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.