Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Would you...?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009 @ 6.36pm


Would you call yourselves a loving couple if you call each other names like ‘stupid asshole’, ‘dumb shit’ and ‘fucker’?

Would you call yourselves a happy couple if the only time you smiled and laughed at your partner is when someone else is making fun of your partner?

Would you call yourselves a happy couple if the only time you’re nice to each other is when you want something from the other?

Would you call yourselves a happy couple if you scowl at each other all the time but automatically turn on the fake smiles when there are strangers around – especially if they were mat salleh?

Would you call yourselves a happy couple if you, as the man, do not protect your woman as you should, instead belittling her with harsh words?

And would you call yourselves a happy couple if you, as the woman, do not respect your man and treat a piece of dirt better than you do him?

Didn’t think so.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Farce

Tuesday, 24 November 2009 @ 11.18am

We’re struggling.


I didn’t realise it (or maybe I did but just didn’t want to believe it) until I typed the words out. I’ve always portrayed this strong person. And always believed that there was always a solution, always a way out. I always thought that I could handle anything and everything. Heart made of steel.]


Until recently.


Recent events has forced me to stop denying what I was feeling – lost, hopeless, desperation. People always say I’m strong and confident and nothing can hurt me or bring me down.


It’s all a lie. A farce. A mask. I hate feeling vulnerable. I hate feeling weak. So I went on the defensive. I worked longer. I kept myself busy.


But this morning, I couldn’t keep up the farce any longer. It’s getting nearer. And I had to admit it. We’re struggling.


Please help me.

I Heart Get Crafty


Monday, 23 November 2009 @ 6.08pm

Imagine screaming children, lots of hugs and laughter, with the occasional tears. That’s what you usually get when you’re at Get Crafty. I remember my very first time walking into Get Crafty. It was on a weekend and I was with my sister and her kids on our way to lunch at Cozy House. I was in the midst of an ugly break up and wanted to fill up my time to get away from reality.

The sign said they were looking for part-time art teachers. I saw bright colours, smiling faces and heard the sounds of hairdryers in the background as I hastily filled in the form. I told the CSR attending to me – who would later become my friend known as Ken Li – that I would drop by one of these days to hand over my resume. Which I really did, a week later.

It was a Thursday when Soo called and asked me to come in for an interview on a Saturday. I didn’t know what to expect. I’d only just started working at Trix (my first ‘real’ job) and was still in the transition of uni-goer to career woman. Or at least, that was how I felt at the time.

I didn’t know how to dress. So I thought casual chic. I wore a white top with black three-quarter pants. Which I was told by Soo and Roza jokingly that if I were going to work there, don’t even think of wearing anything white and anything nice. I got the job after a 20-minute interview. And was asked to come to work the following day, which was Sunday. As I was walking out, Jet told me to wear blue as that was the colour of the week.

My first day of work, I was told to go to the Ground floor with Soo. There was a booth set up for Easter. I was quickly briefed on what I had to do. I met Audrey and Angie later in the afternoon. Didn’t really think much of them then. My mind was trying hard not t focus on methods of trying to let him to let me go.

When Soo asked me to go for my lunch break, I gladly went up to the noisy calm of the The Chicken Rice Shop. I was getting a migraine from the children. Some were loud. Some had to be coaxed. Some asked a lot of questions. And some just sat and did nothing. One asked me to draw a crocodile on their Easter Bunny bag. I convinced her that stars and polka dots looked better. Angie was impressed by my lack of needing to question Soo or anyone else before making this decision.

It got better over the weeks. The break up was done with and I finally started getting to know the other teachers a little better. Although I usually took my lunch break with Soo, I started to feel some sort of a bond with Zaza, Iqa, Jet, Melinda and Ken Li.

Then over the years, and over the three times that I quit and came back, things began to progress. I got better with handling children – good ones, naughty ones, disabled ones, and even satanic ones. I also got noticed by my boss as somewhat of a leader, which lately has evolved to my new position among the other teachers – momma.

I learned to work smart. When I became CSR, my responsibilities included handling parents, which surprisingly (even to myself), turned out to be something that was incredibly easy for me to do. It just felt natural. So natural that I was soon called “the top salesman” at the centre by Audrey. It was also around this time that the other teachers started confiding in me their worries and problems. As did the parents.


I started getting ideas for the centre. I was always thinking of ways to improve. And I always tried to find a way for things to work systematically, faster, easier and more conveniently for teachers. I changed what I felt was needed and I voiced my concerns where I thought only Audrey could get my message across. This led me to the title another title by Audrey – Business Development.

It’s been three years since I first walked into the centre to fill in the application form. I was a much younger (physically and mentally) person, who was conflicted and in pain. There are children who I’ve seen grow – physically and mentally too. Now, there are many, many parents who actually think I own or run the centre. They see me in control and they seem to like the fact that there is that sort of ‘mother figure’ around when they drop their children off.

I am also a part of the Get Crafty family, where we are all sisters, but most see me as their ‘momma’. We’ve created a special bond where we do not establish ourselves as colleagues. But we work together and we stick together as a team. And it’s for this reason that I have left and come back many times. And it’s for this reason that I heart Get Crafty.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Rest of Our Lives

Friday, 20 November 2009 @ 6.06pm


Dear Sayang,

From the day I met you, you had always made me feel special. You always made me believe that I was the only woman you saw in the room. You always made me believe that I am your one and only.

You have made tremendous sacrifices on your part to make sure that I'm happy. You will do whatever you can to make me smile. And for that I appreciate it. And for that, I love you.

I used to spend hours at the restaurant or cafe that you were working at, just so I could spend whatever time I have with you. Even if you were too busy running around, managing staff or customers, you always made a point to come and sit with me, even if just for a while. My favourite memory of one of my visits was when I was seated alone reading the paper waiting for my dinner. You came and sat across from me, newspaper in hand. It was a spontaneous dinner. Although a quiet one, you ate with me :)

We seem to always be speaking a lannguage of our own. I didn't have to elaborate what I had to say, and you didn't have to express yourself for me to know exactly what you meant. It seemed as though we fit.

We were different where we were able to compliment each other. And we were similar where it was ok to be. You knew when things were difficult, and all I had to do was look for you to know that things were going to be ok. And I never have to look around or be worried because I always knew tha you were there for me, watching me, whenever I needed you. I knew I would never be lost in a crowd as long as you were there with me.

You have always been behind me, in anything that I needed your support in. When I wanted to quit my job, you encouraged me every step of the way. You understood when things were getting rough in the new job and never pushed me when I came home late or when I rarely saw you.

When I wanted to leave the new job and go back to Trix, you asked me whether that was what I really wanted. You knew I was at a breaking point and you knew that I needed help. You came with me when I had to be in the office at the wee hours of the morning. You sat and waited while I was with the designers. And you never once complained or told me to hurry up.

You knew how ambitious I am. You knew that I always needed a challenge. And you asked me to remember why I left in the first place. But you never stood in my way. You just gave me the slight push that I needed, but you never told me what to do.


Lately, you changed your career because you said you wanted to build us a brighter and better future. You told me that I deserved the whole world and more. You told me that things will get better and we'll be happier. But then you were the first to admit that we were going through a rough patch. That we weren't spending as much time as we used to and that things were a bit rough.

It was in the middle of the night when we were in the midst of a fight. I accused you of ignoring me. And you accused me of not supporting you. Somewhere in the heat of the moment, you said, "What's your rush yang? We have the rest of our lives to be together."

And that's when it hit me. You're right. We do have the rest of our lives together. We're building a future together. So what the hell was I going on about? I'm sorry I wasn't supportive. And I'm sorry to have added to that stress. Just know that I'll always be behind you. Because you are my man. And because I always will.

Yours truly,
Yang

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Silent Tears

Friday, 13 November 2009 @ 10.03am


I miss you. I know I’m not allowed to say it or feel this way. You’ve warned me about the hours. You’ve warned me that this is for our future. But I can’t help it.

I know that things will change (and hopefully not in the next twenty years). I know that you’re doing this to build a better life for us. I know that things will get much better.

But I’m lonely. I wait for you till I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. And I wake you up just to get ready for work. I only communicate with you when I need the car.

I don’t tell you because you’ve told me this is for the better. I don’t share anything with you because I don’t want to add to the stress. I don’t tell you because I see you have other things in your mind.

I hear you talking in your sleep. It must not be easy to have so many things on your mind. So I’ll keep it quiet. And keep my silent tears inside. Because I know that one day things will change. I know that one day things will be better.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Against all my better judgement...

