It was a fine afternoon on the fourth floor in one of the towers of Singapore’s largest banks.

Like any other work day, it was the constant sound of keyboards clicking away that mostly permeated the office. The floor’s occupant, a majority of which were external partners working on projects for the financial institution, could be occasionally heard talking in near whispers. Every now and then the phones would ring, their sound intentionally rendered as soft hums, followed by more whispering when they get picked up. Guests coming out of the elevators, speaking in loud voices as they get carried away by their ongoing conversations, were sure to catch everyone’s attention.

So you can imagine it was quite a scene when, at two in the afternoon, a small, previously invisible, bespectacled lady erupted from her quiet little corner.


The single word uttered slightly louder than the normal conversational voice made everyone turn their heads to discover she was speaking to someone on the phone.

“What do you mean I’m unfair?”

This came out even louder. The sound of keystrokes from the rest of the room had stopped completely. All eyes and ears were now glued to her.

“Of course I’m unfair! Life is unfair!” shouted the iron lady before slamming down the phone down as if to punctuate her statement.

It would be weeks before my colleagues and I would stop using her last sentence as our default answer to questions that began with why.