Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Venus versus Mars

Her point of view...
"I'm waiting at the hotel lobby like an idiot. He is more than 2 hours' late for my belated birthday celebration. I rushed all the way from Putrajaya and, accommodating his usual tardiness, I even arrived an hour after the agreed time. The clock keeps ticking and... finally, I have to cancel our lunch booking as the buffet will be closed in 30 minutes. The only thing stopping my tears from falling is that I don't want to ruin my make-up. When I call him, he says he is still working on mock-ups that they are submitting to a client, the deadline is today. But, I smsed him last night to re-confirm our lunch time, he was okay, no mention of struggling to meet any deadline. In fact, I called him before I left just now, he asked for 45 more minutes (not 2 hours), which is fine with me."

His point of view...
"I'm rushing for these mock-ups, this is good business for us. I better do my best. I planned to finish this during the weekend, but with the outstation trip with my children, not much could be done. Even this morning, I thought I could still finish it before noon. When she said her meeting was running late and it would take another 30 minutes, I had no idea that she would rush straight to the hotel without calling me again. My partner asks me to leave the final touch to him and go and meet her asap. I am reluctant, this is important, I'd like to see the finish product before it reaches the client. But my partner insists, she spoke to him just now and that got to him, I guess. I just cannot get the mock-ups off my mind."

Let's see...

After waiting for 2.5 hours, at the peak of anger or sadness - I'm not sure which one - I got into his car just now. I was silent. He mirrored it and just drove around aimlessly. It was past 3pm and I was damn hungry. This is weird but I was also close to bursting into laughter. Yeah, he wasn't going to budge and it was getting ridiculous, so I had to talk. And the sight of his lack-of-sleep face, reddish eyes, purplish eyebags, a bit of glue also got into his eyes from his fingers... that softened me, man! We are in the same industry, I do not understand where he is coming from. But I am just a human being with emotions, not a robot. Him not considering my feelings hurts a lot. I'm not sure if I could live with that.

When we first knew each other, I probably caught him at a very vulnerable stage, he was carrying his emotions on his sleeves. I found that raw and attractive. He was very youthful, like a kid. It was refreshing, especially at a time when I just want to slow down and chill. Despite being 4 years younger, I felt like I was the more adult one.

As we get to know each other and face one disagreement after another, I realised that that is not the case. He turns out to be assertive, decisive and rational. The two main women is his life had been strong, in-control characters, maybe that's why he became the less-dominant partner. I may be a strong character too, but I don't want to queen control. I think a man should be a man, not a wimp. I don't want to be in-charge. Maybe a combination of his budding business and 'my way' sort of led him into taking the role of the adult, and yes, lately, he seems more mature than I. Before he could go into his I-don't-want-any-complication speech again, I asked him to spare me the lecture. That made him laugh.

This is still a very early stage. I'm letting things run naturally and observing the trends. Though his job is unpredictable, I'm beginning to see a pattern slowly unfolding. Over time, I shall decide whether it is manageable or not, and more importantly, whether he is worth it or not. Note that he asked me to bear in mind that he was very late for the birth of his second child. That despite his ex-wife delivering on the scheduled date and his ex-boss asking him to drop work and just go. So, it was a lousy way of his to say that it was nothing personal.

In fact, I only shed tears when I read his sms after he got home at 8pm and was about to cover his lack of sleep. He stopped to meet up with his partner on the client's feedback before that, maybe that calmed him down. His sms reads: 'Mid next week we hang out @ night time for coffee ok.' Hmm... are things going back to the way they used to be before he teamed up with his business partner? We sure had a lot of fun then:)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Connected Family

A few weekends ago, my 14 year-old close relative showed me her blog. Her entries reflect that she's intelectually advanced for her age. And she uses perfect English, mind you. I was surprised by the old-fashioned blog theme that she chose though.

