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Archive for December, 2009

Intentionally blank?

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

“IBM must have had whole departments of people just to FACT CHECK the pages in their manuals which said, ‘This page intentionally left blank.'”

Joel Spolsky, from a blog post [].

…And I thought the telecoms business was bad…

demonstrate their love

Monday, December 28th, 2009

“Men have sought to demonstrate their love of God by loving nothing at all and their love for humanity by loving nobody whatsoever.”

John Passmore, quoted in “Onwards and upwards” from the December 17th 2009 The Economist

Ask and thou shalt receive

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Ask and thou shalt receive

See previous post [] for more info.

Repeat rejections and drive by recruiting

Friday, December 18th, 2009

case of the Mondays

I’ve been rejected from yet another job opportunity. This one was a bit outside my comfort zone but I was quite excited about it and had a great first interview. The second interview didn’t go so well.

And, now the rejection. This was the second position in this particular company I was rejected for. Maybe I’ll stop bothering them now, but they called me. Which made me hopeful too. So yea, I have a case of the Mondays, not because I don’t like my job… but because I can’t find a new one. I just need a good hypnotist on the verge of a heart attack.

Recently I also posted my CV to Stack Overflow’s Careers [ You can see it here []. But, as evidenced by Joel’s answer to my question on Meta [], Singapore does not seem to be within the worldview of the employers mining the StackOverflow community:

I'm not worthy!

It’s part of a larger issue; there are not many well paid, senior technical jobs in Singapore. Let’s face it, most big overseas companies see Singapore as a place to get cheep labor. This leads to a standard career path that goes something like this for programmers: entry level development for one to two years, mid-level development for one to two years, project management, pre-sales, sales… Oops. That’s not technical. The people who are more senior and still technical tend to be either A) Chinese nationals who don’t get paid well (I can count the non-Chinese national senior developers I have met in Singapore on one hand, B) Indian nationals, most of which are Oracle certified out the ass or C) Euro/American expats on a multi-year holiday who got moved here by their employer to run a technical shop… and D) locals who work for the government or government linked companies.

Monster and the like are not much help. It’s full of low paying jobs. All you get for the trouble of signing up is a plethora rerouting drive by emails. That have subjects like this:


Ok, I can do that… let’s open this email… No really, I got this email the other day, go ahead and read it. I’ll wait.

Dear Brian,

We are hiring multiple numbers of experienced JAVA DEVELOPER ANALYST for one of our prestigious clients in SINGAPORE. Our client is a global IT GIANT MNC having offices all over the world.

Job Type : Permanent
Location : Singapore
Salary Range : Negotiable
Start Date : Immediate/ASAP

* Project Leadership and planning skills, assist in requirements gathering, ownership of end to end project stream.
* Java, J2EE & Oracle is a mandatory requirement.
* Knowing PSi is an added advantage
* At least 4-6 years of experience in related field.
* Must have experience in goverment projects.
* Need to be a Singapore PR or a Singaporean.

Interested candidates can apply to t—–@e—– ASAP for an immediate processing along with the following info:

* Total experience
* Relevant experience
* Current employer
* Current location
* Nationality
* Current salary
* Expected salary
* Notice period (buying option available)
* Visa Status in SINGAPORE (if applicable)

OK. done? What the fuck!?! First off the position advertised was JAVA/J2EE LEAD WANTED, but the position being recruited for in the email is JAVA DEVELOPER ANALYST, for a “prestigious, global IT GIANT MNC having offices all over the world”. And then this gem: “At least 4-6 years of experience in related field”, wait, in what fucking field? Nowhere in the email is there anything about the industry… do them mean in the Java development field? Did they read my fucking resume? You know the one they are paying Monster to have access too?

The email is so bad they actually have to put a disclaimer that it’s not spam:


This is not a spam mail. E—- is a genuine Executive Search Agency and keeps working on various positions day in and day out for the clients. In case if you feel that you are not suitable for this position and doesn’t wish to receive such kind of mails from any of the recruitment companies; we would advise you to hide your resume details so that you can apply for selected positions as and when you are open for a job opening. We seek your attention in understanding that Monster picks up resumes on its own based on a standard keyword search our recruiters do every day. Though you are not suitable for any position emailed to you; your resume might have been highlighted by Monster automatically based on the same standard search criteria. All the applications will be treated confidential and will be used only for Recruitment Purposes. In case if you are not interested and/or engaged in another assignment, we would appreciate if you could refer any of your friends and / or colleagues for the same requirement

I call BULLSHIT… It is spam. But… I do actually reply to some of these emails. Sad, I know, encouraging spam. It’s a sin, I’ll go to confessional next time I’m at church. Needless to say, I never get a call for an interview. Just another drive by next time some word in my resume matches this recruiters search criteria.

This does not leave a lot of job opportunities for an ex-pat techie.

Monkeying around

Thursday, December 17th, 2009


Nir and I rented a couple of Canon 70-200mm 2.8L zoom lens and went looking for the monkeys at Upper Pierce park a while back. We didn’t spend too long with the monkeys for a number of reasons, so there are not too many good shots. But this guy posed for several nice photos.

Click on the image for the full set on Flickr.