the end of the meal, we found that the trays were empty. Our Chief Purser has to talk to the Tour Leader and asked them to put everything back on the tray for us to collect! Worked for three-and-half years with CX and decided to quit.
Took a one-year Executive Secretarial course and worked as a Receptionist after graduation because I don’t have any office experience. The next job that I work was as a secretary cum-Accounts Assistant for an American that sells aircraft spare parts for two years.
Then in 1987, I worked as an Executive Secretary for an English boss who specializes in Corporate Finance. Was promoted from Executive Secretary to Manager in the course of nine years. He trained me to do Corporate Finance work because of my good command of English. Had to work very hard, long hours and lots of travelling, as we have to do feasibility studies for clients who were interested to acquire properties or factories in China in early 1990s. It was quite an eye opener for me to be in China, visiting factories and joint venture partners of our Hong Kong clients. I remembered one particular trip in February 1990 – we have to go to a remote province in Guanxi to see a white cement factory. We flew to Nanning in Guanxi and went to the factory the next day. It took us approximately 3.5 hours to the factory, all the way we have the Gong An (police) to pave the way for us because we were the guests of the Guanxi Secretary and stayed at the Rest House meant for high post officials. We got VIP treatments and felt very grand too. In China those days, you have to have connections; otherwise it will be very difficult. Even though I don’t read or write Chinese, my clients liked my work and insisted that I go with them to China to do the feasibility studies. Those days, women have no role in China and they were looked down by the men. My clients told their joint venture partners that they have to answer every questions that I asked them, if I disapprove the transaction, then there will be no deal, so based on that they were very cooperative.
I quit the job end of 1995 after nine years in the Corporate Finance sector as I decided that I want to have a less stressful time off, do some travelling and to take up some hobby. As I was on six months gardening leave and can’t work even though some of my clients wanted me to work for them, I took up swimming and clay making as my hobby.
As you can see from the attached photos, I find that clay making is very restful. One of my friend commented that he can tell from the things that I made that I am in a very tranquil mood when I make those flowers. I get the satisfaction when my friends gave me positive comments on the doll houses that I made. So far I have made Sam’s Green Grocer, Y. C.’s Cake Shop, Y. C.’s Bakery, Quilt House, YC & Sam’s Florist, Miniature Japanese Garden, etc. I will be holding a joint exhibition with other classmates in April 2003.
All in all I have been living in Hong Kong for over 22 years. Life over here is very interesting as it moves in a very fast pace because we feel that time is money. To many of you, you will find that everything over here is expensive but if you work here and spend here, it is all right. Properties are very expensive too as compared to Malaysia. For a small apartment of approximately 600 sq ft in the new satellite town which is far away from Central where the Business Center is, you have to pay HK$2 million+.
My sisters and brother are still in Seremban; I do miss home and especially Malaysian food. I definitely have Beef Noodles and Hakka Mee in the market that Seremban is famous for. Believe it or not, my sister bought me 10 packets of Hakka Mee when she visited me in June this year. I put them in the freezer so that I can eat them whenever I feel like it. There is a Prawn Mee shop in Wanchai that serves quite authentic Prawn Mee to me. We took my sister and her Malaysia friends to try out the noodle, they were full of complains – not enough prawns taste, chilies not hot enough, etc. We were so embarrassed because they were talking quite loudly!
I come back to Malaysia twice or three times a year depending on my leave. It is good to be back for slower pace of life. I try to catch up with friends (ex-CX crews) when I come back and now I have more friends to catch up with.