Did I tell her about my blog? Absolutely, not! I'm a coward who hides behind anonymous pages. LOL! LOL! LOL! In fact, I'd rather maintain my anonymity, I didn't even join the group gathering held for Blogger Simah when she was in town a few months back. But somehow, when Kak Elle invited me to join the gathering when she was here recently, I agreed. Though at first I thought it was just Ummi (whom I'd been dying to meet). It turned out that there were others but I went like 'what the heck'. I've set too many rules for myself. The moment I broke one of it off recently, it brought wonders. So, why not break one more?;)

Anyway, back to my teenage relative, her sister and her sell t-shirts online. When people order, they agree to meet somewhere and insist on cash before handing the goods. I asked her how do they know the buyer is not a serial murderer or anything. Well, I learned my lesson the hard way.

Interestingly, after that she opened her 16 year-old sister's blog (in boarding school), her 20 year old brother's blog (studying abroad) and lastly, her 21 year old sister's blog (also studying abroad). Wow! They all used their real names and their parents knew about it as well. Their folks even commented or sent them emails to advise or clarify. That's pretty open, very daring:)

I was also a bit shock with her older sister's entries. I guess we have always knowns them as a family of expressive over-achievers, who excel at school and are all-rounders too. So, reading how she suffered during her lessons, got punished on her assignments, vomitted while studying for exams, etc - well, it kind of threw me off. It is probably because she is at a very difficult age, but she sounded troubled though. At least hers resembles a teenager's blog, from the dark modern design to the disjuntled flow of thoughts and short-form words.

Having said that, the depth and maturity of the eldest sister's entries and thoughts are also something. It's not just her ease with the language, it is also the level of thinking. And she actually sounds content. I don't remember being that mature at 21, or even 31, for that matter. LOL!

Lastly, on their only brother... he seems like a sensitive dude. He has plenty of boys' stuff on his blog, but he's not afraid to share his feelings and values openly. And I know he was conciously brought up to be a man, macho and all.

Wow! I learned more about my 4 young relatives from a week of reading their blogs than I had in a lifetime. Oh, their father has his own blog too. The power of technology:)

p/s: Above is a photo of my favourite internet cafe in Bangkok, I really felt at home there. It's mostly frequented by expats though.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sweet 36

Tonight's the night I've waited for
Because you're not a baby anymore
You've turned into the prettiest girl I've ever seen
Happy birthday sweet sixteen

What happened to that funny face
My little tomboy now wears satin and lace
I can't believe my eyes you're just a teenage dream
Happy birthday sweet sixteen

When you were only six I was your big brother
Then when you were ten we didn't like each other
When you were thirteen you were my funny valentine
But since you've grown up your future is sewn up
From now on you're gonna be mine, so

If I should smile with sweet surprise
It's just that you've grown up before my very eyes
You've turned into the prettiest girl I've ever seen
Happy birthday sweet sixteen
Singer: Neil Diamond
Song: Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen

I remember my 16th birthday in 1988. My classmates and I had a delayed celebration at my house. My parents chartered a bus to take us from our dormitory and arranged for hotel rooms for the boys. The girls stayed at my house. We had barbeque in the spacious backyard. Someone played the guitar and we sang and enjoyed all sorts of games. That was a day in memory. It might now sound much, especially to the teenagers of today, but we came from a strict boarding school. Boys and girls mixing freely (even under my parents' supervision) already equaled total freedom. When the weekend was over, we felt like the world had come to an end.

How simple life was then...

And now 20 years later... I wish everything is still that simple... where do I even begin...

I have not set any long-term goals for a while now. Those days, even back in school, I used to have at least a 1-year target, to be achieved my next birthday. Having said that, tonight I would like to define 3 long-term goals. Insyaallah, in 3 years' time by my 39th birthday, I hope to...

