I hail from an era when a mouse was just a small rodent, an apple was fruit, a Mac was a raincoat and a cursor was someone who said ‘fuck’ a lot.
Hipsters I think were a brand of jeans.
The millennials are creating a new language that I sometimes struggle to comprehend and some of them are really pissing me off.
The word ‘millennial’ is not recognised by the spell-check function. A red underscore appears under the word every time I write it.
It just did it again.
This is annoying but unsurprising.
Much of what the millennials do and say is contrived, abbreviated, incoherent or disposable.
They are relentless in their pursuit of Apps believing that this is the way to instant fame and fortune.
It probably is.
It is really annoying that the word “App” has been accepted by my spell check function.
A young colleague of mine recently bought to my attention the fact that Airbnb had created an Asian headquarters here in Singapore and that they were recruiting for personnel. She showed me an advertisement for a role titled “Regional Head of Trust & Safety” and commented that it would be impossible to even get an interview for such a company.
I assured her it would be easy.
She expressed doubt so to prove my point I immediately write an application email and sent it off. I used the words ‘awesome’ liberally in my letter and I was asked to be available for a Skype interview with a guy in San Francisco within fourty-eight hours.
The email invitation I think had more ‘awesomes’ in it than my letter.
The position description of the role that was forwarded to me was drivel and it was very quickly apparent that I would never want to work for Airbnb. I thought the interview would be amusing though and it certainly was.
My interview was with an Indian American guy named Dwayne.
He was a Bombay type of Indian rather than the red skin native type.
The desire to scalp him though was powerful.
As I suspected Dwayne was in his twenties and was a dweeb.
I knew that he was going to ask me all sorts of strange millennial type interview questions and I was prepared for the bizarre.
I have been around the block a few times and have been on the other side of the desk many times in my life.
I went on the attack from the opening and started to interview Dwayne.
“Good evening to you Dwayne” I started with.
“How long have you been with Airbnb and did you come from Google or Apple?”
He looked alarmed.
“I have been here six months from Google” he stuttered.
“Nice one” I replied.
“That’s a very brave move – Google are a dynamic and brilliant and awesome and enviable company so I can assume you moved so you could be there to cash in on the inevitable float? You are enjoying life there at Airbnb? Is it awesome?”
“It is awesome” he replied without answering either of my questions
“Will the lawsuits ever end there in the US do you think on the fact that your providers are disrupting the hotel industry and are not paying tax?”
“I’m not sure,” confessed Dwayne.
“I think we have resolved things in New York” he added.
“No you haven’t actually Dwayne” I responded.
You don’t really think that the public are swallowing the idea that Airbnb and Uber are actually altruistic and have purposely created this ‘sharing economy’ concept do you Dwayne?”
He looked quite panicked at the question and shuffled some papers at his desk.
“I’m not sure,” he repeated.
“I’m only new here”
“The new ads you have are a bit creepy though you must admit though Dwayne aren’t they?” I persisted
He didn’t say anything.
“I mean things like ‘go look through their windows so you can share their views’ is a bit weird but ‘sleep in their beds so that you may know their dreams’ is a shocker don’t you think?”
I got nothing back.
I could however begin to smell his fear.
“Perhaps I could ask you some questions Peter” Dwayne said in a trembling voice.
“Sure Dwayne. Fire away”
“What do you know about Airbnb and its growth?”
“It is a phenomena” I unhesitatingly replied.
“I understand that like many Apps it was conceived by a couple of Californian geeks who lucked out on a concept that has been tried before but rumor has it that they succeeded by black hatting off Craig’s List accommodation lists and then it all took off with the London Olympics”
Black hatting is an Internet geek thing that secretly mirrors another site and bounces them to a host site.
“Do you think the black hatting is true Dwayne?”
“I don’t know” he stuttered.
We walked through a couple of mundane questions about my professional background before Dwayne shuffled to a page with the silly questions that I knew he would inevitably ask.
He wasn’t very confident by this stage.
“If you were an animal what sort of animal would you be?” he enquired.