Wednesday, 4 November 2009@6.20pm

Against all my better judgment, I thought no, it's ok. There'll be someone to get me. !(#&*$&#)(&%(&#%)*#&%)(#&%*)($&*&$)%*&$!!!!!

Against all my better judgment, I thought no, it's ok. There'll always be another day.
!)$*#&$&(*#$)(*$^)*&#$@&*^)@(#*@(*$&@)($*#@(*!!!!

Against all my better judgment, I thought no, it's ok. There'll always be more to come.
!)*@#($*^#$&^)*$&#*(&#$(*#)(@#(@$(&#%)#(*$*_@#(!!!!!

Fuck fuck. Fucking fuck. There I said it. !(#*@)(#&#$*&#)%*&#$_(*#$)(*#$(&#%*(#&$(#*$()#!!!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

He was only 10

Thrusday, 13 August 2009 @ 5.18pm

He was always vague about the actual month or year of his mother’s death. I was just told she had cancer, it was too late when they found it and there was nothing more that they could do about it. Whenever I asked how old he was, he always said he was still in primary. I’d always assumed he was around his early teens.

The other day, I suggested we go visit his mother’s grave. I thought it was better to go before puasa, Raya, and definitely before we got engaged. To me, it was a sort of sign of respect before we went to that next level. His sister wanted to follow.

When we arrived, he was already looking a little anxious. Losing his mother was the defining moment in his life. It set his character. It hardened him and it made him stronger. He was the eldest and was immediately expected to ensure his siblings are taken care of. He made that his last promise to his mother.

We arrived first. He led me the way. The grave had white stone around it, with white pebbles placed neatly on top of it. It was placed under a tree. Eddie started brushing away the leaves and the dirt. I took a moment to stand and tried to digest the fact that this grave belonged to Eddie’s mother. The person who had nurtured and raised him, even to her very last days. The person whom Eddie adored and still misses to this day.

The lump in my throat was forming. I brushed it away and started picking off dirt from between the pebbles. Eddie then sat next to the grave. His mouth was already moving in hush tones of Al-Fatihah. He motioned for me to sit next to him and I did.

His sister arrived with her husband in tow. She was already holding back the tears. She immediately squatted by the grave and prayed, tears rolling down her cheeks while her hands were busy picking off the tiny bits I’d missed. Eddie got up and salam her husband, then kissed his sister’s head. She’s a year younger than he, and was always being told that she was the splitting image of her late mother.

I saw through his sunglasses that Eddie was holding back his tears too. He moved one grave away. Also white stone, also under the tree. His mother’s mother. His grandmother. She passed a year after his mother did. Again, he busied himself cleaning her grave. I followed suit. I glanced over and saw that Ijah’s tears were continuous, as were her prayers and her hands.

Eddie and I prayed for his grandmother. As we got up, Ijah moved over to us. Eddie and I went back to his mother’s grave to pour water over it. It was then that I finally saw the headstone. I didn’t understand most of it because it was written in Jawi. The only thing I understood was the date. 5.6.1991. He lost her when he was ten years old. I looked up at him. He was scrubbing the headstone and mumbling that he wants to come back more often – maybe plant something.

My heart broke. He had just turned ten years old when his mother passed away. Which means he was eight and a half when they found her cancer. He tells me stories about her all the time. Sometimes he guesses how tall he is if he were to stand next to her now. He tells me she liked to make handicraft. And keep the house clean. His fondest memory was of his last Raya with her. He had had a fever and was home alone with her while everyone else had gone to visit relative’s homes.

He said he was lying with a blanket wrapped around him. His mother came up to him and asked if he wanted her to cook bihun sup for him since he didn’t have an appetite for Raya food. He did. He told me even in her ill health, she made him bihun sup. And that was the last dish she ever cooked for him.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Melbourne

Tuesday, 21 July 2009@4.51pm

It’s hard to imagine that I ever lived alone – seeing that I’m now almost always surrounded by people. But once upon a time, I did, and I had a routine which I was happy to live by, and am truly missing now.

Monday

This was the day that the new magazines would come out – be it weekly or monthly. Every Monday morning, even if my first class was at 11am, I’d get up at 8am, get dressed and walk to the news agency. Every single Monday morning, I’d buy the newspaper and NW magazine. If it were the beginning of the month, I’d also buy CLEO. On my walk back to my apartment, I’d stop by at Subway and buy breakfast. I’d spend about a good hour or two reading the paper and magazine while eating my sandwich (the TV was always switched on to some day time American comedy for background noise).

After class, I’d usually go to the library for a bit, come back home, prepare dinner, and watch TV while eating dinner. I remember my very first semester in my very first year in Melbourne, my first class on Monday was from 5pm till 8pm. That messed up my timing for the week and pissed me off most of the time. I felt like I didn’t start my week properly. From then on, I made my first class on a Monday would be in the morning. Or at the very latest, early afternoon :)

Tuesday

My whole six years there, I never really liked Tuesdays. There was never anything to do on that day. There was nowhere to go and the shows on TV were generally crap. Tuesdays also tended to be my off day from university. On Tuesdays, I generally woke up late, rented videos, did grocery shopping and had dinner with friends. It’s also the day I would spend time reading at night, or going to bed early.

Wednesday

On Wednesdays, I would usually have a full day of classes. On one semester, I had my first lecture at 11am, tutorial at 2pm, another lecture at 3.30pm, and lecture at 5.30pm. I usually go out for a drink after my tutorial with classmates. But then would just crash in front of the TV and not shower till late at night – even during winter.

Thursday

Thursdays were always my favourite days. I don’t really remember why. But I liked Thursdays. Class would usually end at 3 or 4pm. I’d spend an hour or two in the computer lab after that, then head to Safeway or Coles to get groceries, cook, shower, eat and watch TV. On Thursday nights, there were usually a couple of shows back to back that I liked to watch. Oh, and probably Sex and the City too. Uncensored. I miss Australian TV.

Friday

Fridays just meant movie night at home. Occasionally I’d go out karaoke at Box Hill or for a drink and dinner not far from home. It was just generally a day where I didn’t have to worry waking up late the next day.

Saturday

This used to be my lazy day. I’d wake up late and go out to meet friends. Or I’d go explore Melbourne. I’d wander the city, or the suburbs, or wherever I felt like going. I never did anything special on Saturday nights. Usually because I didn’t have the money to. Once in a while I’d go for dinner and a movie. But that’s it. I actually spent most Saturdays studying or working on assignments or reading. Yes, I was boring.

Sunday

I loved Sundays. I think out of my experience in Melbourne, Sundays are what I miss the most. I always woke up early on Sundays. I would go out, buy all the Sunday papers, come back, make breakfast, then eat and read the papers for a good few hours. I would do laundry that day, and clean the apartment. I would vacuum and scrubbed the shower and toilet. I folded laundry and did the ironing. I would make myself a good, full dinner that day. Sometimes, I would buy fresh flowers to put on the coffee table. If I didn’t have much cleaning to do, or if I were too lazy to cook breakfast, I’d buy the newspapers and just spend hours at the cafĂ© – especially during spring and summer days (during winter I was almost always at home with the heater on).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cash Converters

Friday, 17 July 2009 @ 12.37pm

We'd just drove into the driveway when Eddie almost immediately scanned the garden looking for his bike.

"Motor I kat mana yang?"

To tease him, with a straight face I replied, "Tadi I suruh dia orang jual when we were at work."

Eddie, not missing a beat, played along. "Jual kat mana?"

"Cash Converters," I giggled.

Eddie, with a mock sad face said, "Sampai hati you yang, jual motor I kat Cash Converters."

Then he turned and saw that Sally (the bike) was parked exactly where he'd left it. Eddie tomel... ;p

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wayang

Sunday, 5 July 2009 @ 9.32am

I sometimes wonder if I’ve done something so extremely wrong and unforgivable in my lifetime. I sometimes feel like the lonely outcast who on the outside, chooses to be strong, but on the inside, is just torn to pieces. I sometimes feel as though I deserve it, and live with it. But then there are things that are so unjustified and so unfair that I start to wonder who’s really in the wrong.

It usually hits when there are things or events that make it too obvious for me not to compare. Or when I’m in the room flipping through a magazine. Or when I go pick up something that I once so excitedly ordered. Or when I’ve decided on a colour. Or when I’m with Eddie and we’ve bought one more thing for that day.

It’s a mix of sadness and anger. Of loneliness and happiness. Sad because I don’t understand why. Angry because I don’t think it’s fair. Lonely…because quite honestly, it can be pretty fucking lonely to have to do it yourself. And happy…because I know that there is support somewhere else.