1) Set foot on the holy land again
2) Earn a 5-figure salary
3) Publish my 2nd short story collection and my 1st novel

I had an early celebration with my ex-roommate from boarding school just now. We had a nice 4-course Northern Indian dinner at the Taj and chatted for hours. We had not seen each other since our school's 25th anniversary in July. She had to rush home from Penang to cater to her sick mother and her housing project launch the next day. Yeah, she got both feet firm on the ground. She had had all sorts of relationships with all sorts of men. Hence, I value her advice and insights a lot.

July also meant that we had not talked about the new guy in my life. She said ' Be careful, but don't be paranoid' and 'take some time to get to know him, but don't take too long.' To my surprise, she felt strongly against it. She said something is very wrong, he's not worth it and I deserve someone better. She asked me to go and look for that someone, instead of wasting time and energy on him. It's time to detach myself from the situation and get a bird-eye view.

Wow! I surely didn't see that coming and my immediate response was to not agree with her. Nevertheless, an hour later and after 1 round of Istiqarah prayer, I'd say 'okay, point taken and will be considered'. I think the phone call that she made and another one that I made just now pretty much sum it all. It's not only the shocking discoveries, but more so the motive that triggered them in the first place.

Ehmm... this might not be as tough as it was with Ad, I cried every night for 1 year after it all ended abruptly. However, it's not going to be as easy as The Kebaya Man either, I could still make decisions and take actions with my head then. I don't have a plan yet, I don't know what I want to do or what I want to believe. And I don't even know when my cut-off period is. It's going to need a few more rounds of Istiqarah before I even have a clue.

Well, if the combination of Ad and my ex-boss had killed my passion for my job and career completely, Mr Designer has brought it back. Either way our potential relationship goes, this encounter will not go to waste, he's definitely bringing me closer to my 2nd goal at least:)

Apa-apa pun, jodoh itu rahsia Tuhan (Union is God's secret). Okay, enough deep thoughts for now, it's time to chill. I have a 4.5 hour spa appointment in the morning:D

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Que Sera Sera

When I grew up and fell in love,
I asked my sweetheart, "What lies ahead?
Will we have rainbows day after day?"
Here's what my sweetheart said...

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

Song: Que Sera Sera
Singer: Doris Day

Gosh, I didn't have time to update since my last entry. No, I didn't send him the letter. Nothing stops him from reading my blog though, except that he doesn't dare. He's too scared to know what goes on in my head. Okay, things are sort of back to normal and yeah, I learnt a lot more about Mr Designer.

Actually, later that night, he and I talked a bit before his battery konked out. I asked him why couldn't we just let it be and be happy. I didn't want to be sad. He agreed, we're cool and life is too short to dwell on sad things.

Just now, he came to see me, partially on business. We talked some more and 'Que Sera Sera' was what he said. Yeah, I told him whatever happens happens. Everything has been written. If something is not meant to be, no matter how hard we try, it won't happen. Likewise, whatever is fated, regardless of how we try to avoid it, it will happen. With this guy, I've already decided to just enjoy the journey. I don't want to bother about the destination.

This morning, I spoke to his business partner. He knows what I know, but his perspective is different. He seems to think that Mr Designer is finally living in the real world and for the first time, he is free. It kind of reminds me of Rachel Green in 'Friends'. I've got to be careful though, he reads too much into what Mr Designer says, and his assumption may be off. Wherelse, I, take his words at face value, I don't know him that well yet.

He told me that he did pressure the guy hard, they have figures to meet, if not they don't eat. That's the norm of running your own business. But he's sounding like a robot, as if he was trying to block off everything, including feelings and relationships, which he thought would interfere with his job. His partner is actually a healthy influence, a businessman who does his best to balance his work and family. I think this is just a stage, he's just starting off and he's going to need several months to adapt and settle down. I won't get in his way, in fact I'd help him wherever I could. His partner said what I did was beyond helping, he really appreciate it. Helping him means picking up new skills, discovering slightly unfamiliar territory. It would take me far. And yeah, the 3 of us makes a good team, business wise, an ideal combination of talents and personalities. His partner and I had to admit that he is very matured in terms of industry knowledge, really street smart:)

I've said this before. We met each other at very different stages of our lives. He had been having fun and partying like a teenager for years. Now, at 40, he realised that he has not achieved anything significant and would like to make up for those lost years. I, on the other hand, have always been focused. I've achieved many of my goals and now at 36, am tired and burnt out. I just want to chill and take it easily.

