Do You Know How Much Our Security Officers Are Paid?

Sari Pan Pacific Jakarta

I stayed at Sari Pan Pacific Jakarta over the weekend and was amazed at how security is pretty tight at the hotels and malls. Apart from the metal detector everyone has to walk through outside my hotel, they also have the handheld devices to scan your bags, sniffer dogs and more guards at the gate who will check the taxi’s boot and also the underside of the vehicles!

Have you ever thought about how much our local security officers are being paid to guard our homes and offices? I recently had the opportunity of finding out what their job and salary is like…

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If you’re offered the option of working full-time six days a week in Singapore, and you’re only going to be drawing a salary of S$800 – S$900 a month, would you take the job?

Your answer might be an outright “no”, like mine was. But this is a reality for over 30,000 security officers in Singapore. How does one survive on an S$800 monthly salary? The truth is, we can’t. And therefore these officers work up to 12 hours a day to get overtime pay.

So that’s 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. And their jobs are not as simple as just sitting behind a desk and staring at CCTV monitors.

Security Officer in Singapore

What Do We Think Security Officers Do?

When I enter buildings, the security officer is the person who gives me a pass in exchange for ID. And when I need directions, whether I’m in a mall or trying to get to one, I ask the security officer. And at the airport, they are the ones who decide what I can or cannot bring with me.

But beyond that, what do they really do?

What Does A Security Officer Really Do?

Before he retired, my Dad was a security supervisor in one of our major hospitals. And it was quite a stressful job. Sometimes, there would be ministers coming for their checkups, other times scuffles between anxious relatives of patients and hospital staff, and the occasional unreasonable person who lost a bag or phone and demands that Security finds it, like that doctor who brought $10,000 in cash and placed it in a bag in the locker room and has it go missing. (Why bring that much money to work anyway?!)

In general, security officers screen the people and vehicles seeking entry into a property, they patrol and prevent thefts, checks for leaks and signs of fire or smoke, prevent unauthorized entry, check that the security system is working and not tampered with, manage vehicle parking allocation, check lighting is working, operate gates / doors / barriers, do traffic control, maintain access records, and escort visitors, among other things based on the company they work for.

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Security Officers

I had the opportunity to speak to a condominium’s security supervisor about what his job really entails, and what job hazards come with it.

It seems that residents staying in that condominium expect much more from him and his team than what is stated in his job description. In cases of encroachment, e.g. if someone’s bicycle is left in what another resident thinks is his space, then a security officer will be called in, when it should come under the condo’s management’s jurisdiction.

To make matters worse, security officers have been accused of taking bribes and damaging property. Some (crazy, maybe?) resident has accused officers of accepting a bribe and damaging his/her car, without any incriminating evidence.

I can only imagine how upsetting it would be if I’m working 12-hour shifts just to earn a decent wage to support my family, and doing my work as best I can, and yet be wrongly accused of damaging property when I would never do something like that.

Too Little Pay, Too Much Work

Security officers are definitely not paid as much as they deserve.

As it is common for service buyers such as condominium and building managing agents to choose the cheapest quote, security agencies compete on price and depress wages as a result.

[Read: Minimum Wage Disaster – Cheap Sourcing Risks Security Officers’ Pay]

Security agencies should think of ways to make the jobs of security officers easier, safer and smarter. For example, instead of making the officer walk throughout the premises five times a night, why not install motion-sensor CCTVs that the officer can monitor?

Service buyers who choose the security agency shouldn’t look at security officers as an expense and choose the cheapest, but learn how to best-source based on quality, experience and good service level, for example.

The good news is that things are about to change. The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for the security industry was launched in October this year, seeing a good number of security agencies jumping on the bandwagon, but for the laggards, they have up still September 2016 to implement PWM within their company.

According to NTUC’s Zainal Sapari, “PWM would ensure there will be a baseline for wage-setting when security firms bid for contracts. The model will also offer a career path for security officers where the salary earned will commensurate with level of responsibility, productivity and training received”.

In its efforts to protect low wage workers, the Labour Movement has established that security agencies who do not comply with the requirements may not have their licences renewed. While it may sound harsh, but for the benefit of the workers, I am glad that something is being done at least to protect them.

Security officers can expect to earn more as they undergo training and greater opportunities for advancement to Senior Security Officer (min. S$1300), Security Supervisor (min. S$1500), Senior Security Supervisor (min. S$1700) and eventually Chief Security Supervisor.

PWM Security

Also, let us also stop taking these security officers for granted. It’s a tough job. Most of them are on their feet much of the day, not all have the luxury of working in an air-conditioned environment, most don’t have a proper pantry to rest their feet and get a much-needed coffee break, and many are thrown challenges daily by demanding “customers”.