I know the history and I know the pattern. A storm is coming up soon. I don’t even want to bring up the subject anymore because the response is usually a long face and a “nantilah…” reply. Why do I bother to even try to ask for help? It puts too much hope when you initially think that there is help. And then when I do go ahead with it, that’s when the shit hits the fan.

I feel so guilty. And I have no reason to feel this way. I’m doing it the right way. I’m doing it the traditionally correct way. Cut me some fucking slack. I work seven fucking days in a fucking week. To top that off, I’m doing all the fucking planning by my fucking self. Cut me some fucking slack. Boleh tak? What else the fuck more do you want from me? To be pretentious and superficial? To be alone and ‘fulfilled’?

The solution is simple. Wayang. Usually when you paste a fake smile on your face and pretend everything is a-okay and everyone is ‘happy’, then there’s no fucking problem anymore. Well here I fucking go again. I made a mistake a few months ago when I thought things were different. I made a fucking mistake when I took down that wall around my heart. I now remember why I built it in the first place.

Do you know what it feels like to go to the tailor and have no one beside you to share the joy you should be feeling? Do you know what it feels like to go shopping for lace and ribbon and have no one back up your thoughts or share ideas with you? Do you know what it feels like to work seven fucking days a week knowing that in the end you will probably not be able to even afford it? Do you know what it feels like to think that on the actual day, I’ll be sitting alone at the corner, and instead of being celebrated, witness small groups around me bitching about the other family, or the colour I’ve chosen, or the person I’ve chosen? Do you know what it feels like to not have a single fucking day off and to have to do everything yourself? Do you know what it fucking feels like when you’ve just finished another long day at work and on the drive home you’re busy planning, planning, planning…all by yourself? Do you know the empty hole that’s been created ever since this all started?

My response is also simple. Kalau terasa when you read this, then it was most likely about you. And again I say, this is MY blog. If anything I write hurts your feelings, then stop reading it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Technology

Thursday, 25 June 2009 @ 12.35pm

I thought I lost Eddie yesterday. No, not in the sense that we were breaking up. He was out of range. I found him again after probably the most dreadful and panicky 30 minutes of my life. But then it got me thinking, where would we be without technology?

Eddie had to start work at 7am yesterday. When I woke him up, he was hot and feverish. He’d already complained of a sore throat the night before. When I left him in the living room before heading to my room, he was already coughing and sniffling. I told him not to go to work, and that I’d send him to the doctor to get an MC. He replied through his blocked nose, “Tho, tho…I habe to go.” The translation? “No, no…I have to go.”

When we reached Bangsar, he didn’t look good. I urged him to go to the doctor. No - He’s as stubborn as I am. I told him to try and get half day if he could. Before he walked off, he said, “Tho, tho…”

At 1pm, I was just about to get my lunch when he called. He couldn’t make it. He felt horrible and asked me to get him. I couldn’t. Trix is not like Mega. I couldn’t go as I pleased. There are rules at Trix. I apologised and he said he’ll ask a staff to take him. At 2.30pm, he called again and asked me to get him. He got an MC. I apologised again and said I could only pick him up after work. He said he’ll just sleep in the office till then.

At 4pm, as I was chatting to Ina through email, I mentioned to her that Eddie was sick and stranded at Bangsar till I could fetch him. She said that she was leaving work early and could pick him up and bring him to Trix. Great. I called Eddie. He didn’t answer. I tried again. The phone was switched off. I called the outlet. They told me he’d left. I freaked out. “Where did he go? How did he leave? I was supposed to pick him up! He has no transport and he’s not well.” The staff just kept saying, “Sorry ma’am.” And the panic began to set in…

I kept calling his phone. Sometimes it rang, but he didn’t pick up. But then it would go to voicemail. I was panicking. Where was he? How did he go? Is he ok? Ina told me to calm down and just keep trying. I called his friends. They haven’t heard from him. Shit. In my head, I was thinking I’d go to the outlet after work and search for him. If I couldn’t, then call his friend and find a way to trace him. If I couldn’t, then find friends who were nearby Bangsar. In all this time, I just kept calling and calling and calling. And each time, all I heard was the operator tell me that he’s not available. He finally picked up. He was asleep and grumpy. I immediately called Ina and his friends to alert them that he’s still in the office, asleep. The staff didn’t know he was in there.

The thought of not knowing where a person is, or how to get in contact with him is probably one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. You don’t know where they are, whether they’re ok, and how you’re going to get in contact with them.

That got me thinking…how did we manage without technology before this? How could we go about without mobile phones and laptops and what not? And when did we all become so connected? I know that I can contact people through their mobiles, or office phones, or email or Facebook or one way or another. But the moment they’re not connected anymore, we panic. But even if we are connected through technology, we don’t have the same connection as the generations before us.

Before technology, communities were created through physical and verbal contact. You had to make a hell of a lot more effort then than you do now. At this moment, I am connected to a woman called Ivy. We’re often in contact with each other. I know what she looks like, I know what she does, I know her phone numbers and even where she lives. But I have never met her in my life. How did we meet? www.mudah.com.my Ivy sells clothes online and I was interested in a kimono dress that I found through this website.

I got the dress. It was posted to my house. I just put cash into her account and the next day, ta-da! New dress to wear to the office. Ivy added me on Facebook and emails me regularly on her new clothes stock. Through Ivy, I’m also in contact with Toto Lace, who also sells clothes online. But I have never met these women. They know my body size, where I live, what I do for a living, what style of clothes I like to wear, and what my budget is every month.

As with everything else, technology has both its good and bad sides. It allows you to meet and explore a whole new world. It’s fast, convenient, and it keeps you connected. But it also means its easier for people to prey on you. For them to get your personal details or sabotage you by placing discriminating photos or comments that could tarnish you reputation forever.

The mobile phone is definitely another little wonder that has all the good points going for it. It’s mobile, it’s accessible, it helps you out in any situation (provided that your phone hasn’t been barred), and it’s a way to keep you in contact with your loved ones. But once you switch it off…that’s it. You’re disconnected. I never thought or felt that technology had such a major impact on me until yesterday. I never really thought twice about it. But when you’re disconnected…you’re out of contact, out of touch, out of range. If it’s with the one you love, that’s the scariest feeling in the world

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Passion for English

Tuesday, 23 June 2009 @ 3.07pm


We were in the car, talking about which schools are good and what sort of education our children should have (yes, it might be early. But it’s always good to start planning ahead).

I said that we should encourage them to learn Mandarin, and that we would learn and practice with them. He agreed. I said that they could go to him for BM and Agama, and myself for English. He agreed. Then I said, “who are they going to go to for Math?”

This question led to him asking me why I was (and still am) so bad at numbers. I told him that they’d done research that your teacher can be a very big influence in your liking a subject or not. I have never had a good Math teacher – or at least not one who was able to spark my interest.

From kindergarten, I’ve had Math teachers who were more interested in their own personal lives then they were of actually teaching Math. In my history of Math teachers, two stood out the most. One was an overweight Chinese lady called Mrs Beulah. And the only reason I remembered her was because of her name. She was actually kind of jolly too. Oh, and she spoke about her husband a lot.

The other was Ms Ting. I, along with eight other Math misfits were in Group 9 (the lowest possible group made possible specially for us lost causes) were put in her class for the last two years of our high school days. She I remembered because all she did was preach about Jesus Christ and what she did at Church. (You can now see why I don’t really fancy Math).

There were two more that I don’t so much remember their names or faces. Just situations that involved them. One was when I was in Grade 7 (Form 1). She was a depressing woman. Every time she walked in the classroom, it felt like she brought with it all the bad energy and dark forces with her. It didn’t help that the classroom was at the far corner of the school and already felt like a cave. The other one was an English man. I forgot his name. He just didn’t care. I remember once I copied the sums and answers from the text book and returned it to him. I was so sure that I was going to get into trouble. I didn’t really care at the time (what with puberty and all…) And what did he do? Marked it all correct, praised my good effort and gave me an A+. He was quite puzzled when I failed during the exams.

Eddie then asked me why I liked English so much. Ahh…another story all together. My first teacher was called Mrs Button. She told me that when you read a book, you could paint beautiful pictures in your mind and make it your own. She taught me how to use my imagination. I remember once in Standard Two, my teacher, Mrs Linda, gave the class two options – watch a video or write a story. I was the only one who chose to write a story. Mrs Linda tried to convince me to join my classmates and watch the video. But I was determined to write. So I sat alone at the corner of the classroom writing.

When I was in Grade 7 (I didn’t go to Grade 6, so a lot of significant moments happened when I transferred from Grade 5 to Grade 7 – really opened up my eyes), I had Mr Moss for English. He was the new teacher at school and had a new method of teaching. He wanted us to write. No text book references, no nothing. Each class, we were made to write about something that came from us.

