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Making a song and dance about it

By Taipan
28 Jan 2016

If my friends who work at international banks think their jobs are too demanding, they should have a look at some of the stunts those working at their Asian counterparts are expected to pull.

Now, the tradition of monthly team drinks is a treasured one and not without reason. It gives you a chance to loosen that tie and talk about things other than finance for once, all the while sipping a smooth, expensive whiskey on the boss’s tab.

A fixture at most banks, the ritual has been institutionalised at the more rigidly hierarchical Asian firms too. But going by the unfavourable account of a chap I met recently at a conference, far from boosting team morale, these outings are seen as yet another task — albeit unpaid.

The guy isn’t being critical without reason. Just recently, his team was asked to “liven up” the atmosphere at their pre-Chinese New Year drinks by singing a song that captured their bonhomie.

Not everyone is a nightingale and my new friend was certainly not gifted in the vocal department. Unfortunately, thanks to his seniority, he was expected to pick the song and organise the chorus. No deals were launched by him that day as he spent most of his time complaining about the absurdity of it all.

Later though, I learned that he skipped the fanfare pleading ill health. Guess the idea of singing for his supper didn’t sit too well with him.

By Taipan
28 Jan 2016