Category Archives: stupidity

Stupid Things People Ask – Tee-Shirts

Mr White via email:

I want to know whether you can have blank tee shirts for sale?

Brand ::Gildan
Size ::Adult Small
Color ::500 White and 500 Army Green
::50/50 % Cotton/Polyester
Qtys ::1000

Can you kindly let me know the total cost…

Thank you

Rely from me via email:

Hi Eddie,

Thanks for enquiring and putting faith in me to start a tee-shirt printing business.

To buy a tee-shirt printing machine plus ink, this will cost me about S$1000 (based on prices I checked online).

Tee-shirts are sold at S$20 a piece. Labour cost will be S$10,000 since I have to hire someone to do this. I will also need to rent a factory at around S$15,000.

Total cost will be (S$20 x 1000) + S$10000 + S$1000 + S$15000 = S$46,000.

Would you like to pay by cash, cheque or credit card?

Thank you.

Best regards,
Alvin

Mr White’s reply via email:

I just need a Gildan blank tee shirts only can you let me know the total cost 1000 blank tee shirts of 500 White Tee Shirts and 500 Army Green Tee Shirts with shipping to the address below : ::
111 TUDOR PLACE # 1D
BRONX
10452
NY

Me via email:

Dude… seriously?

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Public tasked to show their ‘Officer’ qualities or making a mockery of NSFs and NSmen?

I received the media invitation for this event on 30 July (Wed), but I had ignored it because I do not agree with their publicity stunt:

“With National Day fast floating into view, many of us are eagerly anticipating the National Day Parade with its myriad of activities and different spectacles all in the name of celebrating our Nation’s independence. One of the highlights and main staples of each and every parade is the marching contingent as well as the Parade Commander who leads and commands the Parade.

Which begs the question – What does it take for someone to lead a marching contingent just like how the NDP Parade Commander does? To find out, the National Geographic Channel (NGC) has put together a challenge for members of the public to step up to the plate and show their ‘commanding skills’ and see if they too, have the makings of an officer.

This 2nd August (Friday), from 12pm – 2pm, members of the media are invited to capture scenes of everyday Singaporeans as they put their Officer capabilities to the test.

ARE YOU ‘OFFICER’ ENOUGH?

To take place at the busy Raffles Place area, a platoon of men will be assembled, ready for any ‘capable commander’ to step forward to take command of the troop. Members of the public are invited to show if they too can command a platoon of officers by stepping up to the front of the troop and shouting traditional commands like ‘Sedia’ or ‘Senang Diri’, if these commands are loud, clear and commanding enough, the troop will respond accordingly.

EVERY SINGAPOREAN SON II: The Making of an Officer

The above publicity stunt has been put together to promote the upcoming premiere of the National Geographic Channel (NGC) docu-series Every Singaporean Son II: The Making Of An Officer – a six-part series that documents the 38-week journey of a group of Officer Cadets from the day they enter OCS to the final day when they are commissioned as officers of the Singapore Armed Forces.”

When I read that the organisers wanted to get members of the public to test out their ‘commanding skills’ on a contingent of SAF soldiers, alarm bells were ringing in my head.

Seriously?

Was this idea thought of by a woman or a foreigner who never served NS before?

I am sure my fellow Singaporean brethren who have served our dues in the army would not come up with something as insulting as this.

On hindsight, I should have conveyed my sentiment to the PR person who sent me the event invitation.

For every officer, there is a contingent of foot soldiers to support him or her. Did the organisers consider the sentiment of the many real-life foot soldiers like yours truly; seeing ‘ourselves’ being ordered around by any Tom, Dick, Harry, Mary, Leticia, Thompson, Pornsak, Muthu or Xiaoming?

National Geographic Channel - Seriously? (picture via StraitsTimes.com)
National Geographic Channel – Seriously? (picture via StraitsTimes.com)

Yes, it may seems ‘cute’ to have auntie, expats and foreign workers ordering our NS boys around and making a fool out of them.  Yes, you will get a lot of attention….

but most of it will not be positive.

Responses have been overwhelming negative so far. 

The only thing I am glad to know was that the contingent of soldiers were paid actors and not poor NS boys or NSmen who were forced to volunteer their time.