What triggered my previous entry's drama in the first place? He was reluctant to celebrate my birthday with me, the no car excuse. His return cab fare to my office is RM30, and he already has financial constraint. Anyway, suddenly his new car arrived later that night and everything became easy? Well, I don't drive. I didn't know having a car was going to have such an effect on his decisions. Birthday is a once a year occasion - it's a major screw up. That was his first. I'll allow 2 more. I'm also giving myself some time to get to know him better.

Experience also showed that whenever I 'merajuk', we'll meet up more often for a while. He has a tendency to blurt out things he doesn't mean when under pressure, which I discovered recently on a work-related matter. He nearly lost $$$ over that. In fact, he told me if I couldn't maintain objectivity and was not satisfied with his work, I could go ahead and use another supplier. He was already 80% done at that time, imagine. His partner squirmed and asked me not to take his words seriously, he was tensed and lacked sleep.

We're celebrating my birthday a few days later. The actual date clashes with a weekend trip he's taking with his 2 kids, and ex-wife. Apparently, she asked him to drive them to JB to see her relatives and he looked forward to spending time with the little ones. If she has not been engaged, that would have worried me, a little.

He always says that his ex-wife is a very nice person. Since they have a good relationship and it's over with his ex-fiance, why not get back together? He babysits their kids most Saturdays when she dates. She has been paying his stock market debt since 1998 and she does not earn that much either. That is unlike his wealthy fiance, who supported him for 1.5 years when he was not working and wouldn't let him work.

Then, came another shocker. He said many people asked him why they didn't remarry but unfortunately, they couldn't do that. He had 'lafaz cerai' (divorced her) 3 times already, that was 5 years ago after being married for 7 years. They got back a few months later and separated again, and again. Whoa! Anyway, reconciling may be good for him but he didn't think she would want it. I asked about her fiance, must be a strong and matured character like her, but he wouldn't comment.

And lesson for me: never have serious discussion with him over the phone when he is staring at his laptop and rushing for deadlines:)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I had a tough meeting with a supplier just now, supported by Mr Designer's business partner and his expert friend. It didn't help that I went in with red eyes and he said it was noticeable. He was surprised that it was because of Mr Designer. He seemed to think that it was just part of the ups and downs of a relationship. But I beg to differ. I think this is for real. The fact that I'm writing this on my blog instead of consulting my closest friends showed that I'm still in a state of shock.

Sorry for this anti-climatic entry, folks. My Superman has just broke my heart. But before I email the letter below to him, do let me know what you think. Should I proceed? Also, I'm talking to his business partner later tonight. I really hope that all this would look different when I wake up tomorrow morning.

Dear Mr Designer,

Ouch! That hurts. It was like you've pushed me out and shut the door in my face. If reading a novel, when the plot is about to progress, one stumbles upon an abrupt ending.

I'd have to say that your words just now shocked me. This is not the first time you said you want to focus on your work and your business, but I think this time though, your message finally got through. Yeap, now I know that you meant it, and that is the only thing that you want at the time being. Before this, I thought we agreed on taking things one step at a time and see where it goes. No pressure, no commitment, nothing... We were clear that I won't demand that you change your priority.

My head tells me that I should pull out immediately... stop all communications and dealings with you... business and personal. But unfortunately, my heart tells me that that would hurt a lot, and I don't think I'd have the strength to go through that kind of pain right now. And being 'just friends' at this stage hurts equally as much.

I know that I caught you at the wrong time, you're taking a break from relationships and matters related to feelings. But God had fated that we meet now and I think he knows best. I know where you're coming from, I'm a master of focusing only on one thing at a time, and I've achieved most of my goals. You, on the other hand, are for the first time NOT living a carefree, teenage-like life.

