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Should Writers Help Each Other?

Trust Hand Teamwork Keep Cooperation Unity

* The above image is from Max Pixel.

Although there are a lot of writers who say that this industry is already as competitive as can be and what a writer doesn’t need is more rivals, I think there is room for cooperation. Especially among self-published writers.

And here, I will talk about the 2 most difficult hurdles a self-published writer has to overcome.

Shops Will Reject You

For starters, brick-and-mortar bookshops usually do not carry self-published books. I worked at a bookshop myself so I know everyone, my shop and our competitors, only carry books published by established companies. A small independent bookshop MIGHT deal with individual self-published authors but independent bookshops are dying so we can’t really depend on them.

So how can a self-published writer get exposure and sell his books? Well, other than bookshops, bookworms also head to writers’ festivals and similar events for their fixes. But these event organizers only invite established writers to hawk their stuff. So if you are an unknown writer with only one self-published title under your belt, you are not likely to be offered a spot at such events.

I thought to myself. Okay, what if a ragtag band of unknown writers pool their resources together and have their own writers’ festival? It’s impossible for one single writer to rent a venue and have his (or her) own writer’s festival. Because the costs will be sky high and who would come to an event that sells only one title published by only one author?

It’s a different story though, if a group of hitherto unknown writers suddenly band together to make their debut at an event. Possibly some gimmick will be needed to promote the event but that shouldn’t pose any sort of difficulty to a group of writers. Read the rest of this entry

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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

I Got Into The Papers!

A reporter from the Lianhe Zaobao  interviewed me about my book and plans for the future. The article was printed on Thursday, the 9th of March. Here are photos of the newspaper clipping.

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A Summary Of The Article In English:

The article starts off with a quote from me. About how it has always been my dream to become a writer and as long as I haven’t fulfilled my dream, I will never give up.

Then it goes on to say that I quit being a full-time guard back in 2009, to focus on writing my manuscript. And through my stories, I hope to let more people understand the hardships in the security industry.

I graduated from secondary school with O levels, the article says. And in 1999, I started working as a security guard. Since then I have worked as a dishwasher, kitchen cleaner and sales assistant before returning to the security industry.

I loved reading English books ever since I was a kid. And the article quotes me as saying, “Security guards, while they are doing their job, frequently get abused by unreasonable people and for the sake of making a living, even if their working conditions are bad, they will choose to keep silent. I hope that after reading my book, the public would act a little more kindly towards security guards.”

However, things are not going well for me because I have been rejected by 4 publishers.

The publishers probably thought that stories about the security industry are unsaleable. That’s why none of them were willing to pick up my manuscript. But for the sake of realizing my dream and letting more people know about the lives of security guards, I will not give up.

So I will either raise the money to self-publish or continue to submit my manuscript to other publishers.

And finally, the article concludes with a quote from me.

“J.K. Rowling had her Harry Potter manuscript rejected 12 times, but she didn’t give up and went on to become a bestselling author. So as long as I don’t give up, there’s always hope.”

Okay, End of Translation.

P.S.: Bear in mind that the article was written by the reporter in the 3rd person, but I use the 1st person point of view for my translation because only royalty and cute Japanese girls use the 3rd person when talking about themselves.

Loh Teck Yong (罗德荣)

 

Help Me Become The First Security Guard Writer In Singapore!

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WHO AM I?

Hi, my name is Loh Teck Yong, a security guard who’s trying to  make it as a professional writer.

Here’s a brief summary of my work history.

I received my first assignment as a security guard way back in 1999, and continued to work in the industry over the next few years. Between 2003 and 2009, I took a long break from security work but finally succumbed to financial pressure some time during the latter half of 2009, and once again mired myself in the industry. I have been working as a security guard (on an on-and-off basis) ever since.

WHAT IS GUARDS GONE WILD!?

A few years ago, I realised that it would be a shame if those stories about my adventures in the private security industry were left to rot by the wayside of memory lane. So I started writing and those collected anecdotes became Guards Gone Wild!.

I sent the completed manuscript to 4 publishers based in Singapore on the 21st December, 2015. As of today, I have been rejected by all 4 of them. Well, exposing the dirty and underhanded going-ons in the private security industry is not exactly a profitable (or healthy) endeavour, so I can understand why the established publishers turned away from me.

And because Singapore has a very small literary market with very few publishers, I shall not waste any more time trying to get published the usual way.

If I want to get my stories out there, I have to do it myself. Through self-publication.

WHY HELP ME?

But self-publication without the support of an established publisher is going to be a difficult and costly endeavour. A noob writer going down this road will have to do and pay for everything himself. Looking for a book cover designer. Paying the book cover designer. Looking for a layout artist. Paying the layout artist. Looking for a copy editor. Paying the copy editor. And so on and so forth. That’s why I need your help to fulfil my dream of becoming a published writer.

Right now, as far as I know, there isn’t any security guard in Singapore who has published a work memoir so, if I succeed with your help, I will become the first security guard writer in Singapore! Help me make literary history!

And help yourself too.

Because in my book, I detailed accounts of various scams perpetrated by security agencies and their guards. The WYSIWYG, Merry-Go-Round and 24-hour Marathon. What are they and how do they affect YOU, the recipient of their service? Also included are stories of bullying and abuses that goes on behind the professional facade of the industry. If you live in a condominium that employs private security, or if your job requires you to interact with security guards on a regular basis, then this book will be a helpful addition to your library

To make a donation or find out more about my crowdfunding campaign, please head over to my crowdfunding page at Pozible:

https://pozible.com/project/help-a-security-guard

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

To Work Or To Write

That is the question. According to many writers, it is difficult to do both.

“I walked eight to 12 miles each day, carrying a heavy satchel. I actually liked being drained that way, as if each piece of paper I put in a mailbox represented a small packet of my own energy. But at the end of the day, there wasn’t anything left for Second Book. I had the stamina to do the job and come home and recover from doing the job and then go do it some more the next day.”

Excerpt from I Published My Debut Novel to Critical Acclaim—and Then I Promptly Went Broke

And I can empathise with Merritt Tierce, the author of the above-mentioned article, all too well.  I couldn’t do it either, working and writing at the same time. When I started working on Guards Gone Wild! I was also working as a security guard at the same time and, just like Merritt, I had no energy left at the end of a work day for any kind of creative work. Read the rest of this entry

Shameless Solicitation For Reviews And Likes!

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