Retail & Lifestyle Director, Sulian Tan-Wijaya

I grew up in a neighborhood that was full of alpha males. We were all about the same age and they were all pretty competitive. All of us were straight-A students and competitive in sports. Everyday after school, we’d be cycling around the estate and playing badminton. I clearly remember how we used to circle one another on our bicycles, arguing about who did better in class.
I was a socially awkward kid. The kids in my predominantly male neighborhood in Thomson were all like that; we weren’t very socially savvy.
The fierce competition I faced when I was growing up has rubbed off on me. People were always comparing notes about who did better and I was determined to be a top student.
I didn’t grow up with girls except with my sister, who is now a socialite. She’s always been that way since she was young. Our personalities are totally different. 
Back in the day, I played practically every sport. I started narrowing my interests down to what I really liked when I entered secondary school. I started out in athletics but when I tore my ligament, I joined the school swimming team. I also played squash.
I was in National Junior College but I was very playful so my mom made me go to Hwa Chong instead. It was kind of like a punishment for me.

When I was in the university, I formed a rock band with a couple of people including David Rasif, who’s now Singapore’s number one fugitive. He was my lead singer and I was the keyboardist. We played music by Led Zeppelin and Journey. I felt more inclined toward contemporary music although we learnt a lot of classical music in school.
Growing up in all-girl schools like St. Nicholas, there were all these schoolgirl crushes. It’s like this: When you go to school and you open up your desk, chances are you’ll see a present like a handwritten card or something in there. Instead of having boyfriends, I’d have girls following me around. I was a pretty butch girl. These crushes didn’t really go very far because I didn’t know what to make of them. My experience in school might explain why I have so many gay friends.
I used to collect watches. I enjoyed hunting down classic watches you can’t really find in stores. I went for auctions and spent time on eBay to find that really unique Rolex. The watch I’m wearing now is quite unusual because the strap is plain and has shiny and matte accents. Right now I have about 20 to 30 watches from brands like Bvlgari and Rolex.
My favorite fashion brands may seem pretty unlikely. I like Spanish labels like Bershka and Pull & Bear. I also love H&M!
Banking is pretty much a pressure cooker environment because when you start lending money to companies, you are responsible for making sure the money gets paid back. In the case of managing a client’s portfolio, you want to make sure the client doesn’t lose money. That can be very stressful.
I’ve been offered banking jobs quite a bit in the past 10 years but I enjoy what I’m doing right now too much.
I think the word “socialite” is a real word that defines people. I know a lot of them. I wouldn’t call myself one though.