That old chestnut.
“I would be a wombat Dwayne. The type that eats roots and leaves.”
This is an Australian joke that few Americans would understand.
“There is no acrimony in the wombat world Dwayne” I added.
“I see” he muttered and made some furious notes.
It was obvious that he had no idea what a wombat was.
“If someone sitting next to you on a plane persisted in using their cell phone well after the announcement to turn it off because the plane was landing what would you do?” Dwayne asked me anxiously.
“I would immediately set them on fire” I retorted straight back.
Dwayne looked visibly shocked and he again made some furious notes.
We eventually got around to talking about the role on offer and when Dwayne asked me what I thought the position would entail I suggested that it would be likely rapidly leading teams that dealt with Airbnb people’s complaints about their houses being used as crack dens and pop up brothels and trying to keep such news out of the media.
When he asked me why I would like to work for Airbnb I told him that I was most attracted by not only being able to ride my skateboard to work but also being allowed to ride it at work as well.
My responses seemed to trigger yet another frenzy of note taking and I tried not to giggle.
The interview concluded not longer after that and within a couple of hours I received my machine written rejection email.
I was delighted.
A gaggle of Dwayne-like millennials of the Singaporean version intruded into my otherwise peaceful morning coffee today whilst I was sipping on my double shot vanilla latte.
My tranquility was interrupted by noisy and unpleasant diatribe.
At first I thought the millennials were speaking a convoluted form of Singlish and it was to a certain degree as there were a smattering of ‘la’s’ and ‘cans’ that were interspersed.
The millennials have however come up with their own more diabolical universal language.
“Dat” is “that” and “doe” is “though” and there are a whole heap of silly acronyms that they throw around like confetti.
BAE is ‘before anyone else’, FTW is ‘for the win’ and IRL is “in real life’.
BAE is actually said ‘bae’ rather than spelled out as “B”, “A” “E” – and it is actually a reference to one’s partner – as in boy or girl friend.
For fuck’s sake.
The IRL is not particularly relevant for much of what the millennials do is digital or on the Internet.
It is their thing.
A millennial is simply a young person.
‘Adult children’ is probably a more adequate and accurate description.
The millennial define themselves as anyone born between they years 1980 and 2000 and they consider themselves the new ‘boom’ because of their instant connection on digital media.
Millennials believe they are ‘on fleek’ – which in millennial speak – means they believe they are pretty much perfect. They think they rule the world, which is quite possibly true and perhaps it is why it is in such a despicable state, and to many pre-millennials like me – it is quite a worry.
This is the Twitter generation and they are without doubt twits.
The millennial believes that anything that can’t be expressed in less than 140 characters is not worth reading.
They even have an acronym for this.
“Too long didn’t read it”
There goes books.
This is one of the prime sources of my annoyance.
The millennials are an abbreviated generation where ADHD seems to be embraced.
The noisy millennials at the table adjacent to mine were actually hipsters.
Hipsters are a sub class of millennials.
The hipster subculture typically consists of white millennials living in urban area. The subculture has been described as a "mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior" and is broadly associated with indie and alternative music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility (including vintage and thrift store-bought clothes), generally progressive political views, organic and artisanal foods, and alternative lifestyles.
Hipsters are typically described as affluent or middle-class young Bohemians who reside in gentrifying neighborhoods.
They were however born with proverbial silver spoons and I would think they still have mummy dependencies.
Strangely, there seem to be many more male millennials than females – so there is hope that they will last less than one generation.
The hipsters are the most irritating of all millennials that I have encountered.
The millennials seem to be a condescending and disparaging bunch. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, which the millennials like to tread.
I like confidence in people.
Arrogance - not so much.
The millennial term ‘thot’ refers to ‘that ho (whore) over there”. Many people and things are ‘ratchet’ to the millennials – which means they are not up to the millennial standard.
From my experience millennials are very fond of body piercings and tattoos and they get greatly distraught when they are disconnected from the Internet.
It is their reason for existence.
