Sunday, 25 November 2007

Is life ours to create?

The queue was as long as a dinosaur and just as fat. I was nine; slightly podgy from all the good food I had been eating for the past nine years, and there I was, standing right in front of the rusty gates with a slight pang of hunger. I have been there for almost an hour, and in less time that it takes for a girl to make up her mind as to which black blouse she wants to wear, the crowd swelled to a huge number only seen in a National Geographic documentary about penguins. And this was a school day. Aren’t people supposed to work on school days? Heck, aren’t the kids supposed to be in school? All this was at the theatre or cinema house as we oldies called them back in the day when watching a movie of that bygone era involved queuing for ages and you’d still never see the counter. And they had people actually writing the seating position. It was that long time ago. Only a movie that promised so much could whip such frenzy.

So, what movie could have generated so much buzz and teachers teaching to chairs and tables?

You guessed it: Jurassic Park.

It is first and foremost, a very entertaining movie. Seeing dinosaurs roaming the lush (very fake-looking now but damnit, it looked awesome back then) green forests and devouring cows faster than you can say “Kobe beef are good!” made a nine-year-old Chris a very happy brat and was well worth all the effort after almost being crushed by two very large Indian women with their bulging flesh poking out of their already small saris. For those who remember: did you squirm when the T-Rex flung the carcass onto the unsuspecting visitors’ jeep? Or did you scream when the raptors were chasing the heroes? I remember devouring every single scene, laughing at all the funny bits and excitedly jumping on my stinky seat whenever a dinosaur was in the frame.

Of course, besides the dinosaurs the other thing that made this movie better was the inclusion of Encik Lalat nee The Fly himself, Jeff Goldblum. Up until recently, my recollection of his performance was the famous line he utters when the good lady palaeontologist was digging into poo, and his incredulous exclamations of “Droppings? Droppings?” It still manages to make me chuckle. Coupled this with his trademark delivery of delivering smart-sounding babbles and yodel, which at the time sounded pretty darn smart to a kid like me but all of it was totally lost in translation because I couldn’t understand what the hell the meanings were.

Here’s probably the best piece of dialogue from the movie:

“I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here: it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it, you want to sell it!”

It’s funny that we read about lives being lost every single day but when a cloned cow with an extra udder is created, people react as though a cacodemon was summoned by half naked eldritch interns. I think cloning a human being is wrong (who the hell, seriously, wants a clone of themselves?) and goes against the laws of nature, the cosmos and whatnot. But cloning animals and organs, to me, is something I’m okay with. After all, the reason why the dodo and countless animals have become extinct is because of us. And organ cloning is a no-brainer, do we want to keep waiting for someone just so that we can get their organs?

But let’s leave Lassie alone, shall we. Just like Goldblum said, “Life finds a way.”

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: I wanted to eat some sushi the other day, but an assortment of innards and other offal delights were on offer. I didn’t feel like eating anymore.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Email Madness

This was how I felt last week. Really. (No amphibians were hurt in the making of this blog post.)

I’m a liar.

Remember my last post? It said that I would post the dirty on what transpired during my one-night team-building bonanza. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, my ever adoring fans, but it ain’t going to happen. Not for this week, at least. For this week was the week that Chris got screwed. By his own screwdriver!

Dreadful analogy aside, I made more mistakes on Friday than I did the past bloody month and a half! At one point, I just couldn’t help but laugh at myself. My mistakes were sort of like gaffes: not terrible enough to be called bad mistakes but enough to be called downright daft mistakes. And from gaffes, it invariably morphed into snafus. The less said about them, the less agonising it is.

The biggest part of the shitty predicament I was in the last week is something that everyone working in a torture cha…office has to use:


To. CC. BCC. Holy weed cakes from Jamaica! I’ve sent the wrong email to the MD!

Imagine that were to happen to you. What you would do? Would you jump out of the building before the MD comes pounding to your station, demanding an explanation as to why he’s affectionately known in the office as Very Big Pain in me Arse?

Sometimes clicking on the Send button can be so damn nerve-wracking.

People always say you learn better when you make mistakes. I hate that. But it’s an adage that I’ve been required (for lack of a better, less discomforting term) to employ, whether I want to or not. The great thing about making a mistake, any mistake, at this point in time—and especially in my case—is that I can still hide it behind my inexperience and my look of absolute vapidity:

Boss: What? How come wrong, ah? Don’t know how to do, ah?
Me: (Shoulders shrug, benign look of utter dumbfoundedness). I don’t know la, boss. Can teach me, ah? Please? I give money!

Instant get out of jail trick! But I know that ploy won’t work for long. And I don’t want it to, truth be told. I want to do things that aren’t necessarily part of my job requirements because it'll be nice to know other things. I want to solve things. But I can’t because there simply isn’t enough time and manpower in order to bring me up to speed. I’m impatient, I know. People keep telling me it’s only your sixth week doing something they’ve been doing for years, so, take it nice and slow.

The week of 12th November will be the week I remember the most whenever I want to recollect my early days as a junior consultant. It was a tiring week, both mentally and physically. It was a week where I was at my most unenthusiastic and unmindful. But somehow, by the good graces of the Metal Gods up in the sky, I managed to pull through. With a few scars and a slightly damaged ego as souvenirs.

I’ve got a couple more emails to send out. Hopefully it doesn’t get sent to the CEO!

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: Getting hit with a paintball actually stings a lot. Especially if it explodes in the vicinity of the nether regions!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

C’mon, motivate me. I dare you.

You have the right to be rich!

How I made a million in my pyjamas, and so can you!

I used to plough the fields before dawn but now I’m skyrocketing up the stock market!

