"Of memories, of truth, of laughter, of tears, of happiness,
and love, and God. So be it"

I want nothing else better than to be accepted as I am. A girl with her own mind, her own personality, her own strengths, and her own weaknesses.

As a child, I lurked under the shadow of my sister. She was my first idol, and I tried desperately to be like her in every way. When she started school, I couldn't wait to go to school as well, to the extent that when she came back from school, I would grabbed her books and read them.

But when I started school myself, I was first stung with envy that changed me forever. School taught me such things as comparison. I was constantly compared with her until I no longer wanted to imitate my sister, but to break away, and be my own self.

I moulded my own personality. I wanted to be different in every ways so nobody could say who is better than who. Whereas my sister is everything a girl ought to be, I was the totally opposite. I liked blue when my sister prefered pink, I played catch when my sister played 'batu seremban' and until now, I never learnt to play the game properly, or to play 'tali' either. It was more fun running around with the boys and some other girls than to sit demurely in a group, throwing pebbles in the air.

There was a time when a History teacher, despaired at the lack of interest shown by me in the subject, sarcastically belittled me and showered praises at my sister. It was true that I played truant every time we had History and Geography, but she needn't have to drag my sister's name in the issue.

I showed rebel by never showing up for her class anymore until she predicted that I would fail History in Form 3. Somehow, I proved her wrong and went on to pass both Geography and History with flying colors. She couldn't understand that. And she couldn't understand the psychology of a child, of how it hurt to be compared to your dearest sibling.

I couldn't forget that incident. I grew up to be a strong-minded person, with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. You either take me as I am, or never know me at all. Any attempts to change me will only reinforce the defensive feeling that I have.

I want people to understand that although I can eventually be bended to other people's will, I couldn't feel happy myself. My company tries to make me an obedient employee, who adheres to ridiculous rules and regulations, tries to control communication flow when I am in nature a person who speaks my mind, and tries to turn me into a somebody that I'm not. That's why I hate my work right now.

People try to tell me how I should act, how I should dress, how I should speak, until eventually I get suffocated and walk off never to be near them again. Even if I still have to come back to them, I wouldn't be happy again.

I know they do this because they love me, because they think it's for the best of me, or some even went to the extent to tell me, because they want me to be that way, but I have only this to say.

I've been like this, and I'm happy as I am. Why change me, and make me unhappy? Is it worth it to have me modeled according to their expectations, but in the mean time, to lose my affection along the way? Or do they prefer that I put up a pretense in front of them all the time? To act like this, to show myself in a mask, to pretend to be someone who I'm not?

Why not in the first place, find a genuine person who can act genuinely as they wish it to be?

All these questions without answers. Someone, please, tell them to stop.
This is the last straw. Or maybe something good will eventually come out of this. Nevertheless, I have every reasons to hate my company a.k.a my head of division. For transferring me to sit with my ENEMY.

Ever since I joined this organization, we had a bad start to begin with. It started when I had to borrow one of the chairs in front of her desk because there wasn't enough chairs in the meeting room. She wasn't around, and everybody was waiting for me, so I just grabbed the chair, thinking that I could ask for her permission later.

I bumped into her as I was wheeling the chair into the meeting room next door. As I opened my mouth to explain to her, she coldly told me, 'Next time, ask for permission first!'

That's when I decided that I would never, ever befriend her. As time passed by, I discovered that nobody really liked her because of her haughty ways. That was when Anne booted the name 'Spike' for her.

Spike and Gollum are examples of office pain-in-the-necks. My only comfort was I wasn't in the same room as her, unlike Jane who had to listen to her rambles about cute guys, ex-boyfriends, current boyfriends, and future boyfriend-wannabe. However, that changed today. An email from the head of division, and a series of foot-stamping, ranting and fury ensued - by me.

'Why do I have to move places? What bad luck is this? I want to resign! It's not enough with having to listen to her sarcastic remarks, now I have to sit in the same room with her! What is all the bad luck I've to go thru ever since I joined this stupid place?? First, that mega-project that had nothing to do with my department suddenly and magically dropped on my lap. Then that stupid Incident happened! Now, this??'

As I threw a tantrum, papers flew, files were thrown into a box, wires vehemently unplugged as I had to transfer my CPU as well. Call me a drama queen, a.k.a. over-reacting, but really, this is too much! What little sentiment I have of this company has been reduced to nada at this decision.

In the middle of packing up, Jane sent an email to our circle of friends.

