Sunday 9 May 2021

Taking Umbrage


When someone takes umbrage, points finger at you, that means its not a 2 way dialogue...

Its "wah kali gong"! 

If you interested to know how to manipulate help other people (your day job is snake oil), that's not the way to do it.

Just observe and learn at how advertisers, financial gurus, religions, and big daddy do it.

Everything they do is for your own good!

To help you get prettier...

To help you become richer...

To support your spiritual growth...

To help you be gainfully employed...

And to achieve world peace!

Of course from the body language its obvious he was under a lot of stress. Who doesn't?

Then again, if you spent most of your working life used to "wah kali gong", its a lot harder to speak snake oil. This I can empathize.

You think anyone and everyone can be a snake oil? 

Don't insult my former day job!

How would I have done it?

Snake oil with a straight face of course!

1)  Stress it creates long term shareholder value. (Money talks)

2)  Then say its for the good of the nation. Make it like its we who are making a sacrifice!

3)  Win support from vendors/advertisers by thanking them publicly. (We still need them)

4)  Save the best for the last. Show empathy by focusing on PEOPLE. Yes, employees! Duh!

Kiss some babies, hug a reporter, or shed a tear or two during the press conference.

Always end on an emotional high. (This one religion very good at it!)


See? Tell you how many times must not drop literature. 

I can bet he's not from the Arts stream!



  1. As someone who is not from Arts stream, I take Umbrage at your suggestion that non-arts folks are bad at selling and persuasion. If true, how do people like me find girlfriend? How to find wife? How to pass job interviews?


    1. Tinder?

      Pity fxxx?

      Under table money?

      Old school boy networking back door?

    2. Wah... Reply like that one ah. What under table money. What backdoor. Add Umbrage to Umbrage. Lucky I not first day know you. Lol.

      Don't mind me poking back. Your former day job is snake-oil? Talk like that one. Your snake-oil comrades also shocked. Are you from Arts Stream? Got take literature or not?

    3. Lol!

      Testing your reaction may!

      I am the only case during sec 2 to voluntarily switch from Science stream to Arts stream for sec 3. I hate math.

      Principal used me as example to encourage others to study what they like, not blindly follow others.

      Nope. No others followed.

      I like literature. No need to study one. Then again, I got C6 for O'levels. Not bad I think for a subject I never studied!

      The ability to read people came mighty useful in real life 🤗

    4. Smol,

      I like literature, preferably when it's grounded in reality. Not those arty farty types. Even Shakespeare's plays were a reflection of his time & politics of the day.

      I believe our time all cohorts had to do at least 1 arts subject for O-levels. Mine was literature.

      Unfortunately the O-level scheduler for my year damn cockup --- 2 chemistry papers & the literature paper on the SAME day.

      Something had to give. But managed to get B3 for Lit even though I didn't really study for it & TCSS all the way. Lucky coz my school taught us the O-level material (Twelfth Night) for 2 years since Sec 3, and my Lit teacher was pretty interesting (not pretty as in chiobu, unfortunately).

      During NSF, my CO forced us to review military history & do presentations. So military literature LOL. Plenty of US ones (a lot by the unofficial US military historian BG Marshall) and German ones (those on the Russian front damn jialat).

      I snuck in with snippets from WW1 soldier-poets like Wilfred Owen & Siegfried Sassoon, as well as from Vietnam War autobiographies, which I felt more relatable to the men. My CO not amused.

      And for anyone doing research or Masters/PhD ... they will be very familiar with having to do Literature Review ... to find out what people have already done or not done, and to ensure that they are going to pursue something that is "novel" and not reinventing the wheel.

    5. Spur,

      I like literature, preferably when its used to serenade the panties off girls ;)


      I'm a man of leisure, aren't I?

      I luckier. I got my braless literature teacher :) That's how I knew where to find the chio bus - Arts Stream!

      Too bad I didn't make it to uni... I heard the babes in NUS Arts Stream quite "havoc"!

      Of course your CO not amused... He knew the pen is mightier than the sword.

      Generals with their guns and artilleries do not win wars.

      Its the story teller that moves men and women to hurl their own bodies against cold steel bayonets...

      Or to blow themselves up in the name of the story teller...

      The story teller is immortal; he can't be silenced.

      I smell OCS and someone with advanced degree. Eh... Should I salute you now?

    6. Ehhh .... I kenged out of reservist after 3 ICTs lol!

      Enough of chiong sua, after burning 3 years of long school holidays in Uni while seeing female classmates etc going for overseas holidays, internships, or just relaxing.