This reminds of the time when I went to a camp organised by the prefects’ board when I was a not-too-long-ago youth. As a senior prefect, I was required to oversee certain aspects of the camp, from safeguarding the well-being of my juniors to supervising the many activities that were to be carried out.

I didn’t.

This was my first and last camp (I was never much a camper) and I’ll be damned if I didn’t join in the fun! As with all school organised camps, this had We’re gonna motivate your ass right now! Yee haw! written all over it. Other “rousing” war cries included such gems:

  • Inspiring you and your future! And there’s nothing you can do to stop us!
  • You’re a champion! The rest are bottom feeders!
  • You’re better than that boy who fell into the sea wearing only his underwear!

It was propaganda. I would nod my head each time my teacher/motivational coach/football coach/shameless glutton said something that needed nodding. It wasn’t that I was rude or didn’t appreciate his talk; I just wanted to have fun, fun and FUN! Let’s cut the chatter and go to the beach to play some beach games. I reckon that’s more motivational. I also didn’t want to be told that in order to serve my school I had to blah yadda blah yadda blah…snore. I’m done with that kind of pointless pep talk and superfluous rah-rah. But the younger ones, oh my, they loved it. They lapped it all up like a cat taking to a saucer of fresh milk. Of course, to be fair, the said teacher/motivational coach/football coach/shameless glutton had the charisma to charm these wide-eyed dolts as well as motivating the bloody punks.

I don’t know about you, but motivational gobbledygook doesn’t work on me. If there was ever a pill for motivating people, I’d be allergic to it. Severely. The thing that irks me the most is how these motivational speakers tend to alter their tone of voice to that of a person explaining the intricacies of flushing a toilet while subscribing to the belief that if I can do it in my underwear, so can you! The only person that can truly motivate me is, naturally, me. More often than not, it is my constant vomit of words of encouragement that gets me going. If I feel tired after a jog, I’d look around to find a languid-looking person and say, “No way, man. I’m going to do another lap.”

Using people’s shortcomings to bolster your waning optimism can be very invigorating.

I used to be of the opinion that self-help books are books written for people who should know better. It’s all done in a didactic manner, no matter the style of writing, be it for gardening to buying the kitchen sink. People like Dr. Phil and other hack jobs are making millions from telling people what to do. If I had known, I wouldn’t have taken up IT and gone straight to marketing.

Bullshitting is so much easier than programming.

Of course, the times have change and I have altered slightly my opinion on self-help material. I draw the line at getting those “Let’s go and make money in our undies!” or “Why loving me is more beneficial than loving yourself,” type of books. Now, if you’ll excuse, I’m off to read How to be best Chinaman do Business Stuffs.

Trust me, it’s really good.

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: Question:- Have you been—truly and wholly—motivated after attending some form of motivational camp or read book telling yourself that “You’re number 1!”?

PPS: Do look out for my next post as I’ll spill the beans (literally) on what transpired during my company’s GASPY! GASP! teambuilding thingy.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

You might as well tie a dead raccoon around your neck

By the time most of you read this, I would have entered the second month of my third job. And boy does it feel good. This is going to make me sound like a broken down recorder but I like my job, team and office so damn much. I’m literally the baby of the team, with the second youngest merely 5 years older than me.

The place where I work is the best. Nah. Others think that but I don’t. Everyone thinks it’s an exclusive place to work. Sure, my office is on the 63rd floor (if you fellas wanna know how high that is, just look up the sky, chances are you still won’t see my smiling face looking down at you an…people.) The Petronas Twin Towers, or more commonly known amongst Malaysians, Them Bloody Tall Tall Buildings, towers many other, um, tall buildings. It’s like Michael Jordan and a bloody hobbit standing side by side ‘cept that one slam dunks with his tongue wagging while the other doesn’t seem to wag tongues.

Guess what. I committed my first real and potentially catastrophic snafu! Thankfully, my boss came over to my station and explained to me the proper way of doing things. Midway through his explanation, he started to laugh, saying that maybe they should’ve provided additional information in order to complete the job. I nodded my head, trying my best not to laugh. I would have laughed for one simple reason:

I honestly don’t know much, but here I am, almost causing the entire system of a client to go bust! All I did was clean up the list of clients of ours and updated certain details. It goes to show that technology—while in so many ways is a blessing of sorts—can also be a curse. One minute everything is working dandy and gay but the next, it can prove to be the last thing you do. Furthermore, the big boss from UK was in a generous mood (odd, because the previous day he was practically livid with rage) and told my boss that maybe we should have given the (rather dim) fellow clearer instructions.

And this brings us nicely (oh dear lord, thank you) to the blog’s title. Having a lanyard wrapped around your neck like a really skinny python is one of the most annoying things any working person has to wear. It gets in the way, like for instance, when you want to pee. Since (most) men pee at the urinals, you have to juggle between your ahem and the dangling noose, assuming you’re not wearing a shirt with a pocket. It’s a symbol where a small percentage of the working community think that just by wearing it makes them superior. The thicker the lanyard, the more stuck up some people are.

What is it that makes people so proud to wear what is basically a string tied around one’s neck? It’s nothing but a form of advertisement. It’s like when a male peacock sees another male, he immediately becomes a competitor. The same goes with me. There’s another IT consulting firm, perched only 2 floors higher than my office. The minute I see one of their employees, I right away stand to attention and try to look as hoity as possible. I lose always since the competitors are usually more conceited and have better eyelashes than I do.

What else can I say? I think I’ll wear my lanyard. I look rather spiffy.

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: For some strange reason, I find dangling my lanyard at the side of my leg is pretty cool.