'SORRY GUYS!!! I've let out to Lawrence of Brinjal's nickname! Now he already guessed that we have nicknames for that group!'

That group refers to Spike, Brinjal & Co. I cursed under my breath. How careless of Jane.

I replied: 'Oy Jane, now that I'm sitting in the same room as Spike, you have to do this? I will have to endure her questions if she heard about this from Lawrence.'

Aiman passed by with his report in his hand.

'Done with moving out from that comfort zone?' He chuckled and left. I felt like hurling the box with all the documents in it at him.

Basically, I'm in a VERY, VERY BAD MOOD. All these that had happened are demotivating me.

To end this rambling: I HATE THIS BLOODY PLACE.
I haven't been exercising for weeks now. My body is in crying need to get back in shape, as my stamina plunged below healthy line, and my body is feeling lethargic all the time.

I woke up feeling tired, and achy. I have a headache from the night before and it refused to go away. Gawd, I hate Monday...

Morning was rather laidback, thankfully. Apart from a meeting with a supplier, there was nothing much to do. I resumed doing some house-cleaning (i.e. tidying up the cupboard and updating the photo archive). By afternoon, I was already feeling hungry. Glancing outside my room, I saw Jane waiting for Anne to finish her job. I picked up the phone and dialed Anne's extension.

'Oy, lunch time! Hungry la!'
Anne turned to my way, grinning.
'You guys go ahead. I'm going to Singapore shortly.'
'Waah! Outstation?'
'Nope. Family matters.'

So it was only Jane, Dina, Ros and Aiman at the lunch table today. And as usual, we started our match-making efforts until Ros and Aiman threatened to douse us with cold drinks.

In the afternoon, I resumed my work and concentrated real hard on the task. The phone rang. I picked it up.

Another thing within my job scope which I hate doing is taking down messages. If it's - 'Hi, is your boss there? Can you ask him to call me back?' then it's fine. But if it happens to be a lengthy message that takes pages to jot down, then I really hate it. Especially when I have no idea what the other person is saying and I cross my finger and hope that whatever I jot down will make sense later.

For this conversation, not only the person is speaking at the speed of a rushing train, she is talking about something that I have no idea what it is she might as well speak in Tamil. Or Spanish. Or whatever other language.

As she dictated, I punctuated her sentence (when I feel she's going too fast) with, 'uhuh...' and 'can you repeat that again?' or 'come again?' I try not to do that too often else she'll think I'm dumb or something.

After 2 pages of message for my boss, she hang up. I sighed with relief. The next time that happens again, I'll ask them to e-mail my boss instead. Then the message won't get lost somewhere when there are unfamiliar jargons used.

Basically, that's what happens when a human resource graduate is thrown in some other field. You'll get a blank, blurred and lost-in-space employee.

La di da for now.
A week had passed after the Incident in my company. If you were wondering - what actually happened? Did anybody die? I could only assure you that there were no casualties involved. No damage done, except that I hate the Gollum whole-heartedly.

Life seemed to get back to its dull, boring and monotonous tone (God, I hope my boss is not reading this). The fun part of life always happens during lunch hour. From gossips, to office teasing, we devour it all up. Who can actually believe that we are young professionals when we still race to the lunch table with our lunch tray just so we can leave the two empty seats to our most-voted 'couple' - Aiman* and Ros*? (*names changed to protect their true identity *wink*wink*)

As the week drew to an end, we received an invitation from one of the managers - would the trainees be so kind as to free up their Friday night to attend the Management Dinner with the Director, the Senior Managers and the rest of managers at one of the hotels in town at 8 p.m.?

We mulled over this idea for a split second before coming back with the reply - Oh yeah!! By the way, what's smart casuals?

So, on Friday night, Anne drove Jane and I to the hotel at exactly 8 p.m. We reasoned out among ourselves - we're girls. It's a valid excuse by itself. C'on, it's Malaysia! Which Malaysians come on the dot?

Of course, half an hour earlier, Aiman had ring me up, sounding fretful.
'Where are you guys?'
'Still at Anne's place. Why?'
'What the...? Nearly 8 p.m. la!'
'It's Malaysia! Not Minnesota!'
'I'll wait for you guys. Don't be late.'
'We'll ring you up once we're there.'

At exactly 8 p.m., we arrived at the hotel and were looking for a parking space when my phone rang. Darn. It's one of the managers.

'Where are you?'
'Hi, Mr. Stan. We're here, but we're still looking for a parking space.'
'Right. Get to level 1, and tell the attendant that you're from our company.'
'Will do so.'

