Bad Experiences with Women

What happens when you rehearse too much, I think.

Went for an interview last week with one of those large IT solutions companies (for the turns-out-not-to-be-in-Dubai job), and was terribly abused by HR.

It was my fault, really. I didn’t REALLY want the job, but to escape the tedium of work, I like to think of myself working somewhere else. Not that the current one is really THAT bad, but I’ve been frisky.

HR woman picked up on that immediately. This particular one belonged to a variety of HR women I’d only heard of, but never come across before–the Recruiter. In my mind, HR people used to be all kindly matronly types who asked if you were hungry, offered you biscuits, sat at the back during the interview and smiled sympathetically as the Project Manager asked technical questions. This one didn’t even bother with the Project Manager–technical questions were the least of her concerns.

The first question she asked me was if I was really interested in the job or if I was just one of those bad bad people who plague HR recruiters like herself and waste their time.

Well, that second part was probably more implied than explicitly stated, but I knew even then that I wasn’t going to get a biscuit this time. I was as unprepared as Ms Teen South Carolina.

The next 45 minutes turned into a nightmare as she whisked out my resume and shredded it in front of me (figuratively speaking)– arching an eyebrow over “Computational Physics” (I’ve never been so ashamed to admit to being a Physics graduate), dismissing my previous work experience as “bits and pieces” and generally making me feel as bad about myself as I ever have professionally. All this she did, whilst doling out advice about career planning and not playing around with employment no matter how good the job market was. I vaguely remember just nodding, or making single-word answers to her questions, all the while wondering how soon it would be before I could run.

I left the interview feeling light-headed and almost ready to cry, partly from the shock of the interview, and also because I hand’t been able to answer anything on Marshaling, nor the intelligent portion of the technical quiz (IT technical proficiency tests always contains a prerequisite out-of-the-box kind of question).

This has been, so far, the worst experience of my professional career.

Today, Scary HR-woman, through one of her underlings, called me back for a second interview. I know it was her because the callback contained strict instructions not to be late THIS TIME (I was a little late the previous time round–shows you how much I want the job).

I’m scared. I think she’s going to force me into submission with a painful wrestling grip before making me sign a contract promising to work in an orange jumpsuit for a year with minimum-wage and no benefits.

In an ironic twist of fate, as my personal blogging life falters, I’ve been asked to contribute to my company’s experimental corporate blogging exercise as a blogger as well as a potential administrator/moderator. One of the first tasks I have been assigned is to modify the standard template to include the Terms of Use, as well as a Report Abuse button for horn-blowing.

I really don’t see writing there more than I do on this one.

Pink and out

Painted the room pink. I refer to it as the room rather than my sister’s room because it is in a current state of ownership-limbo–although it is officially my sister’s I reside here full-time whilst she spends most of her time in hall. And possession is two-thirds law, n’est pas?

In any case, the room now looks it a little mediterranean by night when we turn on the yellow lights at night, a lovely pinkish-orange hue, and a hideous bright pink by day, when the sunlight illuminates the awful colour in all its glorious splendour (will upload picture once I can find my Bluetooth adapter). Sister is delighted–me less so, but I have to say it looks much nicer than it used to, what with the paint in tatters from the superglued-on-posters Sister used to put up.

I’ve been looking for a new job, though this time it’s for an overseas posting of some kind. Partly it’s due to the boredoma nd repetition of life here in Singapore, and partly it’s the fact that the post-National-Day-Rally-analyses, both online and off, have been something of a downer. Everyone seems to be getting in on the action on how difficult it is to be Singaporean.

So I applied for a job in Dubai. Perhaps next year this blog’s name will be “Coding in the Middle East”.

I can’t wait for the questions during the interview.

What you learn in school stays in school

In case you didn’t know, Singapores kids are ranked among the top in the world when it comes to education in Maths and Science, according to Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study.

