Sunday, 14 June 2009

A Little Talk To The Little One

Inspired by a book that I hooked up in my recent reading, I looked at an old photograph of a younger me. According to the book, in order to ignite the genius within, one needs to sharpen his sense of visualization by connecting the stimulus in front of him with his inner resources and experiences. So here, I have the stimulating object - the old photograph that one of my old friend had posted in the FB. It was taken in 1985, when we were twelve years old. The book instructed me to have a good look at the photograph, then close my eyes and visualize myself in the current state talking to that younger me. So I had this little talk....

The man : "Hi there! I'm YOU when you're old. How are you?"

The boy : "Good. But I'm expecting a better look of a man when I'm old. You're just too plain and ordinary."

The man : "Listen boy. Let me give you a few lessons in life. First, you're not going to be any supermodel, that's for sure. So let's just face it from now, physically you're going to be plain and ordinary. So start working out other ways to make the difference. It starts with the head. The head up here. At school, wake up and ask a lot of questions. That's the fast way to get smarter. Don't simply memorize what is written and regurgitate it in the exams. It's OK if you don't get all the right answers and you don't score an A, so long you understand the principles of the subject and able to think, to defend what you believe in and to challenge the doubt. And stay away from that plump boy who brings porn stuff to school. Porn is a hazard to intelligence. Get it?

The boy : "It's a little too late. He'd shown me stuff already..."

The man : "Never mind. A little porn won't kill. So what do you think you want to become when you're old?"

The boy : "A doctor"

The man : "Forget it, boy. You'll never become one and that's a good thing. Life as a doctor sucks, you get stuck with sick people for the rest of your hospitalized life. Someone special has told me that. You'd better believe her. Engineering is a better option to explore. But you need to pay more attention in your Physics and Chemistry classes later in your secondary school. Do your homework. You must be strong, fundamentally. Life is a journey, boy. Enjoy yourself and have fun every single day. Don't take yourself too seriously. For every single thing that makes you upset and frustrated, learn from it. Believe me, it happens for your own good. God has been very kind to you all the way long. Keep the faith and never keep Him out of your mind."

Friday, 5 June 2009

The Anchor

This morning I woke up and remained motionless on my bed. With my face pressed deep into my pillow, I was in my own world, manning a fishing boat in the middle of a calm bay, protected from the rolling waves of the open sea. It is the day to check my anchor.

It has been a year since I work here. There is no contract to review. I am an associate, employed as long as I want to and as long as they don't find a reason to terminate me. As I breathed through my pillow, I fished for 3 good reasons to stay after spending a year here.

I start my work with a fresh clean white uniform, nicely pressed and perfectly fit my form. The company treats the associate rightly as individual. A tailor came to our premise last year to take my measurement for the uniform. So I start my work everyday feeling special and unique. And it's not just about the uniform, it is about how the company treats the associates in just about everything else. I don't feel cheated, overused and underpaid.

I like what I deal with at work. I am here to make chocolate. I am able to taste the fruit of my labour. It is rich, smooth and sweet. It makes me happy. Well, I do curse some machines, shake some people, raise my voice a bit, get disturbed with some remarks and all, but the chocolate calms me down.

I just have to be myself. I don't have to be a hero. I don't have to put on a big wig to become a drama queen or a drag queen. I don't have to kiss any one's ass or lick any body's balls. It is made clear from the beginning, I am here to do the right thing for the consumers and for the business. The right things are based on the principles which are believed in and lived by. Of course, there are occasional Egyptian ego, Indian idiosyncrasies, French connection and other office politics that some people play, but these are the insignificant noises. I'm happy to work by the principles, along with many others tuning in the same frequency with the right magnitude.

Satisfied, I laid down the anchor for it to meet the ocean bed again. I'm settled in the right place. Well, I got up to face the day. It's time to undress the pillow and toss the pillow case with other smelly garments right into the washing machine for a good Friday wash.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Fish Sandwich and Onion Rings

It was an unprecedented experience in my 8 years of marriage that I have to celebrate my wedding anniversary alone on the first day of June. To begin with, I am so proud of myself that I didn't forget the date. On that day there was no fancy dinner and no red roses to offer to my significant other. For my own consolation, I hold on to the cliche, 'it's the thought that matters'.

I called home to wish my wife the 8th wedding anniversary wish. Believe it or not, she didn't even think of the anniversary until I called her. Her excuse was she had a busy day with a list of thing to do on a Monday morning and also she hadn't fully recovered from the weekend trip to Genting with my kids and my relatives from Singapore. I told her that I just woke up at noon and had cereals for lunch with lots of milk. She urged me to treat myself a fancy meal for dinner.

We talked again in the evening. She just had a juicy seafood platter at Manhattan Fish Market with my kids. Then they had a chocolate cake with 8 candles.

A few hours later, on the other side of the world, I walked into Burger King to pack my favourite fish sandwich and onion rings.

It was a tasteless anniversary, missing out the right ingredients. But looking at the big picture, a good marriage is not all about counting and celebrating the milestones. Though it is nice to do, the heart of the matter is about re-visiting the pledge, fulfilling it and maintaining the connection between the two souls. The soul doesn't recognise border and physical distance but it needs the on-going connection. Before the end of the day, I wish that I will be faithful to my marital pledge and my soul has a lifetime connection to my soul mate. With the will of God, as long as I am able to keep the flame, I don't mind the solitary anniversary dinner of fish sandwich and onion rings, this year, next year and the years to come.