SHE loves that top of the world feeling.
That's why Grace Zhou chose a 21st floor office at Peninsula Plaza with a sweeping view of the Singapore Flyer, Esplanade and Marina Bay, when she spent over $10,000 to set up her own public relations firm in April.
Probably Singapore's first China-born PR professional to run her own agency here, she switches seamlessly from Chinese to English. Her clients run the gamut from renowned Australian choreographer Wade Robson, American firms like YouPublish to Chinese companies such as Sinopec Lubricant.
The Beijing native in her mid 30s started GraceZhou Public Relations after working for six years in the industry here.
'Many people think PR is a brainless job and all you need is a pretty face, but that's not true,' she says in English.
'To have an edge over others, a good PR must be knowledgeable and creative in order to gain media attention.'
Standing at 1.73m, the campus model during her undergraduate days at Beijing's Foreign Studies University first visited Singapore during her holidays in 1994. She was smitten.
The youngest of four girls from a middle-class family - her father was a university lecturer and her mother, a human resources manager of a state-owned enterprise - was visiting her sister Cherrie and her husband who worked for a United States multinational company here.
In 1995, as soon as she graduated in English language and literature, she headed here to hunt for a job. Before long, she was shortlisted from a few hundred applicants and hired as executive assistant to the president of Fedders International, a US-based air-conditioning company. For five years, she travelled with him to China monthly as his interpreter and negotiator and learnt how business is done.
When the company relocated its headquarters to China in 2000, she chose to stay here. 'I like Singapore, especially the environment, greenery and the weather.'
She moved on to specialise in PR, mainly in the English medium, and discovered her creative streak. When doing a promotion for Persian restaurant Shiraz here, she persuaded the owners to concoct a special Yu Sheng dish or Persian Lo Hei for Chinese New Year. It became an instant hit with the media.
Four years ago, she gave up her Chinese passport and became a Singaporean.
'Singapore is smaller and I can move around easily, unlike Beijing, which is just too big for me,' she says.
She also has great confidence in the Singapore Government and declares Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew 'one of the greatest guys around'.
Singapore, she says, is 'very happening. I have events to go to every night, if I wanted to. I have many friends here and get invited to many parties, probably because I am in PR'. Her favourite hangouts include Supper Club at Odeon Towers and Prive near VivoCity.
She recently paid over $500,000 for a four-room HDB flat at Bras Basah Complex, a short stroll from her office. 'My flat also gives me a good view of the Raffles Hotel, the Esplanade and the Integrated Resort at Marina Bay.'
With her long work days, the single woman says she is too busy to enjoy the view or for romance. Although admirers abound, she is holding out for her soulmate. Meanwhile, she is happily married to her job.
This article was first published in The Straits Times on Nov 22, 2008.