Both Jane and Anne turned to look at me with huge eyes.

'That could only mean one thing. The Director's there.'
We swore individually. Anne parked outside a parking space.
'This will do.'

We made our way to the hotel lobby, scanning the area for Aiman. He was nowhere in sight. We concluded that he could have gone to the restaurant by himself, so we scurried to level 1. I informed the attendant of our company, and he escorted us to the specific room.

The Director was there. Darn, darn, darn. I stopped dead in my track, and tried to get back behind Jane.

'You go first.'
'What? No way! You go, Anne.'
'She's the favourite trainee. She'd go first.'
'What? I'm not!'

As we argued heatedly, the managers spotted us and turned to see us. We stopped, and smiled nervously. Darn. Aiman's missing.

We trooped in, I finally gave up trying to hide behind Jane. My boss was looking at me pointedly, and mouthing - say hello to our Director. I was rooted to the ground, half of me decided to obey this instruction, and the other half just wanted to dive to the nearest available seat.

'Carneyz. Sit here.' Both the Director and the Business Development manager called out to me simultaneously. Unfortunately, it made me even more nervous because they were pointing to two DIFFERENT SEATS at two DIFFERENT TABLES.

Jane and Anne dived to the two available chairs at the Business Development manager's table. FYI, there were only two tables booked that night - one occupied by the Senior Managers, and the other by the managers. I moved forlornly to the seat pointed by the Director and obediently sat down.

All eyes were upon me. >gulp< Director leant back and asked me.

'I heard you're from Sarawak?'
'From which part?'
'Oh... I stayed in Bintulu a long time ago. I was working with Bintulu Port at that time. It was in 1981.'
I leant forward to tell him innocently, 'I wasn't even born that time!'
The table shook with laughter.
'Oh God. She's here to remind us how old we are already. Probably we should take the hint and retire!'
Much guffaws at which I could only flashed a smile, puzzled. What's so funny about that?

As the dinner progressed, I could only enjoy the Chinese food courses served that night. There were deep fried prawns, soy-sauced chicken, steamed fish, shark's fin soup, and soft, sweet buns which at a later point, Jane explained to be steamed and then fried. Dessert was local fruit served enticingly in the middle of the table.

Around me, the managers discussed their overseas trips, their projects, and subsequently, business opportunities. From the other table, roucous laughter broke up and made me green with envy at the rest. By the way, Aiman finally came when Jane and Anne decided to look for him. Darn the fourth time. He should've been sitting at my place. After the dinner, my friends made me even more envious as they told me that they were talking about Amazing Race, Malaysian Idol, and a host of other reality programs on tv.

When dinner was over, the Director stood up and made a speech. He was happy that we made it to the dinner, we whathecalled 'young people'. 'I promise to you that you will have a good start in your career here, in this company. I can see that all of you have bright future, and might end up as leaders in this company.'

At this, he looked at each of us meaningfully, and his gaze stopped at me. I squirmed. Then, all of a sudden, dinner ended. We trooped out thankfully.

We said our thanks to the Senior Managers and informed them of our intention to leave.

'What? It's still early. Don't tell us you're going back to sleep now?'
We grinned mischievously.
'Who said anything about going back home? We're just leaving... for somewhere else.'
The managers laughed heartily.
'These young people...'

As we left, we made plans to go and watch movie at the cinema. Anne turned to Aiman.
'Oy, you're joining us?'
He pondered over this.

So the four of us got in Anne's car, and went to the city to catch a midnight movie. Which was a ghost story. As the movie ended, Aiman sat up straight.
'Oh, s**t. I forgot that I'm driving back alone!'
We fell back in laughter at his chagrined face.

At 2.00 p.m., we reached Anne's home, changed our clothes, and crashed on the bed. Ah, blissful...
When I stepped into the office on Monday, my boss called me.

'Come. I've a very bad news to share.'
With heavy heart, I sat in front of him.

First of all, he enquired me,
'Did you arrange for an escort for the visitors on Sunday?'
'Yes.' I explained the name of the personnel I got in touch to ensure an escort for the visitors that came to our workplace yesterday.
He kept on asking for several other details until I was forced to tell the whole story, from A to Z.

Finally, he said again,
'I've a very bad news to share.'
And he began to tell me the bad news.

I was shocked, but I did not show my emotion. I only took a deep breath and said,
'That's shocking. But I have evidence that I had done everything necessary on my part to ensure they have an escort with them on that day.'
My boss looked at me solemnly.
'Then we will not allow us to be at fault.'
'It certainly isn't.'

