Lessons from Public Bank’s 45th birthday bash video
AUG 18 — The video of Public Bank’s 45th anniversary was already making jaws drop when it surfaced on my Facebook on Monday evening.
And my anticipation was also heightened by stories told to me by ex-Public Bank staff about the company’s annual dinners so I expected something interesting to say the least.
I was not disappointed as I watched the video on my Blackberry, trying not to laugh out loud at the cafe I was in at what seemed to be cheesy throwaway lyrics and the sight of Public Bank’s esteemed founder being flanked by what looked like PDRM outriders and Korean Ulzzangs.
But somehow I found myself hooked.
As I wrote on Facebook yesterday, I “abused” the replay button watching the video.
At first it was because I, like so many others, found it so humorous.
But like a good piece of grass-fed beef which releases its flavours the more you chew, the video upon closer inspection revealed some things which I think are pretty instructive.
Yes, the theatrics of the evening were over the top. But let it not be said that Public Bank staff don’t know how to put on a show.
I have attended literally hundreds of events, both here and abroad as a journalist and not many, if any at all, can match Public Bank’s 45th in sheer scale and spectacle.
Such was the epic-ness of the night’s proceedings that a Singaporean friend even remarked: “Eat your heart out NDP (Singapore’s National Day Parade).”
Surely that says something about the creativity, discipline and dedication of the staff who managed to pull it off while still getting the bank voted as the best managed company in Malaysia.
And in this age of perpetual (and unnatural) stress with clouds of economic doom and various other threats and disasters seemingly always on the horizon, it is fun to see people have a good time while going all-out for someone they clearly respect if not outright adore.
Again, having attended so many functions, both government and corporate, you can tell if something is done with passion or because they had to.
Cynics may say it’s just a matter of throwing money around but I have attended expensive affairs before but all felt as flat as a frozen pancake compared to this sizzling juicy steak of an event.
For someone to have so clearly inspired passion in so many people, it is not an easy feat and again, something to think about.
Did it look cultish? Perhaps at times, especially the bit towards the end with the lifting of outstretched arms. But the veritable explosion of singing, dancing, whistling and waving of flags with joyous wild abandon, that’s something which is not that easy to fake.
If nothing else, it appeared that many of the Public Bank staff felt caught up in paying tribute to the man who involved them in building something bigger than themselves and the lyrics of the song, which I annoyingly found to be an ear-worm, reflect that.
“We’re flying higher, we are the future ... ”, all clichés and hyperbole at first glance, but at the same time, the unadorned optimism, ambition and sense of unity in the lyrics is something we desperately need as a country and it would be great if someone could give that to us.
And, of course, the fact that so much effort went into celebrating Public Bank’s founder is also something to ponder.
We won’t know, of course, how Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow really is as a person.
But as a friend asked on Facebook last night: “Will you guys celebrate your bosses like this?
The question was tongue-in-cheek but really, what better testament is there to a life than how others celebrate it?
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.