Monthly Archives: November 2009

Wordkill

Standing around a long table laden with annual report designs this morning, it was already taking all my discipline not to walk away as a sign of my complete indifference and lack of interest in what people thought of trees and diamonds and chess pieces. It didn’t help that this was being done on a Monday morning after a long weekend, and it didn’t help that I’ve been preoccupied with the potentially life-threatening situation I’m currently in.

As the mindless debate about which designs would be presented to the ones whose opinions mattered the most, how they would be presented and what flibberty-gibberty would be conjured up to sway said opinions to our side, I felt The Eyebrow (my left eyebrow, which has oft been solely responsible for the repulsed expression on my face) began to furrow as the word struck a most unpleasant chord in my head: playful. On and on it went: “Playful, playful, playful…”

That the word was in and of itself being used to describe an annual report cover already picked at my irritation nerve. That it was being repeated while describing two or three other designs threatened to drive me over the edge and result in my putting my hands over my ears and screaming for the word to disappear. And with that, I mentally added the word playful to the List (see below).

It’s no secret that this country has never been famous for its standard of English, unless it’s viewed in ascending order: lowest standard first. The language has been butchered and thrown into a melting pot of languages comprising the local tongues to produce one common language mastered by anyone who can speak a smidgen of English.

So it was with much astonishment and derision that I learned, not far into my current job, the words that people were using in their daily (professional) communication, misusing and abusing them to an appalling degree. And as the months went by, my irritation at hearing them increased exponentially with the number of times I heard them. Some of them were not used in the wrong context, but the frequency of their appearance made it look as though they were used as generally-accepted terms, and not because anyone really knew what they were for.

And it has now come down to me cringing, rolling my eyes, and swearing (under my breath or out loud) whenever I see or hear these words — normal, everyday words that I’ve added to the List of Words I’ve Come to Hate Because of My Job (which has been broken down into two categories):

Overkill: Words that are overused and overrated
Advise
Kind(ly)
Assist(ance)
Discuss(ed/ion)
Challenging
Playful
Strategize
Noted
Clarify
Verify
Liaise
Seek

Humiliation: Words that are misused because people don’t know their real meanings
Revert
Embargo
Escalate
As per

Thankful

Another year, another Thanksgiving gone by. For the second year in a row, I spent Thanksgiving here, in a country that does not seem to grasp the concept of Thanksgiving. Granted, it’s an American tradition that was religious in origin, but for a nation that is ever determined to mirror the lifestyle and culture of the Western world — such as dressing up for Halloween, apparently — they are sadly ignorant of Thanksgiving here.

Even though it did not feel much like Thanksgiving this year, it felt surprisingly more so than it did last year, perhaps because it was my first Thanksgiving away from Buffalo and the life I had loved there, and as I had been back for barely eight months, it was part of the process of adjusting to life here that I had to learn to do without Thanksgiving as well. Another reason I couldn’t think of Thanksgiving last year was that I was too caught up in my own personal life, trying to salvage something I had destroyed and that threatened to consume me, and I failed to realize that in spite of all the difficulties I was facing, there was always something to help make it all more bearable that I could be thankful for.

And then, two days ago, as I sat at my office desk, contemplating an extremely disturbing piece of news, I remembered that it was Thanksgiving. Every year, when I was living in the U.S., I thought about what I was thankful for, and it was always the people I had come to know and love there, and the fabulous opportunities I had been given to live some of my dreams. And so, in an attempt to take my mind off  the possibility of having to face what could be one of the greatest tribulations of my life, I thought about what I should be thankful for this year, or ever since I set foot back on Malaysian soil.

I’m thankful for my parents giving me the space and time to adjust to life here, for understanding what a significant and difficult transition it was, and for accepting that I was no longer the 19-year-old who left home on her own for the first time, but the 23-year-old who was grown up and trying to start her own life all over again.

I’m thankful for the greatest friend God has given me, who was there through the difficult times I had last year, who tried not to judge me when I dragged myself down to an epic low over something I couldn’t have and was throwing everything away to achieve. Who sat with me through bottles of gin, vodka and tequila with Kleenex at the ready while I contemplated the mess I had made of things, and who still sits with me while I bawl my eyes out over the phone about the circumstances of my life, all without judgment.

I’m thankful for the job that I have, for being able to get a job on my first try so soon after coming back here. Granted, it may not be what I was cut out for, but I’m thankful to have a job in the current times, and I’m thankful that I will somehow be able to make the best of a bad situation where my job is concerned. I’m thankful for this job that has given me what I can consider a good friend, and the few people who make it just a little less difficult.

I’m thankful for the man in my life now, whom I ran into, under the most unusual straight-out-of-a-movie circumstances, after not seeing or speaking to him in over a decade. Who saw and accepted me as I am now — damaged goods, as is — and still promised to stand by me and wait for the day that I can take down the wall around myself and stand before him a whole, healed person.

And most of all, I’m thankful for being able to rebuild my life here, even though I had fought so hard not to come back. I’m thankful that I was finally able to realize that even though I had left home when I was 19 to escape the life I had then, it didn’t necessarily have to be the life I would continue to have when I came back. I’m thankful that I now have some semblance of the life I wanted, and I’m thankful that I’ve learned to look at the big picture and make what I can of what has been given to me.

Love, lies and lessons

“You expect this of the young ones… You expect this of the old ones… I’m going to wait for a vampire to show up!” – Becca


I suppose I shouldn’t have been too surprised. After seven years of nothing but bad luck and bad relationships, I should have known better. I should have know that with a colorful history comes the baggage of knowing that sometimes, history comes back to haunt you, and the ones who love you, whether by your will or otherwise.

I may have been damaged enough to let you break down my wall in the beginning, but there were times when I was lucid enough to sense that you were lying to get your own way. Now that I know you were lying to get your own way, you can be sure that the wall will go up back up, and you will never be able to break it, or me, again, no matter how much I love you.

You’re the boy who cried love.