A social disease - Cynicism

In the current state of hazy affairs where PSI peaks at 371, the highest in the history of Singapore, the rush to purchase masks for daily wearing became the priority of most Singaporeans.

Gas masks would be the best, seconded by the popular-during-SARS-period N95 by 3M. Desperados who can't get any settle for the least useful, surgical masks. As citizens rush to the clinics, pharmacies, TCMs to get masks, Singapore and Indonesian government get into their snail-like pace to come to a resolution to the haze problem.

Tonight, as I sat behind my keyboard, wearing a mask in my own enclosed room, I was "on-duty" as web master for a political party.

While I was safely behind the protection provided for by my windows, door and masks, a handful of my fellow political buddies brazed the haze to give out free surgical masks to residents of the estate.

It's a political move, yes. It is also a human move.

And yet, as I take on the safest duty tonight to post updates on the Facebook wall, I see the appreciative sides of Singaporeans.

Unfortunately, I also see the ugly side.

Comments like "Useless", "Waste of time" and "No Use" peppered the comments, all because the free masks that were given out were not N95.

I felt nothing but disappointment for my fellow countrymen.

These comments are addressed to Singaporeans walking in the haze, giving out masks for free.

Since when is it a useless act to give out free items? I see Singaporeans braving heat, braving rain, braving insanely long queues to collect the commonplace tissue packs, toothpaste, mouthwash at Raffles Place.

I see Singaporeans braving this very haze to queue for a cat plushie.

And yet to the fellow Singaporeans who walk around estates in the haze giving out free masks (that were sold out in pharmacies, clinics islandwide), it was deemed by some as a useless act.

What happened to the society that cultivated such cynicism within the citizens of this garden city. What was more appalling was that this cynicism was directed to our own people.

These cynical comments are from Singaporeans, to Singaporeans.

Was it the haze that got to them?

Was it the fact this was done by a small political party with limited resources and outreach?

Or had cynicism become a tumour of the society. Have Singapore developed a society where receiving help or giving help should be met with snide remarks.

I'm a newbie in politics, having only been in a party for 2 years. But I've learnt quickly, not to let any of these get to me on a personal level. Heaven knows how much weird and insane stuff I've faced from candidates in my usual day job.

Tonight, however, it did. As much as I tried to let it not affect me, it did. 

It's one of those nights where being in politics weigh me down.

One of those nights.

From the hazy Desk of a Recruiter

License to speak

Following the MDA's most recent legislation for news websites, one couldn't help but be cynical on the motivation behind this enforcement.

To quote our Minister for Communication & Information, Yaacob Ibrahim: 

"... it is regularizing what is already happening on the Internet and making sure that they are on par with our mainstream media"

This statement, if read as-is, seemed to be brimming with the usual traits of this "democratic" government:

Confidence fueled by arrogance fueled by ignorance.

To sincerely believe that the publications (about Singapore) on the Internet should be "on par" with the local media implied much confidence in the standards of our mainstream media.

It seemed to be a belief by the people behind wardrobes that our mainstream media is an ideal representation of how news publication should be. Perhaps it will be an ideal representation... in North Korea.

The confidence in which how, and what, news websites should publish is fueled by ignorance, that is fueled by arrogance.

To believe that they can regulate the Internet is arrogant. It is as though a small kid telling an adult that he should conform to the former's expectations.

To believe they can enforce what other news websites (besides the 9 obvious state-controlled sites) can publish about Singapore is ignorance. These people don't seem to realize how the world sees our so-called "media". Our media is state-controlled; this is so open that every foreign news website reporting on this new legislation had described our media as "state-controlled media".

The Minister thinks Singaporeans are criticizing on the move as a method to control the media. No. We're not the only one. The whole world thinks so, and is criticizing it with a variety of vocabulary. Only ignorant the less critical, will think that this legislation is not a backhanded way to control the news content.

Welcome to Singapore; one day, we will all need to pay for a license to speak in this country. 

When Colors don't really help

There were days where I receive resumes in bright red font colors. That was in the past though.

But then, there will be days where I receive email cover letters with rather interesting choice of colors for their fonts.

(Note: Email Cover Letters = Cover Letters that were written in the email body rather than in a separate document)


I suppose I can use the Outlook's feature "Edit Message" to view this cover letter. Which was what I was doing while taking the screenshot. Nonetheless, the color combination amused me.

What's in a name?

Dear Jobseeker, 

Thank you for your resume, your contact number and your contact email. 

Now... what is your name? 

From the Desk of a Recruiter


Time to time I came across "interesting" resumes. On top of the other interesting ones previously blogged about, this particular resume came in several weeks back.

Interestingly enough, there was no name anywhere.

And I mean anywhere. There was no name in the email address except a jumble of selected alphabets; there was no name in the email body; there was no name in the resume file name (it was named as "resume.docx"); there was no name in the resume document itself.

I can't even find a godforsaken surname/last name I can address this person by.

There was, however, what I assumed to be his initials:


Ah yes. That is very helpful when you're looking for a job. Many companies would be thrilled to hire somebody they couldn't even identify properly.

 *rolls eyes*

Yes, I'm having a minor bitch moment there.

December is a tiring month for a recruiter.