They have the attention spans of laboratory rats except when it comes to messaging each other – as long as the text isn’t too long. They are detrimental to people who work out in the gym too much and refer to such people as ‘too swole’. They also often refer to themselves in the first person, they confuse their participles and their conversations are littered with some very irritating jargon.
I know most of this because I was eavesdropping on the group at Starbucks.
I was translating much of what I heard on Google.
All four of the hipsters were conversing with each other whilst playing with their mobile phones.
They occasionally squealed, took a lot of selfies and then squealed some more.
I was completely unsurprised when one of them took out a selfie stick and group photographs were taken.
Like much of the millennial jargon the word ‘selfies’ is also not being recognised by the spellcheck function on my Mac. My pages are full of jagged and most unattractive red underscored words.
It is a terrible thing.
I overheard one little fellow attired in bright yellow pants, a luminescent green shirt and a polka dotted bow tie announce to his other little friends, “Like I’m going to make things happening today. Boom”
The little friends responded with their own acknowledging “booms”
I gave a small ‘boom’ and a chuckle myself which caused the hipsters to turn and gawk at me.
I have been living on the Island long enough to master the long-blank-look and with ease I stared them down.
Millennials tend to use the word ‘like’ a lot in their conversations.
I don’t like it.
When I lit up a cigarette in and blew smoke in their general direction one of the hipsters turned to me and asked me if I knew that I was seated at a non-smoking table.
I took a deep drag before I affirmed that I did then we did the staring thing again.
Trite I know.
I was a bit grumpy.
“Will you put that cigarette out compadre?” yellow pants squealed at me.
“Cannot la” I replied in perfect Singlish.
“Boom” I added for hipster emphasis.
“I will tell the manager” one of his companions squeaked.
“I will give a fuck” I retorted.
There was another stare off before the millennials as one started playing with their devices.
I suspect that at least one of the hipsters took my photo on their little devices whilst I was ashing my cigarette and I will likely appear on ‘Stomp’ before the day is out.
Stomp is a Singaporean Web site where locals and any resident or visitor to Singapore can electronically dob. They take photos of things that aggrieve them with their mobile phones and they post these pictures on the Stomp Web page. The Singaporeans love it.
They really do.
I have been Stomped several times in my years of living on the Island and I don’t mind a bit.
I have been Stomped for threatening to set a young Singaporean man on fire on the train when he refused to give up his seat to a pregnant woman and also for jay walking across the street on which I live.
Dobbing is an Australian term that means to tattle or to squeal. Dobbing is to tell the Authorities and to inform the masses of someone else's wrong doings.
The act of dobbing is not well regarded amongst the Australian community.
To be regarded as a dobber is somewhat derogatory.
It is a bit sneaky.
We have all done it though.
In Australian households it usually starts at home as children and particularly amongst siblings.
My sister Jane was a dobber.
"Muuuuuum", she would often wail.
"Peter pulled the head off my barbie".
Or when she would witness me stealing cigarettes from the packet my father may have left on the kitchen bench.
"I'm going to tell Dad on you"
And then she would.
Tell Dad on me.
The Singaporean equivalent of dobbing is Stomping.
The word 'stomp' is a derivation of the word 'stamp'.
Its origins are Germanic. To 'stampfen' means "to stomp'.
To me it conjures up unpleasant images of German Nazis kicking poor Jewish people during the holocaust or skinhead gangs brutally laying their boots into some poor immigrant in horrible acts of violence.
An excellent Australian film called 'Romper Stomper' was made in 1992 and was about a group of Neo-Nazi skinheads who terrorized immigrant Vietnamese in suburban Melbourne. The film was low budget and featured a very young actor named Russell Crowe. He starred in his role as 'Hando' the skinhead gang leader.
Tragically he has not made a decent film since.
When I finished my cup of coffee I realized that the hipsters weren’t going anywhere anytime soon so my peaceful tranquility was over.
I stood up and walked past their table and I couldn’t resist lunging a little and growling in an animalistic and semi threatening way.
They predictably squealed in unison.
“Boom” I chuckled as I walked away.