1 March 2014 Saturday | 0:37 | White-Collar WOOHOO!
It’s been exactly one year since I traded my headset for a new business card. Punters who thought I would lose my job prematurely are now sorely disappointed. I’ve been working my ass off in the last twelve months, because I don’t like to lose— unless you are talking about mahjong with close friends and family.
People have finally stopped asking if I have gotten used to office life. And I can finally tell you the full story, since it’s been a year, and that we have established the fact that I will not be going back to doing any power packed drive-time shows for five days a week.
I still enjoy going on air. I can still do it, but I don’t want to. I’d reached a point where I felt I wasn’t evolving as a radio presenter anymore. We all know our strengths and weaknesses, don’t we? I was only doing things I was good at— shouting ‘It’s Friday’, for instance. (I know I didn’t invent that phrase, but in my personal opinion, all other versions on other stations suck.) I avoided stuff I wasn’t good at, or situations which would expose my vulnerabilities. I can’t do emotional programmes like Music Diary, for example.
After a certain stage, my feedback sources dwindled. There were only a few people left who would—or could— still review my work. The rest either didn’t bother with me, or simply didn’t dare to. I admit I appear rather intimidating when I don’t smile. Well, I guess I could continue doing the morning show for a few more years. But you would just hear the same thing day after day. It’s not a good thing when things get too easy. It’s not cool to be able to close your eyes to do the highest rated radio programme in Singapore, and get away with any hiccups along the way. I didn’t want to sink to the levels of a mediocre DJ. I tried but I wasn’t improving or offering anyone anything new anymore. I had to exit, before I was asked to.
I had to get out of the comfort zone. That’s painful for most, and excruciating for me. Apart from losing the prestige of hosting Singapore’s #1 radio show, and the perks for being someone remotely famous, I gave myself a huge paycut. I wasn’t hosting events anymore. That additional income—pretty substantial honestly— which came on top of my regular pay wasn’t coming in any longer. But I had no choice.
I had to find a new meaning in life, and perhaps get used to a modified lifestyle because I’m not earning as much as I did. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that there aren’t too many legitimate jobs at this stage to match my previous salary. And I gave that up voluntarily because I needed a new challenge, a new start.
Incidentally, the first session I chaired a year ago was titled, ‘Y.E.S. 93.3FM Family Meeting: The Reboot Session’. I told my guys that ‘an iPhone is still an iPhone’— Y.E.S. 93.3FM is still the Mandarin station offering good music and quality entertainment programmes for students and young adults aged 15 to 34. And when you switch from iOS6 to iOS7, you get a brand new interface and some new features. Original functions you loved might had been dropped. I reminded my team that all developers want to push out the best software they could, but would inevitably discover some bugs along the way. That was a disclaimer: I may have all the best intentions, but I will probably make some stupid mistakes somehow. It is always better to under-promise and over-deliver, than the other way round. Ha!
It’s been a year. I thank the people involved, for this extraordinary breathtaking prelude to my corporate life. The honeymoon period is officially over. Fine, you can call me an idiot in my face if I repeat the same errors I made. In my sophomore year, I’m embarking on several highly exciting projects. That line really means that my folks have a lot more work to do this year.
We will be launching a new product line. Think Marc by Marc Jacobs, CK by Calvin Klein, or Armani Exchange by Armani. It’s an exhilarating experience to launch something from scratch— conceptualization, budget approval, inter department coordination, and finally making and delivering the product. You should be hearing of this publicly in the next couple of months. And if I screw things up, that would be delayed to 2046. But it will certainly happen.
And of course, my primary job is to ensure that YOU continue to listen to Y.E.S. 93.3FM. And while YOU are doing that, can YOU sorta influence your friends and family who aren’t already tuning in to do so please? Fine, I can’t have all five million people on this island claiming they are fans of the station. One more a day— while not losing any— goes a long way. YOU will do it for me, right? Ha! Long-time listeners like YOU would be aware that it is a tradition for us to unveil a new lineup in the first quarter of the year. 365 days ago, I said that I didn’t know when I would finally fade away. I took myself out of the morning show last year, and I will be removing myself from the weekday lineup this year. But, I will still be doing a weekly show. We’ll be announcing the full details on Monday.