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Archive for February, 2012

the duties of a guest

First of all, don’t expect too much. In this way you will not be disappointed at the end of the meal — a thing which is very harmful to the digestion. A day before the party, assess your host at his true value. Calculate, and I am afraid this is a little cynical, just what you are likely to get.

If your host cooks himself, if he is a cordon bleu…see that your preceding meal is a very light one, or skip it altogether.

On the other hand, if you have accepted, from a sense of duty, the invitation of a culinary ignoramus, have a drink before you leave home and a small snack. In this way you will arrive suitably fortified and you will avoid the pangs of hunger, so delightful before a good dish but so dangerous a prelude to a doubtful dinner.

– Edouard de Pomiane

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My ex-boyfriend has returned back on the radar, with a new job (I surmise), a new mobile number (or just one I am no longer familiar with), and a whole new name (!!).

He manifested himself in two text messages. I replied to the first, thought for a couple of days over the second and then past the window for a polite response, elected not to respond at all. Or maybe I was so flabbergasted that I never did get around to formulating a coherent reply.

While moving out of our family home at the end of last year, I read through all of the letters he had written me in the months we were apart, in the months leading up to the eventual separation. I read them through from start to end then discarded them, maybe because I needed to put that part of my life behind me now that I am no longer angry anymore. I no longer feel the urge to call him at random times to tell him how he had sent me a cow stuffed toy thinking that it was a hippo on Valentines’ Day all those years ago.

I am all grown up, I speak and write for a living, and I still can’t find the appropriate words to say I really don’t think we can be friends anymore so please stop calling me. All I can do is remain in my silence and hope that my silence will mercifully deliver the thought I cannot bring myself to string the words with.

I am either incredibly thoughtful (of his feelings) or incredibly wimpy.

*

Incidentally, the only card I had kept from the whole lot of correspondence from my childhood is a birthday card from Jeffrey. I used to carry it around with me to remind me that there is at least one good person on earth. I have been meaning to show it to him but it slips my mind and remains in a box of my belongings salvaged from my family home.

Jeffrey had sent me the card in the middle of August one year in our teenage years. He had written in the card that he could not actually remember when my birthday was but figured that it was either the 3rd, 4th or 5th of August, September or October.

I love that card. It warms my heart and makes me laugh like hell. I may not understand the confusion, but I certainly do recognise a nice thought.

*

My kids are at a point when they fight and bicker constantly. The problem is that one of them speaks proper words and the other speaks gibberish. A typical conversation would be as follows:

He: asdliujgernmk
She: (not understanding him) No! It is like that! (asserts her position)
He: asdliujgernmk
She: (thinking she has been insulted) No! I tell you, it’s like that! (asserts her position louder)
He: asdliujgernmk
She: Argh!!! (asserts her position louder still)

Eventually, either she will lunge at him or he will lunge at her. In any case, either or both of them will be punished, depending on whether we could figure out what on earth was being said or what on earth was going on.

*

One day, I said to Peanut Stop behaving like a Russian!

The thing about Russians is that they would stop and try to answer your queries in Russian. When you don’t understand, they sigh and proceed to repeat themselves, slower and louder, in Russian. And when you still don’t understand, they give you a withering look and walk away.

So maybe the Russians are helpful. They are just misunderstood.

*

I told a practice trainee that Justice is a completely subjective concept. Justice is what you feel is just in your heart. So it is better to just settle disputes because when parties reach an agreement, in their respective hearts, it would be an agreement which answers each of their subjective requirements and that is maybe the only way Justice is served.

But sometimes, just sometimes, even when you extend the olive branch, someone will still want to hit you over the head with it, spit in your face, then try to bury you where you stand.

Only then is it time to fight.

*

That’s life, isn’t it? Just because you assert your position loudly doesn’t make you right. It doesn’t even guarantee that you will be understood at all.

So that renders the ensuing fisticuffs completely pointless if all anybody ever wants is to be understood and getting into a fight about it does not solve the problem, right? It is always better to just walk away intact.

*

So maybe I am not incredibly thoughtful or incredibly wimpy.

Maybe I am just trying to find the middle path to get through life by avoiding most unnecessary fisticuffs.

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My practice trainee, Little Brother, received a pass on his bar exams this afternoon! That means approximately a month later, I will be moving his Call to the Bar!!!

“This is so exciting!!” I exclaimed. “Aren’t you excited?”
“Okay lah…” said he, sounding much like a really reluctant participant in this whole exercise.
“You don’t understand! This is just monumental for me! It’s not about you!!”
“Oh…” The penny drops. “This is your first time moving a Call. Oh yay!” said he in mock excitement.
Tsk!

But what am I supposed to say?!? My own call is now a distant memory and I can’t really remember what transpired save for my own part in it i.e. what I had to do, when to wear the robe, the oath I had to take.

So I asked The Buddha.

“Oh! You need to sit him down and memorise the whole of his immediate family tree and find out the schools he’s ever attended. The Judge might ask you difficult questions since it’s not a Mass Call.”

I eyed him suspiciously.

Sensing that he was just shitting me (as usual), I proceeded to ask School Marm what she thought ought to be done.

“I think you are supposed to say something nice. Like may it please the court, it gives me great pleasure to present before your Honour so-and-so etc. My boss always thinks of something nice to say.”
“Do I say I believe the papers are in order like in a bankruptcy application?”
“Erm…you can’t just believe the papers are in order! That means you are not sure.”
“Do I ask for order in terms like in a Summons application?”
“I suppose you do…”
“Do I say there are no objections from the relevant bodies and eyeball the representatives?”
“You know what, let’s go and ask my boss.”

But her boss wasn’t there in her room. So we asked her immediate neighbour, Clips, who moved the call for last year’s trainees.

“You say as little as possible. The judge just wants to get it over and done with. I remember that some guys tried to say something flowery and the judge look unimpressed.”

Right.

It’s beginning to look like I might just have to resort to observing the people ahead first then doing it the same way.

Let’s just hope that Little Brother is not at the head of the queue, in which case, I’d just have to make something up quickly and risk going down in history as the stupidest Mover ever.

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