I appreciate the fact that you didn't want to let me down. To respect your wishes... give me some time to slowly pull myself out. Initially, I thought of giving you a cooling off period for a year or so. But I don't think that's going to work. Orang dah tak nak... nak buat macam mana lagi kan... I just hope that the tears would stop soon...


Monday, October 20, 2008

Expanding One's Horizon

Thanks to Mr Designer, last week, I discovered another potential career path. Something much more fun than corporate PR, and can bring in much more money than fiction writing.

It started with him asking me to write the scenes' descriptions for the storyboard that he was working on. His business partner and him were pitching for a client's television commercial (TVC). That day, we got thrown out of the restaurant at my office building (closed at 6pm) and we were seated at a bench outside. He shared his idea inspired from the 'Man of Steel'. He had a lot of deadlines to meet the next morning that he said he himself had to become Superman that night; he had to work agressively without sleep. Vroom! LOL! He looked so fresh that I was convinced that he would have no problem finishing everything.

I also shared my idea focusing on multiracial characters as customers, and guess what? The next day, he asked me to write the storyline based on my idea. Okay, I've never written one before, I've always been in PR, never advertising. He was too busy to send me a sample.

So, I simply 'belasah' and came out with 2 storylines in less than an hour - 1st one was an outdoor story and 2nd one was an indoor story. He loved the 1st one while his partner loved the 2nd one. The client selected his Superman idea and my 2nd idea. We really hope those would be approved and we'd get to see them on TV. I'll get something from it though we haven't worked out the actual percentage. His partner was surprised that he managed to rope me in with very little notice:)

I used my fiction writing technique. It is like writing a very short short story, just throw all the characters into the picture and let them take a life of their own. Mr Designer stressed to me that I could widen my market, there is a lot of money in this business.

That is not all. This morning, he asked me to help write the rationale of the 3 designs that he created for a client. He was planning to work throughout the night but fell asleep from exhaustion at 2.30am and woke up at 5.30am. When he called me, he was already tensed, said that it was at a critical state. He had to work on the 3 annual report mock-ups single handedly. In an agency, you have a whole team working on a significant business pitch like this.

So, it was already 11.10am when he emailed me the designs. The tender deadline was at noon and he still need to bind the mock-ups and send it to the client's office. Instead of an hour, I only had less than 30 minutes. Man, I was getting tensed then, especially since I didn't get the jist of his designs immediately, technology motifs are not easy. At least, he incorporated my feedback to combine technology icons with nature element or human element to soften it, make it warmer. I had to call him twice to clarify. He was rushing on the layout and margin, so his explanation was brief and mostly, I had to play a guessing game. Again, I simply 'belasah'. I hope I managed to sell all 3 designs equally.

Luckily, he said I got the rationales pretty accurrately, yeah, guessing what was actually in his head when he created those designs. Probably because we are close, and I understand his work, his finishing touch. He was grateful and said that they would treat me if they got the job. Later, his partner emailed me saying that he was impressed by my understanding of the concepts... and my strong commitment. Ehmm... I was doing a favour for a guy whom I'm really fond off. It was no big deal. I was also trying to avoid going brain-dead from the boredom and constraint of my present job. Though I have my limits. I'd only do right-brain stuff, things I enjoy, and fun. I wouldn't do serious annual report copywriting though it brings in money.

I guess I have the knack and natural skills to venture into writing for advertising. I did not have the experience or technical knowledge but Mr Designer believed that I could do it. So, I simply went ahead and did it. Yeah, I found a new career opportunity. I'm also picking up quite a lot of design technical knowledge from him in a short period of time.

Just now, after submitting the costing and designs an hour after the tender deadline, both of them went to Batu Cave steep staircase to chill. Thank god their submission was accepted:D

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Melancholy Mystery

Last Saturday, I read out my unpublished story during the monthly writers' forum organised by my instructor cum publisher. This was 'A Sweet Way to Go', yeah, the hotel King's cake story. I didn't have anything else short enough to read out, though I knew it was not one of my best.