In Grade 8, they introduced English Literature, which we were taught once a week. Mr Moss was my teacher again. This year, he opened me up to the world of Shakespeare. He made us play the parts and read the lines.

In Grade 9, we were allowed to choose what subjects we wanted to take besides the mandatory Math, English and one Science subject. I chose Art, Design & Technology, Development Studies and English Literature. The last three years of high school was probably the best time of my teenage life.

I did a Diploma of Mass Communications, and that opened me up to journalism – soft and hard news, as well as different sorts of styles of reporting. University was the breaking point in my life. I was doing my bachelors in Media and Communications, but majored in Cultural Studies and Philosophy. This opened me up to Albert Camus and James Joyce, among many other writers, philosophers and sociologists whom I couldn’t get enough of during my years in Melbourne.

I told Eddie all this, explaining to him everything in detail. I even gave him some examples of my favourite authors. I told him about Roald Dahl and his infamous twist in the tales. And as I spoke and spoke, I didn’t realise that I have allowed English Literature to become such a big part of my life. I think this was one of the reasons why I couldn’t accept being just an AE. I’ve been back at Trix for only a week, but feel more useful in the last week then I have in the last six months.

I may have honed my skills as an AE and have learnt to deal with all sorts of people, but my years spent learning, reading, living and breathing has made me become what I am today. I am an Editor.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Truth is...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009 @ 9.44am

The truth is…my life has been a total chaos. Ever since I left Trix, there hasn’t been any structure in my life. Those who know me know that I’m an organised, OCD neat freak. They know that I need order in my life – that everything has a time and place.

The truth is…it took three times before they let me go. And when they finally did, it was because of some clever manipulation that took place after I realised there was no black and white holding me back.

The truth is…for the past six or seven months, I felt dread and misery on Sunday evenings. And that’s because I didn’t want another week to start.

The truth is…in the last couple of months I’ve been questioning myself and my abilities as a writer (I started doubting myself after I joined that fucking job). And that was one of the reasons why I wanted to leave so bad.

The truth is…I haven’t been spending much time with anybody lately. Everyone I know gets a couple of hours (if they're lucky) here and there. And yes, I still blame that fucking job.

The truth is…I didn’t realise how much that fucking job affected my life and lifestyle till I was in the car driving with Martha next to me. She asked why I wanted to have dinner. My reply, “because I have time.” After a giggle and a high five, it was then that I realised that I really have had no life in the last six months.

The truth is…I need to start making the effort to spend time with certain people, especially those who have been the worse neglected.

The truth is…I’ve been living like a nomad for the past six months that I have to learn to stand firm again. That fucking job made me run from place to place without a breath, and at all hours of the day (and sometimes night). I need to learn to live normally again.

The truth is…I came back to Trix yesterday, and it was like I never left. I came in, got briefed on five newsletters and went on with it.

The truth is…it felt strange to leave the office at 6.30pm yesterday, with the sun still up. What felt even stranger was that everyone else was leaving too. At that fucking job, I always had to make an excuse even if I wanted to leave at 7.30pm!

The truth is…the grass always seems greener on the other side. But I’ve been there, and I’ve lived it. And I can guarantee you that it’s not.

The truth is…I’m an Editor again. And I love it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Kena Ngorat!!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009 @ 3.51pm

I got hit on the other day. I’d just bought breakfast from the bakery downstairs. Heading back to the office, I decided to call Ina. I noticed a man was sort of following me, but paid no attention since he also looked sort of lost. He was playing with his mobile and looking at the names and numbers of the building. I was standing at the lifts heading to my office, swinging my breakfast and chatting with Ina. Then it happened.

Guy: Excuse me.

I tell Ina to hold thinking he was going to ask for directions and lower the phone by an inch so she can still hear everything.

Anna: Yes?

G: You look familiar.

A (laughing in my head): Have we met before?

G: I don’t think so. Do you work here?

A: Yes (pointing upwards).

G: Oh k…where are you from?

A: KL.

G: Which part?

A: (I tell him).

G: Oh k…I’m from Bangsar.

A: Ok…

G: Umm…can I have your number so we can keep in contact?

A (still laughing in my head): I’m already engaged.

G: Oh k…sorry. Thanks (and walks off)

I immediately go back to my phone and laugh, saying, “I kena ngorat!” Ina is already laughing when I excitedly re-enact the whole exchange.

Not only did that incident make my day, but the jealousy on Eddie’s face when I told him later that day made my night too :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Who do I think I am?

Getting engaged and getting married is supposed to be good news. It’s supposed to be a time where you have family and friends by your side. They’re there for support, to help you out with the decisions that you’re about to make, and they’re there to celebrate the joy that you should be feeling.

The initial shock has passed. The only one who is feeling joy at the moment is Eddie. He hugged me the other day and said in my ear, “we’re getting married.” Of course I smiled. Of course I was happy. But I wasn’t feeling the same joy that he’s basking in at the moment. I was once there with him too. I was feeling that float-in-the-air, oh-my-god-we’re-getting-married feeling too. But now my smile masks what I really feel.

No one is helping or asking or interested in my upcoming engagement. Yes, there’s definitely been some help. There have been some who have offered phone numbers and references to photographers, make-up artists and those who can create beautiful cupcakes for me. But that was only because I requested for help.

I was once enthusiastic. I had books and magazines and meetings set and fabric waiting to be cut and sewn into a gown. When did I put all that on hold? When did I put all that aside?

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more alone or more upset with everyone that I know. But everyone’s got their own problems to deal with. Who am I to ask or expect any help? Who do I think I am that people would actually want to take time out of their lives to help me? It’s selfish and I don’t deserve it.

Ever since I lived in Melbourne, I’ve been used to doing everything alone. Why should things be different now? Why should I expect people to want to be more involved with my engagement and wedding? It’s as though my relationship with Eddie has to be hush hush. No, let’s not talk about it out loud. If we do, then it might be true. Fuck that.

Eddie and I are really doing this on our own. We are really not getting any help from anybody. Physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. It’s all really on our own. And still…maybe I’m just living in a fantasy world thinking that somebody would actually want to be a part of what I think is one of the most important stages of my life. But then again…I’ve been constantly told to have no feeling. Don’t get emotional. Make sure you smile. Make sure everything’s fine. Even if it’s not. Don’t tell anyone your problems. Everyone’s an enemy. Shh…the neighbours might hear you.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more alone and more sad in my life. I thought this was meant to be a happy occasion. An occasion where for once, it was about me. Not my brothers. Not my sister. Not her kids. Not my mother. Not my father. Not my friends. Not my work. NOTHING else. But who do I think I am? It’s never been about me. Who do I think I am to think that it should be about me now?

This entry will probably upset a few. Cause them to pull long and sour faces. It might also spark some to suddenly want to help and be enthusiastic. But it’s ok. Do and feel what you want. Tell me I have too much pride and ego if you want. I just needed to write this and let off some steam. I can always harden my heart again. And I’m more than happy to share this joy with his family instead. It seems like they’re the only ones who are interested in our engagement anyway.

Last but not least, as I’ve said countless times before: if everything in my blog hurts your feelings, stop reading it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Princess Cut


Thursday, 7 May 2009 @ 2.08pm


I tried on my engagement ring yesterday. It was the seventh jewellery store that I visited. But when I slipped it on, it fit right. It was the one.

As an advertising Account Executive, there are many things that we have to do besides ‘servicing’ clients (whore, whore, whore). We also get to do market research – mostly to see how well our client’s brand is doing in the market, or to see how well their competitors were.
One of our clients is quite prominent in the jewellery line. And they’re aiming to launch a new collection but weren’t exactly sure who their rivals were yet. That’s where I come in :) Yesterday, I started work at 10.30am. And that was only because that’s the time rival jewellery stores open :)

Eddie insisted on tagging along because it was his day off and it’s quite rare for us to be able to spend time together during the day. Our first stop was Ampang Point. There were two prominent stores outside the shopping mall. One boasted huge posters at the side of their building. Once inside, I wasn’t all too impressed. The glass was all scratched, making the jewellery look cheap. My MO was to walk in, and ask them to show me their collection of engagement rings. Then only would I ease the matter of price range, seasonal and promotional items and guest profiles into the conversation. And I figured I’m looking for an engagement ring anyway…might as well kill two birds with one stone.

