I received a telephone call from a Miss S who works for a video production company. She explained that they have been engaged by Channel News Asia to produce a documentary on the Lehman Brothers crisis.
S - Mr. Tan, I understand that you were actively involved in helping the investors to get back their money?
TKL - Yes
S - Can I asked you a few questions about the matter?
TKL - OK
The conversation over the telephone took half an hour. She did not understand the background initially, but after I answered her questions, she became more familiar with the subject.
S - Mr. Tan, are you able to get some of the investors to talk to us for the video?
TKL - I had asked them earlier on a similar request by your colleague but all of them declined.
S - Why?
TKL - They do not want people to know that they had made the bad investment. Perhaps if you pay them $5,000 or $10,000, they might change their mind.
S - Mr. Tan. Can we invite you to speak over the video and be recorded?
TKL - Are you getting a fee from CNA for the video?
S - (Hesitation). Yes.
TKL - Will you donate a small portion of the fee to my Financial Services Association for my time and contribution?
S - We normally do not pay our interviewee.
TKL - But you do get a fat fee from your client for your work, don't you?
S - OK. Let me check with my boss and see if we can pay you.
This is what makes me really fed up about the business culture in Singapore. They earn a fat fee and expect other people to contribute their time and expertise for free.
They follow the bad practice of the government agencies - pay nothing for local speakers, pay ten of thousand dollars for overseas speakers, and millions for global consultants.