That's right, invite public to laugh at the poor soldiers (picture via StraitsTimes.com)
That’s right, invite public to laugh at the poor soldiers (picture via StraitsTimes.com)

Nonetheless, an insult is an insult.

It reminds me of the Navy Open House insult when I served my last ICT. The public were invited into Changi Navy Base to make merry and have fun to learn about the navy operations. Nothing wrong about this and I fully support this educational initiative.

The irony was that while the public, including foreigners and tourists are allowed to bring their DSLR cameras and smartphones into the camp and snap away happily at anything they see, NSmen like me who are tasked to protect the camp were not trusted with our camera phones and have to surrender them at the guardhouse. Seriously?

Every Singaporean son - can be your personal shoe-shine-boy to order around
Every Singaporean son – can be your personal shoe-shine-boy to order around

Please show more respect for our NSFs and NSmen. Instead of plying us with SAFRA vouchers, what we want is just due recognition and respect.

Thank you.

Oh… and National Geographic Channel, shame on you. I am boycotting your channel till a formal apology is issued. I urge other NSmen and NSFs as well as their family members to do the same. 

Why Darren Woo is Worse than Trinetta Chong

Who you support?
Who you support?

Darren Woo Hon Fai is the valedictorian this year from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

He made headlines for his controversial valedictorian speech where he poked fun of his fellow graduates from the Chinese Division,  commenting that that they may not be able to understand English.

Here is a full video of his speech. Watch from the 8:00 minute mark for the highlight:

After reminding everyone to honour thy parents, Darren went on to add these hurtful words: “This is especially so for the Chinese majors who probably have not gotten what I just said in English, 所谓望子成龙,望女成凤, I can speak Mandarin too.”

Trinetta Chong, on the other hand, was a valedictorian in 2011 from my alma mater, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, also from NTU.

At the end of her valedictorian speech, she blurted out the f-word: “We f***ing did it!”

If I am an employer, I will hire Trinetta, but not Darren.

The way I see it, one committed a slip of the tongue in her moment of excitement. Yes, she was wrong, but I can still be friend and work with someone like that. Her biggest mistake was immaturity and not watching her language for vulgarity.

The other one claimed his offending words were not in his original speech, but added on the spot to lighten the mood. To me, this shows this guy has deep-seated discriminatory issues. I cannot imagine myself being a friend with someone like this or working with him.

Potty-mouthed girl, I can accept.

Discriminating boy, I cannot accept.

Both my parents are Chinese-educated and my sister and I grew up speaking Mandarin at home. I only learn the English language when I entered primary one.

My English was not good in primary school and I have to endure the abuse of some really bad English teachers who will take every opportunity to shame and humiliate a group of us by calling us names like “Cheena Biang” and “Sons of Stinky Pau Seller” (I kid you not).

Even up to my ‘O’ levels, my English was still pretty sucky. I was always one of the top student in all my other subjects, scoring As for everything else, except English which totally pulled down my L1R5 score as English is the almighty “L1” that cannot be substituted.

It it with much perseverance that I pushed my language ability to where I am now and I am proud to say that I am effectively bilingual in both Chinese and English, written and spoken. The same goes for my wife, Rachel, who have worked in both Chinese and English newsrooms. We hope to do the same for my son, Asher.

Do you know how hard it is to be proficient in both English and Chinese in Singapore where English tend to be the more common language of use?

I am quite sure many of Darren’s schoolmates from the Chinese division in HSS will be able to speak and write fluently in both Chinese and English, while conversely, many from the other divisions, might encounter some difficulty with the Chinese language or their respective second languages.

Currently, I work in the Chinese newsroom in my day job and I admire my Chinese journalist colleagues who are able to switch easily between Chinese and English for their job requirement.

Does Darren think my Chinese newsroom colleagues cannot understand English too?

Somehow, I think many young people today hold the same attitude as Darren – that Chinese is a “low-class” language that is cool to poke fun at.

A few months earlier, a youngster emailed me to ask about my alma mater, WKWSCI and wrote in the email asking if I know the school environment was “cheena” as the person was from ACJC and was worried that she might not be able to adjust.

