Lloyd's List
16 December 13
PSA party knocks them dead

By Tom Leander

From left: ASM commercial director Grant Rowles with Steve Matthews, Caroline Lim and Tom Leander.

Ports giant picks James Bond theme for a cracker of a Christmas bash

ONE of the vexing characteristics of the holiday season is a kind of sameness: every year the same jingles, the same type of movies and planes packed with families going to the same places.

PSA head of human resources and corporate affairs Caroline Lim may have had an antidote to this in mind with an annual Christmas party typically scheduled at the cusp of the season before the onslaught begins.

The port giant hosts the evening at the penthouse space of its headquarters building on Alexandra Road in Singapore, the lights of the city and port glistening below like ornaments.

Attended by about 50 journalists and media professionals — some flown in all the way from London — the party strikes an original theme each year that the staff begins brainstorming for about nine months before the event.

Ms Lim has 30 years' experience in senior human resources roles at multinationals based in Asia, Europe and the US, including an early stint at Apple.

It could be that the Cupertino company's famously creative style may have influenced her approach to team building — including her own team and journalists who cover PSA.

Or perhaps she gave Apple an idea or two. This year's theme was Dressed to Kill, with a 007 motif and most attendees arriving as a character from the spy franchise or an offshoot.

Sharanjit Leyl, Singapore producer/presenter for BBC World News, and two evenings before, the host of the Lloyd's List Asia Awards, arrived as Moneypenny.

Rivieria Maritime Media editorial director Steve Matthews, pictured with the Union Jack bow tie, arrived as Johnny English.

Lloyd's List's Tom Leander, right, forgot his tux, but was an easy stand-in for bumbling CIA operative Felix Leiter.

Lim — with no apologies to Judy Dench — assumed the role of M.

The party pitted separate tables with Bond film names in a quiz testing their observational skills from blockbuster movie clips, each introduced by a "transmission" from M elucidating a storyline that culminated in identifying a deadly double agent.

Previous parties run by the PSA team tested the journalists on identifying classic daubs from the Louvre, the Prado and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Another asked them to pitch up for a Truman Capote-esque black and white style ball.

Journalists, who generally need no excuse to drink, somehow always find one in the festive atmosphere and close the party down in the wee small hours after a karaoke session to make Neil Diamond wish he'd gone into real estate.

In October Lim published a book, Wonderland, drawing on her experience in human resources.

The book, lavishly illustrated and suitable as a coffee table volume, is about team building and company transformation, and takes a lead from the stunning creativity of the Lewis Carroll classics as it follows an "Alice" through the relationships, perils and adventures of bringing meaning and excitement to work life, and attaining personal goals while advancing those of the company — and the shareholders.

The underlying message: a workplace without imagination is losing its touch.

No danger of that at PSA.

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