It’s the person you can talk to about anything under the sun, who has seen your warts and all, who urges you to spread your wings in areas you might have never considered, who always just happens to ring or send a text message just when you were thinking of them, and who celebrates your triumphs and downfalls like their own.
VIPs or Very Important Pals play an integral role in our lives as we navigate ups and downs, and milestones such as a new job, marriage or parenthood. They also form an important part of any wedding entourage, whether as bridesmaid or groomsman, musician or an escort to elders or the very young during the processional march.
With friendship being at the very heart of Singapore Tatler, International Friendship Day on July 30 is a special occasion for us, so we’d like to raise a toast to the wonderful friends we’ve come to know and to the bonds that have strengthened over the years through intimate gatherings and the championing of meaningful causes.
Two groups of friends in society share how they’ve journeyed together, their fondest memories of each other and what it takes to be a friend for life. In part two of this series, we speak to buddies John Lim, Shaun Tay and Andre Huber
Most guys don’t get caught up on details like when and how they met their best mate, and it’s no different for Andre Huber, John Lim and Shaun Tay.
The trio have been buddies for about four years, although John has known the other two men for longer and was the one who introduced them to each other. But that doesn’t mean they take their friendship lightly.
Being about the same age and all with young children—“We were around for each other for the births of all our children,” shares John—and wives who have common interests— Andre’s wife Belinda and John’s wife Tjin had an online business Babystyle Icon, while Shaun's wife Marilyn and Tjin collaborate on social enterprise CRIB together—has only made going from mere acquaintances to buddies a natural progression. They meet almost every week, for dinner or drinks, if not golf.
They move easily from business talk to jokes, and much like the fiercely loyal Athos, Porthos and Aramis, these men would do anything for their best mate—“John once sacrificed himself to take over a duty from me in reservist,” says Andre. Modern-day musketeers? Maybe. What’s more certain is the common hope that when they look back 20 years from now, they’ll see the legend of their friendship continue in the second generation as their kids grow up.
How exactly did you become so close?
Andre Huber (AH) I’ve known Shaun for four to five years and John for six. We bond over our love for golf, food and drinks. We also all have families around the same age so we share daddy issues.
John Lim (JL) We play golf together every now and then. It helps that our wives are also friends—they have their own meet-ups and engage in business activities together. On top of that we all have families with young children, so it's like we're all at similar stages of our family lives, and we holiday together too.
Describe your friendship.
Shaun Tay (ST) There is always a convivial dynamic between us. John and Andre are both good listeners, intuitive and highly intelligent. It’s a joy spending time with them both.
AH We love to have fun and someone with whom to have fun in life doing the things we love to do. I see them as peers whom I can have a good conversation with and we share common passions.
JL We're very lighthearted with our banter, share jokes in our group chat daily, and talk about the next golf game or equipment. But we can step it up to a more serious level, sharing contacts and experiences from our respective business fields. Whenever anyone shares a problem, we genuinely hope to provide constructive input that can lead to a solution.
Tell us about…
A mischievous thing you’ve done together:
JL We've engaged in too many pranks that shouldn't be shared... otherwise it'll be hard to do it again.
A trial/significant milestone you’ve gone through together:
ST When Andre finally made his first par in golf after playing the game for 10 years—spellbinding experience!
AH Going through commando reservist with John, and transitioning with both guys from married men to daddies to dads with multiple children in the past four years.
The best moment/s you’ve had together:
AH Oktoberfest at the Swiss Club is one; and a trip to Hoi An/Danang.
JL Always the holidays!
Something special he’s done for you:
JL Too many to name!
AH Plenty! Shaun’s a generous man and has been inviting me to SICC to play golf and later helping me become a member. John once sacrificed himself to take over a duty from me in reservist.
What are the keys to a lasting friendship?
ST Good communication and alcohol.
AH Chemistry, trust, being helpful, and just being there for one another.
JL Openness and a genuine desire for only the best for each other.
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What’s one activity to do with the guys you’ve always talked about but haven’t quite gotten down to?
JL We've definitely got a few holiday destinations in the pipeline.
AH Doing a guys’ trip coupled with an internal friendly golf tournament.
Where do you see your friendship in the next 20 years?
AH I see it continuing on the golf course and reminiscing our “fun” days.
JL It'll be cool when our own kids grow up and hang with each other the way we do now.