The Mother of all Cover Letters

By N Mark Castro

If you’re a writer or journalist and do not know Hunter S Thompson, then consider yourself lucky … at least you’re walking around on earth naive from its ills and divorced from malice.

If you happen to have come across this man, however, then welcome, my fellow crazy human being.

To say that Hunter reshaped global journalism as we know today is to be polite. He rocked it. And he rocked it hard. The Establishment was never the same again since then, either for good or bad, depending on which side of the fence you’re in.

It’s also the reason why most HR platforms don’t know how to measure effective talent when confronted with a seemingly despicable character. For instance, a local company bought the franchise of a media brand but gave the HR screening to corporate HR. They needed to fill in hundreds of positions but couldn’t find any that fit because most candidates kept failing their Psychological Test.

It was in this context that I told my friend she needed crazy but competent people to hire, and that none of her existing corporate HR models could be applied to the candidates she sought.

She asked why.

I told her that Mt Sinabung is currently spewing volcanic ash, erupting like hell, while thousands of people flee the vicinity.

Name me one corporate executive that enjoys free parking, an air conditioned cubicle with automatic coffee-machine, and a secretary, that would fly in to the disaster area, identify dead-bodies, dodge imminent death, fight off soldiers, and report the truth to the audience?

No, my friend, for that you need a different set of tools, something borne out of facing the ugly truth of war. You need different set of people: the daring ones, the crazy ones, the arrogant ones who don’t listen to authority, who respond only to the Truth.

I say this because my friend was complaining about the Cover Letter that she received from someone she was convinced was arrogant and had the gall to ask her: “Do you have disaster protocol? If not, then I won’t work for you.”

And that’s just a one-sentence telegram that got my friend into a frenzy.

So I told her that if she thought that was an arrogant Cover Letter, then she hasn’t seen mine. Nor has she seen a pre-fame Hunter S Thompson’s Cover Letter, before he redefined journalism, his best-selling books became Hollywood films, and a cult-figure for Gonzo journalists.

Of course, there are only certain industries to which it might work. Or, depending on your conviction, might work at all every where so long as you can back it up. Your integrity, personality, and honesty depend on it.

But what about you? What do you think?

Here’s Hunter S Thompson’ Cover Letter, if you were the editor, would you have accepted it?

Vancouver Sun


October 1, 1958 57 Perry Street New York City


I got a hell of a kick reading the piece Time magazine did this week on The Sun. In addition to wishing you the best of luck, I’d also like to offer my services.

Since I haven’t seen a copy of the “new” Sun yet, I’ll have to make this a tentative offer. I stepped into a dung-hole the last time I took a job with a paper I didn’t know anything about (see enclosed clippings) and I’m not quite ready to go charging up another blind alley.

By the time you get this letter, I’ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I’ll let my offer stand. And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you.

I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he’d tell you that I’m “not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person.” (That’s a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.)

Nothing beats having good references.

Of course if you asked some of the other people I’ve worked for, you’d get a different set of answers.If you’re interested enough to answer this letter, I’ll be glad to furnish you with a list of references — including the lad I work for now.

The enclosed clippings should give you a rough idea of who I am. It’s a year old, however, and I’ve changed a bit since it was written. I’ve taken some writing courses from Columbia in my spare time, learned a hell of a lot about the newspaper business, and developed a healthy contempt for journalism as a profession.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to work for you.

Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews.

I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don’t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations.

I would rather be on the dole than work for a paper I was ashamed of.

It’s a long way from here to British Columbia, but I think I’d enjoy the trip.

If you think you can use me, drop me a line.

If not, good luck anyway.

Sincerely, Hunter S. Thompson

1st Ocean Investment Summit led by Ministry of Marine Affairs & Fisheries of Indonesia

By N Mark Castro

The rich marine biodiversity of Indonesia is one of its most invaluable assets, taking a majority part of the so-called Amazon of the ocean or what is commonly referred to as the Coral Triangle, which is recognised as the global centre of marinebiodiversity.

As the world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia’s 5.8 million km2 of ocean has an economic potential that could reach up to US $1.2 Trillion per year. As the 4 largest coastline in the world, it has the potential to employ 40 million people.

And the implementation of Indonesia’s Blue Economy concept is expected to strengthen marine potential sustainably, productively, and environmentally.

Currently, around 50% of the global pearl production comes from Indonesia. Indonesia’s ocean and coastline can help in reducing up to 25% of global carbon emission.

Read the rest of this entry

Indonesian Democracy’s Last Hope

By N Mark Castro

His predecessor, Akil Mochtar, is serving life imprisonment for corruption charges. The betrayal of public trust was an assault on the country’s foremost institution, including its legal decisions.

However, the succeeding replacement, Deputy Constitutional Court Chief Hamdan Zoelva, has proven his mettle in delivering decisions — and justice — to the surprise of the nation.

