Category Archives: Security Work

5 Stresses Security Guards Go Through That The Public Should Know About

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In recent years, high profile cases of security guards being abused or abusive have been reported via online media. Well, those few cases were brought into the cold light of day to be commented on by the general public but, as an industry insider, I can assure you that such unhappy incidents happen on an almost daily basis.

So by putting out this list here, I hope that those of you who have never worked as a security guard before can understand our job better. And with this understanding, perhaps we will be treated better by our clients and members of the public.

#1. Threats Of Bodily Harm

We get that a lot, due to the nature of our job.

Security guards, even though they are usually called “security officers” nowadays, do not have the powers of actual peace officers. Such as the power to lay charges. And the public knows this. That’s why we are considered safe targets for abuse and threats. And so, words that your average “beng” will never ever dare say to a real cop can be liberally heaped on security guards.

But despite not having great powers, we are still burdened with responsibilities. If you happen to spot delinquents smoking or exhibiting rowdy behaviour at the mall, who do you call? Yes, the security guards.

#2. Actually Getting Hit

It happens. From time to time. We have all seen the videos. The fare evader hitting a security guard at Enggor Street. The security manager slapping and punching his subordinates at a condominium. The security guard and delinquent fighting at The Cathay. And like I said earlier, unhappy things happen to security guards on an almost daily basis, so there are probably hundreds of such incidents that haven’t seen the light of day.

Also, as if to rub salt into injury, some security guards who were assualted either resigned “voluntarily” or were taken out of their usual stomping grounds and transfered to unfamiliar work assignments.

#3. Delayed Salary Payments

When I started working in this industry back in 1999, I heard a horrible story from a fellow guard who was working at a mall. For nearly a month, his employer had been paying the guards at the mall with nasi lemak. Yes, nasi lemak instead of cash.

See, they were supposed to be paid in cash every week but, somehow, their agency kept delaying payments. If I remember correctly, the reason given was “no cash flow”. But being the nice boss that he was, the agency owner went down to the mall every day to reward his employees with nasi lemak. Compensation for a 12-hour shift.

At least, with that one meal per day, my friend wouldn’t starve so he kept on showing up for work. So yeah, they were just getting strung along with meals of nasi lemak until the boss decided to pay their salaries.

And then in 2009, I myself became the victim of delayed salary payments. I remember I had to beg and pester my Operations Manager for my salary every single week, and it felt like I was working as a debt collector rather than a security guard. Eventually I got fed up and resigned.

We security guards have to put up with long working hours and a lot of unpleasant situations at work, so is it really too much to ask for that our employers pay our salaries ON TIME? I don’t think so. Read the rest of this entry

True Security Guard Ghost Stories: A Halloween Special

Many security guards work twelve-hour night shifts, in eerily quiet buildings and sometimes quite remote areas, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that urban legends and spooky tales have sprung up among our community. This Halloween, if you want to give yourself a good scare with some stories from beyond the grave, chat up a security guard.

Or you can keep on reading.

Because people kept asking me for ghost stories after they found out that I had worked the night shift at various notorious buildings in Singapore, I decided to include some in my yet-to-be-published book, Guards Gone Wild!. As a sort of fan service. So, there they are. Three chapters containing stories of close run-ins with the spine-chilling aspect of security work.

Haunted School

“At this particular school, one of the unbendable rules pertained to the treatment of ‘night students’, the unquiet spirits of students past. According to reliable eyewitnesses, they showed up from time to time, still neatly attired in uniforms of yesteryear, prowling the corridors during the hours of darkness.

‘Ignore them,’ my fellow guard warned. Especially when they tried to grab your attention with friendly greetings. Maybe a ‘hello’, sung from one of the upper floors or a wave of a hand if you were caught looking in the right direction.”

– Excerpt from Haunted School.

But strangely enough, even while my colleague had his fair share of spooky encounters and even while the weekend part-timers were harassed, I myself was never bothered by the ‘night students’. The Haunted School chapter tells the story of two unfortunate weekend part-timers who saw “someone”, a man wearing a white shirt who looked suspiciously like a student, pull off an impossible disappearing act and were so freaked out that they promptly resigned from their job. Read the rest of this entry

Job Cuts In Security Industry

And that’s not a good thing, despite what this glowing article from the Straits Times is saying.