I went out of the room, not really feeling any definite emotion. Until someone I despised wholeheartedly looked pointedly at me, with a smug expression on his loathsome face.
'Look what you've done.'

I snapped. Stopping short at his desk, I turned to face him with a raised eyebrow.
'I did my job. Someone obviously did not. Why is it my fault?'
He looked at me in disbelief.
'I am in charge of that affected area. I will listen again to your arrangement with that staff you mentioned!'
I nodded stiffly, looking at him with coldness.
'You will listen this time.'

As the management team hurried into the meeting room looking worried and annoyed, my boss called me again.
'Prepare a report of all communication that you had prior to the incident.'

I duly followed his order. My heart hammered as if it could burst out of me, I was beginning to feel worried sick. Was it really not my fault?

By afternoon, it was hard not to feel any worries. Managers trooped out of the meeting room, some storming around with a scowl on their faces, some whispering worriedly. BUT IT FELT LIKE EVERYBODY WAS GLANCING AT ME.

Then the loathsome creature came back to me, with his personnel looking scared.
I followed him, wishing my boss would come out of the room and save me.
We sat in a meeting room, as he shuffled the paper importantly.
'Begin the story.'

I was about to open my mouth, when my boss appeared, giving a meaningful look at me. He beckoned me to come out.
'Whatever it is, bear in mind, none of us were there. Even when the business was started by us, we could not be held responsible. Someone obviously did not do their job, and now they are panicking and wanting to shift the blame to you. Bear in mind. We were not there.'
I nodded.
'He's investigating me. Would you join us for the investigation?' I asked hopefully.
'I should. I'm your boss.'

As my boss took his seat in front of this Gollum, he seemed to shrink and not act like he owned the whole place. As my boss started to explain, he shrank even smaller in demeanor until he said that it's not our fault, but their side. But he shot an angry look at me.

In times like this, feeling totally defenseless, I am glad that I have friends around me. They shot sympathetic look at me, gave looks that could kill at the Gollum, and told me to be strong.

'They'll see, that it's not your fault. Trust us. Now eat up!'
'I'm... scared.'
'We're here. Don't worry. We'll look out for you.'

My colleague went a step further, feeling sympathy for me for looking worried to death. He treated everyone for lunch. Then he told me.
'Go back early today. Sleep.'
Being not much of a communicative person, those words coming from him is a great effort to soothe me. I was touched.

Leaving the office later, I looked at the sky and thought of all these people who tried their best to cheer me up. And I felt happy.
There are times when I wish I don't have any conscience. It's a self-righteous feeling that keeps on bugging you and won't give you any peace until you've done what you're supposed to do. In my case, until I've done what I'm supposed to do PERFECTLY.

Last night, I left my office at 8.30 p.m. after I've ensured that a plan that is supposed to be carried out sometime around 2.30 a.m. this morning, has been communicated to all relevant parties. A senior manager told me, 'You should be there too.' I stared in horror at him.

E-llo? My offer letter stated 'Working hour: 9.00 a.m. to 5.30 a.m.' For the past two weeks, I've allowed my company to steal two extra hours of my non-working hour to complete an urgent deadline. Asking me to come to office at 2.30 a.m?? Waah, there ought to be a line drawn between commitment and slavery. I'm no slave. I'm just a worker. A conscientious worker.

Nonetheless, at 7.30 a.m. in the morning (this morning), I turned up at my office. Half-frozen from the chilling journey on a bike to work, I stepped into the air-conditioned building and spotted the videographers and photographers that I was supposed to meet. They were having a cuppa coffee. Blessed them. At least they know it's breakfast time. I haven't had breakfast for ages.

I spent the day accompanying them around the premise to take photos and video, trying hard not to yawn. After everything was completed and all shots needed to be taken were taken, I brought all five videographers and photographers into the office and sat down with them to discuss other arrangements for another video and photo session on Sunday.

When the discussion had ended, I went out, tired and in crying need of sleep. My friends were grinning.

'Did you get their phone numbers?'
'Whose phone numbers?'
'The guys you were having discussion with just now.' More girly gigles. I raised my eyebrows, still in the dark.
'Why should I ask for their numbers?'
'Girl! Did you speak to them with closed eyes? Didn't you notice anything about them?' Anne shot a disbelief look at me. I frowned hard, trying to remember those guys again. Finally, I shook my head.
'Young-ish, I guess.'
'What the...? Those guys are hunks! Cu-te hunks. What do you mean you didn't notice?' Dina slapped my shoulder in exasperation.
'I wish I have your job. Mine is boring.' Anne shook her head looking doleful.
'Can we swap jobs?' Jane sighed.
'Did you get their numbers?' Dina asked eagerly.
I bursted out laughing heartily. My workplace must be starved of cute guys for these girls to think just any young fellas are cute. Oh, the kind of place I work for...