Signing off
From the Desk of a Recruiter

When random ramblings became not so random


The Amy Cheong incident is truly enlightening at how fragile racial tolerance is in Singapore. While the most majority of Singaporeans tolerated each other, once every so often, incidents of such bigots randomly rambling on Facebook became the top news of everyone’s News Feeds.

We often thought that racial harmony is “given”, seeing we “grew up in Singapore”.

And yet, we have this Miss Amy Cheong who steps forward with questionable intelligence and reminds us that racial harmony is not to be taken granted for.

Insert Picard’s double facepalm picture here please.

Her comments on the local Malay custom of having void deck marriages showcased not only her insensitivity to her fellow countrymen, but also the hint of self-centered elitism.

It’s rather shocking at how she is able to declare that “expensive” weddings results long-lasting wedding. Was she a wedding planner or a wedding counselor? 

Actually, no. She's just a membership consultant. 

Spending tens of thousands on a wedding dinner does not equate to a happy marriage. More often than not, an expensive wedding dinner banquet added onto the financial and mental stress of the newly-wed couple.

Which, according to some of my friends and acquaintances, also explains why wedding lunches are on the rising trend.

As she cursed, and swore with vulgarities on our Malays’ wedding customs, she seemed to have forgotten that Chinese do utilize void decks in our own custom and culture – in funeral wakes.

In retrospect, I wondered if she would curse and swear if her family held a funeral wake that lasted any number between 3-7 days, with chanting/choir singing every other night.

The saddest part of it all, in my opinion, was that she seemed to think her comments were “silly”.

I wondered which part of her Facebook comments qualified as “silly”.

The “How can society allow pple to get married for 50 bucks?” part?

Or the “…maybe then the divorce rate wont be so high!” part?

Or the “Not to mention as u happily start ur new journey, there will be hundreds cursing u to death, me included” part?

For someone who is educated enough to hold the assistant director rank with NTUC, she is sadly lacking in the department of EQ.

As of this moment of this blog post, Amy Cheong has been sacked from her employer. (insert Today’s report)

To: Miss Amy Cheong, for all the declarations and apologies that you had Ctrl C + Ctrl V into your Twitter posts, you seemed to be missing the key reason why the nation was outraged.

 Your post was appallingly racist.

No, it is far from being “silly”.

And I doubt many will believe that you “didn’t mean it”.

For one to be cursing/swearing openly and repeatedly on the social network, it only shows how much sincerity and earnestness she placed in those “silly” words.

May this be a lesson to you.

Signing off
From the Desk of a Recruiter

The Case of the Grumpy Candidate

Things has been kinda sluggish, particularly as we enter the final quarter and what is often known as the "bonus" period.

There were fewer and fewer anecdotes encountered lately. Or perhaps my sense of humor disappeared along with my sales. But no anecdotes doesn't mean I don't encounter notable incidents in the workplace.

As a recruiter, I am responsible to both my candidates and my clients.

I am responsible in placing my candidates to the right clients; at the same time, I am also responsible for identifying candidates with the right experience/attitude for my clients.

So yes, I do reject candidates base on their attitude.

Case 1 - The Case of the Grumpy Candidate

Me: Hello, may I speak with XXX? 

Candidate: WHAT?! 

Me: *stun* I am calling in regards to the application that you submitted for one of our positions.

Candidate: What position is that?! 

Me: The Software Analyst role. 

Candidate: Call me later! *hangs up*

Needless to say, I never called the person back. I was appalled at his phone etiquette (or lack there-of), that I left a note in the central database - that this person has a very rude attitude.

There are some candidates shows recruiters the negative aspects of their attitude, with arrogance topping the list. These candidates seemed to think only HRs are worth their time and courtesy.

It probably never occurred to them that recruiters (sometimes) are their access routes to several HRs.

One might argue that the candidate might be busy. Or the candidate might be in a bad mood. Those who knows me personally would know I am more than capable of yelling at CSRs when they step on my tail.

But my response is and will always be:

What if the person is your user?

What if the person on the other line is your boss?

Or, in case of job seeking, what if the other person is a potential hiring manager, doing a phone interview?

There is nothing wrong in yelling at people over the phone. But I suppose it's not much to ask to at least answer the phone with a neutral tone. Should the caller deserve a couple of minutes of yelling, we can always start in the next sentence.

Signing off
From the Desk of a Recruiter

The Job

This happened to me at around 7pm one fine day....:

Call in applicant: "I saw a job advert on the net. I'd like to talk to your HR Manager about this."

Me: "We're a recruitment consultancy here. Maybe I can help you with that."

Call in applicant: "I'd like to talk to someone about job opportunity"

Me: "What is it regarding? Maybe I can help you with that."

Call in applicant: "No, I'd like to talk to someone about the job."

Me: "............. Yes, you can talk to me. What is it regarding?"

Call in applicant: "No. I'd like to talk to someone about the job. Can you get someone to call me back about the job?"

*Me facepalming*

Me: "Okay... What is your number?"

Call in applicant: "+971 XXXXXXX"

Me: "Sorry, we can only accept candidates currently residing in Singapore."

Call in applicant: "Fine." *hangs up*


My only reaction at the end of the conversation:


All in a day's work.

*Takes deep breath*

Signing off
From the Desk of the Recruiter

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