Archive for the ‘Show And Tell’ Category

About The Author

March 12, 2012

As we can see here- I’m really sorry for not writing for so long.

I mean it’s not like I wanted to stop writing you know. I entered university late last year and have fallen head over heels over my current major- Sociology.

Sociology, for the uninitiated, is basically the study of society, human relations and the stuff that can affect these relations.

Now it is not that I’ve given up on writing altogether, it’s just that Sociology has been so captivating thus far and has taught me so much in such a short period of time.

The most important thing I’ve learnt is that an individual’s actions are, to a certain extent, influenced by society and knowing this makes me feel so empowered. Imagine wielding knowledge that allows you to understand, explain, pre-empt or even manipulate a person’s actions.

Intoxicating isn’t it?

But sociology isn’t a bed of roses, more often than not it tears me apart inside. I am a very optimistic person and I did like to believe that the human spirit is inherently good.

But time and time again Sociology has exposed the ugliness of humanity. Tyranny. Greed. Selfishness. My heart breaks during most of my lectures, listening and seeing the kinds of things that happen in our world.

But I guess that’s the riddle of life huh? That the most important things you need to know are the least you wish to know.

I think by now you would have guessed that this isn’t going to be one of my usual articles. Having published my tenth piece a long while ago, I decided to dedicated an entire post to myself so that you guys can get to know me a little better ^_^ (and the blog is in need of an intro page anyway).

I am male; just in case it was not obvious enough. Having turned 21 last year in November (A Sagittarius if anyone is as into horoscopes as me), society now treats me as an adult although I live under the mercy of my parents.

I am also a citizen of the island city of Singapore, which most of the ignorant people on the Internet think is somewhere in China.

You also may have noticed there is a pattern in my articles, I like to write about societal issues (hence my major), lessons life has taught me (harshly) and my (lack of a) love life.

There is, of course, the bigger question of why I keep writing. The enjoyment I get out of doing it is a perk needless to say, but there are larger implications too.

I aspire to be a journalist. Call me naïve, but I believe journalism can make the world a better place. You go out there and you find out what’s important and you tell the world about it. Because only when the world knows about these pressing issues can we all do something about it.

Thus as a journalist, one must be able to write well. I live by this ideology that it doesn’t really matter if I produce the perfect piece at this point in time; it is the practise that counts especially so while I’m still maturing. I believe many seasoned writers would agree with me on this.

So here I am, writing my heart out on topics that I like. I believe I’ve said this before- my articles aren’t world class pieces, I am still a work in progress. If my articles happen to make your day then it has made mine too because making people happy makes me happy.

I’ll pull the plug on this article right now; I know how narcissistic people can be on the Internet and that they hate reading stories where authors write about themselves. I’ll try to write as often as I can, but for now I think I can promise at least one article per month? Fear not, for I have my next article in the pipeline already! 🙂

 

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Heart Wreck

August 15, 2011

As we can see here- no one wants to buy a faulty product, would you?

There are a lot of great things about being a guy, like getting to pee standing up. Other times well…not so much, especially if someone was a tad bit careless with your heart.

When girls go through a bad break up there will be a lot of tears, a lot of drama and most definitely, a lot of ice cream being eaten. But at least they have their girlfriends to share all of that with, women are renowned for backing up their sisters in times of crisis.

People who come to hear of her story would also be sympathetic and excuse any of her foul temperaments. Some of the more opportunistic members of the opposite sex would even see this as their chance to show her how caring they are to win her heart for himself.

Unfortunately, society isn’t as kind on the male species.

People in general aren’t comfortable with males talking about their feelings; even writing about the subject of love will raise the eyebrows of most of my peers *twiddles thumbs*

Best part is that you won’t find much support amongst other men either. Not accustomed to seeing another counterpart in his moment of weakness, many would conjure up the silliest excuse to avoid an awkward conversation.

And to add insult to injury, almost everyone would come to a quick (yet inaccurate) assumption that it was the guy’s fault for being a jerk when a relationship falls apart. Sad but you’ll have to agree the prejudice is there.

So men being what society demands them to be pull through the hurt quietly as if it had never happened. Some fully recover and move on to more fruitful relationships, while some others live haunted by the ghosts of their past. Because time will heal all broken hearts, just not the pulverised ones.

So what do this second group of men do when they try to move on?

Having been out of action for some time, they would have cleanly forgotten how to court a lady. Since the safest thing to do when you know nothing is to do nothing, they would do just that and wait for a girl to steal their heart.

