Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Things I Learnt in 2010


I was deliberately low key in 2010: not very sociable or active, and not going all out to take up new classes or courses. I reluctantly ‘’learnt’’ to re-string a necklace in the last week of December though. That was more a combination of ‘’impulse’’ and trying to salvage some nice crystals and a piece of jade. I’ve never ‘’made’’ jewelry before, unlike my creative friends, but in true JL fashion, without much planning or learning, just plunged right in. I picked up the fish thread, and just started stringing, unstringing, and restringing the crystals. By the time I was almost done stringing way past midnight, I realised I did not know how to, nor was able to (since I’d cut the string too short) fix the fastening of the necklace.

So now I have an open-ended, unfinished necklace. It reminds me of what someone told me way back in 2002 (OK OK, so I am feeling nostalgic) – ‘’leave a little window open’’. He was referring to typical ‘’endings’’ of French literature. I guess this necklace will be my symbol for 2011 – to be open minded, leaving things ‘’open’’??

Whatever, I learnt some obvious, and not so obvious things in 2010:

Definition of success can be prosaic, poetic, or inhuman
According to Financial Times, it’s measured by your current salary, and what it will be three years from now. According to one of our deans, it’s self respect. According to the Singapore government, it’s to be married. So, I am a failure in Singapore. How encouraging. (Should I stop paying tax?)

‘’Fact-based’’ info is as rare as flawless diamonds
Get the info you need before making a decision, said our dean. I would add, having encountered woefully pathetic conversations with people, ‘’get the right info before you even open your mouth to make a comment’’.

Empty talk can get you far (sometimes)
Also known as ‘’small talk’’/ polite conversation. A senior colleague sent me a nice long Christmas message full of glowing tribute about our organisation. I managed to bring myself to reply, as enthusiastically, ‘’I look forward to working even more closely with you in this very special and amazing institution’’. I leave it to you to interpret ‘’special’’ and ‘’amazing’’.

Accepting the ridiculous makes life ‘’easier’’
So is succumbing to sinful self indulgence. I paid special rate of $6 to enjoy a movie on a weekday. And I paid the same price for a miserable box of empty sugar – pop corn – to go with it. A box of sheer, useless calories, at daylight robbery price. But I’d craved for it for ages, and chomped off every single sweet, tooth-maiming calorie of it during the entire movie.

Apparently, supposedly business minded (and hence more rational) organisations can be as ridiculous as a woman like me. A friend who used to run a gift shop at Handy Road wrote in an email about moving out of the premises: ‘’ I was told that the hackers of the floor will also have to come in at night to do their job. Apparently we have to restore the premises to "original" condition which means that even though we spent good money to level out the flooring before moving in we now have to hack out 5mm of concrete so that the next tenant can come in and lay his 5mm to level it out again.’’

I guess I should be glad the price of my ‘’ridiculous-ness’’ was limited to $6.

You can waste resources and still appear to be a saint
All in the name of ‘’community projects’’. P_L_U_U_ R_S_E !!! Tell Singaporeans you are bringing in Andrea Bocelli FREE for the public to enjoy. Get people to sign up online (so that you can get their email id and details for your spamming purposes), then tell them ‘’response was overwhelming’’ and so they get to see only a screen, make us go Q for the ‘’free tickets’’ to see a screen, block major parts of the Botanic Gardens weeks before and after the concert so that joggers like me had limited access, have the entire gardens littered with paper cups, plates, etc, all for a big ‘’free concert’’ for the masses. If you are so genuine about offering the masses high class culture with your ‘’public service’’, dear YTL, I’m sure you can afford to just buy TV air time and Bocelli’s programme and then have the TV station broadcast it free to air. No need to kill more trees with those ‘’invite cards’’, goodies bags, paper cups and plates, and self serving, chest beating banners.

She who yells the loudest…
Gets the most disrespect. Enough said, about my menopausal, control freak, insecure, unprofessional, disorganized, clueless, hopeless boss.

She who yells the loudest…
Gets what she wants. Yes, I DID learn something useful in 2010 after all, from my own menopausal, control freak…. boss. I yelled big time at the contractor at Bukit Panjang Plaza, when calls to the police and NEA about their noise at midnight were futile. And they DID shut the F*&K up.

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