HRM Asia’s quiet achiever

HRM Asia Editor Sham Majid pays tribute to our magazine’s Senior Graphic Designer Amos Lee, who passed away on December 31.

On New Year’s Eve, just as I was about to board my flight back to Singapore after my vacation, I received an urgent company memo sent to all staff of HRM Asia.

It was announced that Amos Lee, our Senior Graphic Designer and the longest-serving employee of our organisation, had passed away in the early hours of New Year’s Eve.

Amos had lost a brave and very private battle against cancer.

I was stunned, and speechless. I kept reading the message over and over just to digest the shocking news. During the seven-hour journey back, I retraced the points of our working relationship together.

A cherished employee

Being on the small editorial team of HRM Asia, Amos and I shared a bond that only graphic designers and journalists will truly understand. We each bring different, equally important assets to the table – words and images and design – to create something new and engaging every day.

Ever since I joined HRM Asia in 2014, Amos was always been the go-to guy to talk through how to truly tell a story, combining my content with creative story-telling and deft lay outs.

He was always been patient with me, and tolerated my early mistakes and inexperience, never casting me aside as a novice.

As I climbed the career ladder to become assistant editor, and eventually Editor of HRM Asia, Amos was always supportive of my professional journey, never doubting my credentials.

Of course, like any other editorial team, we sometimes shared conflicting views over how a story should be presented or what should take priority. However, no debate was ever personal, and after the discussion, we would always come to a common consensus and shake hands on it.

More than simply being a vital cog in the editorial team’s machine, Amos was also well-liked by everyone within the office, known for his chirpy morning greetings whenever our colleagues stepped into the pantry to whip up their morning cuppa.

Without fail, Amos would be making his own secret recipe herbal tea daily, preparing himself for what would always be a busy day ahead.

His love for technology is the stuff of legend within the HRM Asia office, and he was renowned for taking a few days off his annual leave to attend the yearly IT Fair to stock up his collection of the gadgets.

One especially fond memory I have of Amos epitomised his unselfish and thoughtful demeanour.

Despite what was our magazine’s print deadline day, Amos took the time out to design a special “cover” as a farewell gift for our then Editorial Director, who was serving her last day with HRM Asia.

Despite being fully aware that this extra work would delay the final stages of the magazine, he still went ahead, knowing that it would be a memorable parting gift for our then Editorial Director.

A refreshing throwback

It is no secret that Amos was by far the longest-serving employee within the HRM Asia organisation, having spent more than 14 years with the magazine as it switched between different owners.

In an era characterised by job-hopping and restless employees looking to broaden their horizons every few years, Amos’ track record is a refreshing throwback to an age that personified loyal and dedicated employees who only desired to hone their craft.

That he did so with a fast-changing small business is all the more remarkable.

Amos was also the type of employee who didn’t chase for accolades or praise. Instead, he simply plugged away at his work without any fuss. All he needed was his small portable radio and secret blend of Chinese herbal tea to keep him going.

With companies often feeling forced to mollycoddle staff, Amos’ no-frills demeanour and quiet achievement is something all organisations should look out for, pay attention to, and cherish.

Some fast-moving high performers will come and go, and the organisation will tend to be happy for as much effort as they can get out of them, but loyal and steady employees like Amos will stay, no matter how rosy or dire circumstances are.

Only once they depart will an organisation truly realise the scale of the loss.

Rest in peace Amos, our dear colleague and friend.

You will never be forgotten.

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