Wow! it’s really been a very long time since I last blogged. From my last post, it has been half a year since. It has been a very eventful and hectic half a year. It’s not that I don’t have any thought to reflect on. In fact, I do and so many of them. It’s just that I couldn’t find the time nor the energy to sit down gather my thought and put them down in writing.
Let’s pick up from the last time I was here which was this year’s New Year. And now it’s almost 9 month in. I’m finally settling in with job in at home. I’m good with my motorbike and getting used to the senseless and dangerous traffic here. What else? The people, the surrounding, the society in general. And by getting used to I mean not feeling frustrated or annoyed by them anymore. However there are still things that still really bother me and I’m unable to adapt. The major ones that I’m facing currently are company culture, common sense and intelligence level.
So let’s start with company culture. On my first day at the new company, the director asked if I drink, to which I answered “a little bit”. Then he went on to tell how easy it would be to quickly make friend in the company if I drink because everyone there drink a lot. I remember thinking to myself as he was telling me that. “Oh damn! this gonna suck.” Then it happened. The Saturday of the my first week─yes, we work half day on Saturday─just 1 hour before knock-off and I about to go home enjoy my weekend, the boss came to declare we would be going for company lunch party. Then I was thinking “what the f is a lunch party? I never had that in Singapore. Well, at least not without any special occasion.” But regardless of how impromptu the announcement was, I couldn’t possibly reject since I was new there and need a chance to socialize with colleagues. It started out as a company lunch with food and beers. Lots of beers. I drank some. The lunch went on till about 4 p.m. which I thought was quite long. Then when I finally thought it ended, they were going for second round. I was like “What? Seriously?”. And I’d never guess venue of the 2nd round. I was somehow brought to a KTV. For those who are used to a normal friends and family style KTV, would wonder what’s wrong with KTV? But KTV over here isn’t like those, it’s place where heavy drinkers go and order girls to accompany you drinking. So yeah basically, I ended up at KTV for another 3-4 hrs before getting to home because my wife called. There was no surprise to what followed. My wife got so mad at me that she refused to talk to me for a week. That was a very shitty week and for what? for nothing. There and then my negative impression of the company culture started.
It doesn’t stop there. The company continued have party here and there every now and then. It’s not that I don’t like party or anything. Well actually I don’t like party since I’m an introvert. But occasionally when company have special event I would always love to join. But this is different. This is like for no reason, or for any reason. And what do people do at party? Drink till drunk and passed out. The next day, barely make it to work without feeling sick or heavy hangover. So far do I sound judgmental to drinker? I’m not sure if I am but personally, I feel that I don’t. I’m just a practical and logical person and I view alcoholism as neither piratical nor logical. It’s expensive. It’s unhealthy. And it gives you heavy headache and temporary amnesia the following day. To spend a night drinking an expensive unhealthy drink that gives you headache, vomit and short term amnesia and other various long term organ failure is a completely illogical action and total waste of time. I honestly don’t think I judge people who drink or smoke because I do have alcoholic and smoker friends back there as well. The main difference is they don’t force or peer pressure me follow their lifestyle choices. So that’s what I hate about it here. It is the fact that you get pressured to be involved. I remembered a snide comment from one my senior-level colleague during my boss’ house warming party. He was telling a junior colleagues “Don’t follow this senior’s example. That’s not the way real man behave. When you raise your glass you bottom-up, you don’t just sip and put it back down.” Should I be pissed off and grab every drink and bottom-up everything? Well, all I felt was that he was right. If that is truly how real man behaves, then yes I’m not a real man nor do I want to be one. To conclude this, I simply believe that everyone is entitled to a lifestyle choice that make him/her happy. Others should respect that choice and not discriminate it and force their own onto that person. Then we shall connect and bond base on whatever other hobby/interest that we share in common. So generally, I try my very best to constantly keep my everyday schedule fully occupied to avoid it.
Next up. Common sense. Over here it is uncommon. Let’s take work place for instance. Let me just throw random comments I have heard or overheard my colleagues said or ask.
- “Annual Leave is given for you to take during emergency or for other personal obligation such as attending wedding, and other events. You are not supposed to take annual leave when you don’t have any personal obligation.” — I was like… “What? Seriously? that’s how Annual Leave supposed to work?”
- “I’m sick. What do I do?”
hmmm… Apply sick leave and submit your MC when you return…
“What’s that? How to get it?”
err… form Doctor/Pharmicist?
“Which doctor can I get this MC from?”
So generally, there is a difficulty in effectively communicating with people when what you consider a common sense but others don’t. And when so many senses are not common, you’ve got to just wonder… do people here even know what is “common sense”? Well, actually I’m wrong to say “people”, it’s too generalized. Basically, they are either the way older generation, teenager or young adult generation. And it’s not only work-related common sense, but also everyday life ones. I feel that this is down to the quality of education that people here receive. So it’s hard to put blame just on individual. But I’m just merely pointing out the fact that this is the case, it makes it difficult to communicate or converse with people effectively without constantly having to explain things.
Finally, intelligence. Again I think this has to do with education. both from school and from family. I feel so remorseful to witness in person the quality of human resource in this country. Perhaps, the perfect illustration of how worryingly small the talent pool available to serve this country’s economy is the fact that I was headhunted 6 times in a period of my 8 month career here. All of which were for senior or managerial positions. I worked in Singapore for 3 and a half, and not a single headhunt. Not only that but also the fact that I was already being treated like an irreplaceable resource when I haven’t even completed my probation. Don’t get me wrong? I’m definitely not complaining. In fact, I feel very privileged and respected. I feel so much more valued over here then back there, and that helps catalyst my motivation and enthusiasm to perform as well. However, the problem comes when I need to work or socialize with people. From people that I have encountered or worked it, I find that they generally are very superficial and myopic. They blatantly get into an as-a-matter-of-fact debate about a topic that they clearly do not have any knowledge about. To make it worse, the clear answer is usually just 1 google away. Personally, I find that really annoying and degrading. So I generally stfu. They are also not really widely read. So they tend to base their argument off their personal experience, or that 1 guy they know, or that 1 source that mention it (usually Facebook) which they hardly exercise the mental capacity to question its authenticity and credibility beforehand. Maybe it’s just because I was educated and trained that way. Critical thinking and meritocracy was drilled down to us hard. Either way, this lack of intelligence is something that I’m still unable to adapt nor accept. And don’t get me started on sense of humor.
So yeah there they are the elaborated explanation of the 3 major issues that I’m still facing over here and unable to adapt and probably will never be able to adapt. Most probably I would just learn to live with it just like most of the major problems I faced in Singapore. To end this rant on a positive note, despite all these issues and other negativity around the country, I still find myself loving it here. I think the most important factor to that has to be family-the group of people who truly love me for who I am and are absolutely honest and non-judgmental. To live close and connected to family, no matter what obstacle and problems, we always stick and work things out together as one. It feels so much better than doing it alone. I don’t know about other people but for me, my wife and my mom have been a tremendous inspiration and motivation to my hard-work and positiveness toward life.