      As for those military literature presentations ... the CO selected some of them for our actual exercises ... company assault on fortified positions, armour support of fish&chips street fighting (crap), armour battalion assault on hill & defense against counter-attack (7 days & 7 nights of crap). Hoho!

    7. Spur,

      Yup, study forever and ever is one way to "escape" reservist ;)

      LOL! I see you have natural resistance against the indoctrination for Glory and Country!

      Young men fight; old men divide the spoils of war.

    8. Oh I see. Test test poke poke ... see my reaction. No real umbrage taken anyway. At most I will poke you back. Lol. Seems like poking is your style, at least with some people here.

      With friends that I know on a more intimate level, I'll be more careful with poking because I know the sensitive parts. If poke the sensitive parts ... no need to be Arts/literature student to know shouldn't do that to people who trust me enough to open up to me.

      Literature and history are certainly useful subjects. Good thing about them is they are like investment/finance knowledge where one can learn from books and online resources on our own. If I were to spend 5-digit figure on an education, I would rather spend it on a professional degree which is easier to earn a living and is difficult to learn on my own.

      If later on want to switch career path, not hard with STEM background. It is a flexible educational background. Many STEM folks successfully transit to banking/finance as well as sales/marketing jobs. Can always learn on the job. Others can choose to stay on if they don't mind the lower pay (applies mainly in Singapore, not in U.S). Just don't keep complaining of the higher paying jobs in other sectors without taking action. I used to be envious in the past. Now, at peace liao. If others earn more, it is usually they deserve it unless they are doing harm selling snake-oil.

      Singapore is mostly a meritocratic and free-market economy. Better paid people usually are better paid for the right reasons.

    9. hyom,

      Hee, hee. Don't poke how to know WHERE is your sensitive parts to avoid in future?

      Yes, STEM is like 外家拳; the efficacy is immediate and easy to see.

      Art subjects like literature and history are like 内家拳; it may take years before we can see any noticeable results...

      Unless one becomes a literature or history teacher after graduation, most Arts graduates have to ding, ding, dong, dong, a few years before they discover how to "profit" from their discipline ;)

      Often that's from the hard way - crash got sound!

      People can get upset with highly paid incompetent CEOs; but they forget these CEOs have one skill others don't...

      That's selling/marketing themselves into a highly paid job!!!


    10. I'm sure you are highly capable of knowing where can poke, where cannot poke :) You are Arts student. Study literature one. Can read people very well one. So, sure should be able to poke skillfully at readers who are not strangers to your watering hole :)

      Yeah, every CEO, every entrepreneur, every startup founder has to be good at selling. Including the CEO who took umbrage. I'm confident he can talk nicely and sell himself well when he is talking to the Chairman and major shareholders. He still managed to get a CEO job despite what happened at NOL, though these are not the top blue chip companies.

      Scholar CEOs who had their career well planned for them to the extent that they encounter little failure on the way up will tend to grow a big head. So, they talk differently to people who are not same level as them. Can see from body language. Finger pointing here and there.

      I suspect the real umbrage was taken at the second question from the reporter, not the first one.

      Have a good night's sleep.

  2. Dun understand what is the problem with that Qn.
    The journalist is asking for readers, and is a great time to sell independence of editorial or at least assure others.

    Given there is no pressure for profits now.

    But then, obviously, he is under a lot of stress. Well, while not his fault that he is helming NOL or SPH , most would have failed to turn them around anyway, being associated with both failures now is going to stick.

    People will think, will someone like that, no wonder it is moving nowhere

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Yup. That reputation of touch what, what became lead will stick ..

      Unless he can get another chance at 3rd bite of the cherry?

      I think employees of other big daddy linked companies praying hard to their god/gods now...

      Please not him ...

  3. ST engineer also have wa Kali gong people at the top, but many able to quickly adapt.

    Keiqiu and Sia Suay man? Remember? But I give him a lot more credits than this guy

    ST engineering CEO also Suay a analyst before during briefing. But he has good results to show, when asked about if the longer maintainance of MRO new engines worried him.

    He told the analyst they have been preparing for this 10 years ago, and he would not be a CEO of he is only worrying about it now. That's why the ......

    The shame is on the analyst

    1. Of course.

      Got good results can talk big and be "or yi orh"!

      Like that US banking CEO poking why he earns more than the clueless journalist.

      Or that US coffee CEO who got so pissed off with a ikan bilis shareholder during AGM that he offered to buy out that shareholder there and then.

  4. Smol,

    Lucky no reporter ask him how much pay cut he volunteering to take to show "skin in the game" as well as solidarity with the troops. Umbrage will be too mild. Somehow the image of Khrushchev banging his shoe on the table at the United Nations comes to mind LOL.

