Monday, November 16, 2009


Had dinner with my friend JN today. He is based in Hong Kong, but back in Singapore for a short trip.

We first met at an online renovations forum about 3 years ago. We have chatted online occasionally and met face-to-face several times since. I would describe him as a good catch, being a decent down-to-earth guy who is straight forward. The typical goody Singaporean guy. The WYSIWYG1 type of person. However, it is unlikely between us, although we did joke about it before.

Why? I suspect it's because I am not a WYSIWYG type of gal, I am more like an onion or even a chameleon.

For example, over dinner today, JN shared that at his father's funeral, a friend of his mother tried to get him to court her daughter. He then said that the potential-target came from "Rxx" school and went overseas for her education, returning with foreign-accented English.

His emphasis on "Rxx" raised my eyebrows. I remarked that I was also from the same school and asked if he had a problem with people from the school. [Note: Yes, Rxx was (and still is) a "branded" school. During my days, they admitted students from all social classes who happened to do well at their primary school-leaving examinations (PSLE).]

Then he went on to say that, well, the lady was from the "gifted" scheme (Gifted Education Programme). I smiled, the gifted scheme was started one batch after mine.
I recalled that the Ministry of Education did trial-run of their gifted scheme selection test at my school when I was in Secondary 1. I remembered then that many of my classmates (used to scoring As in primary school) panicked after the test because they could not finish the test. This reaction even though we had been told that it was just for information collection and would not affect our academic grades in any manner. Some of my classmates even went around complaining that they could not finish the test and asking everybody if they managed to finish. Apparently, many didn't finish the test and joined-in complaining. I kept very quiet and just gave non-committal "hmm" replies when asked. I had managed to finish the test and had time to check some of the answers, although not all.
It was only later in life (after some years of working) that I finally got my IQ tested. I told JN that it happens to be "on the upper end of the range2".

JN said, "Well, you don't seem like that to me."

"Maybe I'm good at hiding", I smiled. Years of socializing has made me keenly aware of the reverse prejudices against the gifted/genius. Thus my standard policy is not to tell unless I feel that the person knows me well enough not box me in on the basis of a simple number.

JN also harped on the potential target's foreign accented English. Thus, I shared, "Well, I did not always speak Singlish. In fact, I made a conscious effort to learn Singlish some years ago during my second job, in an effort to fit in with my colleagues".

I also shared that being academically smart does not necessary help one in life. I personally know those who struggle in life (myself included) even though we went through the "branded" school. JN jokingly remarked that we both live in the same kind of small public apartments. [Note: I thought to myself, "Ha ha, the typical Singaporean measure of success!"].

I shared an example of an academically smart, deep-thinking, and pious Christian friend who has yet to get over her divorce that happened suddenly years ago. IMHO, the Christian teaching that "the man is the head of the household" is a handicap to her recovery because the sudden divorce resulted in my friend losing her "head of the household".

JN conceded that the religion may not be the problem, but the behaviours of its followers. For example, although he is Christian, he does not fancy the "keeping up with the Joneses" behaviour of churchgoers. [Note: Okay, he did not actually use that "Joneses" phrase, but he meant that.] I agree with him, it's the people not the religion that's the problem. Then we went on to chat about the divorces amongst our friends and how they are coping, LGBT rights (I support it but JN considers them weird) and other stuff.

Like I said, JN is a WYSIWYG type of guy. Fortunately, he didn't take my contrary comments to heart... I think. After dinner, we went to shop for some toiletries which he said is cheaper in Singapore than Hong Kong. Thereafter, we parted ways. I am not sure when we will meet again, although he promised to buy a down feather jacket on my behalf since it'll be on Hong Kong's winter-clearance sale next year.

Note 1: WYSIWYG = What you see is what you get
Note 2: My standard replies to questions asking for my IQ are:
  • "It is probably somewhere above average." for those who don't know me well enough; OR
  • "It is somewhere above average." for the few whom I cannot bluff because they know from working closely with me that I'm smart.

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