The New Paper recently wrote a story on Feb. 4 about the plight of parking enforcement officers, also known as parking wardens or summon aunties.
It is one of those confession stories that gets rehashed once every year or so, which tries to explain why there might be something noble in this type of job.
However, this time round, this piece about parking wardens is perhaps one of the saddest stories ever written about any vocation in Singapore and it should convince everyone that this job is something no one should ever do -- if possible.
Here's five of the most compelling reasons why issuing summonses for a living is not advisable, as gleaned from the article:
1. A parking enforcement officer is a job of the last resort
The New Paper interviewed and wrote about one Victor Kumaran, who signed up to be a Certis Cisco parking enforcement officer in 2005 when he was only 20 years old.
This was after he had been unemployed for three months at that time and grew desperate for a job -- get this -- AFTER a fish ball factory refused to hire him as a delivery boy because of his tribal tattoos.
2. A parking enforcement officer is advised to lie low for fear of reprisal
Certis Cisco, Victor's employer, requested no photos of him to be published for The New Paper piece or else he would be marked and identified and people might come after him.
3. A parking enforcement officer is perpetually threatened with physical violence
Victor has endured being yelled at, spat on, dragged five metres after a car drove off with his head still inside its window, and just last week, hit with a wooden plank that made headlines, all in the name of being a parking enforcement officer.
4. A parking enforcement officer is given words of encouragement before the start of another new work day
Today, as a 29-year-old, Victor manages a team of 36 officers, who are more likely than not also shouted at, smacked around and spat on, on a regular basis.
He gives them words of encouragement when they start a new day.
5. The basic pay is less than $800 a month
Conspicuously missing from The New Paper article is how much a parking enforcement officer actually makes.
But a similar-sounding story about the confessions of a summon auntie two years ago revealed that she earned less than $800 for basic salary.
Wouldn't you actually make more if you joined McDonald's?