    Die-hard (or izit sheep?) SPH shareholders afterall are losing $240M of assets at the stroke of a pen between govt & SPH.

    They'll probably prefer to see at least the senior mgmt take skin in the game instead of take umbrage.

    1. Spur,

      I think he is more angry with himself or big daddy...

      Other generals became ministers, chairman, or CEO of profitable big daddy linked companies.


      Kenna snookered into NOL and SPH.



    2. Smol,

      Hey, he's the fixit man for jobs no one else wants to touch!

      Don't play play.

      Something tells me the CLG will become profitable next year! LOL!

      CLG, CMA-CGM ... hmmm sama sama lah! 🤣

    3. Spur,

      If other generals turned down the job offer and he willingly take it up, well, willing buyer, willing seller!

      We need such people in all organisations.

      Anyone with half a brain will know to avoid jobs in customer service or investor relations.

      But somebody got to the thankless job!

      So HR will spin it as a job for people with tough stomachs... Do the job that others feared...

      Others can't; you can do it!

      I believe in you!

      Then snigger quietly when the sucker signed on the dotted lines...

  5. Unfortunate for him to have lost his cool resulting in the now infamous outrage.

    What he did was a necessary response to an insidious question from the reporter, but of course, the delivery of the response could be more gentlemanly, but firm.

    The issue at hand was SPH editorial integrity. Thats what the reporter's question alluded to.

    It was important and necessary response but do it in a firm and unequivocal way.

    1. mysecretinvestment,

      Sorry, got to call you out. The question is not "insidious".

      Big daddy could have SPH and Mediacorp merged under one big media company anytime they want.

      Why didn't they?

      Why instead big daddy "allowed" the TV company to start print publications to "compete" with the paper company?

      And the print company start their own radio and TV stations to "compete" with the TV company?


      Imagine in the press conference, all the journalists there were from different print/TV/radio, but still under the SAME media company?

      Talk about own self check own self! Now that's too obvious!!!

      If SPH's money losing Channel U can be sold to Mediacorp, make a guess whether the option of selling SPH's media businesses to Mediacorp was ever raised?

      Surely the PR spin for the move of Channel U to Mediacorp can equally apply?


  6. Hi SMOL,

    I take umbrage at your suggestion that science/engine students can't sell! Can still sell, but sell in a different manner. Just press on different points, attacking the facts, unflappable. I'll tell the thing as it is, we made a mistake, here's the way we are going to correct it. That will win some hearts for sure.

    We just have to know what we're strong at and play to our strengths.

    1. LP,

      Yes, yes. You science/engineer people can sell...

      You precision in 2 decimal places people go for the brain.

      We fuzzy,grey, grey people go for the heart 🤭

      We need both of course.

      A good example is Sony's two founders. One is the front man; the other stays in the shadow.

      That is a rare partnership that worked!

      Most partnerships fail because of ego.

      The glamour and glory of being the song and dance - or face - of an organisation, is balanced with the slings and arrows of being a public figure...

      I know many engineers envy the pay and perks of marketing and sales people.

      Brave ones joined us to the dark side once they have overcome their fears of public speaking 💪

      Even Lao Goh had to endure public feedback from Lao Lee to improve his "wooden" delivery 🤭

  7. Hi SMOL,

    I think science people have a good start towards selling. Because pple there tend to speak it as it is, you tend to build up a credible image quickly. That is always a foundation for building a good relationship later, is it not? :)

    I always make fun of my wife, saying that she is like a fireworks. Boom, wow, then just all smoke and smell. For me, I'll just a rough stone, nobody pays attention, but if you endure my rough corners and ugly demeanor, you'll find maybe under all the dirt, there's something shiny and gleaming lol

    She's the front of our team :)

    1. LP

      You think why I immediately see her as Huang Rong and you as Guo Jing when we first met?

      Of course your style has more staying power and substance. No. Credibility does not happen quickly... It takes hell lot of time...

      And how to discover the shiny and gleaming part of you when nobody is paying attention to you in the first place?

      Huang Rong and me may be all fireworks, full of sound and fury signifying nothing at all...

      But at least we can get others to look our way ;)

      In advertising, there's this AIDA model.

      A - Attention
      I - Interest
      D - Desire
      A - Action

      We only have a few seconds to establish a favourable first IMPRESSION.

      And that's we snake oils are good at ;)

      IMPRESSION is just what it is - an impression.

      Its over the long term that we often get disillusioned with our initial impressions of people.

      That's when you rough stones beat us fireworks hands down ;)

  8. "full of sound and fury signifying nothing at all..."
    I saw what you did there.

    1. ERSG,


      Wait it will be Arts stream turn to take umbrage!



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