After hitting the second store, we went to Pavilion. My first thought was Tiffany & Co. Eddie didn’t want to follow me in there. He said he looks shabby and would rather hang out at Dome. Fine by me. I pulled my act together, put it in my head that I could afford anything in the store and walked in with an air of elegance and slight arrogance. They bought it. Not long after I started looking at their engagement rings, the sales assistant motioned to the security guard, who proceeded to close the door and stand guard. They didn’t let anybody else in and I was given VIP treatment. I spent a good half hour in there, looking at everything and questioning everything.

The next couple of stores were not as daunting to walk into as Tiffany & Co. And in every store, I would spend a good half hour trying on rings, talking about price range and what their most popular items were. There was one however, which was situated at the very corner of Pavilion and was extremely secluded. The only reason you would be walking around the area is if you were actually going to buy something. This time, I had to play that arrogant and rich card, with my nose held just high enough. They bought it.

I requested to see a princess cut engagement ring. She tells me she has a three-carat one. I, playing the rich and arrogant customer, say, “yeah sure, let me have a look.” She proceeds to the back of the store while I drool over the other rings. She comes back with a ring the size of a standard eraser. Inside I was freaking out, but outside, I portrayed a face that said, ‘ah, not too bad.’ I play along and even try it on! But unfortunately, didn’t fit, to which she immediately says that they can alter the size for me. I ask her how much. Her answer? “RM183,000.” I’m screaming in my head. But I just looked at her and say, “Not too bad. But it’s too big for my taste. Do you have other princess cut rings?”


Having played the rich snob for a few more stores, Eddie and I then decided to go to Lot 10 to see what my client’s store was like. Big disappointment. There was another jewellery store right next door. It was the seventh store that we walked in. I played the customer again, this time with Eddie by my side. I didn’t really expect much since I’d been told in the last six stores that princess cut was limited since there wasn’t a popular demand in this country.

I only asked for princess cut because it was a part of my starting line as undercover customer. But lit up when he showed me their range. This time, there wasn't just one that was yellow, or one the had four small diamonds put together. This time, they actually had a range of rings that I'd always dreamed of having for my engagement. Eddie was to my left, looking for wedding bands. I was eagerly trying on all their princess cut rings.


At almost the same time, Eddie had chosen our wedding bands just as I’d chosen my engagement ring. We were sold.

Kursus Kahwin & Two Accidents

Wednesday, 6 May 2009 @ 4.49pm

Week One: Kursus Kahwin

A friend of mine told me that the fee for the kursus kahwin (which is mandatory by law) would be increased from its current rate of RM80 to a ridiculous RM300+ (per person!!). Eddie and I won’t be getting married till next July (if all goes well), but the thought of having to fork out RM300+ each was enough to make us apply for leave on a Saturday and Sunday almost immediately.

Day One - Saturday

The course didn’t start till 2.30pm. So Eddie decided that we go look at fabric for the dress that I’d be wearing for the engagement. We went to the heart of the city and didn’t know where to start. Every corner you turned there were people handing out flyers and discount after discount and people handing out flyers… We finally went into Jakel – a three-storey haven of cotton, silk, linen and lace.

Entering, the staff was littered at every nook and cranny of the store that was already packed with people. I told them I wanted fabric for my engagement and was led to the third floor. I wanted everything. While I was busy looking at the fabric and lace and mixing and matching with the store assistant, Eddie had sneaked off to the ‘men’s corner’. When it was time to pay, I found him sleeping at the couch.

We had a quick lunch at Wangsa Maju before heading straight for the centre. There were already other couples waiting in the sitting area. There was also a group of friends (four girls and three boys) who were busy giggling at every single thing in sight. I immediately guessed that of the seven, there was probably a couple while the rest came to accompany them. (Later that day when the Ustaz were asking the men which ones their partners were, only one admitted to being a couple while the rest just giggled. I was right.)

After registering, Eddie and I went into the room where the course would take place over the day and a half. The seats were split into two sections – men and women – with an aisle down the middle. We sat at the back row next to the aisle and were an arm’s length away from each other. In other words, ‘next’ to each other.

I was already expecting boredom for the next four and a half hours. But instead, I got a lesson instead. Whatever the Ustaz was going on about, I either agreed with (since I’d already experienced it), or thought ‘Ohhhh!’ (because only then did I understand why Eddie behaved the way he does sometimes). They explained the differences between men and women, our roles as husbands and as wives, our roles as siblings and children, and if God is willing, our roles as fathers and mothers. Luckily, the two Ustaz for the day were interactive with us, the audience, which just made the time pass by faster.

Day Two: Sunday


I’d already warned Eddie the night before that we had to get up early because the course would be starting at 8.45am. I told him not to watch TV till the early hours of the morning. But did he listen? Of course not. It’s a good thing I insisted on him staying at my place. By the time I managed to get him off the couch it was already 8.15am. Luckily, it’s KL, meaning nothing ever starts on time.

When we reached, it was almost 9am. But the centre hadn’t even opened yet. We sat in the car and drank cold tin coffee and ate buns on the go. There were other couples from the day before sitting in the two cars on our left and right.

Eddie was really dreading this full-day course. He was sleepy and grumpy, but kept making faces at me so I’d smile instead of giving him the evil eye. The first half of the day went by fairly quickly. They spoke about communication between husband and wife, and how to treat each other’s families once we’d tied the knot. Being that most doubled as counselors at the Jawi or Jakim or whatever the place is called, they spoke a lot from their own experiences, or conveyed special cases from their clients.

At 12.30pm, the second Ustaz for the day bid his goodbye and we opened the door to packets of rice waiting to be devoured. Eddie and I settled on the couch in front of the TV and ate. The centre was three floors up, minus the elevator. We didn’t even bother going downstairs.

The first part of the second half saw our first and only Ustazah. She was also the bore of every course – the one that everyone dreads. Her topic focused on women’s role in the Islamic view, as well as in the reality view of life. For the first time in the many hours we’ve had to sit through, everyone was getting restless. I was trying hard to fight off sleep. But my eyelids were heavy. So I kept shifting positions, or kept sipping on water. I looked to my right, and an arm’s length away…was Eddie asleep…and drooling on his shirt! I was horrified. There was no way I could get up and wake him. The Ustazah was oblivious to everything around her. I didn’t know whether to be embarassed or angry. One of the giggly idiots from the front caught sight of Eddie and told her giggly idiotic friends. They turned and giggled upon seeing him. I saw red. No one laughs at my man.

I tried sms-ing him. In his sleep, he merely tried to push the vibrating phone that was in his pocket that was irritating him. I was just afraid that he would start talking in his sleep. I kept on watching him, ready to distract everyone should he start talking in his sleep. I had a plan and I wasn’t afraid to do it to protect my man. Luckily, as though his body had sensed it, he woke up ten minutes short of the end. He looked at me with his red eyes and smiled a sheepish smile. I mouthed to him to go wash his face. He just mouthed back, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’

During our ten-minute break before the final Ustaz, Eddie was energetic and fully awake (thanks to his nap) and I was grumpy and tired and pulling a face. Thank God the final Ustaz was not a boring pain in the ass. He spoke about health. He was interesting, interactive, funny and very informative. He also kept picking on me. He called me ‘orang Datuk Keramat’. He asked me about my diet, and my exercise regime, and my sleeping habits. But that was fine. At least it kept me alert enough not to sleep.

When the course was over, it was nearly dusk. We were bored, tired and hungry. And we were both irritated with each other. But we both felt we learnt something from it. I learnt that men express their love and care differently from women. They show they care by working hard, which also means spending less time with us >(. Women show their care and affection by taking care of their men and by nurturing them. Eddie admitted to me that he likes that I’ve started organising his life. He used to ignore everything or just dealt with it when it happened, but he said now there’s order in his life :)

Week Two: Two Accidents


The first one: He wasn’t moving…

I had gone to Dataran Prima then Damansara Jaya before making my way back to KL to another client’s office at The Nomad in Pavilion. I was driving, listening to the radio and just chilling. I was slowing to a stop at the traffic light which would turn to Jalan Yap Kwan Seng. If I had gone straight, then that would lead me to my office.

As I was nearing to a stop, I saw some men stopping to the left of my lane and getting off their bikes. The cars were also slowing down. As I got closer, I gasped in surprise when I saw a man, around my age or a little older, lying motionless on the ground. His head was split open and an island of blood was growing bigger on the ground. I started shrieking to myself in the car. He wasn’t moving. A man was hunched in front of him, probably trying to see if he’s ok. Others were standing around while some took the opportunity to direct traffic, all in the effort of making sure cars don’t run over him. I rolled down my window and heard them saying that he was hit by a car and the car drove off. He wasn’t moving…

I was paralysed for a moment. Every day I see bodies in the newspapers. But it’s different when it’s right there in front of you. He wasn’t moving. I contained my tears, told myself to calm down, and drove on to see my client.

