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Well that’s quite a dramatic blog post title isn’t it.
Christ, what do you think I could be talking about?
Well it’s a post in 2 halves – so let’s start with the good news shall we?
There’ll be no blogging next week.
Yes, you guessed it, it’s because I’m going on yet another holiday.
Except this time it’s not for some work trip ‘holiday’ – oh no – this time it’s the real deal because China shuts up shop for a week so an estimated 300 million people can take a trip back to their hometowns to be with their family as part of the annual October holiday.
So that’s the good, so what’s the bad?
Well in a lot of ways, it’s not bad – in fact it’s wonderful and exciting and full of happiness and promise.
Today, after almost ten years, my dear friend, Fredrik Sarnblad, leaves Singapore – and BBH – to start a new life in America as one of the planning heads at Mullen.
I am incredibly happy for him.
Fredrik is a wonderful, talented, caring, gentle, wise man.
For that alone, he deserves nothing but the absolute best … but given this year has been particularly traumatic due to a number of personal tragedies, he deserves it even more.
I first met Freddie at Y&R in 2005.
We clicked immediately.
Maybe it’s because we looked somewhat similar [ie: bald & glasses] … maybe it’s because we shared similar backgrounds … maybe it’s because we both fucking hated a particular individual in the organisation … but we hit it off.
I was incredibly fortunate to be able to work with Freddie for a number of years – which uncoincidently – coincided with a period of unparalleled and unprecedented growth, both in terms of revenue, clients, new business and creative awards.
When he left, which he announced when I was on my honeymoon I hasten to add, I was utterly devastated but I knew it was the right thing for him to do and just hoped our friendship would continue.
I needn’t of worried … though I do think it could have a lot to do with the fact I was the only person who would happily join his regular Mandarin Oriental buffet massacres or that I didn’t mind being seen in his company despite him openly loving Toto, occasionally wearing his pants too high or sometimes deciding to dress up in an outfit that would make Elton John jealous. [which he has wisely removed all evidence of it ever happening]
In all seriousness, Freddie has been – and is – an amazing friend.
If I’m honest, he’s been more of a friend than I could ever of hoped for.
Time and time again, his compassion, companionship, consideration, advice, loyalty and humour have seen me through moments of crisis – from work related nightmares to the happy nervousness I felt when I was going to ask Jill to marry me and then, 6 months later, when I got hitched in front of him and a bunch of my family and friends in Singapore.
In short, we have been through all sorts of trials and tribulations together – and while some have been more challenging than others – I’ve always felt he had my back and that is testimony to the kind of man he is.
Ten years is a long time to live in any country – especially ever-transient Singapore – so if he’s anything like me, he’s going through a whole range of emotions, but as he’s soon going to be reunited with his beloved family [who left a few months before to sort out schools etc], I’m sure any sentimentality is overshadowed by the feeling of happiness and excitement that his family are embarking on a new chapter of their lives together … starting with their first, true [& huge] family home, including gorgeous Weimaraner puppy, Beckett.
I’ve had many long conversations with him about this over the years so I know how long the family have wanted it, which is why I’m so incredibly happy that it is now finally happening for them all.
That said, I will miss him.
I worry terribly that I’ll never see him again … that my meal with him last week will be the last time I ever see him.
I hope not, that would make me incredibly sad.
Singapore will never be the same for me now he’s not there.
Meeting him was, quite simply, one of the best things that has ever happened to me and given that – along with my marriage [which I'm not saying because the rest of this post makes me sound uber-gay] – all took place in the City State, it will forever be a place that holds a special place in my heart.
I am honoured – and amazed – to be able to call this great man my friend.
He is a special in every possible way.
Mullen are lucky to have him, America is lucky to have him, society is lucky to have him.
More importantly, I am lucky to have him.
Safe travels my dear friend, I’m already missing you.
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