But just because we rank tops as kids doesn’t mean mathematical aptitude stays with us for life. Par example, I draw your attention to the article from Channelnewsasia:

First-timers get double chances to buy new HDB flats

“Considering that there are like a few hundred units left and there are thousands applying (for them), I think chances are like 50 percent or 40 percent,” said Hazli Ismail, a first-time HDB flat buyer.

You do the math.

What interns are for

Jacob’s builds biscuit sculpture in record-breaking attempt

I’m just wondering why just the “Singapore Book of Records” (I imagine it’s a rather small book). Why not Guinness? A search on the website shows no signs of any other record-breaking biscuit sculptures, buildings, or artificial structures of any kind, really.

Answer-it’s a publicity stunt that had to coincide with a slow-news-day, but the Guiness people need 3-4 weeks to process a claim.

Or perhaps even marketing staff know when stupid is too stupid.


It’s past midnight and I should be asleep, but first I must make amends.

Oh, Royston, forgive me for ever doubting your genius! 15 may have been a disappointment but you truly are still the master!

I just came back from the gala premiere of Royston Tan’s 881. And it’s the best Singaporean movie I’ve watched ever!



If you don’t know what 881 is, it’s Singapore’s latest contribution to film (sponsored by the usual suspects), about the tragic tale of two Getai performers, roughing it out in the glamourous Singaporean 7th-month-stage-scene. Website’s tells it more literally than I do-in fact it is the most literal description of a movie I have ever read (sounds like it was written by an intern).

It’s Royston’s 3rd film, after 15 and Cut. I also think it’s the first time Royston’s been hobbled by Official sponsorship, which means political overtones are significantly tuned down. But in any case, Royston isn’t a political director (unlike that other Singaporean director you-know-who) and 881 isn’t a political film. 881 is about Art and culture and Singapore, and beautiful costumes. Many many beautiful costumes. Remember Moulin Rouge? I never thought Singapore could do anything like it, but with only S$100,000 (I thought it was excessive when the announcer said it, but now I realize it was really too little) somehow they came up with something that I would be proud to show to foreigners and proclaim – Look! Look! At the richness that is Singapore!

So when it comes out on National Day, I do recommend it. It truly is a movie that could only be done in Singapore. If anyone wants to watch it again, I’ll gladly come along. It’s good enough to watch more than once.

What I love about Royston is his blatant, unapologetic slamming of his Officially-Sponsored-Conditions. Within 5 minutes of the movie beginning, he brought out the requisite-minority-Malays, that blind guy who won the singing competition whom Mediacorp desperately wants to give screen-time to, and also tells us that hot-bod actor Qi Yu Wu is in the movie, but only because Mediacorp wanted him there (and also to sell some tickets). After showing us his restaints, he then proceeds to throw them aside (despite some sad pathetic attempts to fit their faces on-screen) and get down to some good story-telling, which I thought was brilliant and such a cool in-your-face act of defiance.

Perhaps he can be forgiven for doing things so similar to that-other director since Mediacorp was involved, but I felt Royston has managed it with much more subtlety and intelligence. Thank you, Royston, for giving future Literature and Theater Study students something with which even the dimmest will be able to extract pages and pages of underlying subtexts from!

If I have one gripe about the movie, its that Singapore is in painful need of good cinematographers. The camera was a little weak, I think, and it just didn’t manage to pull off some of the shots. The framing also looked a little awkward n some places, with faces cropped too large for comfort (might be my fault-I was sitting in the second row). I am also disgusted that in the website’s credits page the costume people weren’t mentioned. In this particular movie I think they outdid themselves and should have been given a nod of recognition.

I watched it with a bunch of HS’s friends, and sadly they weren’t Theatre Study graduates, so now I’m bursting with the need to analyse the story and decompose the parts. I’ll save it for when I buy the DVD and have watched it some more, though (because if you’ve watched the movie you have to buy the DVD). There are still some parts that I’m almost certain are loaded with significance, but I’m not sure of yet. Also, don’t want to spoil it for you.

