The future of ‘government’

Tuesday 30 October 2012, 12.30am HKT


GUUS GOORTS is an affable Dutchman who runs a language learning portal in Singapore called Yago. This is his first (and exclusive) article for The Naked Listener’s Weblog in which he ponders over the future of ‘government’ in face of our world of information overload.

The Naked Listener himself could have written something about this, but it’ll just be too longwinded and nowhere near as concise or good in quality. Gentle Reader, you ARE in luck for a change.

* * *

Why ‘government’ will become obsolete

Google’s Eric Schmidt said in 2010 that we now produce as much information in two days as that in all the years from the dawn of civilisation up to 2003 combined — a mind-boggling stat.

In other words, information is hardly a scarcity anymore. The issue now is how to find the most trustworthy information. Or whether it’s actually trustworthy to begin with.

While the rivers of information flow and grow daily, we’re just starting to adjust ourselves to the new reality of information overload.

Here are just three examples why ‘government’ is going to be largely obsolete in future:—

Government investment agencies exist to help businesses identify business partners locally and abroad. Yet a quick search through LinkedIn is already a quicker help for you to identify prospects — with that extra ‘edge’ of giving you a better idea of who you’re actually dealing with because you already know those people there who know other people who knows still others you can and could connect with.

Say you’re in school and take school maths. Your teacher is already assigned to you. You can’t request a different teacher, no matter how much you hate his style, or guts. Yet on YouTube, you could find a fearsome number of explanations for any possible mathematical concept you’re interested in, and choose the ones that gel for you.

Education authorities inspect and certify schools (particularly private schools) in our countries. Most of us still care whether that job is done properly and transparently. From what I know of this certification process here in Singapore, it’s a paper exercise in which the school in question just needs to submit ‘this’ permit or ‘that’ certificate. No one from the Ministry of Education comes to the school and talks to the students to see if teachers there are passionate, effective or just plain agreeable in what they do. Yet just by visiting a school review site, the average person can get a better idea of the school’s standing than romping through official government education reports.

Those and other responsibilities of our governments are replaceable by Internet sources, sometimes with qualitative improvements over the existing situation. The idea is that, if people come together and share, it gives us a much better knowledge base than any ‘analogue’ human organisation could do. In other words, government needs to employ more ‘spot checks.’ The Internet can be used to capture life itself.

‘Filter through the bullshit’

Sure enough, we know most of the information on the Internet is (shall we say) crap. We’re all still trying to figure out how to filter through the bullshit (never mind filter out) and bring the best information to the surface. I think we’re making progress nonetheless.

We’re not in the clear yet. We still stuck in many of our old-fashioned ways. At the moment, the new stuff coming from new technologies makes many things possible — but not probable yet.

A few days ago, someone on my train ride was using an iPad as a paper substitute to do long division. To me, that’s a bit like taking a brand-new car, lashing reins and harness to it, and getting horses to pull it. Are we going back to Square One again?!

Back to Square One by habit?

In the early days of the automobile, some places required that
motorcars be driven with horses to comply with road regulations.
One such place was Nantucket (an island in Cape Cod, Massachusetts),
which banned entry to motorcars for 18 years (1900–1918)
unless and until a driver fitted his motorcar with a horse.

.

Ultimately for the good

WE HAVE TO ADAPT to what’s possible in order to make it probable. Here are some changes (adaptations?) that I foresee taking place, certainly in my lifetime:—

Schooling no longer will be about acquiring knowledge. It’ll be more about skills building and learning by doing. One of the most important skills in future is how to find information; our information overload of today makes this a more-needed skill than it ever has been in the past. Another important skill is the capability (as opposed to just ‘ability’) to distinguish the good from the bad — to sort the wheat from the chaff, the bullshit from the gems. Today’s information-laden world is crap and full of crap. Then, after all that, we need the skill to put information to practical use.