The second one: She was in pain…

I’d just finished work and was on my way to see Eddie for an early dinner. It was a rare day where we both finished work before 7pm. The sun was still up and traffic was smooth. I was nearing my destination when I saw commotion on the opposite side of the road. I saw a bike that was turned upside down, and an elderly Chinese man trying to turn it over.

I drove slowly by and saw slippers on the ground. And another bike, smashed. I saw her face. She was in pain, barely conscious. Her boyfriend was dragging her to the side of the road. As I drove slowly on, I saw in my rear view mirror her feet as her boyfriend laid her on the ground.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Miss...

Monday, 13 April 2009 @ 11.29am

I miss Eddie

We used to meet for dates. We would meet after work and hang out at La Bodega. Have drinks and chat. We used to go for movies. Have popcorn and coke. He would hold me because I was cold. We would spend time at home. We would watch TV, DVDs…whatever was on. We used to go online together. We would take my laptop to a mamak and order drinks and maggie goreng. We did this because he wanted to chat with his brother. We would go for double, triple dates with other couples. We used to spend time together.

I miss Ina

I miss our lunches at the mamak, or at Pak Cik mahal, or KFC (whenever we could afford it ;p). I miss being able to literally run to the other side of the office to share news with Ina. Sometimes I’d come smiling, sometimes angry, and there were a couple of times I would tell her the news and cry. I miss being able to complain and just chat whenever we were free. I miss our 9am coffee and keropok/egg sandwich/karipap (or whatever we would bring to share) at the back of the office. Especially Mondays – that’s when we would update each other what’s happened over the weekend. I miss having the best friend in the office.

I miss Azfar and Falliq

I miss being carefree and chatting and laughing for hours. I miss us going for dinner and updating each other, or gossiping, or complaining or searching for cute boys – my favourite :). I miss how we used to be. Not like now – stressed, on edge, broke and tense. I miss the nights where we would go for dinner and a movie, or go kacau Eddie at Pavilion, or go wherever and just hang out. I miss our worry-less laughter and days where we would spend hours together. Not because we were working together or because we had set an appointment. Just because we wanted to spend time together.

I miss Azana

I miss being silly with Azana. And finishing each other’s sentences and practically reading each other’s minds. We used to meet six days out of the week and would spend hours and hours at Alexis or Delicious. Talking and laughing. Or we would run around KL or Bangsar or Damansara looking at clothes and shoes. We used to meet just to have desert. We used to constantly be in contact on the phone. Now when I do see her, it’s late at night and my body’s shutting down for the day already.

I miss Alexis

I miss having my time alone at Alexis. I miss sitting in a dim-lighted corner and just taking an hour or two out for the day. I miss having empty, conversational chats with the waiters. I miss having time to relax. I miss having enough time in the week to just take time out to breathe.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kotak Letup

Wednesday, 8 April 2009 @ 7.54pm

Imagine this. You've had a small misunderstanding a couple of days ago with your partner. You haven't seen them since. But he's coming to see you tonight. When he shows up, you open the gate with a frown on your face. He on the other hand, is smiling.

You continue frowning as he approaches you. Before you say anything, he arrives at your doorstep on his knee and holds up a small red box. You can't help it. You smile. His face can barely contain his delight. He looks at the box and notices it's closed. He quickly opens it and says something along the lines of, "for you, Sayang/my darling" (you don't really hear because you're too shocked and happy).

You know that he's already bought you the ring. He called you the day before asking for your ring size. You know that the ring is for him to give his stepmother when his family comes to merisik. But you never expected him to be so dramatic.

So you accept the ring with a huge smile and giggle. He, still on his knees, tells you to put it on. Your smile disappears and you're back to normal. "Mana boleh? Ni untuk merisik lah. It's bad luck."

Twenty minutes later, you're in the kitchen getting his dinner for him while he watches TV. You hear this pop sound and him giggling to himself. You go to investigate. He's holding the box and laughs when he sees you spying on him. He tells you that he requested for the kotak letup when he bought the ring. Not some "kotak cap ayam dengan ribbon buruk". Then he demonstrates to you by opening and closing the box, only to start giggling again.

An hour and a half later, you're upstairs in your room. You can't help it. You're smiling a secret smile as you slip the ring on. It doesn't fit. You put it back in the box, stomp downstairs and complain.

:)

Freeloader

Wednesday, 8 April 2009 @ 6.39pm

Freeloader – The act of refusing to do work without valid excuses.

I do not accept ANY excuses for a capable person NOT working for NO reason whatsoever. I don’t understand the reason behind this. At first I tried reasoning, thinking maybe there’s some deeper meaning. But you know what? There isn’t. Blind people work. People with no limbs work. Can somebody please explain to me how a capable, healthy human being can bravely show their faces AND complain when something doesn’t go their way? How dare a freeloader pass judgment on anybody? What right do they have to comment on another person’s job?

I work too much. I’m over-ambitious. I work full-time, part-time, and side jobs when I’m not busy with those two. And I don’t pass judgment. I don’t comment on other people’s lives, work and spouses. I have every right to condemn idiots who freeload. But I don’t. Because it’s rude and unproductive.

You know what the problem is? Every single one of these freeloaders has enablers who (for some reason or other) feel the need to protect these freeloaders by letting them be. They pamper and nurture, and ultimately, were the creators of the freeloaders in the first place.

I WILL NOT allow any of my children to be freeloaders. I WILL NOT allow any of my friends to freeload off of me. I am glad to say that among my friends, there is a common and mutual understanding of…this time you pay, next time I pay, and another time we go dutch. And I am SO GLAD that Eddie is NOT a lazy, ignorant freeloading FOOL.

And I WILL NOT and WILL NEVER apologise for NOT condoning the actions of a freeloader. Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Many Masks...

Thursday, 2 April 2009 @ 11.37am

I wear many masks. We all do. It only occurred to me when I was online last night while watching Season 7 of Charmed. I was going through Facebook, while attempting to update my blog, and was at the same time emailing a client. That was when I realised that there are many sides of me.

Daughter

I’ve always been a little withdrawn, yet at the same time, outspoken. It’s hard to explain. Being the youngest, it was difficult being heard (I know…hard to imagine since the youngest is supposed to be getting all the attention right?). I’ve always felt the need to prove myself as a daughter. And in all honesty, I’ve felt that I needed to prove that just because I’m a girl, I had to work even harder to prove that I can do better.

The mask that I wear as a daughter means that I am quite, and only speak out when I feel absolutely necessary. It also means doing anything and everything necessary to keep my parents off my back (meaning that if I don’t do anything wrong, then they can’t come after me for it right?)

Sister

This is a little trickier. Each sibling is different. And each sibling wants and deserves a different kind of respect. My sister doesn’t demand it, she’s just simply her. Growing up, I’ve always been told that that is my ‘kakak’, and ‘kakak’ deserves full respect. Since I was about four (or at least that’s the youngest age that I could remember), I always literally looked up to my sister. And as I got older, she somehow became sort of a mentor. She was the only other girl in the family and she had to fight hard as hell to get what she wanted too. I sort of see her as my guide – the do’s and don’ts of what you can and cannot do as the girl. It’s like…whatever I’m going through, she’s already been there, so I can count on her to understand how I’m feeling.

My two brothers vary in many ways. And I treat them and behave around them very differently too. It’s harder to define the ‘sister’ mask. I could have the ‘please tell me what to do’ mask on when I’m around my sister, or the ‘annoyed little sister’ mask with both my brothers.

Granddaughter

I admit it. I’m a horrible granddaughter. I don’t spend as much time as I should with Nenek. The mask I wear with Nenek includes being aloof and around long enough so she knows that I’m around and that she won’t forget me. Being with her, I realize that I can be impatient and unfriendly too. And writing this just made me realize that this is a mask I should re-think wearing.

Tante

I think this is probably my favourite mask to wear. Being an Aunty to three beautiful, smart, funny and sometimes a pain in the ass kids has been more rewarding than it has been frustrating. Of course there are days where you want to smack them, but on most days, all you want to do is love them.

Wearing the Aunty mask is fun. You have to be somewhat responsible, but you can also be fun and carefree. There are times you still have to keep them in line. But most of the time, all they want to do is be around you, and all you want to do is be around them too.