When my instructor asked the audience, they politely said they liked the story and they would definitely buy a collection of my hotel short stories. However, judging from the way my instructor shook his legs while I was reading, I knew he was not happy. He said it was one of the weakest piece that I'd written. I was still sticking close to the truth and I was too proper. He told the audience that I could take harsh comments like that, LOL! Obviously, he was more blunt with me than he was with others.

After the session, he threw me a challenge. He asked me to write a brand new story for the December session. It has to be nothing like what I'd ever written before. I was not to think like myself. It CANNOT be based on a true story.

Feeling charged, I went off and completed my 'On the Road with Her' story. Yeah, it has become something else. I added a weird and supernatural element. On Friday evening, I shared the plot with Mr Designer. He liked its' weird element and mysterious tone. It is unique and nothing like what I had ever written before or even read.

However, he asked me to remove the mobile library intro and start with the weird encounter. It did work better if I go straight into the story, like what he suggested. He also asked me to dramatise the weather when the hero meets the heroine - sunny turns cloudy, creepy and haunting air, etc - and emphasise the heroine's sadness. He thought I should remove the seducing scenes and stick only to the weirdness of the encounter. Certain parts remind me of Mills and Boon, and I'm not sure if I should include them or not.

He stressed that though I would like to retain it as a mystery, I should still maintain logic and not leave the ending hanging, and the readers guessing. Wow! I think his feedback will make this piece much stronger and more impactful. It will be ready for December:)

On the Road with Her - 1st Cut

She cupped her palms and lifted up a bit of water. She held her hands towards him. “How many drops are there?”
He was puzzled.
“Touch it with your index finger until it dries and start counting.”
He did as she asked. Finally, the water was gone. He was not sure if he got all of it or it simply fell back into the pond.
“How many times?”
He swallowed. “255.”
He felt dizzy.

That night, in his dream, he had shrunk to the size of an ant. He was drown in a small pool of water in the palms of her hand. Her huge eyes watched him in silent as he struggled to get out of the water. He woke up screaming.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aimless Abroad

Remember Mr Designer's ex-boss, Ms-Mix-Business-with-Pleasure’? Well, she and her kids finally moved overseas early Syawal to follow her husband. However, the distance does not stop her from trying to separate Mr Designer and me, through email that is.

At first, she tried attacking him from a professional angle, claiming that he stole her clients (ie my company) and her money (ie money he made from her clients). Then, I shut her up by stressing the 3 main qualities that we look for in a supplier, he has all 3, she has none. She is not even in the country to manage clients. She leaves everything to her young and inexperienced PA. Futhermore, he only started doing work for my company after he resigned.

I asked her not to be so 'TAKSUB' (obsessed) with money, don't become a slave to $$$ until she lose sight of everything else. The business that we're giving him may be much more than what we gave her, but it is not still not that much. She lashed out and said that I am the one 'TAKSUB', with HIM. She even said that someone (hint: she herself putting words in her staff's mouth) said that I'm man-obsessed (gila jantan).

Failing business attack, she crept in from a personal angle. She actually went as low as creating a 2nd and even 3rd version of the same story to destroy him. The language she used shocked us - Mr Designer, his business partner and me. It was very street-y, like written by an uneducated plus un-properly brought-up person. She claimed that he did not appreciate her rescuing him from the street and giving him a job - her exact words: merempat, kutip kat tepi jalan, makan bangkai (homeless/penniless, picked him up from the side of the street, he ate carcass). Gosh, she hired an experienced UK educated designer but for all the wrong reasons. She did not acknowledge and recognise his qualifications and talents. Initially she tried to 'pimp' him as she thought his good looks can bring in more business. Now, she changed the story to him being a charity case, as if she is so generous. When he joined her company, he was still engaged to his wealthy fiance, so that already overwrite all her nonsensical claims.