Sources of information that were (and are) historically and conventionally trusted by all will become less and less relevant over time. Why ever should I subscribe to a newspaper unless it offers something I cannot find elsewhere?

Truth isn’t absolute anymore. We all know only too well that whatever viewpoint we hold or want to support, we can find plenty of likeminded opinions and facts to back it up. To stay sane (or some semblance of it), it becomes more and more important to be able to realise there are just no ‘neutral’ sources of information.

Just those three changes sound scary enough. I see the changes will ultimately be for the good of all. Information and opportunities are, and will continue to be, available to more and more people in more and different ways. Those and other realignments will allow people to go beyond relying on the élites of society to make bigger, useful and useable contributions to society.

Which scares us more, information scarcity or information abundance? Which is scarier, the change from scarcity to abundance of information or the opportunities that could come from the change?

_____

Originally from the Netherlands, Guus Goorts is based in Singapore since 2006. After several years in the field of corporate training, he founded Yago Languages — a resource website for language learners — and runs a language learning blog of his own.

Text © Guus Goorts / Yago.sg, 2012. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

_____

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Peaches and mushrooms in blue and green

Sunday 28 October 2012, 4.47am HKT


AND NOW for something completely different (again).

We are once again graced with another exclusive feature by Ophelia Kwong, a British- and American-trained artist now based in Hong Kong. She has very kindly taken up some of the slack in writing for The Naked Listener while he wilfully neglects this duty and panders to the whims of his professional clients by attending wild wining and dining parties all night.

* * *

A personal thank-you to readers: After my first more intense and emotional guest entry, I should move on to something a little ‘lighter.’ What I realize about writing for this blog is that I’m not really that accustomed to writing in a way bloggers [usually] write, if that makes any sense. Mainly because I’m very much used to writing a blog/diary just for myself and not directed towards an ‘audience.’ So please forgive me for being a virgin write-for-an-audience blogger. Thank you all for reading this if you are reading it. I really appreciate it.

(Worth her weight in gold to dive into the deep end to write for us. — Editor)

*

ANYWAY, to get to the point, today I would like to introduce the different periods of my work thus far in my life as a professional artist.

Picasso had his ‘blue’ period — I have mine: ‘blue-green’ period, peach period and mushroom period

Actually I started talking about my work in different ‘periods’ because it was a bit of a joke between me and a friend. Might have gone through an ‘egg period’ as well — it didn’t last long — even though I think I created one of my most original work during that time.

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PEACH PERIOD

Find a fruit. ‘Play’ with it, discover all its possibilities. Cut it up, take out the seeds, make it into an artwork.

The first thing that came to my mind was a peach. I’ve always been attracted to the peach, its smell, its form — and how in many ways I felt it resembled me: having grown up overseas, I didn’t have the skinny frame that most Hong Kong locals have. The peach, in its roundness, made me smile and appreciate my own ‘form’ more. Its delicate skin is something I relate to.

And so started my ‘peach’ period at the Hong Kong Arts School under the tutelage of my mentor, Gukzik Lau.

Taking influences from Georgia O’Keeffe‘s flowers, I painted a series of closeups of the softness and sensuousness of the peach. They were like intimate self-portraits. When the eye comes very close to something, I realize there is a simultaneous sense of suffocation and drama as the creation is being wrought. To me, the feeling is like finding the essence of humanity in and through nature.

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MUSHROOM PERIOD

This period came was the most depressed time in my life. I had just lost Dad and I felt the need to create work that uplifts the spirit — something that somehow could give myself some hope that my ‘peach’ period wasn’t able to fully give.

A variety of installations marked this ‘period’ of mine — lightboxes and sculptures, all themed around the mushroom.

One of those installations I created and co-exhibited with a friend had been a room filled with paper mushrooms hanging from ‘the sky,’ made in such a way as to give off a dreamy, mystical atmosphere. Took hours to make the 100 mushrooms and stick each of them onto the wall one by laborious one. Thinking back now, I’m not even sure what the concept was behind all those things I had created; they were just me experimenting with form and a minimalist colour palette.

