Saturday, October 23, 2010

and with age, comes responsibility...

I turned 37 last week. It feels good to have reached this age. I'd love to say the extra inches around my waist represent wisdom that can only be attained through age...but alas, it's not true. Aging doesn't mean that one is free to be unhealthy, or that one is wiser than those who are younger...

Although it is indeed true that with age comes EXTRA responsibility. This year I really feel that at work. Gone were the days when my friends and I could go to have a hair cut or a facial on impulse at lunch time and always ended up having a long lunch hour. As a result, we always had to go back past office hours to finish our work. Looking back, I'd call it bad time management- just because the job allows flexi-hours, one shouldn't be too careless about time management. That, I realize now.

This year I attended 90% of the non-compulsory seminars at work, just because suddenly there are so many juniors in need of encouragement and feedback when they present their papers. Having been in their shoes, I know how it feels to present a conference paper for the first time. A little moral support from the seniors always helps to boost one's confidence. And so, in the spirit of solidarity, I find myself attending every presentation whenever I am at the office building. This sense of responsibility must be because of my age...

I am less impulsive; I am more appreciative of everyone and everything I have; I am less ambitious; and I like my job more and more...regardless of the extra responsibility that age brings :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

When loathe consumes...

I wouldn't call my workplace 'rosy', but nor would I call it 'horrible'. Having been working there for 12 years, I'd describe it as 'normal' with all its ups and downs, occasional frustration and disappointment, as well as good times. All because the staff is made up of people of various cultural background, experiences and expectations.

When I joined my unit, there were less than ten staff members. We were mostly fresh graduates with very little experiences dealing with life and work. Yet we survived. Those first years were spent building the institution, figuratively speaking. We had to deal with material preparations, admin work like finding and managing part time tutors to teach our students whose number grew every semester, teaching, apart from trying to live an academic life of doing research, presenting and writing the research. Despite all those, never once did I feel that we couldn't do our job. We've been a good team even though we were not perfect. Yes, we made our mistakes but we learned. And moved on...or so I thought.

Never once did I imagine that one fine day someone's past imperfections could be dug up, chronologized (almost) and paraded for the public in the name of loathe. But it happened. Somebody, using the pseudonym, Concerned Citizens, wrote a very venomous letter to the editor in one of the local dailies yesterday, vividly describing the failures of my unit in the year 2000. In short, the insinuation was that the unit staff members were (and still are) self-interested; mostly in making $$$ when they should concentrate on doing their job dedicatedly. No names mentioned, but a lot of little hints given, suggesting that the attack was meant for a certain person of the unit, although very strangely, towards the end of the letter the attack became more bizarre and the failures and names of the top management people were also included.

As I read the letter over and over again, I can only feel pity for the writer. It is obvious to me that the person is consumed by abject loathing. I could almost see venom oozing out of the letter. A person who wrote to the public to list other people's failings from ten years ago could only mean revenge. Perhaps they would never stop till their target, which is to ruin, is achieved. Perhaps the abject loathing is a result of insecurity and inferiority, or jealousy...I say a little prayer for the writer...may love shine in their heart, for when loathe consumes oneself, I imagine life must be a constant misery.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Don't judge a book by its cover

This morning my front tyre was running out of air. As I tried to pump it at a petrol station, I noticed that it looked very very flat, as if it has punctured. I tried miserably for a few minutes inflating it; to no avail. I looked around helplessly, realizing my biggest handicap of not knowing how to change a flat tyre.

I spotted somebody parked behind me. Quietly I observed him. He looked fierce...and unfriendly. I hesitated whether I should approach him to ask for help or go get help from someone else from the station's shop. Since he was closest, I decided that it had to be him (Thank god I had my sunglasses on, so if he were to answer me nastily, I wouldn't feel too embarrased!). I knocked on his car, and asked if he could tell whether my tyre was punctured or whether it could still be saved. He grumbled (and I braced myself for verbal attack...), went out of his car and headed to mine. He took the air hose from me, said something about the tyre not being punctured, and started adjusting the machine. Seconds later, he had my tyre fully inflated and I felt kind of silly. I thanked him proffesionally (or so I hoped), being careful not to smile because he looked like the kind who wouldn't appreciate an unnecessary smile. He responded accordingly, with a curt nod and went back to his car.

Well, I said, he might looked grim and unhappy but he did help me without question. So all in all, he was still a good samaritan. And I reminded myself again- never judge a book by its cover.

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