Tim Tong Tim Tam
I'm still not the healthiest camper but I managed to stagger into the office today. Being away for so many days at such a crucial point was giving me nightmares. Either that or it was the arsenal of medicines I have been on.
Dragging myself into the office, I bumped into my director who looked like he's been dragged through a couple of bushes by way of New Orleans. He looked that shattered and I wondered if I had passed on my viral flu to my colleagues. But no ... he'd just had a harrowing morning arguing with the boss. Apparently, it was really volatile and even louder than usual voices were used. Oh dear. Cowardly me was glad I had missed that.
But I reckon that some star of dissent was up today as I got mine later in the day. I'd passed on some materials for a coming exhibition to my assistant manager for translation - remember the Chinese lady at the dinner at the Hyatt? Anyway, it was very clear she wasn't very keen. Fair enough, it was a fair bit to translate - about 6 pages. Roll eyes. But what got me was that she took on the work at first and later asked me if the boss had approved this and I should check with her. She also questioned whether I should be giving materials to the press - I'd told her I was giving the translated information to a particular publication. I think she forgot that I was her boss and also the person in charge of marketing. I also think she forgot that I usually keep a keen eye on everyone's workload and knew that she had relatively little on her plate.
By now, I knew she had a problem with answering to me or in fact doing anything for me. Actually I think she has problems doing much of anything beyond curatorial research. Being older than me and a recent graduate from the local art school (which we all know is below par), she was under some misconceptions and had a few ego issues. I'd tolerated it and not made any acknowledgement of her little insubordinations thus far. In fact, I even forebore from "telling her off", as my boss requested, regarding the dinner incident at the Hyatt (as in I did not even speak to her about it thinking she would not accept that kind of criticism even if I was just the messenger). But today, being ill and frankly having had enough, I very politely but clearly told her to just complete the assignment and report to me by Wednesday and I shall handle the boss and the media as is my mandate. Hey, more than 10 years of experience in marketing, communications and journalism is nothing to sneeze at, Mdm Tak Mao. *Which reminds me ... wipe runny nose on Kleenex*.
I was amazed when she threw a hissy fit later. Less than ten minutes after our conversation, she walked into my office to tell me she was going off to lunch. I allowed her to do so as I thought she might need the time to get her head in order. It was 2pm and we were going to close the office at 3pm. I wondered if she would come back into the office or deliberately come back late to make me stay late. Which would be a waste of time as I am usually the last one to leave and the habitual late-stayer. It was a silly thought anyway as I realised she has never stayed later than 5 minutes past closing time.
Ten minutes to 3pm, she walked back into the office without announcement and at exactly 3pm, she walked in and bade farewell to the director without even a glance in my direction. I was not surprised at her behaviour but I reckon I gave her too much credit and expected more professionalism and .. well ... brains than this.
Now, five minutes ago, the director had crawled back into the office, looking like so much roadkill. I waited till he had settled in and we finished a discussion about his argument with the boss this morning and how we can resolve this. The poor man decided that I should be the next one to try to persuade her to end the impasse and it was at this point when I mentioned that I might need to find another assistant manager.
To my surprise, he was unsurprised that the Chinese lady was having problems reporting to me. He'd predicted earlier that Ms China would have issues with my "younger age and higher position" and might resent me as she was typically Chinese - his words. But he was still absolutely appalled by her behaviour and had noticed her rudeness and insubordination. Wow, when a bloke notices, you know it is bad. Just kidding ... OK, OK, no brickbats from the blokes please! I think he was also miffed that she had not taken his instructions to heart as he kept saying that he had been very clear at the first internal meeting about her line of report.