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BLUE-GREEN PERIOD

So I went on holiday back to the UK, and spent a few days in Paris too. I went to a Lucian Freud exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London and got inspired.

And then my ‘blue-green’ period started.

Also getting inspired was having discovered Dad’s stash of old LPs at a friend’s house in the UK. That vast collection of musical afición of his, now left over to me, represents Dad’s love of art and culture that endures in me since I was very young.

Those LPs — with faces of singers from long, long ago from Hong Kong as well as from Europe and America — looked so oldishly nostalgic, made more so with that layer of dust on them.

I took some of the LPs with me and started to re-create the LP covers. Blue-green colours, warm colours, cold colours, green played off against the red — all to heighten the sense and sensation of nostalgia. It was the right feeling — no, the right way — to go at the time.

From those LPs I took home, I produced 10 works. Somehow, though, all of the faces came out as though something or someone was missing in them. But the LPs got me pondering over how the imagery they contained are a reflection of the desires, the desired and what was considered attractive in those bygone days.

.

RECENT WORKS

I was shaken and stirred.

A deformed butterfly from Fukushima, with wings born shrunken, looked so sad and tormented in that photo of it that I saw.

And then came The Rabbit With No Ears.

They shook me because, that day, I was working on a commission that had to do with mutations in the butterflies of Fukushima caused by radiation fallout.

How sad. A butterfly with busted wings can’t live properly because there’s nothing for it to camouflage itself and to attract mates.

How sad. A rabbit losing its intensely iconic rabbit ears. Is it still a rabbit with no rabbit ears?

If you were to lose the most important, the most beautiful, part of you, what happens then? What would happen to you?

*

EPILOGUE

For every action, there is a reaction. I believe this, and in this.

The Naked Listener writes: Opinions, good or otherwise, are deeply welcomed by Ophelia. Go on, luv, make her day.

_____

Ophelia Kwong is an artist and writer previously in the UK and USA, and now based in Hong Kong. Her works have appeared in many group exhibitions such as White Tube, JCCAC, Culture Club, Mischmasch Gallery, Cattle Depot Artist Village and other exhibitions. She had been a writer for the art magazine “a.m. Post” (Artmap) and a guest writer for “Roundtable.” Currently, she creates commissioned art pieces and works freelance worldwide. Visit her website at Mischmasch.

_____

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Text and images © Ophelia Kwong, 2012. All Rights reserved.

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. (B12380)

10 things this week (Week 41)

Sunday 14 October 2012, 12.30am HKT


CLEARLY the week hasn’t been a smooth one by virtue of my doing another ’10 things’ summary.

For the week ended Saturday, 13 October 2012.

*

ONE

DISCOVERED my password booklet went missing (UK) / gone missing (USA).

Disaster.

I’m not particularly worried about my passwords for various online espionage services (like WordPress) falling into the wrong hands. Having this blog is already wrong hands enough.

The worst thing about losing the booklet is that it contains my ID authentication codes for various stock exchanges and government regulatory agencies in several different countries — the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the USA, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, our Securities and Futures Commission, etc.

Result? Super major aggro for the authorities because I’ve had to report the loss to the police in several countries. This is self-pwnage par excellence.

Moral of the story? Things disappear notwithstanding the best security measures. Save your skin by having an action list for that eventuality. It isn’t if disaster will come — disaster will always come. It’s a question of how you manage the disaster.

Super excellent moral of the story? Now is the time to start stealing loads of money from everybody because whoever now has my password book will be taking the heat for it. Like I said, it’s a question of how you manage the disaster…

*

TWO

LAST WEEK, the Oscar-winning documentary “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons in the Life of Robert S. McNamara” was on telly.

Since then, memories of Mrs Lee and her six sons — all KIAs in Vietnam — kept playing in my mind. (Mrs Lee: same surname, no relation.)

