I don't know about you, but Low Kay Hwa's Sponsored Facebook posts often emerge from my newsfeed to pose me this mind-numbing, almost offensive question: "Can a female university graduate marry an ITE graduate?"
Well, why not? Why is this such a big deal?
Oh wait. Singapore. Paper society. Job titles matter. Paychecks matter. Sometimes you have to impress people with a couple of white lies.
Here are 7 ways to make your job sound more glamorous than it actually is.
1. People who give out fliers at the MRT
What you say: "I am an advertising professional."
What people will think you are: Part of the creative team behind advertising campaigns.
Reality: You stand under the hot sun (though when there is shelter you opt to go under it) giving out flyers, two at a time when no one’s watching. You earn a single-digit an hour and your skin is thicker than a rhino’s hide. You've been doing this for years. People would call you a veteran.
2. CISCO trooper
What you say: "I work in a bank."
What people think you are: Bank manager or maybe a financial advisor.
Reality: You don't catch the bad guys or participate in adrenaline pumping CNB operations. Though occasionally, you catch an unsuspecting litterbug or two. (They are very surprised you can actually issue them fines). You also watch over banks and replenish the ATMs when they run out of cash.
3. AETOS trooper
What you say: "I am a policeman."
What people think you are: An actual, legitimate policeman. The kind used to wear shorts, ride bicycles and handcuff people.
Reality: You are in charge of the security of a place, usually places like Changi Airport. You have to put up with little kids saying, “Papa, look, its a policeman!” Only to hear the father say, “No la, that one is just a security guard.”
4. TRS Contributor
What you say: "I am a journalist."
What people think you are: You are an esteemed journalist writing for Bloomberg, the South China Morning Post, BBC or Al Jazeera. All of which are trustworthy news sources in Singapore.
Reality: You find Singapore-related content across the web and you use “CTRL + C” followed by “CTRL + V”. Sometimes, you fabricate controversial stories to attract the ignorant hordes (more advertising dollar, mah). More often than not, you look at what The Straits Times has reported and you repackage their article to be more anti-establishment. You don't know what an inverted pyramid, a lead, or a fact-checker is and you have an unhealthy amount of cynicism in you.
5. Parking Attendant
What you say: "I am in law enforcement."
What people think you are: Policeman. See number 3.
Reality: You are amongst the most hated people in Singapore. People run when they see you. They openly curse your parents, your family, your friends. You are like the Traffic Police, only that you don’t receive a modicum of respect for doing your job. Nobody (save for a close circle of friends) likes you and your job is slowly being taken over by electronic gantries. You wish you were appreciated more, but people find it hard to love you when you issue them summons.
6. Loan Shark Runner
What you say: "I am in business development."
What people think you are: A valued member of a company looking for new business opportunities. Your job involves talking to clients and dealing with their needs.
Reality: You know where to buy the cheapest paints and pig heads. Your work takes place exclusively in the late of night. You are a master at block-catching, and have outwitted police and good samaritans on numerous occasions. Recently your bosses have asked you to search into more effective ways of doing your job. Such as vandalising ATMs.
7. Polytechnic Lecturer
What you say: I am a lecturer in a tertiary institution.
What people think you are: A lecturer in a university.
Reality: You do the same job as those folks from university, but have somewhat less prestige and lower salary. Your students are more fun though, so that’s great. We love you guys all the same.
Top photo of Civil Service College via Wikimedia