Becca and I finally watched the second instalment of The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire. Ever since I got rid of Afham, I’ve been rather behind in my movies, as I no longer needed to keep track of what movies he wanted to watch and subsequently arrange for tickets. So it was in true Becca-and-Sandra fashion that we trucked out to 1 Utama last Saturday to catch the movie in the final leg — 11:15 AM or 12:35 AM or nothing — of its cinema run. (Obviously we chose the 11:15 AM screening; God forbid we have to fight the masses in the middle of the day)
The thing about Becca and I is that we are almost always completely in sync with each other when it comes to what we want, don’t want, like and dislike. For instance, we know without a doubt that come hell or high water, we will make it to any mall when the doors open at 10 AM, because we refuse to waste time fighting for a parking spot and being in crowds. We also know that if we get to a mall by 10 AM, we will take full advantage of any empty Sushi Zanmai for our Japanese fix. And we know that we really are best off completely alone in a cinema hall.
So it was typical of our bad luck that right next to us — next to me, to be exact — was an old woman and a younger man who, from the moment we sat down in the hall, would not stop talking. They talked about the movie trailers, about the commercials, about the actors in the movie trailers and the commercials, and within three minutes of us sitting down I had moved from my seat to the one on the other side of Becca. And it was a mark of how annoyed I was that I actually preferred sitting next to a young boy who would not stop eating instead.
Throughout the movie, the old woman and younger man talked. And talked. And talked. They talked about completely inane things — Lynn Cohen’s character should have cut her hair if she was going to be a tribute, Jennifer Lawrence looked better with dark hair, the tributes were walking into a trap — and it was the first time in a long, long while that I had been so irritated when watching a movie. So, after exchanging many disgruntled looks with me, Becca finally leaned over and hissed, “Could you guys not talk throughout the movie?” (She later forgot if she even said “please”, but maintained that it was her God-given right to watch the movie in peace regardless)
They stopped talking immediately, but after a while they caved and moved all the way to the end of the row so that they could pick up where they left off, and eventually they actually got up and left because a man seated in front of them shushed them as well. But throughout all this, the woman kept giving Becca dirty looks, as though she were the one with the problem. And I found myself thinking, That’s such a kiam pak face.
For all of you who don’t know, the phrase kiam pak is from the Chinese dialect Fukinese, or Hokkien, as we call it here. A kiam pak face is the kind of face that gives you an overwhelming desire to slap/punch/kick/whathaveyou, and more often than not, it comes with an attitude to match.
Lately I find myself realizing just how many people I’ve come across in my life who have that kiam pak disposition in them; most alarmingly, most of these people only surfaced in the last couple of years, after I took the job at HELLO! magazine, which draws the unsettling theory that this unreasonable, uncalled for and completely uncivilized characteristic is nurtured from a false, albeit self-anointed, sense of entitlement. It is this same incorrigible sense of entitlement and I’m-better-than-you mentality that leads people to say things like “I am a client, you should be taking care of me”, or “I am the wife of [insert title and name of politician or businessman here], you should address me as [insert corresponding spousal title]”, or “I am a shareholder of this company, so that makes me your boss as well”.
I got a taste of this not too long ago, and it was the straw that broke my own back, never mind the camel’s. I thought back to all the people of similar disposition whom I’ve had the misfortune of coming across in the last couple of years, and I realized just how little regard, how little respect, and how much contempt I have for them. Because if a person has to stoop to dropping names and positions and titles to strike fear into the hearts of those they deem lesser than themselves, then the one thing they’ve forgotten that matters above everything else is respect. And maybe it’s due to my own defence mechanism going into gear, or the pent-up anger I’ve had to bear over the last few weeks, but my only response to all of this is “NAH. I DON’T THINK SO, BITCH!”