Mrs L went a bit loopy afterwards, and got worse as her kids’ insurance payouts rolled in punctually month after month to remind her of that personal disaster.

Yes, folks, it surprises many that I’m actually old enough to have schoolmates who fought in Vietnam. It surprises even me.

*

THREE

THE BEST

BAZ LUHRMANN’s “Romeo + Juliet” (1996) on telly. Shakespeare’s famous play updated to a hip modern suburb, modern dress and modern gunfights but retaining its original 500-year-old ‘attitudes’ and dialogue.

The love scenes were über-crap and corny, but the other scenes were fantastic. Summary? Our lives are shite and violent, and it’s been like that down through the ages, and no change in our propensity for stupidity. Yay! Something doesn’t change! The 500-year-old dialogue really puts the whole thing into sharp focus.

Just imagine

  • Romeo and Juliet in their original 13-year-old selves
  • 500-year-old dialogue
  • Vietnam War as backdrop with Italian carabinieri as troops
  • hippie astral light sunflower music for the love scenes
  • CCR, ZZ Top, Stanton Warriors and Crystal Method music for the actions
  • Merseyside Mods as the Capulets with fake ‘Suh’thern’ American accents
  • German-Iranian skinheads as the Montagues in broken London Cockney English

What a killer that would be!

MEH

Real Steel” (2011) — boxing by hip-hop robots set in ‘old-fashioned’ America in 2020 (just seven years from now).

Honestly, I don’t get it — what’s the thrill in watching two lumbering steel robots punching each other’s circuits out? The blood and gore‘s the whole point.

Why boxing robots? We’re inundated already with news about those two robots (Romney and Obama), c’mon.

Meanwhile, the rest of the TV fare had been moronic — constant repeats of:—

  • “National Treasure” (2004)
  • “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” (2007)
  • “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011)
  • “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” (2010) *groan*

It would’ve been better if they’d just reshow the original “Planet of the Apes” (1968). Or “Centurion” (2010), for which I wrote a faggoty review.

THE PITS

No surprises here: “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” — which kept repeating endlessly, like a vampire sucking the life out of you using a catheter inserted into your … well, you get the idea.

*

FOUR

SIGHTED on a T-shirt: “Time Immemorable” (McDonalds, 10 Oct, 1.20pm).

Sorry, no pics — so you can classify this into the  No Pics, It Didn’t Happen category.

It’s “time immemorial” — I know the T-shirt writer meant ‘immemorial’ because of its ‘context’ (i.e. the surrounding text and other non-compos-mentis’try).

Interestingly, ‘since time immemorial’ is a legal term of art defined as before 6 July 1189 by the first Statute of Westminster of 1275 (3 Edw. I), whose 51 Acts are still in legal force in the UK. That was the date of accession of King Richard I (the Lionheart) to the English throne.

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FIVE

“There’s been a persistent and virulent lack of discipline on my ship.”
— Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

OH, I find living in Hong Kong is really getting under my skin these couple of years.

Attitudes, basic manners and general behaviour have gone to pot these couple of years. The Cantonese (which makes up 95% of our population) are not generally known for quiet speech. Now, I’ve gone deaf from the goddamn constant hollering.

5.1

The “post-80s” (people born in the 1980s) are cocky (a feat to behold in a city already renowned for its cockiness), pedantic and callous. In short, stuffed-shirts and know-alls.

The “post-90s” bunch are ugly or stupid, or ugly and stupid, wear outlandish garb, and have no working or workable skills to speak of. Their Chinese-language skills are as bad as their English skills, and that’s seriously some feat to behold.

The Hong Kong education system has always been extremely competitive. Think of the U.S. system multiplied by (literally) 100 times. Think of the UK system multiplied by 25 times. Only the mainland Chinese, Japanese and Singaporean systems are more competitive than Hong Kong’s — and I tell you that’s saying something.

