I was not surprised to run into Mediacorp’s No 2 Lucas Chow at Ember in Keong Siak Street last month but that’s the sort of place a top media man is expected to be, no?
But guess what? Today (May 4), with mum and picky Siti in tow, we went for a quick bite at Great World City’s B1 food court and ran into
- one big name in corporate and academic circles and one relatively unknown name and face but having “blue blooded” connections
For the first, it was a real surprise to see Dr Cham Tao Soon, known for his gourmet tastes, to be gracing a humble food court.
If you don’t know Dr Cham, he is the deputy chairman of the SPH Board ( u know the group that gives us The Straits Times) as well as a director of UOB Bank, WBL Corp, and Soup Restaurant. (Perhaps he was there to check out the food competition?).
He is also chairman of NSL which has had many controversies with Oei Hong Leong over the company’s name change from the historic NatSteel to NSL.
Be4 he entered the business world, he spent more than 30 years in academia. Even now, he continues to be involved, being made President Emeritus of the Nanyang Technological University for his exemplary contributions to the university. He was, after all, NTU’s founding president! Currently, he is the Chancellor and Chairman of SIM University.
And if that’s not long enough a list of work activities for a man his age, he is also a member of the Council of Presidential Advisers and Chairman of the Singapore Symphonia Co Ltd, Singapore-China Foundation Ltd and Nanyang Fine Arts Foundation Ltd. And a director of the Singapore International Foundation.
By contrast, the other person I saw at the food court is almost as unknown as yours truly but comes from a far more distinguished lineage than anything I could claim, even in my wildest dreams.
She happens to be the daughter of someone whose name graces one of our streets in Chinatown. Her grand-dad left behind a well-known brand name that graces countless retail outlets in Singapore.
Tatttaaa… she is Sheila Eu, the daughter of the late Eu Tong Seng whose father founded Eu Yan Sang. And she’s also the half-sister of Shaw Vee Meng who heads the Shaw Organisation in Singapore.
What do my encounters at the food court prove? That it is the one great leveller in Singapore, serving food and beverages good enough for the most highly placed, those with blue blooded lineage and yes, humble ole moi!
Afterword: After writing this, the next day (May 5), I ran into Ngiam Tong Dow, highly placed ex-civil servant who is high-profiled in recent years by telling tales out of school in Harvard Club n such like talks and newspaper articles — at the Tanglin Club. Mr Ngiam is also a SPH director.
Soon after, Tan Boon Teik, former attorney general several times removed from the current incumbent, also ambled in.
Still running into these two elderly gentlemen at the Tanglin Club, like running into Lucas Chow at Ember, is to be expected. It’s after all their kind of watering hole. What would have been a bigger surprise is to run into them at a food court a la Dr Cham!