Understanding your salary

Sunday 11 March 2012, 5.08pm HKT

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968), American author, in I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked (University of California, 1994)

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. Image via Goodreads.

The anger and resentment, delayed for now

Sunday 11 March 2012, 1.01am HKT

(Updated 11 March 2012 to fix typos and errant phraseology)

9.17pm local time / 14°C (57°F) windy and overcast

AND RATTA has decided to delay her resignation until Monday or Tuesday next week, for the sake of earning two more days’ wages.

She was to have called it quits this morning.

There’ll be two more new hired hands coming in next week, so Ratta also wanted to make sure the new guns get settled in.

Now that’s what I can be responsible-minded.

That’s why Ratta — and not them lot — have been put in charge of high-end luxury sportscars worth millions of dollars at her previous workplace.

Advisory: This will hopefully be the last of my totally angry, totally emotional, totally out-of-order, totally vicious and totally brain-baffling post — quite frankly, even I have had enough of this angry crap.

* * *

I’m not emotional
— and don’t you say I am either


I have a couple of highly emotional reactions about her workplace.

I too can be arrogant, establishmentarian, Tory (conservative), disciplinarian, prescriptivist — choose the words you like best (as Marc Antony said to Cleopatra) — especially to those peasants.

Pay attention! Class is in session!


You won’t even allow Ratta to answer calls on her own mobile phone.

Your workplace is an office. It isn’t a construction site or a railyard where answering phone calls could be dangerous.

Even some prisons have payphones and allow un-effing-restricted phone access by convicts.

Tell me exactly what kind of place you’re running, or you leave.


Your goddamn job is to teach young kids. F@#king learn your manners.

This is your principal job. You do this, or you leave.


Your website is a disgrace to the online community.

Your ‘professional’ organisation cannot even manage the simple task of putting in the right materials into the right webpage.

Your English-language blog page (based on your ‘en_’ URL) is f@#king entirely in Chinese, written by your ‘principal’ in poor bloody Chinese grammar and poor bloody Chinese diction.

By the way, when you’re head of an educational establishment for preteens, your proper title is headmistress, you fat, smelly runt.

This is your principal online task for your website. You do this properly, or you leave the online sphere (or be put out of it).


You are mistaken. You are not professionals because you are not a Professional.

A ‘Professional’ is a person who is trained and/or practising in the Professions.

Classically, there were only three: divinitymedicine and law — the so-called ‘Learned Professions.’

Today, architecture, engineering and (believe it or not) plumbing have been added into the Principal Professions.

A ‘Profession’ is defined as a vocation founded upon specialised educational training, the purpose of which is to supply objective counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectation of other business gain.*

* Paragraph 123 of “Architect Services” (Chapter 7) of a United Kingdom Competition Commission report dated 8 November 1977, quoting a New Statesman article dated 21 April 1917 by Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb. This definition is applicable worldwide to a greater or lesser extent.

The main milestones** that mark an occupation being identified as a profession are:—

  1. It became a full-time occupation
  2. The first training school was established
  3. The first university school was established
  4. The first local association was established
  5. The first national association was established
  6. The codes of professional ethics were introduced
  7. State or national licensing laws were established

** Perks, R.W. (1993). Accounting and Society. London: Chapman & Hall, ISBN 0412473305. Page 2.

Even the thoroughly brain-damaged Wikipedia does NOT even include educationistas in the lineup of Professionals:—

  • Accountants
  • Actuaries (i.e. insurance accountants)
  • Advocates (i.e. barristers a.k.a. trial lawyers)
  • Architects
  • Archivists (does not include librarians)
  • Chefs (does not fulfil criteria 5–7, thus does not qualify as a Profession as described above)
  • Dentists
  • Diplomats (career diplomats only)
  • Engineers (includes electricians)
  • Financial analysts (who are now too big to bail out)
  • Journalists (even yellow hacks)
  • Lawyers (i.e. solicitors a.k.a. non-trial lawyers)
  • Optometrists
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists (but not pharmacologists)
  • Philosophers (does not fulfil criteria 5–7, thus does not qualify as a Profession as described above)
  • Physicians (i.e. non-surgical doctors)
  • Pilots
  • Plumbers
  • Professors (only full sitting professors on tenure)
  • Psychologists
  • Scientists (does not fulfil criteria 5–7, thus does not qualify as a Profession as described above)
  • Social workers
  • Surgeons (i.e. butchering doctors)
  • Veterinarians

I am a Professional by training and qualification and general recognition.

Your work is not professional because you are not a Professional. This is your actual social and work status. You accept it, or you leave.

