Thursday, December 30, 2004

MK and me at Attica in Singapore.

Ah... 2 years, 3 months and 18 days! A good 838 days since I've been driving the same route to work, eating almost about the same breakfast every morning, walking the corridors of the same office, dealing with the same people, dealing with the same things over and over again: above-the-line, below-the-line, brochures, posters, buntings, advertisements, material deadlines, insertion deadlines, contact reports, colour separation, copy, visual, mock-ups, press releases, conferences and launches, lights and turning heads, amplifiers and sound system, mixer and microphones, recording studios, voice-overs, multimedia presentation, damn the list is endless! Whaddya expect? It IS 838 days afterall! I mean, come on, you really think all I do is sit in the office and blog? OK, maybe sometimes. But you'd think that after 838 days, I would have been found out or something eh? Either that, or I'm just a really good. Your pick. Heh.

So since it's my last day at the office before the year ends, I shan't be ashamed of proclaiming that "I'M AN OFFICE BLOGGER!" And a damn proud one too. Heh.

At about 12:30am late last night, I settled down to read the day's papers. OK, YESTERday's papers actually. The Asian tsunami seems to be the most talked about thing of late - during lunch, at the photocopier, in the toilets, coffee and cigarette breaks, in the car, in the bus and trains, over the phone, etc. Pity, sympathy, empathy - I feel it. Reading the papers in my modest but comfortable room, all I can do is but say a little prayer to whichever God out there. I scanned the published pictures of bloated dead bodies with protruding arms and legs littered along the beaches, of grieving mothers and fathers and children, of places torn and wrecked and it hurts me so. So much so that I actually found myself crying as I flipped through the papers. Real tears fell and caused a patch of dark blotch on the newspapers. It's no weep, mind you.

It's not the first that I've actually cried so hard while reading the papers. The other time which I remembered doing so was upon reading the full report on the recent Russian hostage crisis. Words which were used created vivid images in my head, and seeing people suffer in those pictures further added salt to my wound. I remember them not being fed with water, and some resorted to using their shoes to contain their urine so that they can drink. I remember them not having anything to eat, and children resorted to eating petals of flowers (which they brought to school on the first day for their teachers or something). I also remember seeing lifeless bodies, lined up, one after another, and another, and another. I also remembered not being able to take anymore, folded the papers and cried so hard with my face burried in my pillows. Man, these are children we are talking about!

I don't know what my point here is. But all I do know is that newspapers are sad, evil pieces of paper folded together. They bring misery to people. Thank God I'm not one of those who pore over the papers over my morning cuppa... my day will be ruined if I did! Seeing images and reading of other's misery and suffering brings unto me an even deeper misery because I feel that we are one, mankind on this earth - so why is it that I get to sit on the bed while other people are there - right smack in the middle of the wreckage, digging and digging under the rubbles in hope that they find at least the bodies of their loved ones, instead of just an arm. Is this nature playing law? "OK people, you're procreating too much and the world's resources will not be enough to feed all of you - so I'm gonna have to wipe some out". It's like some sick joke.

After crying, I started cleaning up room for a bit. I opened a chest of drawers and went through some of the things in there. It was a pleasant surprise as I found a rather worn-out envelope containing letters and pictures sent to me by a very dear friend in Australia. My fingers shivered as I excitedly plucked out the contents from the giant envelope and quickly begin reading the first page. Hmmm... It brings back old memories, good times and bad. Waves of emotions flooded my mind (no pun intended!).. and man, those were good times. Reading the letter brought me back into time, to that exact moment and I could almost feel the writer's words. It was like a nice, cosy, warm feeling... ahh. I suppose old letters do that to you huh?

Marina Mahathir wrote about making resolutions in her Musings column yesterday. Wishful Thinking for the New Year was different because it was not an article on personal resolutions, but rather resolutions that us, as a society can make for the coming year.(For complete article, click here) The few resolutions she listed that we as a society should work on are -

(1) Bringing back ethics i.e. let us not cheat, lie or steal. And she went on to say that people in public office should own up, apologise and maybe even resign if they have done something wrong. You go, girl!

(2) If someone is stupid, tell them that. Let's not beat around the bush.

(3) Celebrate diversity, not just nodding with acknowledgement.

(4) Get literate, not literal. Things don't have to be smacked in your face before you understand it.

(5) We deserve good service! Don't you just hate people who keep you on hold for too long, sales people who don't have the slightest idea what they are selling, etc.

(6) Beat red lights, do not stop in the yellow box, do not park where there is a yellow line, do not double park, in short - Abide by traffic rules!

(7) Let us all refused to be condescended by bureaucrats. We pay their salaries, first class travel, allowances.. And we should insist on knowing why they waste our money.

(8) Mediocrity is not the way. In Marina's words, "We should never be content to be jaguh kampung (hero of the village) or the one-eyed king among the blind".

(9) Let us stop being feudal and kiss the asses of those with titles. YEAH! I so agree! And of course, this is my personal favourite!

(10) To stop finding excuses for not doing the right thing.

(11) Listen - even if you don't like what is being said. Just because you don't like it don't mean it ain't true honey!

Ah. She's brilliant.

Let's go back to point number 9. Let's not talk about big honorary titles or even anothing remotely royal or whatsoever. About a month back, I went for this interview at a huge corporation listed on the main board of the KLSE. Let's detour for a while - I love going for job interviews. I feel good about myself, and well, maybe it's ego, maybe it's vanity - but I just love hearing myself talk about myself. Heh. So anyways, I had the Business Development Manager interview me for a good 30 minutes. Eventually, he called upon the Executive Director to come meet me. When she walked into the room, there was an air of superiority that surrounded her. Heavily made up, big curly hair and a smart suit to boast. She proceeded to speak to me for a good 15 minutes or so and we came upon this topic of "meeting and dealing with top people". After I told Ms. Exec Director that I am comfortable dealing with people at all levels, she said, "Are you sure? Doreen, we are talking about top CEOs from local and foreign companies you know?"

I said, once again, firmly "Yes, I believe I have that professionalism and people-skill". But deep down, I thought, "Yes...? And your point being...? Aren't they humans too?" Work is work. We just need professionalism and of course, respect them as your clients, superiors, etc. We don't need to kowtow to them you know what I mean?

And to wrap up the interview, Ms. Executive Director said to me, (her exact words) "Doreen, you look great, you smell great and man, I love those shoes! (then proceed to take another look at them as she was seated in the chair next to me) But you're 23, and just way too young! And your learning curve here will be so steep it is almost vertical!"

At that point in time, I had 2 thoughts in my head - One. Composure. She's probably testing you. Two. "You know what's vertical? *shows her middle finger* Now that's vertical!"

Well anyway. They called the very next day to offer me the job. But to cut a long story short, I'm not working there... still at the same job.. that explains the 838 days! Heh.

Happy New Year to all.

Posted by Doreen at 2:12 pm