Saturday, August 26, 2006

What Merdeka Means To Me Part 2

What Merdeka Means to Me Part 2


Continued from here   And later proved the guy wrong, but I cannot recall exactly what Quran verses I quoted and then this kid got confused and went and asked his Ustaz, and I got scolding because I was not �supposed to touch� the Quran.Well, I am sure the ustaz will be glad to know that with the advancement of IT, I will no longer need to touch the Quran, but can browse through it using an e-book reader or PDF viewer.


As a teenager in secondary school, the rift was showing but even so not among racial lines, at least I did not feel so.It was more of a rift between the haves and the have nots and the smart and the dumb.


In secondary school I made the friendships of my life.One of which would go on to be my tentative business partner, 3 or 4 of who went on to be my partners in crime (steady life of mamak, clubbing, Genting , 1Utama, Melaka and Penang makan adventures and so on )


The closest friends whom I would die for and whom I do not doubt would take a bullet  for me, (yes Hizzad, I know probably not in the chest, right?) I met in secondary school.The ethos of the school I attended (a missionary one) transcended race and religion, and held special meaning to me as a dear relative of mine belongs to that Order of Brothers, and that I myself am a Catholic.


I remember feeling so proud of the contributions the Church had made to the nation, contributions that sadly of late have been taken for granted, questioned, and in some sadder cases, forgotten.


It was in secondary school that I experienced the most brotherhood I have since ever. There was this incident I remember well that happened in my class.when I was in Form 4. A teacher of Ceylonese origin got into a hissy fit one day, came into the class red from anger and went on and on venting her unwanted opinions on the Indian community. �Your society is this and that� For about ten minutes she went on complaining and bitching about the Indians that I could take no more and yelled from the back of the class- �Teacher, this is Malaysia� and she yelled �So what?� and I shot back �It�s a multiracial country!� to some cheering students.


This passed and later we were called to the principal�s office where I faced a few JPS (Selangor Education Dept)  officials and had to testify. Chinese and Malay friends of mine testified alongside with me,for there was no place in our hearts for racists..The rest is history- she now teaches in a Chinese school with really very few Indians to insult.This  type of teachers(this and the ustaz who reprimanded me) are the type of teachers educating our young.I shudder at this thought


Fast forward a few years where I worked at the wharf side (in a now rival  port and a far cry from my current position). My main job then was producing balance sheets to passing lorries.

I was paid much much much  less than what God has blessed me with now and everyone looked low on you. I was pushed around a lot, and learnt humility and how it was like to live a true blue collar job.Here I saw my first real taste of class difference with a tinge of racism, but not at its full potency.


My next job was as a factory contract worker in a air con manufacturer in Shah Alam( all this was before I started college) for about 3 months. Here I tasted racism in its most raw form.


My supervisor was a Malay chap, and at first he treated me really really well (it was the fasting month) and would bring me around on his buggy to drop me off at my station at the operation line.AS SOON as he found out I WAS NOT Malay, suddenly my workload quadrupled. I was moved from the packing line to the heavy machines, where I pushed 4,5 industrial air con units across the hall (1 km apart). My ego shrunk, my arms sweleed and my character formed. I did not feel malice to this guy, probably a diploma holder or something.I was merely waiting to enter APIIT, and I remember asking a good friend of mine what to do and her reply- why bother,  some day when I am somewhere in life, I will not be bothered about him anymore.How right she was J


During college I worked for another employer  and waited tables at a restaurant .Here I worked all through my college years, as a kitchen hand, a waiter, supervisor, cashier and basically everything you can do in a restaurant la (which is why I probably am going to open one myself).


While working here, I met many amazing people, I worked with migrant workers and shared their meals, their stories of war and oppression in their homeland (Myanmar mainly) and remember feeling how lucky I was to be in Malaysia. This was much better exposure in my humble opinion than going on some field trip to an orphanage or doing some charity ball somewhere.


Here also I got my first major �backstab,� when a relative of a then good friend of mine turned on me.I remember doing her Masters degree Multimedia project for her from start to finish, for free and not expecting anything .Later I found out she was telling her nephew to avoid me as I am bad company (she assumed I got kicked out of college because she�s seen  me work till 2am) and she labeled me a useless guy. What she did not know was I was doing this for experience and that my parents had more than enough cash to send me anywhere I wanted to go, and that I was an A student in college. But earlier lessons in life taught me, not to be bothered about what people thought about you. And how right that was.


And so I went to college, fell in love, got dumped after 4 and a half years, lost a hard earned laptop (with my Final Year project and dissertation in it) and reversed a new car into a tree all in the same week; yet I am still living and loving every moment of it J


In college too I made a bunch of great friends, and some not so good ones.There were many in college who judged you by your dressing and your car, and I remember one instance where I was in a discussion with a few friends on a project where I used the term �server farm� (of course the more commonly used term now is data center)


Rude Oxymoron Friend : Hahaha what you mean a server farm?

Me: Well, is that not a correct term to call a place with many server racks banded together?

Rude Oxymoron Friend : Hahahhahahahahahhah imagine a place you bury servers and they make baby agahahhahahahah 9and all his fellow oxymorons laughed with him at me)

Me: (To passing student who is REALLY smart and codes in assembly language) Yo JT, a server room can be called a server farm right?

JT: Yes la correct la

Rude Oxymorons (some lame jokes followed by laughter)


As karma/God would have it, NONE of this morons now work remotely close to a server, in fact none work in any IT-related job as a result.moral of the story:Never insult something that sounds stupid, you might just regret is someday.


So at this point of my life, Merdeka was feeling grateful for what we have in this country, it may not be all great, but it�s home


-To be continued (My working life)

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Blogger F.O.N. said...

Whoah... interesting life you have there. More to come eh? Thanks for sharing.

2:56 PM  

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