I replied her with a long email on how rude it was for her to presume she knows my language preference and use a derogatory word like “cheena” on someone she is seeking advice from. The person apologised profusely after that, but the damage is done.

What about you? What do you think of this whole saga?

Stupid Things People Ask – Youth.SG

This is a collection of some of my encounters in my previous job as the Portal Manager at Youth.SG:

1. URL

Dumbo (on the phone): Hi, is this Youth-Dot-S-G?
Me: Yes, how can I help you?
Dumbo: Hi, may I know what is the URL for Youth-Dot-S-G?
Me: …. it is Youth-Dot-S-G.
Dumbo: But what is the URL? Is it I have to type W-W-W-Dot-Youth-Dot-S-G?
Me: Yes.
Dumbo: Thank you for the help!

2. Crumpler Bag

Stylo (via email): I noticed recently that a lot of my friends are carrying this sling bag with a logo of a little man with hands raised, jumping. The bag is nice. Do you know what brand it is?
Me: I think the logo is the jumping boy for Wang Wang rice crackers. They sometime give stickers of the jumping boy with purchase of a large packet. You can check out the nearest NTUC to buy it and get the sticker to stick on a sling bag.

3. Football (I got more than a dozen similar phone calls like the one below)

Nigerian (on the phone): Hi, is this Youth-Dot-S-G?
Me: Yes.
Nigerian: Hi my name is Tom and I would like to come Singapore to play football. Can you advise me on how to get money from Youth.SG to fly me to Singapore for a trial? I am very good at football and I am 18 years old… (went on and on about his passion for football and wish to play football in Singapore)
Me: Hi, we are youth website for Singaporeans and not a football club or sports council.
Nigerian: I see. Can you connect me to someone who can help me to go to Singapore to play football?
Me: … …

Whether you are a blogger, service staff, McDonald’s restaurant manager or in any occupation whereby you have to deal with stupid people asking stupid things, you are welcome to share your stories for broadcast on this blog. Send your story to alvinologist@gmail.com 

Stupid Things People Ask – Translation Service

This person must have read my post on buying Hello Kitty from China via Taobao.com and wrote me this fun email.

Poor E is not very resourceful with translation.
Poor E is not very resourceful with translation.

From E@gmail.com to Me:

Hi Alvin,

I saw your blog on buying hello kitty via taobao.
But I can’t read chinese after clicking the link.

I saw the seller is selling 190 yuan for the entire set. Does it come with original packaging box? Hope you can help me to read.
http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=2013.1.0.109.tQ8BhO&scm=1007.77.0.0&id=18747665719&pvid=85df2ec7-ffad-4e71-aece-cbf621d442b6&ad_id=&am_id=&cm_id=&pm_id=

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you.
E

From Me to E@gmail.com:

Hi E,

You heard of Google Translate? 🙂

Cheers,
Alvin

Whether you are a blogger, service staff, McDonald’s restaurant manager or in any occupation whereby you have to deal with stupid people asking stupid things, you are welcome to share your stories for broadcast on this blog. Send your story to alvinologist@gmail.com 

Stupid Things People Ask – JB Day Trip

I read a book titled Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops recently. The book is a collection of stupid and strange things people ask bookshop owners and staff.

The level of stupidity is incredulous. Here is a classic from the book:

“CUSTOMER: Hi, I just wanted to ask: did Anne Frank ever write a sequel?
BOOKSELLER: ……..
CUSTOMER: I really enjoyed her first book.
BOOKSELLER: Her diary?
CUSTOMER: Yes, the diary.
BOOKSELLER: Her diary wasn’t fictional.
CUSTOMER: Really?
BOOKSELLER: Yes… She really dies at the end – that’s why the diary finishes. She was taken to a concentration camp.
CUSTOMER: Oh… that’s terrible.
BOOKSELLER: Yes, it was awful –
CUSTOMER: I mean, it’s such a shame, you know? She was such a good writer.”

Upon finishing the book, it dawned on me that stupid people email me all the time with all sorts of nonsensical queries after reading my blog.

They think that I am a know-it-all or the beaming light who is the solution of all their woes.