If there is a security officer whom you meet daily but have never really spoken to or thanked for a good job done, why not speak with him or her today, or even take it one step further and give the person a thank-you note or a cup of coffee? You know you’ll love it if you’re in his/her shoes. 🙂

Departure Tax: Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Indonesia

Indonesia Airport Departure Tax

If you’re traveling back from Indonesia, ensure you have 150,000 rupiah set aside to pay the airport departure tax! I paid mine at the check-in counter for AirAsia, and the sticker was pasted onto my boarding pass (I did web check-in).

Things to note at Soekarno-Hatta Airport:

1) Don’t get to your boarding gate too early – the waiting area is huge but the air-conditioning doesn’t seem to be working well, so it’s really warm in there.

2) There is a water dispenser near one of the coffee machines at the waiting area – if you have a water bottle with you, time to fill it up!

3) If you have a lot of time before your flight departs, you can head to level 2 where there’s a massage centre – a 30 minute massage costs Rp90,000. [Likewise, don’t head to the boarding gate if you still have a lot of time to kill]

4) The airport WIFI is spotty at best, so don’t count on getting much work done at the airport while waiting. Best if you read a book or take a nap.

5) The nasi ayam penyet at Laras Resto isn’t the best. I get better ayam penyet in Singapore. I’ll give that a miss the next time I’m at that airport.

6) If your flight has just landed at the airport, don’t head out of the airport to flag down a cab if you are traveling alone and are unsure about which cab companies are the safer ones to travel with. Just walk to the “public transport” counter within the Arrival Hall and request for a cab from Blue Bird Group. You’ll be quoted a high price upfront (e.g. Rp 350,000) but just insist that you’re alone and have no need for a big cab, and you can get one at Rp 220,000 (like I did).

7) The bubble tea store serves pretty decent beverages. I bought a grass jelly milk tea and enjoyed it. Best to have a cold drink in hand before stepping out of the airport and into Jakarta’s hot weather!

8) My cab ride to Sari Pan Pacific Jakarta took an hour on a Friday morning while the ride to the airport on Saturday morning took considerably less time. Still, ensure you schedule enough time for your taxi journeys so you won’t miss your flight due to Jakarta’s unpredictable traffic and sometimes really horrible traffic jams.

Sushi-Making with Indonesian Celebrity, Tarra Budiman

I won a contest on social media platform, migme, and got to fly to Jakarta to meet Indonesian celebrity, Tarra Budiman. Apparently, he’s very popular in Indonesia and can be considered a household name. I’ve never even heard of him before this trip, but I found him to be really friendly and funny. Tarra speaks good English though I don’t speak a word of Bahasa, so filming this episode entirely in Bahasa was a tad challenging as I had no idea what the chef was saying. Thankfully, I’ve made sushi once before…

Grace Tan Tarra Budiman

In-between takes, Tarra and I had questions for the chef. And we found out that:

1) He doesn’t like sushi (wow!)

2) Where sushi-making is concerned, he is self-taught (double wow)

Here’s the unagi sushi that the chef did for us as a demo:

Sushi from chef

It’s really interesting how the end of 2014 has been for me. I’ve already done a ‘cooking video’ with local blogger extraordinaires Xiaxue (Wendy Cheng) and Dr Leslie Tay (check out the blogpost here), and now this video is with Indonesian celebrity, Tarra Budiman! I take it as a sign that more food videos are in store for me. LOL.

I’m very particular about the way my food looks, so I didn’t make 8 pieces (as had been done in the demo) and served up just 4 bigger pieces with the ends chopped off. We also had to spell out the word ‘migme’ on our dish, so I wrote it in mayonaise on a piece of seaweed instead. The squeeze bottle wasn’t cooperative so the writing turned out wonky.

Three pieces of sushi, after Tarra ate one for judging:

sushi for Tarra Budiman

I didn’t have the guts to tell the chef that the reason his sushi didn’t get clean ‘cuts’ is because he didn’t clean his knife with a wet cloth in-between slices. I definitely struggled with mine too, as the cloths were all dry. So there you go… sushi-making tip from me to you!

Sushi-making with Tarra Budiman

In this picture above, the chef is the dude in the red uniform, the guy next to him is the Indonesian winner of a migme contest (he happens to be a bricklayer), Tarra is in the blue shirt, and there I am making sushi under those bright lights.

In the end, I won the sushi-making contest as the sushi I made was judged to be of a more consistent height and all, but Tarra gave both of us contestants a cap each from his own brand ‘Shining Bright’!

