Halloween comes early

Scream fest: Marketing manager Justina Seow reacts to her newly-decorated work desk.

OCTOBER is always a fun month, despite being super hectic. This is the month that sees me travelling for work every week; the month of birthday parties, and of Octoberfest. Although I don’t drink, it’s a big celebration for all Germans and other beer drinkers, which kind of gets everyone in the mood to celebrate.

Amidst this party atmosphere, I am up to my eyeballs getting our collection ready for a fashion week at Siam Paragon in Bangkok next month, which will be featuring many international designers on the same stage in solo slots. I’m getting very nervous and stressed over that challenge, but I must say it’s a good kind of stress.

I also need to make sure my up coming “big project” (which will be a surprise) is moving along on the right track. This promises to be worth celebrating, so watch out for a public announcement soon. And then, we are preparing our year-end collection, managing the post-export collection marketing, and so on. Things are just moving along crazily.

It’s also Halloween month, and parents would have started to think of what costumes to get for their kids, while scratching their heads for crazy party ideas.

I have seen some impressive yucky but cool food ideas for these spooky nights like eye balls meringue, cut-out finger sausages, worm pasta, bloody mouse meat balls and so on. They look real ugly but taste incredible.

My son Max just learnt how to cook his first Halloween dish at the Young Chef Academy this week, the Bloody Mouse! It was very scary to look at, but bloody yummy. Unfortunately, I’ll be burning the midnight oil for the show during Halloween week, so I can’t celebrate. Sigh! But I will still encourage my colleagues to dress up to work on the day. Just for fun, just for laughs, just to cheer us all up!

Actually, we might have celebrated Halloween a little earlier than other people. About two weeks ago, our marketing manager Justina Seow went on a two-week holiday. Since I was a little stressed at work, I wanted to do something fun and totally crazy for a positive energy boost. The thought came to me that we should always bring something funny to the office to have a good laugh and destress. Let off steam, release some tension, create good vibes!

I recalled some photos I saw on this site called “While your colleague is away!” which shows some silly things one can do to a workstation when its occupant is not around. So I suggested to my staff that we “nicely” decorate Justina’s work area/desk before she comes back.

Everyone thought it was a great idea and were keen to be involved. Our story to her would be, since she was away so long, spiders had decided to move in, making their home at her desk and work area. As the idea started to grow, so did this web! It was only after we’d been at it for a while that we realised the timing was perfect for an early Halloween celebration. Since this project has begun, anyone passing her desk makes comments like “What’s is going on?” “Wow, cool!” or “Hahaha, oh NO!”

Even my kids were intrigued; they thought some real spiders had invaded the office and were actually afraid to get closer. Dirk has decided to record the special moment when Justina discovers how her workplace has been transformed, and has hidden a camera to capture that moment – it’s going to give us some great memories of work at Melinda Looi.

On the other hand, now our colleagues have some pretty good ideas of what they can do to their bosses when we are away. There is always time for payback, right? But you know what – I’m just glad to be able to create an inspiring, happy environment at work. If it means some unexpected surprises, all the better!

As long as everyone is happy, it’s ok to have some crazy fun once in a while. After all, life is pretty short. We should enjoy every moment we can.

On that note, happy October, folks!

Mel’s Place is a fortnightly column by Melinda Looi for The Star newspaper.

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