Tomorrow nite is the Firm's Sports Club dinner. I am one of those stubborn people who didn't join the Sports Club. It's not about the RM5 we have to contribute every month, it's just that I don't want to join in any activities as I don't play any of the games they have in the Sports Club. Ok ok, I am anti social... Anyway the theme is Retro Nite ie 60s, 70s fashion.
I don't feel left out that I can't attend this dinner becoz I'm not a member but since last week, my colleagues especially the secretaries have been hounding me to join the Sports Club so that I can attend. Today, I can't even go to the loo or pantry in peace - every corner I turn there will be a secretary literally begging/harrassing (in a very cute way) me to attend the party. I am now feeling very guilty & awful that I am spoiling their fun. They are saying that the party won't be fun if I don't attend. It's not that I'm such a party animal - I don't even drink alcohol (not sure if I can even spell it properly) so I won't be jumping about screaming like a loony. It's just becoz its Retro Nite and there is a Best Dressed competition. One secretary said "We all have come to the conclusion that this party will not be complete if you don't attend as you are our fashion icon. Come lah, I will pay for your Sports Club contribution..." I was so stunned. I thought they were just teasing me or joking but they were serious. Another secretary said "Actually, quite a lot of people are happy you are not coming.... (I didn't realise I was so unpopular...) now we have a chance of winning the Best Dressed if you are not there...".
Today they are resorting to emotional blackmail - "You don't want to mix with us, we are just the staff and you don't bother to join us in this party..." Five minutes ago 1 of the secretaries came in with a Sports Club membership form, telling me that she will just leave it on my desk to think about it.... Half an hour ago another secretary came in, interrupted my conversation with Bespectacled and pleaded with me to go "come lah...please, its no fun if you don't go..." Bespectacled said to me after she left "They want the Devil to go becoz then they can get away with anything becoz the Devil will get all the blame." Then he chided me "Why can't you join us at this party and not be so imperious & join us common folk ... " Sigh, what do I do? It's too late to change my mind. I haven't psyched myself up to going to this party. For me to attend any large gathering or even a dinner for 5, I need to psyche myself up at least 2 weeks before - that's how anti-social I am. I know it sounds ridiculous but part of the reason I didn't join the Sports Club & now do not want to go to this party is becoz I feel awkward- I don't fit in. I'm a maverick of sorts and stick out like a sore thumb. What I didn't realise is that just by attending this party, I would make some people happy and these are members of the staff. They told me that not many lawyers treat them like people and that I am one of the few lawyers who is courteous to them. That's really strange - I thought that the reason you have the Sports Club is to break the barriers & mingle and not differentiate between partners, lawyers & staff. Obviously they have not achieved this.
Anyway I haven't recovered from my trip to Johor Bharu with my Clients. I had to attend a negotiation in JB and went down in my Client's car with my colleague. I sat at the back leaving the 2 men to chat in front. Guess what... my client (the Director) has a red velvet Love Cushion at the back seat.... When I saw it I could literally hear God laughing at me. That nite in JB we all had dinner/meeting to discuss strategy. The 3 Malay men (which includes my colleague) were puffing away at their cigarettes. The 2 French men refrained from smoking. I was choking away. I told them earlier that I'm asthmatic and I can't take cigarette smoke - but do they care.... well, I didn't expect them to - being Malaysian men. Anyway, that nite I had difficulty sleeping as I started wheezing and I didn't bring my inhaler. So the next morning I woke up really early to have breakfast. I didn't want to sit with them in case I'm caught up in all that smoke haze again so I went down really early to eat by myself. At the coffee house I told the waitress specifically "No smoking area please". She pointed me to the general direction of the non smoking area. I plonked myself at this small table (for 2 persons) thus, further circumventing anyone else from joining me. There I was, chomping through my eggs on toast whilst reading thru the Concession Agreement in peace... There was this Malay man sitting at a table next to me. He looked familiar but I didn't want to say so in case I'm mistaken & I have not met him before & he thinks I'm a solicitor of the old fashioned kind (oldest profession in the world if you get my drift...) doing a spot of "marketing" early in the morning.... Then I noticed the guy sitting at the table next to him was smoking. My neighbour then took out a cigarette and was about to light it. I looked at him in alarm... checked his table and saw an ashtray there. Darn! I was sitting at a SMOKING area!! Damn that waitress! Next thing I know, this very kind gentleman who noticed my alarm, put away his cigarette. Just by that act, he redeemed all Malay men for me. Here I was thinking all Malay men are inconsiderate louts.
The Government building we went to for our meeting was very beautiful - very colonial, majestic, imposing, impressive.... from the outside. As we stepped in, I felt like I was in a train station in Pakistan. The meeting went well. Our clients took us to this really yummy restaurant (coffee shop) run by a bald Chinese man and his family to eat "Ikan Asam pedas". Superb food!!!
I took a lift from one of our partners who attended the meeting - it's his file ie he is the partner in charge of this project. He had driven down that morning to attend this meeting. There was no Love Cushion in his car but I had to put up with at least 4 continuous hours of depressing Malay songs and him (and my colleague) chomping thru 2 big packets of Keropok Udang in his BMW. Now you know why I haven't recovered yet from the trip. I now feel qualified to compose my own depressing Malay song. Bespectacled said the word "depressing" is redundant (ie all Malay songs are depressing). Here goes...