Now that they've pointed that out, some of the guys are actually good-looking. As Donkey pointed out to Shrek when Princess Fiona wanted him to kiss her:

Shrek (shocked): That wasn't in the job description!
Donkey (showing rows of gleaming white teeth): Maybe it's a perk?

Maybe it's a perk... for someone else. As for me, I've only eyes for one guy. And that guy is my boyfriend. I could be walking next to Tom Cruise, or Brad Pitt. Or Prince William. And still think of my beloved.

'Oh my heart. What have you done to me? You have killed me...'
Who doesn't love coffee break, I ask you? It's the moment everyone anticipates just to unwind and get away from that tiresome task, frustrating assignment, annoying clients or suppliers, and demanding superiors.

That is why I decided to call my rambling space 'coffee break'. A space in the cyber highway anybody can just stop by and actually read my rambles. Oh, anything about what happened in my office specifically.

My office? For security reason, because they do not pay me to blog in the office, I'm going to keep it as vague as possible. The location, the business, all these formalities. Only the people who works here are going to be in the limelight of my blog. Who in their right mind wants to know about anything else??

Myself? Well, I'm just someone new to the working life, just graduated recently and pretty much ordinary. Like all ordinary people, I love and hate certain people in the office. C'on, it's normal. These people either love/hate me too. So what's new?

My job is to communicate with people. Professionally. I do not really mind communicating with people. In fact, that's my specialty. Communicating with people. I told the Director during my interview session - I love socializing. That is most probably why I landed in this pumped-up- adrenaline department. Hah. I should just keep my big mouth shut in my next interview (if there's any).

Today, things are just a bit busy, but not as busy as last week. I had to call some people, e-mailed some stuffs, read other people's blogs and so on. We had a meeting with the management in the afternoon.

'As our new staff that just came aboard, any comments or complaints you want to share with us?'
Everyone looked at the table, suddenly finding the table the most interesting thing in the room.
'Come on. Don't be shy.'
Like hell I'm going to tell them anything. Not since the person I'm going to complain is sitting across me...
Everyone made agreeing mumbles, and then looked up again, smiling.

Later, outside the meeting room..

'What does he expect? That I'm going to complain about my boss with him sitting across me??' My friend dropped her notepad on her desk. I agreed with her. Not that I've a difficult boss. In fact, I should count myself lucky that my boss only gives me loads of work. I mean, loads.

Just as I was thinking of this, my boss rang me.
'Can you get hold of this editor and bla2...'
End of goosy jossipy session.

Evening. My friends and I were gathering near the punch card machine, as I showed my boyfriend's photos to them which he sent over the mail. Just as my friends were 'ooh'ing and 'aah'ing over his photos, the manager I despised wholeheartedly walked towards us, to the punch card machine.

I quickly minimized the window and opened another one. Dina, the HR Executive was working on a memo.
'But on second thought, 'teambuilding' should be two words...' I started.
Everyone had on a blank expression. Then a friend suddenly understood.
'No. It's one word. I checked with Mr. X that it's a one word thing...' she picked up the thread.
'What are you talking about?' Julie was confused.
'We can check the thesaurus.com?' Anne suggested.
The manager passed behind us, unassuming. We were stifling giggles. Anne's face was red. She doubled up with silent laughter.

'That was quick.' They told me. I shrugged.
Then we were gossiping about some high-and-mighty executive who are too high-and-mighty to mingle with us newbies.

Specifically, we have two persons we love gossiping about, whom we nicknamed 'Spiky' (for her sharp words and thorny character) and 'Brinjal' (it was Anne who thought up this hilarious name). We wouldn't be gossiping about them if they were not so snobbish in the first place. Look at it this way, we were hand-picked by the Director to head the future management team. If I were them, the wise thing to do is to be niiicee to us. In 3 years time, we are going to climb higher up the corporate ladder than their position now (and 3 years from now as well).

It's going to be interesting to read this entry four years from now on. Maybe by that time, I really need a laugh or two. So, while I still retain my sense of humor, I might as well talked about it here.

8 p.m. Going back.