But we all know that statistically speaking, he would have had a higher chance of finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Thus after some time he could maybe, grow a little impatient and try to woo a girl that he likes. Now it is pretty difficult to describe the scene here in words but it would look a bit like a clown trying to run up a slope covered with banana peels.

Very comical yet very tragic.

But just when he is about to give up and concede that all hope is lost, sometimes, ever so rarely, the right girl walks into his life. The light at the end of the tunnel.

But he spends too much time second-guessing himself and being too afraid to do anything. By the time he makes his move, it would have been far too late, and he would have to be content with watching the girl slip away, never to be seen again…

 

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Double Standards

August 9, 2011

As we can see here- sometimes in life, we have to deal with two-faced jerks.

Singaporeans are notorious for complaining. Strangely enough, that isn’t enough to stop them from doing so and some are even proud of it. Lately I have been thinking about this trait of ours when the realization hit me like a train.

Now try to stick with me on my long line of thought; if one complains about something, that would mean one condemns that action or inaction. And since one disagrees with that action or inaction, one should either A) be trying to correct the situation or B) not following that person’s behavior.

So if everyone does either option A or B, we would have nothing to complain about now would we?

Let us take for example the issue of people not giving up seats for the elderly on buses and trains. Instead of exercising option A of asking the sleeping person politely to vacant his or her seat for an elderly, most would just quietly shake their heads. A lot of help you are huh?

And when was the last time you helped an elderly cross the road or carried their shopping? How about even doing a good deed for a random stranger? Well, at least I know I am guilty of not practicing option B too.

So it is official folks; Singapore isn’t a nation of complainers or even brats who had been spoil rotten by its baby-sitting government. We are a nation of hypocrites and sloths.

I am honestly very tired of all this negativity, all this whining about every single aspect of life ranging from the cost of living to minute issues like how you don’t want any bloody flyers in your mailbox.

If life is so painful for you and your only recourse is to whine about it and not get off your lazy ass to do something about it, please jump off a building and spare the rest of us your misery.

Sometimes I read about other countries in times of trouble and I am in awe of their civic-mindedness, their willingness to rally together with their countrymen.

Then I think about what would happen in Singapore during times of crisis and I shudder. We have citizens who are well known for their aggressiveness on the roads in their normal day-to-day lives, do you think they would even cast you a second glance when their lives are at stake?

Sometimes I wish if only we could give up some of the wealth, the good governance, the security of our country in exchange for a more gracious society and not be trapped in our status quo of a me-first mentality.

Having written this article, I of course intend to change my behaviors for the better…so I shall promise two things from this day onward.

1) To stay off Singaporean online forums where you will only find hate and anger and only get yourself upset.

2) To greet the bus driver every time I board the bus in hopes that I would not only make someone’s day, but also make Singapore a friendlier, happier place to live in. It is not much I must admit, but at least I am trying.

 

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Customer Disservice

July 19, 2011

As we can see here- the kettle keeps quiet because it knows better than to rebut.

Having worked in the service sector for some time, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that the residents of Singapore have the idea of customer service totally wrong.

Most of us like to think that good service is a one-way street and that the onus is on the sales associate to provide a fantastic, out-of-the-world, shopping experience.

Even the Singapore government has jumped on the bandwagon by starting numerous initiatives to raise service standards like the Go-the-Extra-Mile for Service (GEMS), but all of these are in vain because they are based on the fact that the customer is always right.

Let me tell you how this mentality can go very wrong; I was serving a big family who was buying something for a young girl, everything was going very well until halfway through when the aunt approached me with a confrontation tone:

Aunt: “How much is the item?”

Me: “Well without the…”

Aunt: “Can you speak softer? I’m buying it as a gift for her and I don’t want her parents to know.”

Me (softer): “Well without…”

Aunt: “Can you speak softer?”

Me (so soft the aunt had to lean in to hear me): ”Well without the clothing…”

Aunt: “I just want to know how much is it naked.”

Me: “It is $34.90 but…”

Aunt: “Okay, can you swipe my credit card first because I don’t want her parents to beat me to it?”

Me: “Well I’m not the cashier maybe you would like to…”

Aunt: “Then can you go and tell the cashier to do it?”

Me: “Ok…”

Aunt: “Now. Can you do it now?”

Me: “Ok.”

