Sunday, July 22, 2012

A love story - Part 5

According to my mother's story of me, right from birth, I was a baby that cried incessantly*. As far as I could remember, I often cried as a child. No, "wailed loudly like a banshee" would be a more accurate description. Even as a toddler, even before others could understand my words, I remember that I hated being born -- I would rather remain in the baby paradise that I once dreamed vividly of.
*Note: According to my mother, as an infant, I often cried in the night, preventing the whole extended family from sleeping. Only my paternal grandfather was patient and tolerant enough to carry me through the streets of Chinatown. He would walk with me in his arms, until I calmed down and fell asleep. In case anyone is wondering, I was born at night, around the middle of the Chinese Ghost Month (lunar 7th month). I have no memories whatsoever of my time as a baby. But by the time I was a toddler, before I even spoke coherently, I already knew that I was the apple of both my dad's and paternal granddad's eyes. I was to learn later from my mother that my paternal grandfather had a special fondness for me because I was born exactly 60 years after him.
My crying antics (and sprouting black-coloured milk teeth) earned me many nicknames as a child -- most of which were from my elder brother, my mother and her siblings (i.e. my maternal aunts and uncles). In fact, my mother even egged her siblings (my uncles and aunts) on to call me names. Names like -- 黑牙齿 ["black teeth"], 大hum包 ["big cry-baby bun"], and 掺泥口 ["backhoe loader mouth"]. Whenever I cried, my elder brother would taunt me further. Calling me a weakling, etc.

Somewhere along my journey growing up, I began to refuse to cry -- at least not in front of others. [Well, to be honest, I wasn't 100% successful, but I tried.] I did not want to be seen as a weakling, to be taunted and bullied by those around me.

Crying in the rain
By a-ha


Part 5 - Hong Kong again

After I returned from my second trip to Hong Kong, I started out at my second job. I was part of a regional 2nd-level technical support team; with one colleague (SY) based in Hong Kong and another (TM) based in Tokyo, Japan. Our boss and the out-sourced 1st-level support were based in Singapore. The previous staff had left on bad terms with the boss and was gone before I started work.

On my first week, my boss decided that she had to send me either to Hong Kong or Tokyo the following week, to be trained by a regional colleague for a week. I prayed that it would be Tokyo, because I did not want to be be in Hong Kong again. Initially my boss had planned on Tokyo, since TM was with the company much longer than SY and therefore knew the technical stuff much better. However, TM was into partying, often came late for work and was deemed rather unreliable. Thus, my boss changed her mind and sent me to Hong Kong instead.

Oh, Hong Kong, again! Less than 2 weeks after I had left the place that broke my heart. I resolved that I shall be very discreet and not contact anyone from my previous company on this trip. However, on my first day in Hong Kong at the new office, SY and the other new colleagues were scheduled for a farewell lunch for one of their colleagues and decided that it wasn't a good idea to bring me along. [It was a relatively political work environment and they could not trust me since I was new.] Unaware that I had just visited Hong Kong recently, SY suggested that since they would be out for a long lunch, that I could catch up with my ex-colleagues or friends over lunch. Not wanting to "lose face" (because SY knew my previous company -- it was a well-known MNC with office in Hong Kong too), I decided to call my ex-colleague MS for lunch. I couldn't get her on-the-line and so I left her a voice message. Since I wanted to keep my resolve not to see AL, I did not contact him at all. The next thing I know, I got a return call from AL -- a very hurt voice at the other end of the line demanding why I didn't tell him that I was in Hong Kong. He was not available to meet me for lunch but he arranged for MS to show me around for lunch, and arranged to meet me for dinner instead. My resolved melted -- we met up again, picking up from where we left off once again.

When I returned to Singapore, I threw myself into work to forget the matter. I tried very hard to build rapport with my new colleagues and the out-sourced vendor staff. [In fact, I learned Singlish and changed the way I spoke with my vendor staff in an attempt to connect with them.] It was a challenging environment because my predecessor was on very good terms with them and I could tell from her visit to her ex-colleagues (when my boss wasn't around) that she was complaining about my boss and criticizing my "inability" to do "her job" well.

I think I tried too hard -- one new colleague SL thought that my paying attention to everything he said and my polite agreement/sharing of some of his areas of interest was because I was interested in him! [Errm, to be honest, he wasn't the only work-related person hitting on me from that job.] It sucked to be pursued by someone you don't care for and pining for someone else that you love at the same time. Frustrated by the unwanted attention, one night when we both worked late, I pulled the dirty trick of flashing my Mensa Singapore membership card in his presence. I knew by then that many Singaporean men cannot accept a woman smarter than themselves. It worked. He paused his pursuit for a period. That gave me some peace to grieve over my troubled love.

愛我的人和我愛的人 -- 裘海正
["The person who loves me and the one whom I love -- Qiu Hai-zheng]

No comments

Post a Comment