Soliloki

Prosaic soliloquies performed by a quixotic person

Archive for the ‘My Two Cents’ Category

Single and Unmarried—Oh, the Horror!

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Being one of those who still tick the ‘Single’ box instead the ‘Married’ box has its ups and downs, of course. One of the pros: Unattached, ergo free from inevitable relationship-related headaches. One of the cons: Getting pitying looks from the married ones when it’s mentioned that I’m still flying solo, ergo I’m the most pitiful loser in the universe by society’s standards.

Unfortunately, that particular con has now outweighed all the pros combined. It hasn’t been like that before. So, what gives?

Yesterday is what gives.

I was in the kitchen yesterday, happily baking away delightful baked goods when suddenly the older brother strode into the kitchen and showed me an invitation card sent by our neighbour to a modest thanksgiving feast at their home to celebrate their son’s recent nuptials. Instantly, a mental picture popped up: I saw my vulnerable self in the neighbour’s sitting room, being attacked by a horde of older married females, incessantly bombarding me with the ever-dreadful one-million-dollar question: ‘When will you get married?’ I violently shuddered at the image.

You see, I’m an introvert by nature and a wallflower by choice. As such, my room is my selected comfort zone. Being out of comfort zone is not ideal for introverts and wallflowers alike. Gatherings of any sort is way out of our comfort zones, and therefore any social settings are known as ‘danger zones’. The gathering that my family and I are invited to is the worst kind of all, because it’s too far from my comfort zone, yet too near that escaping from it is highly impossible lest I hurt my neighbour’s feelings for not coming and they live across the street from us.

O the hardship one hast to endure!

But I digress.

And the worst part of this whole thanksgiving feast is the scrutinization and interrogations I’ll surely get about my marital status by the married lot, which is never a welcome attention I wish upon myself.

Come to think of it, it’s strange, really. They ask you if you’ve found a prospective husband, and if you negate, they’d either take pity on you and give you half-baked advice about relationship, or they’d get all pseudo-surprised and mutter unintelligibly about hoping you catch a husband soon. On both accounts, the questions would just make you both feel so uncomfortable because they’d probably feel painfully embarrassed for you, and you’d probably struggle to maintain your smile and have to pretend that you’re fine with the personal invasion. Sometimes, it feels as though they socially thrive on masochism- and schadenfreude-based conversations. Strange.

Unoriginal, too, because they do this all the time: When will you find yourself a boyfriend? When will you get hitched? When will you have a baby? How about another one? A few more? When will you have a grandchild?

Very original, indeed.

OK, so maybe the apparent solution to this whole situation is to find a husband and get married stat. Unfortunately, the reality isn’t as simple as Hollywood rom-coms. Do I ever want to settle down, get married and have kids? Yes, I do want to get married, have my own family, and the whole nine yards. But does being in a matrimonial bond figure high on my list of priorities? Yes and no. Yes because I don’t want to get married when I’m so long in the tooth that I’d have my first kid when I hit seventy--I’d probably asphyxiate myself when I do the hee-hee-hoo-hoo breathing during labour at that age. And no because I do enjoy being single and want to savour each moment of singleness before I finally find my soulmate. Finding the right person for you is a long process and is never easy for some, including me.

That’s why, the only relationship I welcome and reckon as easy to have at this point of time is with two amazing men to grace the earth: Ben and Jerry. Alas, they are too expensive in this part of country where I live. RM47 per pint (US$12 or thereabouts). Really? REALLY?

On a serious note though, I don’t get it when some folks are so quick to pass judgement on the unwed folks. I’ve met some married ones who think that ‘single’ and ‘unmarried’ as two dirty words. To be one of either is a disgrace, and to be both is a double whammy. Capital crime at its worst, if you will. But…why? I don’t get it.

Le sigh.

Welp. I’ll see how it goes this afternoon. Maybe I’ll go, maybe I won’t. It’ll depend on how solid an excuse I can come up with later. Alternatively, perhaps I should rack my brain and come up with snappy comebacks for the nosy lot to shut them up and keep them away from me. After all, they like being tortured, don’t they?