One of the greatest trials in his capacity as the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia was the recent legal challenge of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto on the election results. According to Prabowo’s claim, there was electoral fraud in a “structured, systematic and massive” way and most everyone thought that the legal battle would hold hostage the fledgling democratic process of the country.

The nation held its breath. The nation waited. Most everyone feared that the Constitutional Court would favor Prabowo’s claims because Chief Justice Hamdan’s former political party was allied to the Prabowo-led coalition. Further, everyone was aware of his close relations to the plaintiff. Worse, the Constitutional Court are filled with appointees associated with Prabowo and the incumbent president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose own political party was allied with the Prabowo-led coalition.

Indonesia’s greatest sinetron was at play.

prabowohamdan Read the rest of this entry

The Renomination of Marty Natalegawa: Indonesia’s Foreign Minister

By N Mark Castro

Menlu RI saat dikelilingi oleh WartawanThe current issue burning within the diplomatic ranks of Indonesia is the renomination of Minister of Foreign Affairs Marty Natalegawa.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has very distinct objectives:

  1. Restore Indonesia’s international image
  2. Help boost the economy and public welfare
  3. Help strengthen national unity, stability and integrity, and preserve the nation’s sovereignty
  4. Develop bilateral relations, particularly with countries that can support Indonesia’s trade and investment and economic recovery; as well as promote international cooperation that helps build and maintain world peace.

There right there is what makes Indonesia’s foreign affairs policy quite unique: world peace. Which perhaps explains its active role in engaging in peacekeeping missions. Not because out of the kindness of its heart, but enshrined in its objective and protected by its Constitution.

Imagine that. Read the rest of this entry

The Boat That Steve Ballmer Missed

By N Mark Castro

That Steve Ballmer increased Microsoft’s annual revenue surged from $25 billion to $70 billion during his tenure as CEO is undoubtedly a major achievement. That Steve Ballmer was effective in steering the company against the US Anti-Trust lawsuit showed his skills in navigating through tough times. That he was highly energetic and inspirational demonstrated his leadership. But, despite the numbers, Steve Ballmer would be remembered more for the mistakes he’s made for the past 13 years rather than the numerical achievements.

Perhaps his keen focus on the company’s bottom line is what led him to make bad long-term product decisions that invited so many to criticize his business tech sense.

After all, in this fast-paced technological advancements, you are more remembered for the innovations you’ve initiated rather than the numbers you’ve produced. Microsoft could’ve dominated it but failed time and again because he just wouldn’t listen.

And to be pitted against the innovation of his times and other tech leaders, including the other Steve in Apple, he was simply playing catch-up with the opportunities that he missed.

Read the rest of this entry

Neo’s First Day In School

By N Mark Castro

So I’m taking my son, Neo, to his first day of school.

He is excited.

He is scared.

So am I.


“You’re gonna love school so much, Neo, and make lots of friends,” I said.

It was a lie.

Read the rest of this entry

Is ASEAN Useless, Useful, Meaningful?

By N Mark Castro

47 years ago today, 5 Southeast Asian countries banded together to form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or what is now called ASEAN. It has since expanded to include other member states such as Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam.

When it was formed everyone in the Western world either thought they would go left or they would go right … no one ever thought they’d go to sleep.

Because aside from regular ministerial meetings, occasional heads-of-state meetings, no one really knew what they were up to.

It’s as if a bunch of bullies got together and said to each other: “Hey, don’t mess around in my turf, OK?” And went on to pat themselves on their backs.

I mean, really, who among the citizens of the ASEAN member states really knew?

Or know. Read the rest of this entry

Happy Birthday, My Son

By N Mark Castro


Dear Spidey,

Up until today I’m still trying to figure out why God — in His Infinite Wisdom — has decided to entrust your life upon me.What was He thinking?Since the day you were born I have no clue whether or not what I’m doing is right. You didn’t come with an instruction manual although I suspect there must be some batteries inside with your endless energy. And your smile and laughter that is as powerful as your whines.
Your presence in my life makes me wonder aboutmy own journey in life and I can guarantee you that nothing I have ever done has given me more joy and rewards than being a father to you!The day you were born was the happiest and scariest moment of my life. And I think you came out laughing instead of crying.


For a very long time in my life I cared for nothing else but myself. It wasn’t that I was irresponsible. It’s that I had no responsibilities. Actually, I could spot responsibilities a mile away and could easily stand aside to escape it.

And because I had been single for the most part of my life, some people thought I had a lot of issues. Believe me, son, I enjoyed each and every one of those issues. But that’s another story when you’re older.

So I had pretty much a good run of fun.

Until your mother came.

There went the ballgame. Read the rest of this entry

How This Baby Reacts Is Priceless

The Paolo Bediones Sex Video Scandal

By N Mark Castro


Prominent media personality Paolo Bediones is currently in the news because of the alleged leaked sex video scandal. It has captured the nation’s imagination and threatens to crash so many servers looking for the link.

Sadly, he is not the first to become a victim of such voyeuristic campaign nor would he be the last.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with a private home made video such as the stills captured below.
Read the rest of this entry

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