I suppose it’s so easy to over generalized the term “boss” is associated to one of a male gender. Heh..heh…sorry to disappoint you people out there lah yer, my “date” was this one charming lady, a person whom I used to report to many years back.
Mee Ying, as how she is affectionately called, sms-ed me last week, checking if that the mobile number was mine. I immediately returned call to her. Like a small child elated to meet up a long lost kar che, I conveyed to Mee Ying that we must meet before she returns home. Mee Ying now resides in Melbourne after leaving the company that we used to work for.
I took leave yesterday afternoon for my date with Mee Ying. Since she was putting up at the Legend, we decided to just meet at the hotel, saving us some traveling time, thus allowing us more time to catch up. Traffic was smooth yesterday and I didn’t have much problem with my drive to town. The sky did look a little gloom, so I said a little prayer for it not to pour. I certainly didn’t plan to be caught in the infamous KL jam.
Not long after I arrived, Mee Ying came down and met me at the lobby. She looked just the same as how she was the last time I met her, no signs of aging, fit as a Tweety bird and as chirpy as she has always been. We then settled at one corner in the lobby of the hotel for some latte and smoothies.
We spoke and rekindled the old times, those days when we laboured together ensuring the eight stores and their fleet were in good shape. As we talked we recollect the few unique characters whom we both knew and were familiar with. Some names came easy, whilst others took a little longer to recall. I actually owe it to Mee Ying for putting the trust in me to undertake the task of running the Training Department in the company. That time, I was one fresh employee who had just jumped camp, from the government service, trying to set firm footing in the corporate line.
Under the tutelage of Mee Ying, new things I learnt was in abundance, it wasn’t just in the area of operational and service training, but also in the human resource area per se, a discipline which I hadn’t much experience and knowledge. Both of us were responsible in the sourcing of staff for 3 new stores and training them till they could spurt out the display locations of items in the store with perfect accuracy. At the request of the customer, the staff would be able to provide answers that customers were seeking for, thus leaving them with a lasting shopping pleasure. My vocabulary at that time consisted mandate of the management – reduce shrinkage, and high margins. I remember one festive season the entire team had worked extremely hard to achieve a minimum of a million dollar sale for the day. In fact, we did even better when we closed shop that day. It was a whopping cumulative cash sales of more than RM3 million for the three stores in the Klang valley!!! Being a cash and carry outlet, transactions were all in cash. Just imagine how much of the purple and blue notes the cashiers collected from the moment the store opened till it closed its shutters in the evening. When I walked into the strong room where the day’s collection was kept, I saw only smiles on the faces of my frontlines. More sales meant huge bonus for them, of course. Well those were the good ole days, when we had a team of very competent and dedicated work force, right from the MD himself, down to the store hands.
Both of us chatted for quite a while, talking about family, how the kids have grown and how we have aged (she a bit, me a lot…heh..heh). I was very sad to know from her that our first MD had passed on. He left on the day that the new company took over the old place. Must have been so heart broken for he was the man who made the buisness happen in Malaysia. He, in fact was the first person who laid bricks during the store construction, when the first three stores were built sometime in 1993 – 1994.
These days, whenever I pass the store, I become a little melancholic upon seeing how much the place has changed. It now operates under a different name, and its business concept has also changed, catering to the present market demands. During the times when I do go there to shop, a few of the old staff would come over and acknowledge me. I’m happy to know that they still have their jobs, especially during these challenging times. Some would give me updates that so and so have left the company and now working at another place. I’m happy for them, and I trust all the teaching and training had made them more marketable in the job market.
To Mee Ying and family, wishing you a very Happy New Year and hope to catch up with you in Melbourne!!