Next, she tried to convince me that he was taking me for a ride. She claimed that her staffs heard him criticising my looks, saying that if he wanted to have fun, he can find much more cuter girls. Also, it seemed that he told people that the person he is dating is not his type but he still dates her (hint: me).

She even went as far as accusing him of sleeping around and living together with his ex-fiance, claiming that they are still together. Gosh, I talked to him on the phone like every night, I know that married man (or living-together man) couldn't get away with that. That is only because he's waiting for his car, we used to go out at odd hours at night before Raya when he had the company car. How did he manage that? Also, I haven't forgotten the night he called me to borrow money as he was desperate to move out of his rented place (it belongs to his ex-fiance's father and is next door to her unit). We had only known each other for a week then, and he regretted asking me.

More - she went on overboard as to involve other people. She said that he lied about his father being hospitalised in the ICU as an excuse to miss a work deadline. She even asked me to verify the hospital record. She referred to his younger sister as older sister and put down her occupation (from a petrol station owner to a petrol pump attendance). She also referred to his ex-colleague who recommended him to her as his 'girlfriend'. Her many factual errors were significant proofs that she either a) grabbed the bits and pieces that she knew and churn out a whole yarn OR b) was plainly lying or bullshitting about him.

The painful part is that she misused God's name in all this...said that she is a God-fearing person.... God as her witness, etc, etc.

Man, the woman is so out of control. She reacts like a machine gun, no aim, no pause, no look, just simply FIRE AWAY! She'll go mad soon, especially being bored out of her mind without friends there.

The only good thing was that she finally acknowledged that her pet bro cum Mr Coconut was right - one shouldn't mix business with pleasure. Because of that, and 1 'Jantan' (1 man), a person turned against her. At first, she tried the 'I am still naive, raw, don't know anything & he is bad influence on me' approach but it didn't work. Then, she became damn mad. I even teased her that 'raw' refers to a piece of steak. LOL!

Oh, BTW, this incidence reveals another discovery. Mr Designer officially broke up with his fiance only days before we first went out. At least, his partner confirmed that it happened before, and not after. On Mr Designer's side, he said it really didn't matter as they were long over anyway. The timing proof was that when they were about to present a corporate greeting card design to a client, he showed his business partner his missing collar button; they just had a major fight and she pulled it out. So, they broke up then. During our first date, he showed me the mock-up card and proudly told me that the client was unconservative enough to accept it. They would print it and he'd give me a copy. Hence, timing jived:)

And lastly, his ex-fiance is still trying to make him return to her. The thought of that is scary.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Paddy Fields, Mountain and Monkeys

Okay, my third Syawal post and a short one too (I'm at the office, long story lah)...

Raya this year was low profile and pretty relaxing. My parents decided to take it easy and not over strain themselves. By afternoon, we were out of our Raya clothes and dressed in our normal attires already. Since my brother and sister in law were back with my 3-year old niece, my mother took us to Gunung Keriang to see the monkeys. The view was stunning... mountain, paddy field, trees...

Syawal Again

Phew! It's been a week and I hope it's not too late to share my Syawal entries.

Who would have thought that the General Election 2008 would have an impact on the happenings on the first day of Syawal at the palace and shake rituals up...

This year, there were more visitors than usual, part of it was because of the celebrations being held at the new palace building in conjunction with the Sultan's 50th anniversary on the throne. Another part was due to the new faces in the government, many were participating in the annual ritual for the first time and were not familiar.

So, when the guests queued up to salam with His and Her Majesty the Sultan and Sultanah, it was havoc. Instead of the usual 2 lines, it became 5 lines. To make matters worse, the xx metre gap between the queue and the royal pair was non-existence. People did not wait for each member of every family to go and greet the pair together, they simply cut in the middle. Families got separated, it was messy. Not to mention, it was confusing and tiring for the royal pair. The couldn't see the faces from far, it was like being swamped by a pool of blury faces and another and another.

