I am not sure if culture has got something to do with this but in Asia, I find it hard to get straight answers, honest comments, and genuine opinions, unless, of course the answers, comments, and opinions were offered via social media, hidden behind the safety of a computer. I thought it was an Asian thing to protect one’s face by not being too opened with opinions. Brutal honesty was frowned upon as being crass and un-classy. Mom just simply describes it as,”You ah! No filter between your brain and your mouth.”
Would it not be easier to resolve issues when people could discuss things in an upfront and straightforward manner?
As a recruiter, it was usual for David to ask potential candidates why they were looking out for a new job. Here are a prized collection of some of the responses that often left him baffled. If they were looking out for a new job because of some existing organizational restructure that did not favor them, they would tell David that they were in the midst of a “career re-alignment”. If they did not get the promotion that they wanted, it would be a situation where they were considering a “salary re-engagement”. If they were retrenched, it would be a case of managing “mid-career dismantling”. If they were hoping for a career switch, they were “looking outside their career remit”.
How difficult would it be for one to just be upfront and say,” I am looking for a new job because a) my boss and I do not see eye to eye on most things, b) I no longer am able to add value to the company, or c) I got retrenched 3 months ago.
I had my own fair share of experience with those who dished “wishy-washiness” at me. When a colleague kept postponing a meeting with the excuse that he had been “putting out fires” or “still realigning plans”, more likely than not, he was avoiding having to face a difficult discussion with me.
I would have preferred a simple, “Sorry I would not be able to meet you now because I have no answers to why that situation had happened and is causing you the deep agony of preparing responses to media queries.”
If I was asked to “re-gig the numbers”. It usually meant that my budget was cut and we could not afford to execute one of my brilliant but crazy plans that I had spent months dreaming up.
To my annoyance, my son has gotten into the bad habit as well. Singapore got swept into a trend similar to a zombie holocaust when Pokemon Go landed on our shores. Joel was not spared. The good thing that came out of it was that he has gotten his sedentary ass moving and his frequent trips out of the house on a hunt for pokemons, had been carefully messaged as, “I am walking the dogs Mom.” For the first time, the dogs got walked a record 8 times a day on his day off. Another innovative excuse for getting out of the house was, “I went to get a loaf of bread from 7-11. After coming home with it, I realized we ran out of peanut butter, so I went back to 7-11 to buy some.”
When I asked Joel what was driving that obsession with the game, the most straight-forward response he gave me was, “You have been nagging me to get fitter haven’t you? You kept complaining that I have been shirking my responsibilities over the chores like walking the dogs, haven’t you? You have been urging me to take less cabs and walk or use public transport more, haven’t you?”
Yes I have. However I was expecting him to tell me he wanted to surpass his friends by reaching level 25 on the game and maybe own a couple of gyms.
So I thought, maybe I should join the lot with my own version of undecipherable responses. When my strength and conditioning coach gave me a pep talk about my inconsistent presence at the gym lately, I replied, “I need to have some space to recalibrate my body, mind and spirit.” When deciphered, that meant, “See you in a couple of weeks, dude.”
The writer of this blog post is a Marketing and PR professional for over 20 years. Due to her love for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), she is also a freelance sports writer on the side, contributing MMA-related articles to several sports media. She works in partnership with her husband, David Ash, who is an avid sports photographer from www.singaporemaven.com. She is passionate about Boxing and nurtures a dream to fight competitively one day when her coach stops making fun of her. She is also a psychic intuitive by birth and runs a consultancy that does tarot and numerology readings under her brand, Sun Goddess Tarot. This blog is affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" as she is married to one, although she has not yet explained to THE Ang Mo that when translated, he has been labeled “the bloke with ginger hair”.