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
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.
“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
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
Hey everybody! I did it!
2 sample chapters from Guards Gone Wild! have been converted to PDF format and posted on my blog. They are not too refined at the moment, but don’t worry! My friend, who did the layout work for the samples, assured me that a professional layout artist will be able to do an even better job for the final version that will go into the book itself.
I also have the Table of Contents out there so you can see how many chapters there are in my book and what kind of stories I have written. Some of the titles are self-explanatory.
And why am I telling you this? Because I am shamelessly soliciting for reviews and likes and comments and so on and so forth! Because I am a writer!
So, come on. If you like the samples, feel free to write reviews or favourable comments. Or just like that post. Or just share it. But don’t copy and post my stories elsewhere.
Okay! Talk to you later!
Teck Y. Loh