Written by SZA

29 August 2015 at 10:13 AM

This and That #1

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  1. So yesterday I read the poetry that I’ve written, and realized that they seem to be full of anguish. Wow, that’s new. I mean, I’m actually fairly normal on the happy scale (except on Mondays). So, to realize that there’s a dark side of me that I didn’t know about seems to be pretty disturbing. Or maybe, my poetic juices flow easily when I’m feeling a little dark blue. I don’t know. Whatever works for my poetic ego, I suppose.
  2. I like things to be perfect, but not so much that I’d consider myself as a perfectionist. When it comes to language though, I’m very anal retentive. Very much so that I scare myself. I ain’t no mere Grammar Nazi, people. I’m the mother of all Grammar Nazis…I am a Grammar Hitler. Every punctuation, letter, word, syntax, diacritic is taken into account when I write a single sentence. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I teach English, I don’t know. But then again, I’m like that with all other languages. It’s really driving me up the wall whenever I second-guess every text I write, and because of that, I can be really hard on myself if I commit a grammatical error, however minute it is. And that’s why there’s a truckload of my blog posts being set to drafts; those drafts are now in a long queue waiting to be edited, checked, scanned, reviewed, approved, and published. Really, I’d make persnickety Niles Crane look like a slob. And that’s an honest truth, folks.
  3. Typically, those who are in the same demographic group of unmarried 25- to 35-year-olds are often bombarded with the dreaded when-will-you-get-married question by the nosey folks. Such not-so-subtle inquiry is most often asked during family gatherings--be it at funerals, weddings, or family luncheons. So of course during this year’s Eid, I was expecting my family and friends (even strangers) to ask me the big Q. But surprisingly, no one asked (well, save from that first cousin once removed whom I only see once every two millennia). Strangely, I was feeling a tad disappointed, you know. I mean, I sort of anticipated the big question but none came forth. Yes, there are times when it can be a mite awkward and uncomfortable when the question’s directed at me,  but I’m one who doesn’t mind when it happens. It’s not a big deal. If folks ask when/if there will be a wedding, just smile and say, ‘God willing.’ A short, simple finish. It ain’t no biggie.
  4. Not so recently, I’ve developed a fascination for everything Korean. Not an obsession, but an interest (a little disclaimer here). I wish I could say the fascination wasn’t stemmed from the whole hallyu-wave thing so it’d make me sound cultured and sophisticated, but alas, it was the pop culture that got me interested. Blame it on the first K-pop song I listened to, Mr. Simple. But now, my fascination for Korea has taken a divergence--it’s not so much for the pop culture now, it’s more for the country as a whole. But I really still don’t get their emphasis on physical appearance. Mono-lidded eyes are pretty! Round, moon face is adorable! Dark skin is beautiful! Having some meat on your bones isn’t a big deal! This whole beauty obsession is one of the few things I don’t get about the country. Otherwise, 한국을 사랑해요.
  5. On a side note, what’s up with the lyrics of Mr. Simple? ‘Because I naughty, naughty’--what does that even mean? The song should be re-titled Mr. Grammatically-Simple-in-the-Head. Seriously. Couldn’t SM afford to hire a good English writer/translator when they had the song written?

Written by SZA

13 August 2013 at 3:00 PM

Switch Colours, Someday?

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I’ve definitely been missing school during this term break; although not enough to miss the assignment rushes, the endless presentations, being called out in class especially when I didn’t come prepared, and pulling an all-nighter the day before an exam. It’s the little things that I’ve been missing: walking in the hallways, having a good laugh in the class, seeing the faces of fellow classmates, spending a whole day book-browsing in the library, and all that.

Ofttimes, I wonder why I decided to return to school and relive my life as a student. Mayhap, I wanted to have a wider career options. Or maybe, I just wanted to gain knowledge, and subsequently, prove myself that I could excel intellectually. Or perhaps, I’d succumbed to peer pressure, and chose to further study, like what most of my former school mates did. Or it could be, I just wanted to make my parents proud, as simple as that. I think, most likely, it’s all of the above. I guess. I’m not sure. Oh, I haven’t a clue, really. However, I really hope that along the way of being a student, I’ll be less clueless find the path that will lead me to a better point of my destiny.

At the same time though, I don’t consider having a degree as an advantage over anyone who’s obtained the knowledge another way in any areas. Folks gain knowledge through a plenty of experiences, and college for sure ain’t the only one. It just doesn’t feel right to go around dissing the other team, because it takes all kinds to make the world go round, and we complement each other. It doesn’t matter, book-smart or street-smart (even white-collar job or blue-collar job), I hold a very high respect for any individuals who are truly passionate in what they do and excel in it, and working hard to do an honest work despite what the society thinks. Especially those who are brave enough to break free from the social norms that hold book-smarts/white-collar jobs more respectable than street-smarts/blue-collar jobs, and choose go for what they are believe in, and eventually be happy and successful in their lives. Those folks are whom I wish to be, someday, God willing.

And I don’t mind trading my white collar for blue, if that’s what it takes.

Written by SZA

17 April 2012 at 7:40 AM

Cheers to First Times!

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  1. My first ever stint as a tutor begins this week, and boy, am I so stoked! I’ve been so excited about it that I splurged a wee bit on stationery supplies and books for my class; now, I’m having this nagging feeling that I should have been more frugal. Oh, well, it wasn’t like I spent on meaningless things, or anything of the sort, right? Um-hm.
  2. Ever since I jumped on the marketing bandwagon, I’ve been out of the office, and on the road for more than sixty percent of my working hours. As much as I enjoy of having the benefit of time flexibility, I feel like I can’t get enough of time. Like the other day, I just bought a take-away, and ate my lunch in the car…while driving. Very dangerous, I know, but I’d no choice. I feel like, the more time I have, the less free I feel.
  3. Officially, this Friday will mark my first day of being an intern for a news media enterprise. But first, there’ll be an online orientation session this Saturday at 1.00 AM (yes, you read that right), and I’m really excited about that. In truth, I’m doing this purely because I don’t want to just focus on one career niche. I want to learn something else, and acquire different skills; it doesn’t matter if I may not be good at it, or like it. When life has so much to offer, why should I settle for being on this path that I stand? Who knows, I may surprise myself by discovering a part of me that’s unknown. That’ll be interesting. Mm-hm.
  4. I was one-hour late for my meeting this evening, and found out that our meeting actually starts at 6.00 PM every week, not 7.00 PM like I’d thought. The leader let me off the hook this time, since this was my first time coming in late to the meeting.