Having only managed to complete one sentence that contained only one word which was worth only two letters, you could just imagine how pissed I was at the end of that conversation.

Now the purpose of this article isn’t to whine about my terrible customers but to call for a moment of reflection and to remind us that salespersons are humans too.

More importantly I would like to share with you my readers the “correct” attitude to carry with you when you shop to not only get the best experience for yourself but also create a win-win situation when everyone parts happily.

The idea here is that sales associates are required by the nature of their jobs to provide a minimal level of good customer service. What you do to reciprocate that goodwill could very well define the rest of your shopping experience. Even a simple smile would suffice.

The salesperson, just like any human being, likes the feeling of being appreciated. And when they feel that they are, they will more than likely go the extra mile for you.

You want these people on your side. They know their store and products inside out; what are the good deals, the hot promotions and which products are the better ones.

If you still aren’t convinced about treating sales associates nicely here’s one more nugget of information that might change your mind- we love to gossip about our customers, especially the bad ones. Some of us do it in the storeroom during our breaks…while others like to write about them. 🙂

 

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Use Protection

July 1, 2011

As we can see here- an ex-girlfriend is something you don’t want to have, even more so if she’s psycho.

There are many horror stories of crazy exes, let me tell you about mine.

I am really really sure that my ex stalks me on Facebook. Seriously. I may not have much evidence, but I swear to you she is.

Knowing darn well that she would be following my every move online, I figured that she would read my first article on this blog (Falling In Love, in you forgot what it was). Hence to avoid any misunderstanding between us, I dropped her a message on Facebook to inform her that there was no underlying meaning in that article.

The long and short of her reply was that she didn’t even know about my blog in the first place and that she’ll keep an eye on it from now on. In fact I bet she’s reading this very article right now.

Okay, maybe in hindsight this is more of a case of a retarded paranoid ex-boyfriend than a crazy stalking ex-girlfriend, but you get my point right? Exes drive all of us up the wall, whether intentionally or not, in ways varying from physical to emotional.

Since I spent most of my time living in fear of my ex, I have a lot of time to think about what counter-measures I could take to protect myself. So short of deleting my Facebook account, the next best thing I could think of would be to get a new girlfriend.

Our society’s view of gender equality has unfortunately not evolved to the point where the general public finds it acceptable for a man to physically defend himself from a lady; even if she is armed with a baseball bat.

The only plausible way out would be to match fire with fire by getting a new girlfriend. I read somewhere that women are both nurturing (girlfriend-like) and protective (bodyguard-like). Two for the price of one! Yay!

Of course not forgetting my female readers; if you find yourselves having ex-boyfriend troubles, feel free to use my suggestion and get a new boyfriend. Wouldn’t it be so exciting to watch the guy on guy action when they start roughing up each other?

Delegating the job of dealing with your ex to your new partner makes it a lot easier for you since you do not need to face the person you had that ugly break-up with. And I’m sure your new partner would be more than willing to help you out if you exaggerate just a little about how helpless you feel.

Then again, just because there’s a solution that doesn’t mean I would take it (refer to the first article again to understand why).

Furthermore, what happens if you break up with your new girlfriend? Gosh, then you’ll have to deal with TWO psycho ex-girlfriends…

 

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Society’s Vigilante

June 20, 2011


As we can see here- you don’t need a big stick to stop evil doers.

There is always a chronic amount of ungraciousness embedded in Singapore’s population. I’m sure you’ve seen evidence of it; people not giving up their seats on the train to the special needs, litterbugs with selective eyesight that can’t spot the dustbin three metres away and so forth.

Fortunately, society has its ways of fighting back. The public, armed with their mobile phones with cameras, enjoy taking pictures of these culprits red-handed and then posting those incriminating photographs online in a bid to show and shame them.

Needless to say, there will then be an ensuing firestorm on the Internet with some condemning the person in the picture and lamenting about how our society is going downhill while others would tell the photographer to mind his or her own bloody business.

Sooner or later everyone would move on to the next piece of exciting news and forget about that incident. In a week or two, another similar picture would appear on the net and the whole cycle of outrage repeats itself.

Now at this point, any intelligent person would come to a similar conclusion as me; this way of combating social menace isn’t really working out too well.

Lucky for us, I have an idea. And if implemented I am pretty sure will solve these types of behavior once and for all.

All we would need is a piece of legislation that grants immunity to anyone who does anything to anyone or anyone’s property that is being a dick to society.

