"We found him at the hot dog stand - patiently putting ketchup, onions, condiments, et cetera, et cetera onto the three hotdogs! I expected him to bring the three "naked" hot dogs to us. The officer failed the hot dog test. No more future trips with us."
The poor staffer was not rewarded by Philip Yeo for attention to detail - supposedly the teaching point of Lim Swee Say's toothpick heist - but penalised for not playing the obsequious errant boy role to perfection. Those who have worked under the abusive tyrant recognise the trait. Worse, they actually learn from him.
The president of a GLC decided to introduce us, his marketing team, to the EDB counterparts at the fancy Raffles City boardroom. EDB bigshot walks in.
GLC President: "Hello, Tan, ho say boh! Long time no get business from your side!"
EDB Director: "What the f**k do you f**king mean? Since f**king when are we supposed to f**king generate business for your f**king operation? What the f**k do you think you are f**king paid for?"
GLC President: "Don't be like that, leh!"
All of us, the GLC and EDB minions, didn't know where to hang our heads. Later, we learnt from the EDB secretary the expletive laden director was a "nice guy", always going to lunch with his staff. We don't know whether he hoards toothpicks.
Everybody has a horror story about "PY". Just ask Member of Parliament Chng Hee Kok, who was told to resign because he dared to voice disagreement about the shame-the-bond-breaker tirade. Then MP, Tan Cheng Bock was incensed: the EDB chairman was getting "too big for his boots". Ngiam Tong Dow had choice words for such characters: "There is also a particular brand of Singapore elite arrogance creeping in. Some civil servants behave like they have a mandate from the emperor. We think we are little Lee Kuan Yews."
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say claims, "I learnt from him some very important values: never say die, always dare to be different, always want to make a difference." Mavericks are not always viewed in positive light - McCain sure made a heck of a difference with his choice of a running mate in Palin. A maverick is an unbranded range animal, especially a stray calf that has become separated from its mother, a name coined after Samuel A. Maverick (1803-70), a Texas rancher who did not brand his cattle. After all these years, they still can't tell the difference between good and bad values.