She came for the position of assistant editor. we stated that a knowledge in design and architecture is essential and we were honest enough to state that we are a publisher of that nature. And yes we do state our company name. Unlike some ads that vaguely and almost always Urgently seeks certain positions e.g. "Waitresses with customer experience needed. Able to work late hours. Commissions." Hardly a Crystal Jade or a school cafe position. They are really either seeking a Tiger auntie in Ang Mo Kio or a Tigress in Orchard Towers, or possibly a new position for one of our upcoming integrated resorts.
So back to this little Arts and Social Science grad with a little literary ambition. Wide-eyed and narrowed-brained, she might actually be more suited for the late hours with commissions position. After some small talk of her hobbies and family background checks, just to be sure in case she is going to ask me for contacts for Orchard Towers, I asked her, "So you like design?"
"Yes..." the tone a bit unsure..
Technically a must-have for this position.
"So can you name a few of your favourite designers?"
"ERm.. i don't really have any favourite designers..."
Hmmm.. ok not very boomz .. but i've decided to be kind and try again.
"Any designer - product, graphic, fashion....?" I've decided to leave out architects, the most misunderstood design profession.. when i once did a vacation stint for quick money in a not-so-design-driven firm to do quick designs, I handled many confident tow-kays and rich aunties who pointed enthusiastically to the neighbour's multi-cultural pediments and bastardised corinthian columns complete with boy statues peeing and told me that is their dream home. And it was not uncommon that we have requests for "country style" which is their dream home. The term dream home was at one point a nightmare term to me. Why would you want a bloody country style home when you can't really keep cows and horses in your 1500 sqm semi-detached house? And i don't really know how to handle that fireplace. We do not study that in architecture schools in Singapore, for reasons that are very hard to explained to these country-loving aunties. Really, our country-house equivalent in this part of the world will be the attap house in Chua Chu Kang, if they still keep pigs.
So back to Miss Not-very-Boomz, she was really tensed when i apparently pressed her for an answer. She asked for 5 minutes to think. I obliged and in the 5 minutes, i cut and filed my nails like any bored secretary should do to kill time. It felt like 30 minutes and i hope i had more nails.
Finally, she said hesistantly, "Chanel...?"
Before i could say "Next!" like any impatient Polyclinic doctor in Tiong Bahru, she saw a drop of blood dripping from my left eye. But i am no miracle Mother Mary statue. I am her nightmare, and she declined the position before i even offered. I could have, if i was working on a movie script about how i picked the most unlikely candidate in a highly competitive interview (as we set it up like it was) and train her into a rock star editor. She didn't give me the chance. We could be famous for different things. And maybe i could evolve my publishing business into the movie world, very much in line with the MDA's crossing platform initiative.
If the movie "Coco before Chanel" came before her interview, she might have uttered that name with much more confidence, and actually Chanel is cool about 80 years ago (now maybe she really meant Karl Lagerfeld..), and if she could really sell me that how she admired Chanel (and not Karl Lagerfeld), she could be truly unique above all the rest of the candidates who threw out the name "Philippe Starck" as if they were throwing out an amah-bra (aka granny's size 48DD bra) at me - a big gift on their part, but on my part, a bit embarrassing, a bit dated and just doesn't turn me on too much.