With this law in place, you are not just the average citizen anymore. You are society’s vigilante, much like Superman or Batman, just without the red underwear or cool gear.

The next time you see someone asleep on the reserved seating on the trains, feel free to take a sneeze in front of them or flick a nose booger in his or her direction. How about that neighbor who keeps parking in the handicap lot? Well you could always introduce your baseball bat to his Ferrari!

Most importantly for me; in case someone insists on standing on (and therefore blocking) the right side of the escalator at the train station which resulted in you missing your train. That is the time you pull out that frying pan of yours and give him or her a onetime good one to the back of their heads.

It might sound a little extreme, but it sure beats having to wait 6 minutes for the next train.

At this point most of you would be dismissing my suggestion as the usual bullcrap I spew, but I genuinely feel that this is the only effective way to rid society of these people. Selfishness, feigned ignorance, jerks and stupidity in general must always be combated with absurdity.

Think about it carefully. Everyone would be too terrified of everyone else to even cut a queue. You know you would be.

 

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Pyramid Scheme

June 14, 2011

As we can see here- the higher up we go, the fuller of themselves people tend to get.

I have tried countless times to write on this topic. And coincidentally, I have failed an equal number of times. Maybe it is due to the very personally offensive nature of it; but I’ll finish it this time, that I assure you.

I was once in an organization, not by choice mind you, whose sole purpose seemed to me to be the containment of anyone who would be a menace to society.

Many of them, barring a few hidden gems, like the high (oh look, a pun!) they get from their positions and enjoys their self-inflated ego. The evidence lies in the fact that when the higher you climb up the organization chart, the more likely the people there would refuse to listen to you and the less likely they would be in touch with the sentiments on the ground.

I may not know a lot about leadership but “making my men shiver”, as how one of them reminisced his days, is an insult to that word.

Maybe all large organizations are just pyramid schemes of varying degrees of severity. But I doubt there would be one any worse than the one I had been to with those supposed role models.

When I was little, I always respected adults. I thought all of them, except a very few bad apples, were good people. Mature, honest, wise, responsible, upright…the very pillars of society.

Not anymore.

But after all that anger, I started to let go of any ill-feelings I have had of them. You know why?

It was because I started to feel sorry for them.

I felt sorry that they were already more than halfway into their graves and they had only accomplished so little in their lives.

I feel sorry that, at this age, they were reduced to bootlicking, demeaning your juniors or fishing for some sort of superficial respect from them.

But most of all, I felt sorry for them that when their time on Earth is up; they could never look me in the eye and tell me they are proud of what they have done, that they have genuinely made society a better place for the rest of us.

Some lessons you learn willingly, while some other lessons are forced down your throat. But whatever it is, I know what lesson my colleagues and I learnt during our stay there-

It was one of the quieter days as my friend and I sat on the tarmac, watching the planes fly by.

“You know, when you grow up and happen to land a managerial role, would you be a jerk like the rest of them? Because I know I could not bear to bring myself to do such a thing” I asked.

“Never” said my friend.

 

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No Expectations

May 16, 2011

As we can see here- when the outcome falls short of the expectation, there will be disappointment.

I learnt a very important lesson this week.

How many times have you stepped into a highly-recommended restaurant only to find out that even you could cook better than them? How many times have you bought a latest gadget only to find out that half of the things you hoped it could do did not turn out as you hoped it would?

How many times have you raised your expectations of something only to let the outcome disappoint you?

The lesson here is a very simple one; when you set high expectations for something, you also set yourself up for disappointment.

Fortunately in this case, the opposite holds true too, allow me to explain.

Last week, I was offered a new job. However due to some unfavorable job conditions, there was a lot of hand wringing and second-guessing on my part whether to accept it or not.

In the end, I decided it was a Sagittarius thing to plunge into something I had never done before without thinking too much about how it would turn out.

Now one week wiser, I know that it would have been one of my biggest regrets to have turned down that job offer. My new job isn’t a job my readers, it almost feels like I’m being paid to play.

So I guess this week’s story has a happy ending. Everyone likes a happy ending right? Especially if it involves me ^_^

I just find it so fascinating that something as simple as consciously lowering or not having any expectation from something can have such a positive effect on your emotions.

Furthermore, in situations where you have a role in affecting the outcome, like a new relationship or a new job, maybe it is best to not think too much about what you are going to get out of it.

Instead, just focus on giving it your 100% effort and knowing in your heart that you did your best. You will just have to trust that the universe has its ways of rewarding your good work, even if it is not immediate.