Girlfriend

This mask is not really a mask. Because I’m not wearing a mask when I’m with Eddie. In the beginning, yeah of course, there was the, I’m a girl, I like you, do I look pretty, what are you thinking? mask. But over time, and over experiences both good and bad with Eddie, I learnt to shed that mask and let him see me for me. Good, bad, beautiful, ugly… He’s seen me happy, he’s seen me sad and he’s seen me angry. He’s also seen me lose it and he’s seen the ugly PMS 24/7 side of me. He knows when I’m not being myself, and he knows when I’m not being honest. He knows when I’ve put on a mask – which I sometimes do when I feel I need to protect him from the truth. But he’s proven to me time and time again that no matter what I look like – metaphorically and physically – he will always be there for me.

Daughter'-in-law'

Ok. So I'm not legally married yet. But to Ayah, Umie, Maklong, Paklong, Pak Ngah, Mak Ngah, P.usu and M.usu, we're as good as tied. They refer to me as 'menantu Eddie'. The mask I wear around them includes being polite and respectful, and it also means that I have to be 'Malay'.

From the very start of our relationship, Eddie always calls himself as the 'orang kampung' and me as 'mat salleh'. When I go back to Teluk Intan with him, I'm not so mat salleh, although there are still elements of me there. I'm more Malay - or as Malay as I can be. I'm also more demure - no swearing, no bad words, no cursing. This is the 'good girl' mask :)

Sister'-in-law'

This is the 'Kaklong' mask. The first couple of times I went to Teluk Intan, everyone wasn't really sure about me. They weren't really sure who I was, what my story was or how come their Abanglong actually listens to me (and I'm very proud (and a little smug too) to say that while everyone else - being siblings and cousins - listen to Eddie, the only person Eddie listens to is me). The other issue was I was only 24 (at the time). His younger sister, Ijah, is two years older than me. I never classified myself as anything and I didn't mind what I was being called.

It took a couple of visits for them to accept me as Kaklong or Kakak / Akak, which all of them (even Ijah) call me. Now, this mask also entails being the 'motherly' figure to the younger ones. Or a more 'older sister' figure to the ones nearer my age. His sisters come to me for advice now, or just to chat and express concern or thoughts to me about their brother. Eddie has had a problem with his temper and most of his family know that they cannot get through to him on certain matters. With the kaklong mask (or even daughter-in-law mask for that matter), his family have gone through me to get the message across to him.


Friend

This is one of my favourite masks to wear. I have many different groups of friends, and each one requires a different mask. There’s the ‘good listener’ mask. The ‘purely fun’ mask. The ‘emo’ mask. The ‘loud, funny, joker’ mask. And there’s the ‘genuine, caring, protective’ mask.

There are certain friends who I think can take care of themselves and end up being just social, friendly friends. No emotional ties. There are friends who call upon me when they need advice, a shoulder to cry on, someone to share their joy with, or just a friend. There are friends who you know hide deep emotional scars and make joke after joke after joke to hide the truth. As a good friend, you joke with them, because you know that laughter is the best medicine for them and tapping into those scars is not something they want or need at the moment. And then there is an elite group of friends who I genuinely care for, whose families I’ve made an effort to get to know, and whom I’ve become deeply protective over. These are the friends who you share everything with. Good times with endless laughter, bad times with endless tears, and days when days just go by.

As a friend, I’ve learnt that you can’t wear an emotional mask with the joker, and that you can’t put on the genuine mask with the social friends. At times, it took painful lessons to learn that not everyone is your friend. But if you look back and see that you have even one behind you, that’s more than enough you need in a lifetime.

Account Executive

This mask requires make-up, heels, ‘proper’ outfits, a fixed smile, bargains, negotiation, manipulation, thick skin and a heart made of steel. In other words, the corporate mask. I know I’ve complained many times being an AE, but somewhere inside, I actually enjoy it. The ‘servicing’ of clients (this will always make me sound like a whore), the manipulation of the situation, the bargains and negotiation with Art Directors and designers…it sort of hardens you. It also allows you to meet a whole range of people – young and old. And a lot of the time, you tend to see the ugly side of clients. Very rarely do you meet a client who is understanding, reasonable, on time, does not have ridiculous demands and holds out her side of the bargain. Unfortunately, she was my client when I was at Trix. There are only two clients here now who are somewhat reasonable, but we’re already wrapping up their Annual Report…won’t be seeing them till next year.

Art Teacher

Another mask I enjoy wearing. I love working with children. You get to tap into your younger side and play and be nurturing. Having worked with children for a total of around two and a half years, I’ve seen so many different kinds of children. There are those you adore and get excited and delight each time they come. There are those who you cannot stand and snarl at whenever they’re there. And there are those who you have to pay extra attention to – some who are autistic, some have learning difficulties, some don’t have limbs, and some are just going through a tough time.

This mask requires a genuine smile, a warm heart, lots of hugs and lots of love. You can never be fake with a child – they’ll see right through you. This mask is also a true testament to what sort of a person you really are. Because parents will see right through you too.

There have been other teachers who just work for pocket money – they never lasted long. And the teachers who are still babies themselves – they either learnt a lot or left because they just saw themselves in the children. And there are the rest of us who have been melted by their smiles, their laughter and their tears. And have felt the protective need to continue being there, making sure that they’re ok.

CSR

I am ruthless when I sell. I know my product and I sell. I’m merciless. But…seeing that my target audience are parents to the children whom we teach, I also have to be somewhat manipulative to get what I want.

Each time I’m working as CSR, I set a target of how much I want to make that day and most of the time, I reach it or get more. I’ve only learnt that I had this skill when I became CSR a couple of months ago at Get Crafty. And I’ve never looked back since. It’s because of this mask that I put on with my customers that my boss has classified me as ‘Business Development’. Hahahahahaha…

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Aggressive

Tuesday, 31 March 2009 @ 5.21pm

It’s been a tough and trying couple of months. But in those months, it’s also been one of the most joyful times of my life. On the one hand, I’ve been battling some inner demons on some very crucial career choices. I contemplated throwing away stability of cash and benefits for pleasure. On the other hand, I’ve taken my personal choices to the next step. My career has been somewhat stable, and I feel ready. Eddie’s family are more than happy with me (up to the point where they contact me instead of contacting him for anything). And I feel sure of Eddie. I know. It feels right.

Making the transition of Editor to Account Executive was a little tough for me. It took a lot of time for me to accept that I was no longer an Editor. Only recently had I fully embraced the job role of an AE. And everyone else who saw my potential as an AE was right. I am damn good at my job. But… working at an advertising agency comes at a price. There’s no such thing as finishing work on time or when the sun is still up. There’s been A LOT of stress added on nowadays. Clients, bosses, designers, copywriters, art directors and admin (chasing me for cheques) during working hours, then everyone else after (and sometimes during) working hours about the engagement and the wedding. I couldn’t breathe.

I tried quitting once, but they wouldn’t let me go. I tried quitting again. They still wouldn’t let me go. But the difference this time is they asked what I wanted. I said four working days. I told them this job is taking a toll on me and working till 10pm or 2am frequently is not doing me any good. My wish was granted.

However, something struck me as strange. After they granted me my request, my big boss, L, was discussing a job with me. It was then that he also said that I am modern and aggressive. My other boss at Get Crafty has mentioned a number of times that I get the sales up because I am aggressive.

At dinner last night, I asked Eddie to describe what he thinks of me. His reply was, “You lemah lembut. Sebijik macam Mak Long. You’re caring, and loving…”

Then I asked him if he’s seen me at work. He said, yes, at Get Crafty, but not for a full day. Only for the short span of time whenever he comes visit me. He tells me that my bosses probably call me aggressive because that’s what my working attitude is like. I know what I want and what I have to do and I go for it.

And now I’m wondering…since I’ve tried quitting twice and they’re not letting me go, will they ever let me go if I really want to leave? Hmm…maybe I never really wanted to leave here. I admit the first time I quit it was done purely because I was in a very emotional state. But the second time, I was willing to take the chances. I had a back up plan. Not a solid back up plan, but one nonetheless. Will I be aggressive enough in talking them to let me go if ever I really want to leave?

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's OUR Wedding

Friday, 27 March 2009 @ 3.09pm

In the last couple of weeks (or basically since we broke the news to both sets of parents), there’ve been plenty of suggestions from everyone how our wedding should be. I want it in the Masjid. Cannot. I want the reception at home. Cannot. And then there were the plans. Oh, you should have a sit down dinner. Oh, you should do it in Lake Club. Oh this, oh that…

For the first time in the last few months I can say, thank God I’ve been busy with work. It’s kept me away from home, which means it’s kept me away from hearing everyone else’s thoughts. Then last night, I had dinner at Dome while Eddie was working. He gave me a bridal magazine to read through and there was an article that gave me a brilliant idea – make this wedding your own.