Aku ditimpa cinta yang tragis
Seperti di sengat serpen (this is my malay version of "serpent")
Di telan oleh Raksaksa Bumi dan di luahkan kedalam api membara
Aduh pedihnya sakitnya aku diseksa begini
Aku cuba merangkak dari tangkapan hatiku yang membara, berlumuran dengan lumpur cintaku
Berdaki dengan titisan air mataku
Hancur diriku yang telah dicincang dengan kejamnya
Menyimpan harapan dengan pilu agar kau akan bertemu engan aku sekali lagi
....dengarlah tangisanku yang penuh tragis
dan kepahitan cintaku untuk mu bagaikan tertelan seratus biji panadol...oooh...ohhh...ooooohhh....
There - enough to make you lie down on the tracks of the bullet train to Singapore!
My mum will have a fit if she reads this. I have never used the words "aku" "kau" "awak" "engkau" before in my life. We were not allowed to by my mum. She says its rude to use those words. I once had someone refer to me as "awak" and I remember how that really jarred on my nerves. Anyway, I have to use these words in this song becoz it's commonly used in the Malay songs. What happened to the Hang Tuah & P.Ramlee days when people were more courteous and refined in their language? People referred to each other as "Tuan hamba" not "awak". Where did this "awak" come from?????
On Monday, my client - the Director - called me. He told me that during the weekend he had to attend a company function and he sat next to his Big Boss - who is the main shareholder of the company. Actually they are new clients and have, since we took on the first project recently, given us another project of another company they own. So I'm now handling 2 of their projects. At this function his Big Boss told him "you know that lawyer you hired....she was sitting next to me at breakfast in Johor that morning and she didn't even recognise me (I met him once at a meeting). Then I saw that this guy next to me is smoking so I thought of having a cigarette too. I noticed that she looked at me and checked my table whether there is an ashtray... I felt so bad, I had to put away my cigarette!!" Omigod!! That was my client!!!! Apparently he was there for some other mission and went down early for breakfast becoz he didn't want anyone to see him either. The Director told me not to worry becoz the Big Boss was rather amused by the whole incident. Groan....maybe I should start smoking to get over this aversion to cigarette smoke and smokers.
It's now Friday - tonite is the Sports Club dinner. I'm not going - as I have explained before...But gosh it's really tough to walk around the office this morning. I went to the pantry to get my Milo and my boss' secretary came and put her arm around me, walking me all the way back to my room asking me to go tonite. Then I went to a colleague's room to get something. When I left, 2 secretaries flanked me on each side, linking their arms to mine & walked along with me "come lah...come lahh tonite...its no fun without you...look you are even dressed for it..." I am wearing my Versace geometric design pants and Chloe top (1st line). At one narrow part of the corridor we got stuck and a lawyer was trying to pass from the opposite direction ... & we all got stuck at that corridor laughing away. People trying to pass by asked "what's going on here". So I replied "I'm being ambushed by these people". Sigh, I feel really bad for not going. I know I'm being anal about this. If they had asked non members to pay for a ticket to attend the dinner then I would go. But to force people to join the Sports Club... I just don't agree with this. This is the Sports Club dinner & not the Firm's Annual Dinner (which we are not having anyway... I don't think we had one since er...I can't really remember when - maybe 3 years ago or more).
Anyway next week there will be several dinners to attend. My ZICO alumni (unofficial) dinner get together. It's just a small group of us who were at ZICO at the same time - those who used to hang out together for lunch. There's Sulip, Anita, June, Farah, Amir.. have I missed anyone out? Yes Khemo..(Khem actually). Is Andrew joining us this time round? Has anyone invited Andrew... June, I know you read this Blog sometimes. June has moved on to greener pastures, earning mega bucks (according to Sulip) in the oil&gas industry. Sulip is COO & acting CEO of a listed company. Amir is the legal eagle of our budget airline so it's hard to get him for dinner as he hardly ever in KL. Andrew & "P" (another ex ZICO) I hear now own a power plant - am I correct in saying this guys?? We call him Androo....Anita is busy buying houses to decorate (she's very talented). That's scheduled for Wednesday. Thursday (21st sept) is my birthday and my friend Terrie has been busy trying to organise a "surprise" party. Finally she told me the original plan was to go out to some remote area (countryside) to some lovely kampung style house/restaurant (by appointment only) where this lady will cook some authentic Malay dishes. But she requires a minimum of 10 persons. So when Terrie told me this, my first response was "I have 10 friends aa??" It's true but not (to me) sad. I don't have that many close friends. Shila lives in Australia, Gigi lives in New Zealand, Olivia is in Sabah, my ex Zico friends I'm already seeing on Wednesday, and my other friends either don't know each other or can barely tolerate each other.... I'm not going to make them sit thru dinner with each other. So, as predicted, Terrie could not find 10 people to come for this dinner on Saturday. We are going to this restaurant called Precious China (or something like that) in Central Market on Friday nite instead. Even then, I hear there's some dispute - some of them want to go to a Brazilian restaurant....sigh, we'll see what happens next week. I hope I can make the ZICO dinner. My client threatens to arrange a meeting in JB again next week for Wed/Thurs....I think I should go buy myself an ipod thingy or portable CD player... Can't take another 8 hours of depressing Malay songs....
Have a Great Weekend!