As you are not a Professional, I have no interest whatsoever in entertaining your unsubstantiated un-Professional opinions, which are worthless for my Professional purposes.

(Notwithstanding the foregoing, some of my esteemed readers are professional (and Professional) teachers and educationists, and I should hope they too object to your brand of professionalism in education.)


You refused to even speak to your new hired hands, even for something as simple and innocuous as casual chitchat.

Ratta sits around in the office with absoeffinglutely none of the usual office conversation happening.

If you are a jobhunter, this should raise all your red flags about a problematic workplace.

If you are an employer with a workplace like that, you are part of the problem of running a problematic workplace and not the solution.

Your principal job is to run a comfortable, on-going business for profits. I too run a business, comfortable enough, as profitable as it could humanly be. You are to provide a proper workplace with no undue stress for your employees, or you leave.


Your co-workers won’t even talk to each other while dining together at lunchtime.

Red flag. Clearly these people have deep-seated psychological problems.

Untalkativeness or refusal to have social interaction is a strong indicator of high sexual frustration and psychologically traumatised personalities. (I know: my first degree was in psychology and statistics.)

Basically, you need to see a doctor at the first opportunity because I srsly believe the children under your care are under threat by your general pattern of behaviour.

Frankly, I would prefer to put you down like a sick dog with a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum myself, but I understand from my legal training that would be slightly illegal in any jurisdiction.

Your lunchtime or whatever-the-hell break is when you’re supposed to be yourself. You do that, or your leave.


You deliberately and purposefully stretch things out in your teaching to the children so as to gain maximum possible revenue.

Your ‘company’ provides English-language tuition to very young children as a crammer (AmE: tuition school). But you also prolong the tuition on purpose in order to milk their over-anxious parents sold on the insane idea that kids could learn to speak English ‘natively’ (they mean ‘to speak like a native’) whilst growing up in a non-English-speaking territory like Hong Kong.

Your principal operating doctrine is that you’re a crammer. A crammer is to provide non-permanent remedial directed teaching to meet a specified need (e.g. examinations). You do that, or you leave.


Your three or four expat education or programme or whatever-the-hell directors have been living in my town only after the 1997 handover.

Unless you’ve been here before or are a belonger by birth or connection, you know jack shite about the Chinese and their children.

Ye olde Hong Kong flag

Were YOU here when THIS was here?
Then tell me what you know about Hong Kong, please.

In fact, you know bollocks about the Chinese
unless you were here when THIS was here.

 * * *

In fact, I’ve a mind just to sue those peasants just for fun and to see if my lawyerings skills are still up to scratch. Harr-harr.

Oh, yeah, for our non-English-speaking cousins, all this is what it means by the English phrase ‘having it in for’ somebody.

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. Updated 11 March 2012.

Images: Mobile phone via Schoolnet.lk | Facepalm via c4c | Faucet by the author | Arrogant face via Terra Ferma Media | Girlie chitchat via Glossy Icon | Uncle Sam Shut Up via Psychology Today | Old Hong Kong Flag (public domain) via Wikipedia.

Not what it turns out to be

Friday 9 March 2012, 2.09am HKT

11.40pm local time
17°C (63°F) drizzly

RATTA (an alias) has been in her new job exactly three weeks now. Judging from what she tells me earlier tonight, I don’t think she’s a happy bunny there.

The trouble is with the people she “has to work with,” as she knowingly puts it.

It’s not Ratta — I know her too well, and she gets along perfect with everyone.

* * *

Turns out the people there are really arrogantheartless and bloodyminded.

I’ll just relay what Ratta told me in short, conclusive form just to show you how WTF her new employer and co-workers are turning out to be.

  1. A morass of ‘products’ (tuition courses) that fit into three sheets of A3 size paper (11½ x 16½ inches, or 29.7 x 42 cm).
  2. The course listings have been organised (by others) in quite a chaotic way, or at least not very organised one.
  3. There are too many women employees (over 80%).
  4. Most of the employees are under 25 years old (over 80%).
  5. Ratta could notice (even with one eye shut) that EVERYBODY there dislikes to explain the work system or anything else to anyone, not just to her.
  6. There is an expectation in the company that every new employee within a day or two of being hired to fully 100% absorb, digest, understand, appreciate, regurgitate, etc — choose the words you like best — whatever the hell had been badly explained to him or her the first time round (and the only time).
  7. Any new employee is expected (nay, required) to say the ‘correct’ words on the go-get when conversing with customers (the parents) or handling enquiries.