If I just follow and say yes, this is not going to be my wedding. This is going to be everyone else’s ideas and input of what they think is best. Damn it. It’s our wedding. We’re getting married and we’re paying for it. When they said they can book the hall at Lake Club, I thought, ‘are you sponsoring?’ If yes, by all means, go ahead. If no, then agree with what I say.

One of the suggestions in the magazine was to write down what our favourite past times were, what we like about each other, what inspires us to be a couple, what we like about us as a couple. What we write from the list should be an inspiration to give ideas on how to make this wedding our own.

Eddie was a little confused when I asked him to write his side of the story. But after much argument and much debate, this is what he came up with:

What do I like about Anna R****?

- so sweet
- caring
- full of love
- understanding
- pandai menyesuaikan diri
- supportive
- motivator
- a planner

What do I like about our relationship?

- so matching
- each of us want the best in our life
- want to change our life (for good)
- satu kepala!!!
- susah and senang sekali
- being together for every moment

Favourite memories?

- tengok wayang
- first date
- first time taking Anna back to my family house at Perak
- following me to rumah Pak Amat (Baiti’s wedding)
- celebrate Anna’s birthday for the first time at Starbucks

Things in common?

- change lifestyle (from bad to good)
- want to learn something new and good
- respect elders
- humble and grateful

In my list, I wrote down things like, we both like pasta, we both appreciate art and both work hard. I had no idea that he thought these things. You always assume that a man never remembers things, or takes things for granted.

I always thought that Malay weddings were the standard akad nikah, sanding and done. But this is OUR wedding. And since Eddie always says to me, “You buat Yang, I follow je.” Then we’re going to do it MY way. Yes, I am grateful and happy that my family want to help… but maybe if they don’t reject every single request that I have, then maybe I might start listening to them. After all, it’s going to be my day. Oh, and Eddie of course :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beauty is Pain

Tuesday, 24 March 2009 @ 7pm

We’re in the car. Eddie’s driving me to my 9pm meeting.

Eddie: Kaki I sakit la Yang.

Anna: Why?

E: (he tells me why)

A: Eleh…pasal tu pun sakit? Have you tried wearing heels? All day long? Running around to meetings?

E: No la… tapi apa you selalu cakap? Beauty apa?

A (smiling): Beauty is pain?

E: Ha! Beauty is pain!

Thank you and Bye bye

Tuesday, 24 March 2009 @ 4.48pm

It was 6pm when I arrived my client’s office. Eddie dropped me off and circled the block. I told him it was going to be a quick drop off. My client had other ideas. She pulled a chair for me, placed it next to her, and proceeded to go through the changes word for word, page by page. It was for a 56-page annual report.

When I was done, it was past 8pm. I went back into office, knowing I had other jobs to settle. But I had another meeting at 9pm. It was at 10.30pm that I finally got to sit and relax a bit. But my mind was already filled with worry. My days were already planned out for the next year and a half (and no, I’m not exaggerating). Meetings, photo shoots, deadlines…

I’m not advertising material. This is the sort of stress I don’t want to handle. Late nights are not worth it. Not for something I’m miserable in. I’m tired, I’m overworked, and it’s all just from this one job.

Tonight, I’ll be going home to shower and change. Then it’s back to the office to pull an all-nighter. And when time allows, I’ll rush home to beautify my appearance for the clients, where the meeting has been set at 11am.

No, I won’t be home tonight. And no, I won’t be doing this for much longer either.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh my god...I'm getting engaged...

Monday, 16 March 2009 @ 2.35am

There have been a couple of recent developments. I tried to quit my job, but was refused and now am deciding what I'll do once I'm given the confirmation letter. My brother told me he's getting married this year. And I finally had the courage to tell my parents I'm getting engaged this year.

The last two weeks has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions for me. I've been upset and confused about work. Then a little relieved and anxious after trying to quit. Then I was nervous about talking to my parents about Eddie's family coming to ask for my hand in marriage. Then extremely pleased and happy that they're ok and supportive of it. Then busy and slightly panicked once the fear has settled down and reality has kicked back in.

I've been planning for my engagement for a couple of weeks now. Writing down a list of what to buy and budgeting for it. Then researching price differences and going from shop to shop to find what perfume, shoes, handbag, etc. to buy. This was all done in secret, while fearing an argument of wanting to get married.

After my parents ok-ed it, we went into full mode. Before this, we were being careful and not really doing anything 'obvious' that would give it away to my family. Now...I'm still trying to believe the idea that first, I'm getting engaged. And second, that I have my family's support. (Oh. My. God.)

In the last two days, things have settled a little... and that's when I started panicking. There's SO MUCH to do before the engagement in July! I need to buy a new bed. I need to get my dress done. I need to find the best place to get beautifully-decorated cupcakes done. I need to FIND TIME to buy all the hantaran items. Oh my god... just listing it down...

Today, I made the effort to buy some bridal magazines to get ideas of what kind of dress I want. (Oh my god... I'm getting engaged...) And then made the extra effort to drag Martha and Frank with me after work to a bridal shop to survey what items need to be bought and when. (At least I managed to get some ribbon samples of what I want to decorate my hantaran items).

Then as I was flipping through the magazines, I realised that I have to go get my dress done NOW if I want to make sure that there's no delays or setbacks before July. (Oh my god...I'm getting engaged...) And as I continued flipping, I had NO IDEA what I wanted. There's SO MANY to choose from and there's SO LITTLE time! (At least I've made certain what colour I want for my engagement. *Pause* Oh my god...)

There were around twenty-five thousand things going through my head earlier - the poster I was supposed to be editing, all the engagement and future wedding plans, the meetings that are lined up for me tomorrow at work...

I couldn't concentrate. So I thought...Facebook. I scrolled down my page and saw a picture of Eddie and baby Shira. That made me smile and calmed me down immediately.

When I was back in Teluk Intan with him for Ijah's engagement (yes, everyone really is getting married), I remember I was putting make-up on in the back room when Eddie's aunty asked me to bring my camera out to the living room. Eddie was sitting on the couch with baby Shira cuddling up to him. (She doesn't like just anybody. If she doesn't want you, she'd scream and hit you.) I saw that picture that I took of him and baby Shira and started to relax. Seeing him so happy holding I don't know whose baby just made me feel calm and even more confident that I want to marry him.

I remember after I took that photo, I was sitting in a sea of women, young and old, fretting over last minute hantaran to be wrapped in the bride's room. Ijah was sitting on the bed getting her make-up done when all of a sudden Shira, this tiny two-year-old, walked into the room holding onto two of Eddie's fingers. She was taking him for a walk. Eddie was bent over, happy to follow her orders. This tiny little girl was taking this giant of a man (when compared to her) for a walk around the house. And that memory just makes me smile. Even at that moment when I was living it, suddenly all the noise around me faded and the focus was on Eddie's huge smile as baby Shira took tiny steps into the room :)

I've put that picture of Eddie and Shira as my wallpaper on my laptop. It makes me calm. It's hard to explain. But maybe you understand what I mean. I dunno. I can't sleep...just means it's time to start planning again (Oh my god... I'm getting engaged...)

:):):):)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Frank

Thursday, 12 March 2009 @ 2.11pm

I met with my insurance agent last night, and after having signed the necessary documents, we just took the time out to chit chat. Somewhere along the lines of the conversation, she mentioned that she called up the list of names I gave her for her to try and sell insurance to. I mentioned that some don't have a steady job yet. And she said, "ya...one of them is still studying right?"

I knew immediately who she was referring to. So I said, "yeah. And he wants to be an actor, so it's not steady income." And then she laughed! She giggled and said, "he wants to be an actor?" I was immediately offended on Frank's behalf, but to be polite just said, "yeah.. I know..."

That was when it hit me. People who choose to follow their passions are laughed at, smirked, sniggered and teased. All because it's not steady and secure. It seems foolish to follow a dream. These people don't always get the kind of support that they need from a lot of people. But if they really believe in it, they are determined enough to just go for it.

Yes, Frank is struggling a bit. It happens with any of us who are trying to follow a "silly" dream. But he makes do with what he has and he makes the best out of it. I just really hope that I have been there enough to give him the support he needs.

I can understand him better now. Why he is willing to volunteer some time in community theatre (and for those of you who haven't caught on... I used the word 'volunteer', meaning pay-less). No, it may not be the 'smart' move, but it's a decision he made and a decision that he's stuck with and believes will make him the somebody he wants to be someday.

I'm kind of in your shoes now, Frank. So if I haven't given you much support in the past, know that I will from here on out.