Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lotsa Words

I had been intending to write this blog entry since the day started, since I logged on the net and saw a fresh bunch of pictures that instantly brought tears to my eyes. It was unexpected - I have been feeling exceptionally immune of late.

But then the day dragged on, turning into a major exercise of restraint for me. I may have controlled what came out of my mouth, but I never could control what showed on my face. My father says so. I tried to etch in neutrality, but failed miserably.

The major meeting I held today was a meeting that should have been held a long time ago. I blame myself for this, because really, who else is there to blame?

What was supposed to be a "moving on" meeting -- filled with constructive comments and perhaps a couple of rightly-placed barbs of criticism to remind people that they had to buck up -- turned into a Singaporeanisque tragic comedy of pushing blame and defensive excuses.

Of course, as it is always the case, I am bound to be generalising. But if I had to summarise today's meeting, it would be: "Its not my fault because XXX did not tell me to do it."

Worst of all, it seems nothing wastaken seriously. I guessed as much when I headed out to buy snacks, and everyone cheered me on asking me to "get drinks as well". I retorted by saying it was not a party. What I really wanted to say was, "This is not a fucking party. You should not be laughing and should rightly be pissing in your pants because the fact that this meeting was not organised by you is an indication that you've fucked up."

I left feeling rather defeated. It was utterly tiring. I don't even care who reads this now -- I will be very glad to announce to anyone who would listen that I was utterly disappointed and let down today.

And on the way to the other job, I got a call from a colleague who told me that the stuff I'd been staying in late nights for was not good enough. This would be fine if I had known I was doing a shitty job -- ironically, I was actually rather pleased with what I had done. That basically meant all the late nights I had stayed agonising over picas of space was for naught.

When I reached the other office, I surrendered. Do whatever you want, I said. Change it however you feel like it. I don't care.

Exchanging barbs with Malcolm online, it occured to me that ST was the first and last place I had worked at whereby I actually believed my bosses to be better than me. They knew what they were doing, they were smarter and more experienced, and even though I disagreed with them on stuff, at the end of the day I am always happy to defer to people that I trust and respect. I was happy to be the novice, to be the one who knew nothing, who had a lot to learn.

Haven't felt like that in a long time. I'm tired. I want to learn. I'm happy to pretend to be a leader as long as the rest of you stop acting like sheep.

My lousy analogy for the day would be this: You're on a sinking ship with a captain that you know is stupid. Rather than figure out a way to save yourself, you turn and ask the captain to save you. And then you blame the captain when you start drowning.

Of course, real life is not so simple. There's no prospect of death to kick your survival skills into high gear. The ugly fact is, we probably don't pay them enough to give a shit.

My friend defends their behaviour as being understandable, since they're saving their asses and aren't really in a privileged position to save anyone else's. My argument is that no one can be saved when a ship is going down.

Moving on.

Everywhere I go, I see flashes of pictures. These are moments -- moments that I knew I would be clicking the shutter, if only I had the camera in my hand. The last one I saw today was when I disembarked off my rickshaw and waited as the rickshaw wallah counted my change. A SUV went by, momentarily illuminating him in the darkness, etching shadows along his sunburnt skin and muscles, highlighting every bead of sweat. His face, furrowed with concentration as he counted his money, was a face that could represent the millions that labour under the sun.

Pictures, pictures. I told Brian that it seems as if I'd lost my passion for the thing I thought I'd be passionate about my whole life. I desperately hope I'm wrong. He sighed in response. I can't help you there, he said. He's right.

I saw an updated batch of photos on FB from the closing of Mercy Relief's operations in Aceh. I'd forgotten about Heru. The last I saw him, he was surrounded by a bunch of volunteers, all trying their darnest to entertain him. It was funny.

I recalled Eddie's words about him. I've forgotten the details, but the essense of it was this: The Singapore government gladly took the credit and glory for Step 1 of his recovery, but threw him back to his family for them to take care of Steps 2-100. Did they even think of how a burn survivor could recover in a house with no working electricity?

Eddie was frustrated. I tried to share the frustration, but I was just another who flitted in and out of Heru's life. Eddie stayed. He built a house.

Terence Teo/Mercy Relief

That's him on the right. He looks about 4 now.

Three years ago, he was a toddler just learning how to walk. I was a budding photographer who thought she had finally found her profession for life. One of us has progressed, the other's right back at square one.



Void Deck Muse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ghimlay said...

chin up babe *hug*