Dynamic self

My friend, Derek, posted an entry about being true to yourself and not succumbing to what others expect of you. I somewhat touched on the latter in my post about red packet for wedding dinner.

However, one has to be careful about sticking to being true to onself for the sake of doing so. This is simply because "who you are" is dynamic. Simply put, people's trueselves do change, hopefully for the better.

Take for example a father of a family with wife and kids. He grew up in an era where parents had the final say, children should listen to their parents, wives were subservient to their husbands etc. He truly believed in all of these and that there was nothing wrong with them in his eyes. It formed part of who he is i.e. a typical China man, as some of us may label him so. However, his children grow up in a different era where woman and man are on equal footing and children have their own paths to follow. Gradually, his children are becoming more and more distant from him as they couldn't accept the values he holds.

Should he then simply say, "This is who I am and I'm not going to change for my family"? Or should he say, "Hey, maybe there is something better than this. I do want to change to have better relationship with my wife and children. It is a different era already"? I'm glad to say that he has changed and enjoys rather good relationship with his children. There are always regular jokes between him and his children, something that is rather unthinkable in the past. I've yet to ask him whether he is happier in this new self or was he happier in his old self but it is highly likely he is happier today than previously.

A simpler example: say that you are prone to sarcasm. I've met sarcastic people before and depends on the level of sarcasm, it is usually harmless and can be quite funny at times. Pauls' sarcasm, for example, is something I usually laugh at although it may be about me. However, let's say a friend has a very bad day and that it was partly his fault, do you just automatically open your mouth and say something sarcastic? What good does that do? The only person who benefits from this remark is probably you alone, but how about your friend? It only makes him feels worse. If he reacts badly to that remark, should you just shrug off and say, "Well, that's who I am and if he cannot take it, too bad"?, or should you have kept your mouth shut at the start and not make him feel any worse in the first place?

A personal example would be the changes I've made to how I dress. This was upon feedback from my friends. If I had just said, "Nah, I'm happy as who I am now, wearing oversized clothings and not bordering with syling hair, and so there is no need to change", I would not have discovered a greater sense of pleasure and enjoyment by changing the way I dress (and my hairstyle :-)).

I personally have struggled with "who am I?" as I am keen to clearly define it so as to be able to make a stand on things but I discovered that it itself is quite dynamic simply because I would like to improve myself. If it is due to feedback from other people, so be it. I am not suggesting that I change in response to every feedback and expectation but rather be open to them and decide for myself whether it is for the betterment of my person before changing, if at all.

Dreamy first kiss

We kissed and I remember being happy about it because I've been wanting to kiss him for quite sometime already. But was that my first kiss? My memory is quite blurry. Seems that there was another guy. We shared a gentle kiss. He then asked, "Are you ok with this?" I shyly nodded yes. We then held hands. I was ecstatic.

Then I woke up. Bloody hell. Lol. I discussed the dream with a few friends. I remember we were saying that it's not possible for the second guy since he's already happily attached. Oh well hehe.

Then I woke up. Nope, this is not a typo. I truly woke up in reality. The above was still in my dream! Damn it. I truly believed that the first part of the dream was real.

Evil thought

Have you wished someone is dead? No, I don't mean those instances where in frustation you say, "I could kill him!" or "I wish he's dead!" or "Oh please, drop dead". I meant you really hope and pray he's dead.

Also, I am not talking about some people you hardly know e.g. politicians, terrorists, bankers etc. I meant people you know.

I have. I still am. I am still looking out for the news of her death. Should it happen, I will not be sad. I will rejoice. I may just treat myself to a nice meal and if I feel generous, I may treat loved ones and friens too.

I consider myself a really nice guy (and rarely fans my ego too ;-)). I know it sucks to be a nice guy. The baddies get to enjoy years or even decades of trampling on other people but get to be accepted back by the good guys after a brief period of suffering and even an shorter period of repentance. Where is the justice? Yet, even for me, although I would not call such people friends, I would still be civil. Sucker, right?

Anyway, the above brief description of myself is given just to put into perspective of how much hatred I have for that woman to even rejoice upon her demise. Why such intensity? This is because a loved one was emotionally hurt by her about 10 years ago. I will never forgive her.

