Recently I received an email advertisement to join a training workshop on How to Ask Stupid Questions. I dare not comment on such training programmes because I don’t know anything about them. But I do know that some friends at the National Library Board adopt this motto/practice and they seem to be doing fine.
But I know one gentleman who doesn’t need to attend such a workshop. He is the famous Philip Yeo, former chairman of EDB and present Chairman of Spring Singapore.
It was reported in the papers today that, he once asked a potential scholar: “Have you been to a bar? A red light district?" To both questions, the answer from the young man was: “No.”
“This guy spends all his time at the library!” commented Mr Yeo. I am guessing that he would be blunt enough to make that comment in the face of the hapless young man; and no doubt, to the laugher of his fellow interviewers.
This report really disturbs me. I fear that other CEO’s of government departments will emulate the famous ‘civil service mandarin’ in asking interviewees such ‘out of the box’ questions. I hate to picture our decent young men being ‘sexually harassed’ by interviewers like Mr Yeo. Therefore I would like to offer a bit of advice to all the young people reading this blog. If you ever encounter this type of stupid questions from an interviewer, please remain calm and stand up to the bully.
In reply to the first question, say; “With all due respect sir, I don’t think that’s any of your business. (Even in Singapore, you do have some human rights you know) But if you really must know; no, I have never been to a bar or a red light district.”
To his funny comment; ask; “Sir, you mean you like to frequent such places?” Then shake your head is disbelief.
Young men. Stand up to your beliefs and convictions; especially if they are based on your Christian faith. Never let any top civil servant tell you that you need to sin to succeed in the secular world. Never let any senior army officer tell you that if you don’t drink, you cannot be an officer. And never let any so call ‘business honcho’ tell you that if you don’t ‘yan chew’ (smoke and drink), i.e. ‘entertain’, you cannot do business in China.
It’s really sad to see this state of affairs in Singapore. There was a time when people in high places would tell young people; “Let him that is without sin cast the first stone.”
Nowadays, it seems ‘godfathers’ find it more appropriate to say, “Let him that does not like to sin be the first to be stoned.”
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