“I am a simple man and I don’t have any story to tell.” That was the first thing Reddy said to me when I told him that he had been nominated for the next story. It took me a while to convince Reddy to talk to me… and I wrote him an email to say “Everyone has a story.”
“I have been at CHASSasia for 18 years now and I’m the 3rd (remaining) employee here. I am not highly educated and I still must work for a livelihood, of course. I really regret not listening to my mother and studying harder,” declared Reddy ruefully.
I still keep in touch with my pioneers and gurus who taught me a lot of things, including technical skills, and I regard them fondly as my mentors as well. We occasionally meet up to reminisce about the old days and they are my friends till today.
Reddy said, “I really don’t have much interest in anything. But I do enjoy hanging out with my friends. From when I was a young boy living in Kampung Silat (now known as Jalan Bukit Merah, which is very close to the CHASSasia Singapore office), I would hang out with my childhood buddies aka my blood brothers till the wee hours of the morning. We would go for makan (Singlish for ‘eat’), layang layang (kiting), play the chapteh (the player has to keep the chapteh in the air during a game without using his hands.the player has to keep the chapteh in the air during a game without using his hands.the player has to keep the chapteh in the air during a game without using his hands.the traditional feathered shuttlecock that the player has to keep in the air without using his hands) and just hang out to talk.
“I just enjoy spending time with my ‘brothers’, it doesn’t matter what we’re doing. Fast forward 30 years and I really haven’t changed at all,” laughed Reddy. We just do different things now lah… like pond fishing for prawns and fish at a farm mart at Sungei Tengah. We also gather at my friend’s fish noodle stall in one of the coffee shops at Pioneer Road or one of the pubs that another friend works at. It’s my happy hour.. ‘mei you fan nao’ (which means ‘no troubles’ in Mandarin).
“One of my favorite pastimes is also eating. I remember, with great fondness, my favorite prata stall at ABC market (popular market that started in Singapore in the eighties). I was a regular and the ‘uncle’ knew my late father and me. I can go to that stall up to three times a day even! What was quite unique about this stall was the curry, which was dahl cha (veggie and mutton), and of course, I love their prata, the crispy type. The stall is no longer there now, but when I think about my dad, I remember that prata too.”
So, this is how I would describe Reddy: he is a happy go-lucky guy, loyal, reliable, sentimental at heart. He can talk to anyone and is a best friend to a lot of his buddies, someone they can count on when they need any help. Once, he helped to send flowers to one of his friend’s love interest because the guy was too shy. The good news is that his friend and the lady is now happily married with two children today.
“Thankfully, my favorite things in life don’t cost any money. And I feel that the most important thing is to enjoy my life by spending time with my friends and family.. and just be happy because that’s all that matters.”