I went off first and was surprised to find that my father and the rest of my family members were not behind me. I just wanted to get it over and done with.

Anyway, the paintings and old photos on the walls of the new palace were something - authentic, distinct. I took a few shots:)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Walking on Fire

Selamat Hari Raya. I just got back to work today. Hmm... everybody else in office is still in the Hari Raya mood but... my staff and I have been running around like headless chickens.

Too many urgent things are due and pending 'No 1' approvals, in particular the costing for an international trade mission next week. To make matters worst, both of his PAs are still on leave. I had taken a big risk in asking Mr Designer and his partner to proceed with 3 brochure designs for the mission without prior approval on cost or agency selection. I couldn't wait, there was very little time left. It was either them or nothing, their costing is already much lower than the other agencies and I know his design standard. But I did warn them about this not materialising at all though.

I felt bad too, knowing how hard Mr Designer slaved over the designs during the Raya week. I myself wrote the text the day before Raya (to my mother's disapproval). I got back to KL on Saturday evening and on Sunday, 11am, we met up at KL Sentral to go over the designs. He actually produced 3 really good ones, normally I couldn't even get 1 from a small Bumiputera agency, especially not for a rush job like that. He has also taken the caution to make it 'safe' for a traditional decision maker's consent. After his partner left, Mr Designer and I went to Hilton KL to finalise the details. Then, we talked until 5.30pm. It had been a week and I kind of missed him.

Walking into the office this morning felt like walking on fire. It felt like being burried in ice too, I was shivering. The revised designs were due by 11am but until 12noon, they were still setting up their new printer. I was worried that 'No 1' 'mode' might change or he might have an outside appointment after lunch. I rushed them. It was almost 1pm when Mr Designer's partner arrived with the A3-size print-outs. I noticed that Mr Designer was meticulous with the finishing touches and menial amendments. It was perfect. His partner waited while I went to see 'No 1'.

As I stepped into 'No 1's' office, I could feel the overpowering negative energy coming from him. It was before I even show him the designs. That behavior is common when it comes to the 'need to spend money'. Come on, PR is a cost centre, and we still have 90% of our annual budget left! His negative facial expression, tone of voice, harsh comments, man, that was a killer. Thank god, miraculously, he chose the safest design there and then. I only needed to amend the text. He also approved the costing for another small project that Mr Designer is doing on his own, at a very low rate too.

I was relieved but I felt like all my energy have been sucked out. It was as if my battery got exhausted from that brief 10 minute-meeting with him. And now I realise why I hate going to see him so much.

His partner and I had lunch after that. My Designer didn't pick up any of our calls. Apparently, he 'konk out' from staying up all night to do the revisions and clean up the designs (based on my feedback). He was lying on the sofa in his partner's office when he left at noon. His partner joked about pouring water on him when he returns. He hadn't even eaten anything for the day yet. LOL!

He forgot to serve his partner the cake that I gave him yesterday, yeah, in my favourite Sri Lanka sourvenir bag. It was my mother's Raya specialty - mocha with fruits & nuts - I brought a whole cake for him, all the way on the plane too. I think he thanked me at least 5 times, he even sms me last night to say that it tasted nice. Ehem... I didn't recall that kind of appreciation when I did the same thing for The Kebaya Man last raya:p.

Anyway, his partner and I had a good talk about Mr Designer. I was just beginning to realise what a huge risk he took by breaking up with his fiance, after being in a serious relationship for 4 years. By that, he had to start from zero, no money, no car, no laptop, etc. He also moved out of her father's house that he rented with his friends without securing a proper place to stay; it was located next to her family home and he needed to get out fast. Yeah, she is wealthy and he was sort of dependent on her. That move called for a lot of guts, which was why he took the plunge without thinking about survival. If he had paused to think, I doubt that he would even follow through with it, it was way too scary.

Hmm... I'm learning something new about him everyday:)