Cheers to first times!

Written by SZA

4 April 2012 at 8:07 PM

Spilt Half-Full Glass Can Be Refilled

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 Spilt Half-Full Glass

[Photo: Author’s mind-blowing artistic depiction of reality. Cue the standing ovation. Thank you.]

The problem with extreme idealism (to the point of being way too naïve about human beings) is, you’ll get hurt if it ever backfires you. Your half-full glass is spilt, your rose-tinted glasses are broken, and rainbows and sunshine are chased away by stormy clouds. And you’ll never look at anyone the same way again.

However, that’s the thing about optimists, we they’re like a boomerang. They might be thrown to the far end of the universe, only to come back again to forgive, forget and be happy. The glass is refilled, those broken glasses are replaced by a new pair, and the day turns bright and sunny again. Sure, there are always risks of going through the dark times again--betrayal, lies, psychological pain, and what have you. However, for the ever-optimists, it sure beats the alternative: being a jaded soul.

And come to think of it, naïvete is not an absolute stupidity, it’s an absolute sincerity of the soul. And by God, with kind of world we are living in, we certainly need more good faith around us and to persevere in the face of negativity. ʾĀmīn.

Written by SZA

14 March 2012 at 10:10 PM

Posted in My Two Cents, Oy Vey

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A Doubting Thomas, I Am

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‘Can I do this? Should I change direction midstream? Can it work? Will it work? What should I do?’

That’s my thought on school and work.

Doubts can be lethal. They start as an insignificant idea that passes through your mind like the wind. This is when a tiny seed of doubt is planted in your head. Then, it starts to grow. Rapidly. Dangerously. Next thing we know, it evolves into a gigantic stalk of doubts that keeps on growing within your brain and heart until you give in to it. A white flag is raised. You lost. Game over.

I’m doubting myself and I’ve a bad feeling that this is what will happen to me. Naʿūḏubillāh.

Stepping into the second year as a student, I’m starting to wonder if I made the right decision to get a higher academic degree. I even wonder if I should continue going into this direction, career-wise.

You see, being a person who is at high risk for dyslexia (that’s another story to tell) and has a short attention span (I suspect ADD, but for all I know, it may only be--oh, look, a squirrel!), learning and working within an orthodox atmosphere doesn’t come easy. And what more to say of doing them both simultaneously. If it weren’t for the love of knowledge, I’d probably not be here in one piece, intellectually and psychologically. It’s a good thing, too, that I’m a very curious person, by nature. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s been a great help to me. However, having a full-time demanding job and being a student at the same time is tough. Oh, I’m a good multi-tasker, believe you me. Still, juggling work and school gives a whole new perspective to multi-tasking--it’s akin to juggling two humongous boulders whilst walking along on a very thin rope. Imagine that. It ain’t easy. Sure, handling work and school at the same time isn’t impossible, but it sure ain’t no walk in the park (for me, at least).

It does seem easy to say, ‘I should stop doubting, and start doing and striving.’ Too bad, talking is more convenient than actually doing. That’s why giving out advices and critics to someone who’s in a predicament feels effortless. And what if the situation were reversed? We’d feel completely clueless and helpless. Theories are easier than practical applications.

Having said that, I’m eternally grateful for my life. Šukrān lillāhi taʾāla.

In case you’re wondering, no, I still don’t have the answers.

Written by SZA

26 February 2012 at 10:11 PM

Words Revisited

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So I’d said, not necessarily verbatim, this to someone some weeks back:

‘I want to lead a varied life. A life full of variety. But at the same time, I don’t want to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of none--I want to be good at something, too.’

After the talk, I didn’t quite archive those words in my mental file cabinet. I re-thought about what I’d said. I analyzed my thoughts thoroughly by breaking the words down and processing them mentally (if this doesn’t indicate that I’m a woman, I don’t know what else does). Then finally, I found out that I do want to be a Johnny Janey do-it-all, afterall. I do want to have a broader range of skills instead of a set of special skills. I do want to be a generalist (generalism, in my newly-amended opinion, is way understated). Ergo, jack-of-all-trades is what I shall be from now on.

Besides, don’t you think this adage holds true?

Jack of all trades, master of none; certainly better than a master of one.

Written by SZA

30 November 2011 at 1:11 PM