And of course, I got it signed by Tarra! 😀

Grace Tan Tarra Budiman

Tarra Budiman Shining Bright

Tarra Budiman Cap Giveaway

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Looking back, it IS kinda crazy to fly 1.5hours to Jakarta, take a 1 hour cab ride to my hotel, and another car journey of 2.5hours in horrible traffic to get to the Japanese restaurant for this sushi-making experience! The filming lasted a really long time as it is generally ‘rubber time’ in Indonesia, and people do not exactly turn up on time (maybe due to traffic) and nobody is in a rush to do anything.

By the time I got to my hotel and was ready for bed, it was about 2am Singapore time. (@_@)

But I did meet some great folks from migme: @reynachan from the migme Indonesia team was awesome (thank you for going snack shopping with me!), Tarra was not intimidating though he’s a big shot in Indonesia, and lotsa thanks to everyone who took me around for food (I wish I remember names better). 🙂

More on the flight, hotel and taxi-hiring experience in a bit. Stay tuned. 🙂

my LIFE INC: A Fascinating Online Lifestyle Store PLUS A Giveaway!

[Giveaway worth S$400 at the end of this blogpost!]

my LIFE INC. is a new subsidiary of Eu Yan Sang International and their online lifestyle store (https://www.mylifeinc.me/) offers a curated range of very interesting products.

mylifeinc

I managed to get my hands on a Sprayology set via my LIFE INC. If you don’t already know, Sprayology has a number of celebrity fans:

Melissa Rycroft
Melissa Rycroft Sprayology

Garcelle BeauviasGarcelle Beauvias

Lisa RinnaLisa Rinna

Carrie Ann InabaCarrie Ann Inaba

(more pictures here)

And now I have my own set too! My Sprayology – Weight Loss Essentials set:

Sprayology

Besides its compact packaging (slip a Sprayology bottle into any clutch or purse) and affordable pricing, I love how Sprayology actually works!

– Tried And Tested –

I initially wanted to find out if this S$100 set would indeed help me lose some weight. But I decided that the most pressing issue at that time was my terrible cough which just would not go away despite the many cough syrups I had tried.

I contracted that really bad cough from celebrating my birthday in Jakarta. The air pollution was so horrendous that, pardon me, I don’t think I’ll be visiting that city again.

I returned to Singapore only to have my dad ominously proclaim that my cough has to be what the Chinese call “百日咳”, the literal translation of which is “hundred day cough”. (@_@)

Within the Sprayology set is a spray called the ‘Life Detoxer’, which “neutralizes daily toxins” and is a “homeopathic oral spray with St. Mary’s Thistle” – a herb which is known for helping the liver repair itself. 🙂

I read what was printed on the box and thought that weight loss can wait, I have to test if this product works first:

The Life Detoxer “relieves common symptoms of exposure to indoor and outdoor environmental toxins (including second-hand smoke), such as respiratory difficulties, coughing, lung and liver toxicity, and sluggishness”.

The best part has to be that it’s so easy to use: Just 2 sprays under the tongue, 3 times a day. The bottle slips easily into a small handbag and you can even use this spray when you are in a taxi or train – people will just think you are freshening up your breath! 😀

Melissa Rycroft

My cough cleared up in about a month’s time, and thankfully not a hundred days or I would have coughed my lungs out. I didn’t even have to take any yucky medicine or herbal teas! 🙂

~ Get Yours Now! ~

The individual bottles retail at S$48, and S$100 for a set of 3. Get them here: https://www.mylifeinc.me/

You’ll also find other products like healthy Way Better Snacks, pet care and baby care products.

Enjoy FREE delivery for orders over S$50! 😀

3 Other Items From my LIFE INC On My Shopping List:

1) Organic Chocolate Bars Christmas Bundle $36

mylifeinc christmas bundle

2) Harmonic Christmas Travel Set $36

mylifeinc

3) Natural Alternative’s bath products: $3 to $25

Natural Alternative

Website: https://www.mylifeinc.me/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mylifeinc.me

More information about Sprayology here: http://www.sprayology.com/

– GIVEAWAY – 

The lovely folks at my LIFE INC. are kindly sponsoring FOUR sets of Weight Loss – Vitamin Spray Pack for you, my readers, to WIN! Each set has a retail price of S$100!

Sprayology

How To Win:

1) ‘Like’ my myLIFEINC/Sprayology giveaway post on my Facebook page

2) ‘Like’ myLIFEINC’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/mylifeinc.me

3) Comment on THIS blogpost and tell me which item (from myLIFEINC’s online store https://www.mylifeinc.me/) you would like to have for Christmas, besides this weight loss pack of course 😀

E.g. “The Organic Fairtrade Extra Dark Chocolate Bar – youremail@gmail.com” <-Remember to include your email address so I can contact you if you are one of the winners! 😀

* This giveaway is open ONLY to residents of Singapore. International fans, stay tuned for other upcoming giveaways! 😀 *