Thursday, March 10, 2011

Profile: Lim Collao, for the FF

As a self-admitted “workaholic,” Lim Collao is not one to lounge around on the couch, wielding the remote control for hours on end like some of his contemporaries. At his ripe age of 69, one might think that by now he had certainly earned the right to relax as he pleases, but Lim chooses otherwise. He presently holds a part-time position at Avis, which satisfies his need for meaningful occupation, the pay, of course, is just an added benefit!

Industry runs in his veins. His late father, Raymundo Collao was a hardworking elementary school teacher. Lim recalls how his father would, day after day, diligently and meticulously prepare lesson plans for the following day late into the wee hours of the morning, after which he would snatch a few winks of sleep, arise, and while still dark, ride his bike almost fifteen kilometers to the neighboring city where he taught.

Raymundo Collao taught his children, both by example and word, the importance of hard work. He also helped them to appreciate the necessity of a good education. The pay off? Limneo and the rest of his siblings completed their studies and were all presented with the opportunity to work abroad. His late sister Adelina Collao Malumbres, a nurse, was the first to leave the Philippines. In the mid-sixties she immigrated to Canada. She worked at a hospital in a little- known-of town called Cupar in Saskatchewan. A few years later she decided to move east and settled in Montreal. It was here that she filed an application for the sponsorship of her brother Lim.

At the time, Lim was working as a soundman at the Manila Hilton Hotel, after which he was hired to work abroad, in a similar capacity, as a sound equipment technician/road manager for an entertainment company serving the American bases in Saigon, Vietnam. Upon arrival in Canada in 1974, being the responsible family head he was, Lim did not hesitate to take on odd jobs. “As long as they were a decent and honest way to eke out a living, it was okay with me.” He explained. Eventually, he secured the position as a photocopier service technician for Office Equipment Co. of Canada. In 1975 he accepted an offer as an assistant supervisor of technical services from Saulton Business Machines Co. But his career did not stop there when he made a 180 degree and took a completely different line of work as a seaman in 1978 where his mechanical ability was tapped and put to good use. That career ended in 1987 when he decided to take another job as a general maintenance person for the Baker Textile Co that preceded his final full-time employment in the maintenance department at the Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, in charge of the locksmithing. He retired in 2006.

Over the years, Lim earned himself the reputation of being a dependable and honest employee and all of his employers valued him and held him in high esteem. Every single one of them would be reluctant to accept his resignation, and would assure him that his position would still be waiting for him, “should you change your mind.” But Lim always insisted on never passing up opportunities for growth.

Being a workaholic can carry a somewhat negative connotation, conveying an imbalance, or a failure on one’s part to set their priorities straight. Perhaps, even implying the tendency to relegate the more important things in life such as family to the back burner, so to speak. This hasn’t been the case with Lim. He has always been a devoted family man and an exemplary and very involved member of the Filipino community, of which, he and his wife, Siony have become beloved and well-respected “fixtures.” Lim was at the helm of the FAMAS from 1991 to 1992. He founded and served as the first President of the Bicol Association of Quebec. He also served terms as both Vice President External and Trade and Commerce Director of the FFCAQ. He is currently the President of the Filipino Golden Agers of Quebec.

Lim pursues many hobbies like fishing, hunting and gardening among others. And much to the delight of his better-half, is extremely handy around the house, from doing minor repairs like fixing leaking taps to finishing much more ambitious projects. Not too many years ago he surprised Siony with a deck that he built single-handedly from scratch while she was away on a two-week European tour, and rewarded himself after with a well-deserved brand new barbecue grill!

These days, Lim divides his time between work, the community and most importantly, his only granddaughter, Kaya, age 3 years – the apple of his eye!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent writing once again!! i couldn't agree more about Lim collao, He helped me with a flooring project 2 summers ago, and wow what strength he has at his age which I believe is just a number, it's all about attitude Thanks Aimee for your inside skinny on a great man Uncle Lim from Anonymous to the rest of the world but you know me heh heh!