But Hong Kong buggers its educational horsepower by working in ‘streams’ (Science, Arts and Commerce). In the UK, for instance, a secondary student is basically free to choose whatever subjects to do at O-level. (In Scandinavia, students study everything: sciences, arts and commerce subjects regardless of personal interest.) In Hong Kong, choice outside the stream is disallowed.

Because of that insane policy, we’ve now descended to the point whereby students from one stream are unable to hold a reasonably informal conversation with those from the other streams because the stream contents and instruction are so mutually exclusive.

The education authorities officially recognise this problem (but do nothing about it). The politicos complain about it (and do nothing). The parents see it in their children on a daily basis (but don’t know what to do about it). The new, reformed academic structure (“334”) in place since 2011 for sure is going to accentuate this bubble mentality in a whole generation of people.

Can we not say this refusal to remedy the situation is in itself a sign of refusal to learn from mistakes? Draw your own conclusions.

What’s the point of extreme competitiveness when everybody knows nothing except what’s in their own little bubble?

5.2

Personal hygiene is sinking — the ‘pong’ in the underground/subway trains during rush hour is just excruciating.

General urban cleanliness is sinking too — debris in the streets, overflowing rubbish bins not attended to as a rule, hosing engines no longer seen plying the streets to wash them, busted kerbs and sidewalks, unrepaired traffic lights, etc. The list goes on.

5.3

Expats, semi-expats and Eurasians born and bred in Hong Kong are having a hard, hard time landing a job because the usual ‘anti-personnel’ tactic is to play up the Chinese-language requirement of the job (for those whose Chinese-language skills are weak).

For the locals and new immigrants, employers simply reverse the anti-personnel tactic by playing up English-language skills.

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SIX

I’ve been meaning to write this for a very long time, at least for a whole year already.

Xenophobia is on the rise in Hong Kong, and pro-Hong Kong, pro-Cantonese, anti-Mandarin or otherwise anti-mainlander sentiment and rhetoric is growing. Xenophobia is mostly against visitors and new immigrants from mainland China. Domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia also get the soggy end.

I remember this is exactly what Chris (now Lord) Patten (our last Governor), The Economist, Newsweek, Time magazine, Die Südedeutsche Zeitung, Der Spiegel, La Repubblica and Pravda predicted would happen 10 to 15 years after Hong Kong’s sovereignty transfer to China.

Interestingly, I remember only the NME (New Musical Express, a music newspaper) actually said Hong Kong will turn “racist” under Chinese rule, so a certain kind of music had to be catered for. All the other ‘serious’ newspapers and magazines either missed it or sanitised their words so much that it pretty much came to the same thing.

On local Chinese-language and regular social networking sites, at least I’m seeing a rise in groups such as Cantonese Language — there are many others on Facebook — making highly defamatory, insane, invasive, irrelevant and inciting declarations on everything wrong that isn’t Hong Kong and everything right that is.

Many of these xenophobic Hong Kong groupings have followings that number in the middle thousands. And nearly every insane statement put out by these groupings is greeted with support by thousands of followers and/or sympathisers. I grew up partly in Italy and the UK at a time when those countries has sizeable right- and left-wing militant movements, and the same thing is happening right at home now.

The Establishment here are adding to the winter of discontent by sitting on their hands, letting things slide, and showing no operational (let alone political) leadership.

Then we have that completely brain-damaged bunch of otherwise straight-A kids who banded together and formed Scholarism, a pressure group opposed to the new ‘National Education Curriculum’ (NEC) for secondary education that they (and many others) branded as pro-China nationalistic brainwashing. For an education-related pressure group, Scholarism sure knows jack about the politics of education.

I’m not f@cking stupid, boyo. I can suss out what their game is. I spent enough time in my kiddie and non-kiddie days living in countries with juntas, corrupt politicos, fascista e comunisti, paramilitary formations and other ‘interesting’ inhabitants. I escaped from one full nighttime military invasion. The front is NEC opposition, the driving engine is anti-mainland politicking.