I Want To Spend My Lifetime Loving You

This song was playing at the the tailend of my dream last night:

Moon so bright, night so fine
Keep your heart here with mine
Life's a dream we are dreaming

Race the moon, catch the wind
Ride the night to the end
Seize the day, stand up for the light

I want to spend my lifetime loving you
If that is all in life I ever do

Heroes rise, heroes fall
Rise again, win it all
In your heart, can't you feel the glory?

Through our joy, through our pain
We can move worlds again
Take my hand, dance with me

I want to spend my lifetime loving you
If that is all in life I ever do
I will want nothing else to see me through
If I could spend my lifetime loving you

Though we know we will never come again
When there is love, life begins
Over and over again

Save the night, save the day
Save your love, come what may
Love is worth everything we pay

I want to spend my lifetime loving you
If that is all in life I ever do
I want to spend my lifetime loving you
If that is all in life I ever do
I will want nothing else to see me through
If I can spend my life time loving you

Craziest peak to date

Recently, we had a department meeting. My boss has been asked by the upper echelon of management to tell us the following:

(1) Reiterated company's priority is to save job.

Me: This is of course fantastic news.

(2) Senior management's taking pay cut to achieve (1).

Me: Well, nice of them.

(3) In fact, the absolute top management didn't get their January salaries so that the rest of us can get our CNY salaries.

Me: Omg, really? Wow.

(4) If there's going to be pay cut, it'll be in April but the cut will be tiered with the highest cut affecting the senior management and lowest cut for the most junior staff.

Me: Please, I don't want pay cut. Our department is as profitable as ever!

(5) July's bonus and salary increment are likely to be small but again tiered similarly like (4)

Me: I'll be happy if there's salary increment.

(6) There's additional gazilliong steps (read: red tapes) to go through if want to hire more

Me: Wait, wait. Chotomate. Nanti. Den yi sia. So we don't get to hire? Excuse me, but our request was made way before crisis came about and it's that stupid big boss that's delaying all this. Moreover, we are not asking for additional headcount: we are asking for replacement, dammit! To put things into perspective: our workload overall has not decreased (in fact, number of clients have increased, I think) and yet staff strength shrank to less than half compared to last year.

I was quite depressed that night. Next morning, I chatted with my boss about (6) and fortunately he too thought the same thing. In short, although there are now mega huge number of steps to take, we should still put through the request to get our replacements.

But it's too late to help us now during this peak period. I feel very stressed. It's like I'm either going to be burnt out or drowned: fire or water, both may just kill me. I'm afraid I'm heading for a nervous breakdown (how else can you explain that I just want to cry involuntarily as I'm typing this). I'm anxious about this coming week as there are like plenty of things to do with the entire week filled with deadlines. Doesn't help that I too have to help my more junior colleagues when they consult me.

I wish I can just quit. Yeah, I'm that weak :-( Ok, better stop now. No one wants to read self-pity entry.

Happy Friendship Day to all my loved ones and my dearest friends. Muak!

The day of coming out

I came out to my childhood good friend, Paul, back in May 2007. In his usual style, he blogged about it in an amusing way. I enjoyed reading it very much and laughed at it.

Of all my good friends back when I was studying in Melaka, I've only kept in touch with Paul. In fact, I regularly visit him and his family every CNY, so much so that my sister commented that as though he was my boyfriend (the irony lol). Our parents are friendly to each other. However, inevitably, over the years, since I left Malaysia when I was 16 years old, we both have less and less in common. I don't know the people he hangs out with and vice versa and lately I've been left alone chatting with his dad while he does some mysterious stuff on his laptop (probably blogging or reading blogs). Nevertheless, most importantly, I know that he is one of very few friends I definitely can count on if I'm in trouble (Paul, you're sweating now? ;-))

Anyway, not surprisingly, I've always encouraged him to come down to Singapore and visit me, which he does once a few years. What made the difference in May 07 is that in his e-mail telling me about his impending visit, he told me he found someone. Well, that was huge news! I wanted to know more but he said he would tell me when we meet in Singapore.

That night, he was nearly an hour late. I was already feeling a bit hungry. When he arrived, he wanted to browse HMV first. Omg. Couldn't we have dinner first? But I didn't say anything because I thought it wouldn't take too long.

