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DBS explains PR’s online posting: “He remains Indian at heart”

It was reported that an Indian national, Avijit Das Patnaik, who has been a PR in Singapore for a decade recently made a Facebook post disrespecting the Singapore flag.

The Facebook post in question showed a black T-shirt with a graphic depicting the Singapore flag being ripped apart to reveal an Indian flag underneath. It was posted in a "Singapore Indians and Expats" group, which has about 11,000 members, one day before India's Independence Day.

The Hindi words "Phir bhi dil hai…" was seen posted together with the disrespectful picture, which roughly translate to "Still my heart is…".

It was also reported that the Indian national actually works for DBS.

Many netizens then went onto DBS Facebook page to complain about his behaviour to the bank.

Yesterday (18 Aug), DBS replied on its Facebook page attempting to explain his behaviour, saying that their employee just wanted to show that "even as he’s in Singapore, he remains Indian at heart" during the celebration of India’s Independence Day:

DBS added that the employee has been "counselled" and that he is "deeply sorry for the distress caused".

"Network and rub shoulders with the right people"

Further checks online show that the Indian national does work in DBS and he would go on to praise his CEO Piyush Gupta for his writings online:

In the article written by DBS CEO Piyush Gupta and highlighted by the Indian national, Gupta talked about the importance of "networking":

Networking, in my definition, is not just knowing a large number of people, but ensuring that people who are relevant to your job choices know you, and develop a healthy respect for your capabilities. This is often very difficult, because these people may have nothing to do with your current job; in fact, they may not even know you exist.

In the 1990s, I used to be Chief of Staff and Head of Strategy for the Citibank business in India. As part of my career thinking, I figured out that my next job needed to be an assignment that was overseas. However, it was very tough sitting in Mumbai and trying to figure out how to get an overseas assignment. So I made a list of six people in the Citibank system whom I thought could be helpful in getting my next assignment, and I thought to myself, “These people don’t know me”. My personal goal was that by the end of year, they should all know who I am and have a positive impression of me. I worked at it very systematically. If somebody came, I made sure I went there and met them. If somebody sent an email, I made sure I wrote back with an intelligent, thoughtful response. I was able to connect with those people in the course of the year.

The reality of life is people give jobs to those they know...

In other words, "networking" takes precedence over "meritocracy". It's important to let the "right" people know you, according to Gupta.

It's interesting to note that the Indian national Avijit Das Patnaik took the opportunity to write some comments and forward his CEO's article onto the DBS Facebook group. No doubt, many of the people in DBS would probably take note of him.

And now with his latest online posting of a distasteful graphic picture of Singapore flag being ripped apart and with his name appearing in news media, many people in Singapore would know him too.