If the real worth — the true value — of a organised cause is in what and how it presents itself to the public, then it’s clear as the goddamn sunshiny day whenever their conveners speak in public. These guys are having it in for the authorities and anyone else not on their side. Hongkongers are not great or even consistent consumers of news, so this stuff tends to go right over their heads. Many of these newer lobby groups have secret agendas — just that their disguising them aren’t done expertly. I ought to know — I once worked as a political fundraiser in the UK. Don’t f*cking fob me off with disguises and crap.

Personally, I’m no happy bunny about the NEC either, but I’m even unhappier about a bunch of people who get straight As but still manages to screw up big time with the wrong name for their own pressure group (‘scholarism’ means pedantic learning, by the way: they meant ‘scholasticism’ — and even that is problematic for a lobby group). I’ve heard they’ve been told numerous times about the error of their name; they point-blank refused to change. (The media is full of stories about them; just Google.)

RIDER: I hate and detest naming names like this and definitely out of character even for me. But as a person who grew up in 13 different countries around the world (including a crazy place like Beirut, Lebanon) and also trained in psychology and law, I’ve seen my fair share of crazed and fanatical people in my day in and out of psycho labs and courtrooms. I’m pretty insane myself anyway, so it takes one to know one.

*

SEVEN

Ruminated on the number of times I’ve ended up having to ‘apologise’ for the insane faggotry of Hong Kong people when I’m in the company of foreigners or in other countries.

I’m nothing like the average run of law-abiding, God-fearing, forex-loving, real-estate-speculating, forward-contract-arbitraging Hongkonger, much less the insane bunch mentioned in SIX. Yet, it befalls on me to get hit with remarks like, “Why do YOU as a Hong Kong person do this?”

I don’t know ‘WHY’ — I can’t answer for them because I’ve never spent my formative years here. Ask them, not me. Don’t give me a hard time because of them. I came back to Hong Kong already a fully grown, fully tired and emotional (drunk), and fully insane person (albeit according to non-Hong Kong patterns of insanity).

For crying out loud, I don’t even read or write Chinese!

In reverse, I get the Operation Rolling Thunder treatment from Hongkongers: “Why do you always side with the gweilo (foreigners) when you’re a Hongkonger yourself? Why won’t you be Chinese and tell the mainland Chinese to be in their place?” I don’t and I can’t.

WTF-ness scores: 9.9 – 9.8 – 9.7 – 8.7 – 9.8. WTF Gold Medallist!

I totally relate to why Robert S. McNamara said “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” about his role in the Vietnam War.

*

EIGHT

THIS IS THE PART where I get tough on people.

An essential trait of an entrepreneur (or at least a person TRYING to run a business) is to NOT have tolerance for loonies. It’s the 80/20 rule — 20% generates 80% of the income, 20% of the time is with sensible people, 80% with the ‘drama’ of the loonies. Just can’t afford to piss about with the loonies.

My last post mentioned a less-than-crystal-clear-minded friend of mine decided out of the blue to redo something highly likely to blow up in my friend’s face several years from now.

A background primer. My friend is 20-something, local born and bred, works a steady but part-time job, and holds a B.A. in English Language. Has a long-running fantasy desire about working for the government in the legal area.

The heatstroke has finally kicked in, I think. My friend has now gone off on a tangent and is preparing to resit high-school subjects for 2014 admission into the local top-dog university, most likely for another bachelor’s degree in law.

*Eyeroll*

Non compos mentis doesn’t even begin to characterise this insanity. Why would anyone in their right mind should want to do this?

The way my friend explained it to me, resitting high-school exams post-degree-wise would “develop the CV” specifically for joining the Hong Kong Civil Service. It was (almost) explained to me that our esteemed bureaucracy would—

“… consider all your best achievements, despite [sic] whether it is a resit or first time — the whole life achievements.”