This could be why all my past blog attempts failed. I expected perfection when we all know that perfection is an unachievable feat.

Thus, I hope none of you are really expecting excellent articles from here, because I know this blog was founded on imperfections. Or else the only thing you’ll find here would be disappointment…and anger towards me.

 

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Herd Mentality

May 9, 2011

As we can see here- sheep are not at the top of the food chain because they are best at following other sheep blindly.

The citizens of Singapore are some of the most fervid subscribers of herd mentality on the face of Earth if you did ask me. First came the long queues for Hello Kitty soft toys and then it was the bubble tea craze. Both were such red hot topics of their times that even the national newspapers ran articles about them.

If New Zealand is famous for having more sheep than humans, then Singapore should be famous for having more people behaving like sheep than anywhere else.

So what’s the latest trend? Iphone fever.

Singaporeans who own these generic phones like to think that they reached the next level of coolness. I like to think they look like two idiots who turned up at a costume party wearing the same, totally identical, costume.

At this moment you would have probably guessed correctly that I am not one for following trends all that much.

Not following the crowd has its pains too you know. Just the other day I was looking for a protective casing for my phone (of a rarer model) in some mobile accessory shop. The lady at the shop told me they only had one type and it was one of those rubbery, tight-fitting kinda casings.

I didn’t like it and fortunately for her she didn’t speak English, otherwise I would have told her “No thank you, it feels like I am holding my phone with a condom on.”

So like the polite boy my mommy raised me to be, I just smiled, shook my head and beat a hasty retreat.

There could be many reasons why Singaporeans turned out this way, but for simplicity’s sake I shall just blame it all on the government. A rigid education system that stifles creativity. A social culture of relentless material pursuit that rarely lets us stop to smell the roses.

And who can ever forget the system that (used to) crack down on people with…different…political views?

Thus in a society that favors conformity, I have a notable amount of respect for those who dare to deviate from the norm and strive to keep themselves original.

Individuality is a commodity that many of us often overlook; many people living in oppressive countries may never experience what we have here. Your day-to-day choices should be one based on what you think best represents yourself and not just because everyone else is into it.

Otherwise we will all be living in a world of monotonous uniformity, wouldn’t that be just dreadful?

 

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Not My Problem

May 2, 2011

As we can see here- your problem is, unfortunately for you, not my problem.

Honestly, have any of you ever met this kind of people? They range from classmates who look for you to help in their projects when you haven’t even started with yours to co-workers who like to talk about how terrible their job is.

Their age groups may differ but they all have the same thing in common; they have this strange misconception that their problem should be your problem too.

One day if I had to deal with another one of these cases again I will whip out my notepad and pen and draw the above diagram as follows:

*draws a circle*

“You see this circle? Everything in it consists of the things I care about.”

*draws a cross just outside the circle*

“Your problem lies here.”

I know I sound really mean but I really am not, really. I might help an acquaintance the first time if that isn’t too much of a hassle, maybe even a second time too. But after the third time it starts getting exploitive.

Wanting to talk about or find help for a problem is very natural, but why in the world would you want to share your problems with someone you hardly know?

And although I detest random people coming to me with their problems, it is almost schizophrenic that I find friends coming to me with their problems flattering. I mean, the reason why he or she is sharing their problem with you is because they trust you to keep it to yourself or believe that you have the ability to help them out, isn’t it?

That is why I always go all out to help a buddy in need, I am sure there are some who will vouch for me, I hope.

To check if you are my friend just hop onto Facebook and look at my friends list. If your name isn’t on it then uhm…too bad.

But alas, friends being friends, they usually bring to me problems of much higher difficulties which always lead to a certain problem…

Do not laugh at how small my area of expertise is.

If you have read ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’ you would know that men pride themselves as problem-solvers and telling them your problems means you want their help solving it.

This is why men don’t like to talk about their feelings. It is something that cannot be solved easily.

And while most men get frustrated when they cannot solve a problem, I get panicky that I have failed the expectations of my friends and my ego takes a nosedive.

When that happens, I usually console myself by thinking that at least I provided a listening ear to a friend in need. That’s what we Sagittarius do best; hang out with you for a whole day talking about anything and actually enjoying it too.

So in case you need someone to listen to your woes and your sorrows you know who to look for. But check if you are on my Facebook friends list first, or else please refer to the image at the start of this column.

 

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