My Unforgettable trip to Singapore
Transcript of one of my Toastmaster speeches
My Unforgettable trip to Singapore
Today, I wish to share with you an experience from my past that I truly cherish. It is about my Unforgettable trip to Singapore.
For you to enjoy this story even better, allow me to give you some background.
I was in my early 20s, fresh out of college, young, fired by ambition, head full of dreams but with nothing in my pocket. I added up the money that was required for achieving my dreams and the total was for 10 million rupees (approx $200,000). My paycheck then was 800 rupees($17). The comparison looked ridiculous.
I needed foreign currency to realize my dreams. I decided to find a job in Singapore.
I applied long distance and got no response. I got a little adventurous and I shot a video of myself, a mini 15 min commercial, showcasing my technical and communication skills. I had my references talk into the camera telling them what a great guy I was. Still, No response. They must have thought I was crazy.
That was when I saw this advt in a Singapore newspaper about a career fair. It mentioned that about 150 organizations would be participating. Here was the perfect opportunity.
I pooled my 1 year’s savings into an airline ticket and took off. That was the first time I was stepping foot outside India.
I arrived in Singapore. It was a foreign land and everything about it was different. The people, the food, the language, the way they spoke English was different. It was fascinating. Even the way you make a phone call from a payphone was different. I had to think on my feet.
I rented this hotel room in a place called “Budget Place”. True to its name it wasn’t exactly a room. It was more like a closet. If you stood up from the bed, you would hit your head against the door. It was that small.
I dressed up in my best wool suit and my favorite tie. Real sharp. But, I was dressed all wrong for the weather. It was a sweltering 85 degrees. I broke into a sweat.
I had butterflies in my stomach. But, I was determined to dazzle them with my personality and charm and get that job.
I entered this huge convention center and there was the Career Fair.
But, Surprise! Surprise!…….It was a Career fair for school kids. My jaw dropped.
There were a million school kids there in cute little uniforms running from exhibit to exhibit. Exhibits of the s’pore armed forces, port authority etc.
And, here I was in a sweaty wool suit with my leather portfolio looking like a fish out of water. I felt incredibly stupid.
I sat in a quiet corner with tears streaming down my eyes. I had just blown a year’s worth of savings.
But, I had visitor’s visa for 6 more days. I was not going to let go without a fight.
I found the yellow pages started making cold calls to prospective employers. I called day in and day out. My 4th day in Singapore, I struck gold. I got an interview with a firm called “Total Automation”. It was a huge success. I was offered a position as a Control Engineer.
I returned home. In 2 months I received notification that my work visa had been rejected.
End of story.
I learnt a lot of important lessons from that trip.
The most important lesson being that even if you put a 110 % effort into an initiative it could still fail miserably.
And, There is a reason why that happens.
You lose something because something better is waiting for you.
When one door closes another one opens.
Today, I am here in the US earning 4 times of what I would have earned if I had got that job in Singapore.
If I would stayed in S’pore, I wouldn’t have met my wife.
I wouldn’t be here today sharing my experiences with you fine people.
What is important is to keep our dreams alive. The means to achieve them will follow.