For starters, any situation where workers are let go is never good. After their removal from the shopping malls, where can they go? Condominiums? Office buildings? But what if other places decide to follow suit and use technology as an excuse to cut down on the number of security guards at their premises?

Where would those guards go? Let me tell you one hard truth about the security industry in Singapore. I have been working (on an on-and-off basis) as a security guard myself since 1999, and I can tell you that many security guards are unable to move out of their comfort zone in the security industry.

Many of my colleagues don’t even have ‘O’ levels. And I met plenty who were only educated up to primary-school level. But they were able to make a somewhat decent living because security guards working at malls get paid several hundred dollars more than guards at other assignments like schools or condominiums.

Now, maybe those guards who were let go by the malls can find vacancies at less lucrative sites and they can continue to wear their uniforms, but if they are unlucky… What then? Factory jobs are even harder to come by nowadays and many cleaning companies tend to hire cheap foreign workers. You tell me. What can a ex-security guard with primary-level education find in today’s job market? Read the rest of this entry

Don’t Be Cheap And Do Away With Security Guards

That’s my advice to banks in Singapore.

Because according to this The Star Online article, there was no security guard present at the Standard Chartered bank that got robbed by the mysterious Australian robber on Thursday, the 7th of July.

And apparently, the mysterious Australian robber wasn’t even armed.

Which means, if there had been an armed Certis Cisco officer present, this robbery could have been prevented.

And it isn’t just me saying so. Here’s a quote from a bank customer.

“If there was a security guard present yesterday it would’ve made a difference,” said another bank customer Mr Willy Lau, 43, who is self employed.

Well, at least the bank learned its lesson. When it opened for business on Friday, an armed Certis Cisco officer could be seen guarding the entrance.

Teck Y. Loh

If You Are Sexually Harassed By A Security Manager

It’s probably a bad idea to get your boyfriend or husband to march down to the security office and create a scene. Recently, All Singapore Stuff published a story about a female Certis Cisco employee who was sexually harassed by a “security manager” while she was stationed at the National Gallery. The angry husband went down to express his unhappiness and got nowhere.

After I read his letter to the All Singapore Stuff‘s news site, I came up with some advice, based on my own experience as a security guard, for the aggrieved party. If you or someone you know have been unfairly treated or harassed at work by your security manager or supervisor, you can take my advice and tweak them to suit your own unique circumstances.

Using the All Singapore Stuff‘s story as an example, my first advice is to find out the offender’s official job title before filing any official complaint. In the letter, the angry husband said the security personnel harassing his wife was a “security manager” who was working for a “security manager”. Well, there can’t be two managers in the same department. One has to be the assistant manager or maybe he’s just the supervisor. The job title probably isn’t too important if you know the offender’s full name but stating it clearly in your letter would help make the situation clearer to whoever is reading it. Read the rest of this entry

If You Lose Your Phone At A Singapore Mall

Don’t place all your hopes on the security guards and the mall’s CCTV network.

Recently, a mother who used the Level 4 nursing room at Westgate left her iPhone 6 in the room. When she returned mere minutes later, the phone was already gone. The story of her loss was posted on All Singapore Stuff‘s website and Facebook page, where it attracted numerous comments from well-wishers.

One sympathetic well-wisher advised the distraught mother to approach the security team at the mall. That’s actually good advice because security guards are usually the ones handling Lost & Found items. But the well-wisher also advised her to request mall security to playback the CCTV footage in the vicinity of the nursing room and to retrieve a copy of the footage so that she may upload it to the internet. Well, with thousands of internet-users viewing the video clip, someone is bound to be able to identify the thief. But should we get our hopes up?

Speaking as a security guard myself, I have to say no. Read the rest of this entry

Monster Parents

Let’s talk about monster parents.

Like the dick head who screwed me over today for no good reason.

In order to facilitate the smooth running of things during school dismissal, we have certain rules in place.

For example, to prevent traffic congestion, we do not allow parents to drive into the school compound to pick up their kids. They have to wait outside the school gates or park by the roadside if they came in their cars, and wait patiently for their offsprings to be let out. No exception unless there is a vehicular emergency or if it is raining.

And almost all parents know to toe the line, except for one jackass. Earlier today, while my colleagues and I were busy with crowd control duties, this jackass drove up to the barrier gate and demanded to be let in to see the principal. Read the rest of this entry