In the past, I will just ignore these emails or drop them a polite thank you reply if I am in a good mood.

Today, I am inspired to start a new content category on my blog – “Stupid Things People Ask”. This will feature all the stupid emails I receive which I feel are dumb enough that they deserve to be broadcast to a wider audience for nomination to the Darwin Award.

Here’s the first one to start off the series.

From Dxxxx@gmail.com to me:

So... I heard you want to visit JB? Instead of going to a tour agency, you email a blogger?
So… I heard you want to visit JB? Instead of going to a tour agency, you email a blogger?

Email title: jb day trip

Hi I wish to know your rates for minibus hire from Singapore to JB.

We want to go to these places :

1. visit showflats in setia cascadia
2. goto Desaru beach
3. goto Johor Premium Outlet

We have 4 adults and 2 young kids. We plan to go on Saturday or Sunday morning and return within the day.

Please let me know your charges.

Dxxx
Financial Consultant

Me to Dxxx@gmail.com:

Hi,

S$50,000 per pax per day.

Let me know if you are still interested?

Dxxx@gmail.com to Me:

50,000 ??????? what you talking ?

Me to Dxxx@gmail.com:

Hi,

I write a blog and do not operate a tour agency.

In order to take up your assignment, I need to purchase a mini van and start an agency.

$50k per pax is quite cheap if you are familiar with the COE prices in Singapore.

Let me know if you are still keen. I can then proceed to purchase the van.

Cheers
Alvin

Whether you are a bookshop owner, McDonald’s restaurant manager or in any occupation whereby you have to deal with stupid people asking stupid things, you are welcome to share your stories for broadcast on this blog. Send your story to alvinologist@gmail.com 

Quick Take on the Hello Kitty Madness in Singapore

It takes a plush toy with no mouth to bring out the worst in some Singaporeans. After buying and hoarding N95 masks in bulk to profiteer from the haze in times of misfortune, entrepreneurial Singaporeans were at it again the previous night, buying and hoarding a limited edition black “Singing Bone Hello Kitty” from McDonald’s to resell at exorbitant prices.

Here is an awesome video of an equally awesome grown man cursing a poor staff at McDonald’s because he cannot get a black Hello Kitty to cuddle to sleep at night and will die of loneliness if that happens.

You can read the backstory over the incident via this Facebook post by the same lady who posted the video online.

Here is another awesome video of two Ah Bengs abusing a poor McDonald’s staff because they were told they can only buy two dolls per person instead of four. I teared after watching the video because I felt so sorry for these two poor guys. Why can’t McDonald’s staff understand that the average Singaporean male needs to have at least FOUR Hello Kitty dolls to hug at night in order to sleep well? 

Here is an awesome picture circulating online of a guy who will get laid at least 21 times because he has 21 black Hello Kitty dolls:

Only in Singapore would a grown man who collects Hello Kitty plush toys get lucky with girls.

Here are some awesome spoofs:

I find it hilarious when I hear stories about random people who went to queue and buy the black Hello Kitty because they saw many others doing it. These people are not Hello Kitty fans, neither were they intending to flip it for a profit; they just buy because everyone else is doing so. Herd mentality at its best. The perfect testimony to our wonderful education system churning out drones.

I feel sorry for the genuine fans and collectors who have to compete with these people to get their full collection.

Anyway, if you are among those who die-die must get your hands on one of these dolls, why not consider ordering them directly from the China factories where they are made? 

Otherwise, I have another suggestion – take one of the old, white Hello Kitty dolls which you have queued and fought over during the last McDonald Hello Kitty craze and torch it. After that, use a chalk to draw a few white lines on the stomach. Voila! You have just made your own ultra limited edition black Hello Kitty which only you will have in the entire world!

It will definitely fetch a price higher than these on eBay:

At S$120,000 for a black Singing Bone Hello Kitty, the Singapore government should seriously consider investing in them and issuing these dolls to newly-wed couples as subsidies for their HDB down payment.

Maybe we can also offer a truckload of these to the Indonesian Minister who complained that S$1 million is too little to help them fight forest fire… This will help us get rid of the haze, once and for all.

Hail the almighty Chao-Ta Kitty!