Monday, November 12, 2007

How To Be An All Rounded Singaporean....

How to be an all rounded Singaporean? This question came to my mind when I read of the retrenchment of WO Hendry Minjoot after 32 years of service with the SAF.

By all rounded, I do not mean fat or overweight lah! It means being someone who is capable of doing different types of work so that he remains employable till he chooses to retire or till he "konks off" (goes six feet under).

I love many things about Singapore. However, the one thing that irks me most is the way sometimes things are being done without much deep thought or debate. Perhaps SAf may argue that the organisation has thought through before delivering the verdict. I am also quite fed up with the unnecessary anxiety that organisations have. Why must Hendry Minjoot be retrenched before the retirement age of 55? Many of us are confused and flabbergasted. With the economy doing so well, it is difficult for us to understand this logic of SAF. Hendry still has two school going children which implies that he must have married late, perhaps in a bid to build up his career? And being the typical good citizen, he has answered the nation's call to help increase the population by having not two, not three, not four, but the more the merrier where offsprings are concerned? Hendry is still enthusiastic, strong and healthy; every inch a soldier and a gentleman.

Perhaps the organisation thinks that it is better for him to leave earlier so that he can have better chances of doing something he likes or is skilful at? What repercussions will Hendry's retrenchment have on the morale of staff? It might make our young ones think twice before joining the SAF full time.

I am glad I became a teacher because I love teaching. I only resigned from teaching due to the constant throat problems and loss of voice I was suffering from. When I started teaching, I chose to opt for CPF scheme over the pension scheme. My intuition told me that somehow, I would not be able to teach till I retire. I am glad I trusted my sixth sense.

Teachers are quite fortunate. Due to the shortage of teachers, retired teachers are asked to do relief teaching in the schools. If not for the shortage, who knows, teachers too may be asked to resign at the age of 50 because MOE will claim they would not have the energy to cope with the lively and restless school children.

After resigning, I tried my hands at real estate. My good friends in the school were horrified. "How could someone as "blur" as me succeed in the art of selling properties?" I have never liked to sell things, and if I had not ventured into real estate, I would not have discovered my flair for selling! Agents are self employed; hence I would not be at the mercy of being retrenched by any organisation. I enjoy being my own boss, and choosing the hours I wish to work.

Again, if I had not studied overseas, I would not have discovered my talent for cooking and housekeeping. I had tried a short stint of eight years in operating an Italian restaurant. My friends keep asking me to set up an outlet selling my signature Nonya dishes! Friends have also asked me to set up cooking classes!

As I have already travelled to some 38 countries, my client who operates a
travel agency has asked me to lead tours on ad hoc basis.

I guess when my knees become wobbly, and my energy starts to wane, I will go back to tutoring or training. My toastmasters' activities have given me added confidence to speak in public. My friends and family members have often teased me that I would never go hungry because of the many skills that I have.!

To be an all rounded Singaporean, it is important tht we discover our potential. This is why I always encourage people to discover their potential. Do not be afraid to try new things, for you may become so good at them that you can use your knowledge and skills at any time. This is especially important when the government has encouraged us to work till we are 85! Frankly, I prefer my life to be short and sweet. However, if I do live to 85, I hope my mind will still be stable enough for me to write books, my fingers nimble enough for me to type at 150 wpm and dexterous enough to play my piano, violin and drum.

I am thankful that papa had always encouraged his children to try new things. I am quite round now as it is in every sense of the word.! :-) But I hope to get rounder still as there are still so many things to explore and to learn. I will be 54 years old next month, but will still be climbing up the hill, slowly but steadily, Not quite over the hill yet! The best is yet to be!

Ah! To be an all rounded Singaporean! For those who are not yet round, begin to get rounder now.! It is still not too late. Roundness - the antidote for retrenchment!

Gan Chau

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