Monday, November 21, 2011

Working Hour Lunch Feasts

The lunch feast

Starting a company in a foreign land is not easy, especially when you have to battle floods, riots, more floods and sneaky amnesty proposals. Just click the link of the right-hand bar under the label "Working in Thailand" and you will see some of the difficulties I have faced over the past 2 years.

That said, taking care of a company on your own does have its perks too. At least I can run it the way I feel a proper company should be run, treat customers the way they rightfully deserve, and most importantly, build up a team of people who will give their heart for a common cause and collectively reap rewards from it. Though I made my fair share of mistakes (and will continue to make them), the decision to provide free rice, condiments, rice cooker and electric stove has proven to be a masterstroke, one that is making me very satisfied indeed.

20baht per head (the rice is free) for this spread of authentic thai food, beat that

The picture above is a typical lunch at my office. Clockwise from the top left is Thai spicy sauce (a condiment to go with the food/rice), Thai red curry chicken with pumpkin, spicy catfish stirfry, spicy pork stirfry with long beans and basil, TES-cooked smoked fish soup (my staff cooked it with smoked fish made by another staff's mom) and finally deep-fried pork strips with garlic. Everyone would take turns to bring their favourite ingredients and even cook their best dishes to share with the company.

The best thing is actually not the food. It's the camaradarie built when everyone sits down around the same table, waiting for each other to be ready before tucking in, laughing together, refilling rice for each other when one has an empty plate. That's the best part. I'm not well-versed in Thai, but I sort of get most of the jokes made and contribute my own once in a while. I most fondly remember joining 4 Thai words together "Kin-Lao-Ro-Dai" (which means "drink whisky and wait for your death") which lightened the mood when everyone was worried about the floods a few weeks ago (I guess they just did not expect this chain of words to come out of my Malaysian mouth). They are still talking about it till this day.

TES family tucking in
I think this is not only a company, it is fast becoming a family. No matter how bad the day is, or how unreasonable a customer can be, I can always look forward to my team calling me at my extension at noon everyday asking me to join them for lunch.

The food isn't always spectacular, sometimes it does not suit my palate and I end up just having rice with omelette, but the warmth in my heart keeps me going for the rest of the day.


  1. I totally get it. It's like how abalone can taste bland when you eat it alone and maggie mee can be super yummy in the company of great friends and loved ones. Glad you have this feeling and this bunch of awesome people with you!

  2. Summer

    Yeah.... it makes me feel so satisfied to eat together with the team and know that this unity started from some decisions I made. That's what building a company is all about isn't it? So that there are people to keep u company when u are fighting for the same goal.



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