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10 Things I Hate About (Desmond) Choo

9 months ago / ntuc / worklifesg

I had tea with Labour MP Desmond Choo!

I met Desmond Choo twice last week - on Monday at dinnertime and Wednesday for tea. I know, it sounds like we are pretty chummy haha but no lah, we are still in the getting to know each other phase... though I think we are already on a first-name basis, or at least I'd like to think so? :P

Okay but jokes aside, I ended up chatting with the 38-year-old Labour MP about his debut Parliament speech, the working attitudes of youths these days and what lies ahead for our economy.... besides the fact that he looks ridiculously good in every single candid shot I snapped of him (Why is life so unfair?!), here are 10 other things I (would love to) hate about Desmond Choo..

Case in point about candid shot

1) He's THAT walk-the-talk kinda guy

Choo is the Director of Youth Development at NTUC and also the Executive Secretary of the Attractions, Resorts and Entertainment Union (AREU) and when he was an industrial relations officer with the Labour movement, he had once worked as a chambermaid.

What happened was, the management of a company had sought his help to get chambermaids to clean an additional room. While they would be paid more, the chambermaids didn't want to do so. He decided something must be wrong (If you can clean 10 rooms, why not 11 rooms right?) so he approached Sheraton and tried being a chambermaid (as well as a doorman, bellhop, waiter - wah this guy super overachiever) and realised why. When you're done cleaning 10 dirty rooms, you just cannot see another one and you'd rather go home earlier to rest. Especially since many of our chambermaids are mature workers, it's generally tougher on them too. He now gets his NTUC industrial relations officers to go through attachments to have a better understanding of what is happening on the ground.

2) He told us some pretty harsh truth about our future

Yes, the looming downturn is REAL guys (just last week, you should have heard about Barclays and Keppel announcing job cuts) and Desmond (told you we are on a first-name basis) broke to us the news - albeit gently - that job security is a thing of the past.

3) More specifically, he told us HOW BAD the economy can get

In the first three quarters of 2015, the number of retrenchments at the national level stood at 8,600. According to sources, the overall number for 2015 is likely to hit more than 25,000, which is higher than 20,000 in 2009.

2016 is looking to be a very challenging year indeed :fearful:

4) He also told me I can't be lazy anymore

Fine, he didn't exactly say that but basically, he mentioned how while the year ahead is going to be rather bleak, there is actually hope. You can ride out the stormy times by enhancing your domain skills with Future-Ready skills to ensure that you always remain relevant and competitively employable.

With the national SkillsFuture movement launched, whichever stage of life you are in, whether you are in your schooling years, early career, mid-career or silver years, education and training is made available so you can own a better future with skills mastery and lifelong learning.

5) He made me think about my long-lost forsaken dreams

You know how when we were kids we all had the wildest career aspirations beyond being a doctor / lawyer / pilot / banker because that's where all the money is? (Though these days... err, banking's not the safest lah.)

What was your dream job?

Mine was to be a seamstress so I can sew myself all the pretty, fluffy princessy ballgowns in all the Disney cartoons :heart_eyes:


With SkillsFuture, you can now revisit your dream and see if you want to pick up new skills towards realising those forgotten dreams (or in case we find ourselves out of jobs).

All Singaporeans aged 25 and above will each get a SkillsFuture Credit of S$500* from 2016 that can be used for about 10,000 approved courses - I saw a dressmaking course I want to sign for!

*This is an initial amount and the government will make further top-ups at regular intervals.

Additionally, all NTUC union members get a $250 per year training subsidy with UTAP (Union Training Assistance Programme).

6) He knows us Millennials inside out

You know the creepy feeling you get when you see a fortune teller / face reader and he tells you some stuff about you that NOBODY else knows?

Say hello to Master Choo. :joy:

Desmond has quite a solid understanding of us millennials and our vastly different work attitudes from our Baby Boomer parents and management.

E.g. We aren't serial job-hoppers (you think we nothing better to do than to surf JobsDB all day looking for new jobs?!) but we crave individualism, we seek being stretched and challenged at work and he said something pretty insightful - that we are not after work-life balance because we do NOT want to work, but because we are actually seeking success across all aspects of our lives.

(Which explains why he's the guy advocating youth, young families, and changing approach of employers when it comes to younger workers).

He’d said this during his maiden Parliamentary speech:

“First, young workers aspire to be successful across different facets of their lives. We often hear that the younger workers are only concerned about work-life balance. But I believe what many meant is not only career success important but so are family and social success. They want latitude in managing their time to explore personal growth.”

“…Young workers believe in chasing growth and learning curves. It is not uncommon to hear employers lament that young workers just do not stay long enough in the job to learn sufficiently. My dialogues with many of the young workers reveal that some left their jobs because they felt that they are not learning much anymore. Or when the career paths are not clear. Or when they cannot identify with the work of the company…”

7) He exercises every day

Daily ok, DAILY. Half an hour to 40 minutes, six days a week.

I don't know how he finds the time seriously... Especially since he's a new father - his daughter, Sarah, was just born in October!

8) He's an incredibly sweet husband

He says she's both his wife and best friend (awwww...) and makes it a point to talk to her every day for that 15 to 20 minutes minimum, no matter how late he reaches home.

9) He has it all put together

He's eloquent, well-organised and uses very apt metaphors to make his point.

On top of looking very good. While most people like yours truly look all bleary-eyed and in dire need of caffeine, this was how he looked like on a Monday night at 9pm after being at work for more than 12 hours...

How is it even humanly possible?!

10) He's a ladies' man

More specifically, mothers' man.

Besides youths, Desmond also advocates for women - mainly young mothers. For employers to better support them and for the current maternity leave system to better transit new mothers back to work. Additionally, he's also looking at more family-friendly work practices and parenthood support measures so that stay-at-home-moms can get back into the work force more easily.