** warning ** Royston, at the end, tries to outdo that-other-director with the sob scene. He pulls out every move in the book and I’m sure he wins if only because of devoted screen-time. Girls must bring tissues. Guys grit your teeth and hunker down, because it’s gonna be a tough one to sit out without at least a sniffle.

Controlled Controversy

From ChannelNewsAsia:

SINGAPORE: Controversy and art go hand-in-hand, said Information, Communications and the Arts Minister Lee Boon
Yang, who spoke to reporters at the opening of the Singapore Art Show on Thursday evening.

And he is optimistic that with one out of every three Singaporeans participating in at least one arts and cultural activity a year, this industry is set to develop further.

Sadly, I think it’s prety clear MICA’s message to artists in Singapore. Art has to make money as an “industry” to justify it’s existence here-no art for Art’s sake, we’re afraid. Also, note that the good Minister’s definition of “controversy” here actually implies the kind that occurs accidentally (context: removal of an art piece that was too similar to an already existing American one), not the kind that occurs deliberately in the hopes of sparking political malcontent or social movement.

I can’t decide if the good minister’s words count for irony or self-fulfilling prophecy.

In case you’re wondering why, his statement comes at a time when Singaporean homosexuals are indignant that their proposed screening of two movies with homosexual content was turned down by the MDA, as was an Art exhibition featuring kissing homosexuals (visit Yawning Bread for more information.

I’m beginning to think Singapore’s repressed Arts scene is a carefully calculated move by the government to give us international media coverage at regular intervls, just so the rest of the world knows we’re still around. Perhaps Martyn See is actually being paid to produce his banned-before-production works which are almost-certainly promised screenings in almost every international film festival in a perverse symbiotic relationship with our government. Maybe he’s just another Merlion (albert not white, and spewing stuff more disgusting than seawater), an artificial Singaporean fabrication made to promote Singapore overseas.

(My version of the Merlion originally had skinny, handcuffed arms but I decided to cut them out in case it was seditious-the STB, which owns the Merlion, has guidelines only for food or souvenirs products. I will be more than willing to take down this image, STB!!! ((what can I say, I’m not Martyn)))


For some strange reason I can’t fanthom, though, the government didn’t ban Happy Endings, a play ostensibly about young Singaporean (forbidden and illegal) love set in a JC, nor the upcoming Hitting (On) Women, another play about lesbians. I’ve also seen a play dealing with paedophilic/homosexual content which touched on religious issues, which totally blew my mind (that they were allowed). I guess MICA either trusts the play-going audience to be mature and understanding or believes that plays aren’t quite as powerful as cinema in polluting the minds of our citizens.

Or that they’ll never hit the heartland because of their high entry prices.

(I know 15 wasn’t by Martyn, but it’s the one that I think set off the trend of banned-famous)

Friday Funnies

Sometimes I say something mean and I feel guilty for it. Then I watch Lisa Lampanelli and find catharsis.

You can watch the entire Dirty Girl (in 22 inexplicable parts) on YouTube. Be warned, though, that she’s not for everyone (especially racially-correct-Singaporeans).

On the other hand, if you like your jokes Christian and told by a cute guy, you might instead enjoy Dane Cook instead.

He makes me shudder. I think I subconsciously feel that only ugly people should be allowed to make fun of others.

Alternately, if you really prefer more subtle, nicer (and much weirder) forms of humour, try Demetri Martin.

Clearification is a Vista Viral, and a rather heavy-handed one at that. But still weirdly enjoyable. I am surprised, though, that it isn’t in SilverLight.

Algorithm March

It’s banal, cute and disturbing…

What’s even more disturbing is that in Cebu they have an entire prison doing it. The Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center looks like a fun place… I also found videos of them doing Thriller, In the Navy and something called the “Jumbo Hotdogs”.

Something tells me these prisoners also practice the dance of the Jumbo Hotdogs back in their bunks as well as in the courtyards.