We then had dinner at NYDC at Wheelock's Place. Bear in mind that the tables were very close to each other. You could hear clearly conversations from adjacent tables.

Years ago, in an e-mail exchange, I had suspicion that Paul was gay but in that exchange, he sort of denied it (long story). So this time, for some odd reasons, I decided to test him. Throughout the Q&A session, I did not use gender-specific words e.g. "How you two met?", "Oh work in what industry?", "How old?" But he didn't take the bait and answered using gender-neutral words. Hence I decided to use the word "she" and he just answered the question. So that was that...or so I thought.

After dinner, we browsed The CD Shop nearby and while doing that, be broke the news that the person he was seeing was a "he". I was stumped a few seconds as I've already concluded otherwise during dinner. I've pointed out the e-mail exchange incident years ago and he explained where the confusion arose i.e. he was talking about someone else whereas I was thinking it was him coming out, which he wasn't. I wish he did though. Oh well.

So as I was sitting in the MRT train, on my way home, I was staring at my handphone. For more than a decade, I've been wondering about myself and it was confirmed during my university days but due to a host of reasons, I decided to close the door on it and decided to live alone (hmmm nothing changed since I'm still "alone" hehe). But here, it was an opportunity to tell someone. A whole new world. Possibility for happiness, rather than mere contentment. Took me a few minutes to decide before I sent the sms saying, "I think I am one too".

If you read Paul's version, it humourously alludes to homosexuality being infectious. Ironically, a long-time friend came out to me immediately after I came out to him. Infectious? Perhaps :-)

It's in our hands

"Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it."

- Mr Chuck Swindoll

A guy, a waiter and an Italian restaurant

There is this Italian restaurant near my office of which I quite like its food, which is reasonably priced too. I remember the first time patronising it when it was still relatively new. Spoke with the boss, who was the chef (not too sure whether he still does that currently), that day and few months later too.

The first thing that really struck my mind was the discount they were giving. As usual, my colleagues and I would ask whether there was any credit card discount. Boss said no but there was discount for using cash. That was novel. However, as expected from a growing business, even that was gone later.

Then sometime in latter half of last year, out of the blue, one of the waiters spoke briefly with me. A youngster in his 20s (was guessing at that time). I believed it was in response to my usual question on whether there was discount using credit card/cash or not. Instead of the usual "No, we don't have", he added that if I go there for dinner, he would be able to give me some discount. That was unexpected and nice of him. Naturally Mr Skanky and Rick thought there was more to that. Incidentally, I did go for dinner 2 days later and, if memory serves me well, I got 10% discount on the dessert I had.

The next visit, either last month of Dec last year, was with my colleagues. Couldn't manage to flag him over early enough since it was quite packed with lunch crowd. By the time he managed to come to our table, we have already asked for our bill. He lamented that that meant he couldn't get discount for us. We said we would look for him next time.

Just last night (since now is past midnight), I had dinner there. I was the only customer there for quite sometime. It is naturally not crowded during dinnertime but I guess it was exacerbated by the rain. Didn't notice him until both my food and drink were served. Waved to him just to signal hello. He came over and unexpectedly spent at least the next 20 mins talking with me, until there were customers. We spoke about nationality, job, job search, dwelling, age, driving, among other things. He reminded me again to get him when I was ready to pay and this time, I had 10% off the total bill. Pleasantly surprised. Exchange phone number so that we can keep in touch in case he found a new job.

When I told Mr Skanky the key points of the encounter, he remarked that either he's strange or gay. Well, gee, thanks alot. I was thinking perhaps I'm a nice enough guy for people to want to befriend me :-)

PS: Tossed in bed for more than half an hour. Gave up. Read blogs and typed this entry. Think dinner was too rich for me. Gah.

The ride home

"It's times like these I wish I've loved one waiting at home for me, comforting me by saying things will be alright. Sorry, not sure why bit emo. Must be the song and tiredness."

- Jaded Jeremy, in a sms to a friend

Life immitating art...or is it?

Bambi & Thumper cartoon

Bambi & Thumper RL

Isn't that sweet? This may sound strange but I've never watched Bambi.