You can’t ask a question

In one incident, Ratta was being shown the ropes to doing something by a co-worker. Ratta asked the co-worker to clarify a point. The co-worker at once went poe-faced but pretended to be nice. Then Ratta got her arse hauled into the super’s office.

(I wasn’t there to witness it, naturally, but I trust Ratta’s word on it mainly because I know really well and she’s rather good at noticing these things. Had I been there, as a ‘next-level’ sort of guy myself, a punch in that co-worker’s gob would’ve been my response.)

Jesus H. Christ, is it too much to ask for a slight clarification?!?

You have to be perfect

Another incident: Another supervisor asked Ratta how she would answer an enquiry about a new enrolment.

“I’ll say I just do a quick/small assessment first,” Ratta said what her response would be. That sounds all right, doesn’t it? Sounds all right to me even if I were running on lawyer mode.

But, NO, the supervisor launched on Ratta, telling her, “No! You cannot use the word ‘small’ in your answer.”

Would be f@#king nice to be told beforehand, woudn’t it?!!

There you have it. If you utter one single word ‘wrong’ (that is, not in their spiel script), your arse is unceremoniously hauled in front of the super for a pretend-to-be-nice-and-understanding drubbing whose words leave you in no doubt what could happen to you next.

* * *

Points 5, 6 and 7 really got up my nose. They really got my juices for the vicious going. There are lots of companies and lots of people like that in Hong Kong. No wonder when Hong Kong was ‘given back’ to China, nobody lifted a finger to help us.

Those are exactly the kind of conduct that earned Hongkongers the reputation of being treacherous and two-timing (best described by the Chinese colloquialism 反骨 faan gwut, to invert the bones, or turning the bones inside out).

I will not apologise for saying that. I mean it. I don’t like saying things like that, not about my own people or about anyone else. If you’ve lived long enough and have been to or lived in as many places as I have, you’ll know what I’m saying about Hongkongers.

* * *

My take

This place is probably the Hong Kong version of The War Against Terror (TWAT) in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jesus H. Christ! these people are in the education sector.

Jesus H. Christ! these people clearly don’t know what the fuck they’re doing.

Jesus H. Christ! these people are psychopaths.

We bloody well appreciate that your eyes are constantly on the bottom line in an expensive town like Hong Kong were the rent is skyhigh and choices are near zero.

We bloody well appreciate everyone has a sales quota and it’s hard to keep it rolling, given our tougher business conditions caused by psychopaths in power.

We bloody well appreciate that new employees need some time (certainly effing more than three weeks!) to get used to your f@#king brain-dead, money-grubbing, cash-gouging system clearly based on that psychotic Tiger Mother shite.

We bloody well appreciate this new employee had never farkin’ worked in the education sector.

We bloody fuggin’ well appreciate your other employees are young (maybe too young) to appreciate that, to recall Ratta’s own words:—

“…all these women, all young, single and childrenless, clumped together just don’t seem to realise that women don’t always understand how a man, a father, any parent, would see things.”

Jesus H. Christ, even those among us who have interrogated criminals before expect them to ask back questions or be flummoxed once in a while about their own details!

Remind us about Ratta

I might not have mentioned this before, but Ratta used to work for a major Italian luxury sportscar manufacturer. She was in charge of a pair of high-end sportscars that were worth a staggering HK$9 million (US$1.16 million or £734,000) together. She knew everything there was to know (technically or otherwise) about those sportscars. Even ardent fans knew less than she does about them.

If I had a chance, my question to her employer:—

  • Could any of your employees be trusted with even touching products costing that much? No? There’s your answer then.

If I could have it my way

So now Ratta is planning to restart her jobhunt yet again.

Right now, I have in mind to draw up a Litigation Risk Assessment for Ratta for:

  • poor treatment of employee
  • being given misleading information as to the nature of her job and of the expectations of her work
  • party or parties, jointly and severally, carrying on a pattern of behaviour or conduct that on the balance of probability knowingly or unknowingly is leading or causing to lead to an unspecified and/or unspecifiable state of mental anguish in Ratta

Jesus H. Christ, these people clearly are ripe to be taught a lesson. And since they are in the education sector, they should be quite amenable to teachable lessons, don’t you think?

What can we expect in children when they’re taught by people like THAT?!!

Again, I remind you all:—

“If you tolerate this, your children will be next.” (English proverb)

* * *

Comment, muthareader. Will you leave one?

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: Ikea Ratta dolla via furry.org.au | Arrogant face via Terra Ferma Media | Arrogant T-shirt via Ken Segall’s Observatory | EjuKayShun via c4c.

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