He resolved to make it even clearer at next week's meeting. Frankly, I think it is a lost cause. I recommended that she answers only to the boss, since she thinks that is the only person she is answerable to, and we change her title to Curatorial Manager, since that was the only area she was interested in. I am a strong believer of not beating a dead horse and to cut your losses when you can. I am ashamed to say that we both had a discussion on the hiring of Chinese nationals as staff and the changes in attitude in the last two years. The conclusion was that while they may have been a good bet 5 years ago but, in recent years they have developed an attitude of doing less is more and why struggle to perform if you cannot see immediate results. For some strange reason, they have equated capitalism as the "having" without "working" concept. As a half-Chinese, I was embarrassed.
Anyway, after this tiring waste of time, I decided to pack it in and go home. It was 4pm and I was fading. I realised I needed some substenance although nothing appealed. On the way home, I went to the food court opposite my house and after a gander, decided the only thing I could probably keep down was some Chinese tim tong aka sweet soup aka dessert. I bought a carton of red bean soup then as I walked away I wondered if it might be too "heaty" (Chinese principal of ying and yang) for me .. so I wandered back to get a carton of cheng teng just in case. Hot cheng teng since my cough was still a persistent bed fellow.
I know it is a bit of trying to battle ying with yang there but hey, these are the only things I can keep down at the moment. My larynx is hurting too much for solid foods so I have been on a liquid diet this last week. Explains the weight loss. All my clothes are loose now.
Then I came home and discovered that a friend had come around to visit me knowing that I was ill. Awwww ... except I was not home and was at work. The sweetheart left a get-well gift for me too. A packet of Tim Tams and a mini bottle of Baileys. Lovely ... except I can't eat them right now. Bugger! Bugger! Bugger!!! This is no God! ... oops, just kidding Mate, sorry.
Depressed now, I decide to call up a mate and ask him if he was going to the Chinese classic films festival. He'd sent me the email when I was laid up in bed and I was too sick to even get excited by the number of old kungfu movies they had.
First thing I bark out is "Oy, how come if it is a Chinese classic films festival ... all the titles are in English???" Couple of chuckles and nudge nudge wink wink jokes later, Kelvin told me he was only interest in the yellow movies. Eh? What? What yellow movies?? I looked at the list again and realised that the bright colours were not there just because the email blaster was a colourblind designer. Wait, the yellow movies are the ... pervy ones! Eeeuuuwww!!
"I am really only interested in the sex movies. I have made no plans with anyone to see them but do you want to come with me?"
"You perv! But it's straight people's sex movies. Why the hell are you interested in that?" I asked perplexed.
"Aiyah. When don't have, even the straight one also can, lah," our insouciant fellow retorts.
Ah, equal opportunity perving ... I get it. Not sure if I should be flattered or worried to be asked to go along. I stated I was only interested in the kungfu movies and none of the weepy, romantic movies. He was surprised.
"Really? How unlike a girl ... would have thought girls would kill to see Chin Hsiang Lin," Kelvin said sagely.
"I spit on those movies. You will have to kill me first to watch them. And Chin Hsiang Lin? Puhleeeease! Hey, did you know he was in a porn movie?"
"Whaaaaaat???!!! When?? Really??? Do tell ...."
After a goss session where I had to dredge up teen traumas of seeing a Chinese goss mag featuring a butt nekkid Chin Hsiang Lin with the words "Chin Hsiang Lin Bares All in Cat 3 Movie", we decided that we'd compromise and go for the movies next week. I'd watch 1 yellow movie with him and he can come to the kungfu ones with me. Yippeeee! (I soooo know Kelvin is currently trolling through the Internet looking for info & piccies of Chin Hsiang Lin in Cat 3 movies ... ROFLMAO.)
In case you wondered, I just karate chopped a Tim Tan in half. I caved. I need the choccie fix. After this I will down some cough mixture. Cack ... Haaaaiiicackyaaaaahhhhh!
I know I am sick when I suddenly start hankering for my grandmother's Itek Tim. And pulut hitam. Sigh. Cack. If I feel better tomorrow, I will make myself a big pot of chicken soup or meatball & veggies soup.
Categories - Rambling Prose