My friend has been mislead, either by someone or by my friend’s own self. Despite my friend being an English major, my friend’s command of English is … just … f#cking abysmal. My friend is probably unable to fully comprehend the nuances of language in those Civil Service assessment guidelines, I don’t think.

To cut a long story short, my friend is stubborn and barmy — a dangerous combination — and has a distinct penchant for rationalisation and textbooky-type intellectualisation. This person generally can’t see the forest for the trees in most things, and doesn’t realise it.

► If the Civil Service really DOES consider best achievements regardless of first-time pass or resit, wouldn’t it have done that before rather than now or in future for a degree holder?

► If the Civil Service really DOES consider best achievements, wouldn’t resits be a contradiction?

► If you’re preparing for a second stint at Uni, why not just use your present degree to get in, instead of trying “develop” your CV with high-school stuff?

► Presumably at the end of all this you’ll have two degrees under your belt. Aren’t two degrees worth a tad more than high-school stuff?

See what I mean. You and I can see this, plain as daylight, but my friend couldn’t.

Time factor too: Age mid-20s now. Second stint at Uni 2 years from now. Four-year bachelor degrees in Hong Kong. Altogether 6 years to elapse. Graduation over 30 years old. Left behind by the rest by a big stretch, pal.

► Will our Civil Service want a 30-something for first-time entry into their ranks at establishment grade? You’ve got to be farkin’ kidding me! Hahahaha.

Oh, suuuure they will — preferably you’re overseas-educated, preferably overseas-raised, preferably Distinction passes for undergraduate qualifications, preferably solid postgraduate qualifications, etc, etc, etc. Otherwise, those six extra years trying ‘to perfect’ things will get you no better edge than other first-timers with first degrees, and only getting non-establishment-grade civil service rank.

Wow, 6 years to get exactly the same thing what you could get now.

My friend also has an annoying habit of talking about “monetary returns by [age] 35” — whatever the hell that Chinglish means. I’ll just assume (for my own sanity) that it means ‘return on investment.’ If that what my friend means, then business acumen is also seriously lacking by doing this faggotry.

I make an honest living working with crooks the likes of bankers, lawyers, accountants and government officials, day in, day out. I don’t know how the government works in absolute terms, but I sure as hell know more than my friend does.

It’s a test this “consider your best achievements” thing. The “whether it is a first-time or resit” is just another red herring. It’s to sort the wheat from the chaff: those who follow ‘rules’ like drones will forever be slotted into low-level or support roles — someone’s got to do the dirty legwork in the machinery of government, right? It the same sordid routine with H.M. Civil Service in the UK. Duh.

Honestly, I don’t care if my friend gets to read this. My friend needs a good slapping around to bloody wake the f#ck up.

TRIVIA: I have a certain vicious streak in me. I stop being friends with those who later come back and say to me, “Yeah, man, you’re right, it was no good.” I’m rubbing my palms in expectation of that day with this particular friend.

*

NINE

A senior journalist from our local English-language broadsheet wants to interview me over luncheon. I couldn’t believe he wants “to meet a great man and intellect” because of my other, even-stupider, zero-inspired blog, Learn English or Starve.

Details to come. Otherwise, if I’m not back in an hour, call in a bomb scare.

*

TEN

Writing this post, which surely is a sign that things aren’t going well with me.

*

“You live only once. Why ruin it with a rash decision?”

_____

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Images: ONE via c4c | TWO via Wikipedia | THREE via Graham’s Down Under Thoughts | FOUR via Imgur | FIVE via c4c | SIX via c4c | SEVEN via Idle Hearts | EIGHT (1) via Hammer’s Hall of Viking Supremacy | EIGHT (2) via Funny Junk | NINE via eHow | TEN via Keep-Calm-And.

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Reports from the life of a city, from 1951 to now, compiled by David Secombe

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Shirley Chuk

Chuk Yin-yuk 祝燕玉 of Hong Kong

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