Work work work fucking work. So there was this trial and all, and the couple of weeks leading up to it were absolute hell. Hell culminated in a Sunday during which I went back to the office at 1 p.m. and didn't leave until 2 a.m. Add the fact that I had some seriously personal shit going on that day into the mix and you'll get a not-so-good day. To say the least.
To say that I'm already exhausted is an understatement. But it's not the extent to which you have to work that bothers me; it's the thing that I'm working for, or not working for. I say this many times and I'm confident it's true - money doesn't drive me. My ideals and my convictions drive me. It'd be nice if the two could mix, but until then, I'm barely hanging in there, waiting for the day when something changes. Something, anything, everything. I'd take whatever I can get, and I'd do whatever it takes to get there.
(I realise this is pretty vague. But then, it should make sense to those that matter, so that's about all that matters to me.)
I have a fuck lot to say. I'm going to start with tennis first.
1. Australian Open 2010 - Roger Federer
I am dismayed to say that I have yet to watch a single Federer match live, no thanks to the fact that Melbourne is three hours ahead of us. Still, my mom has been diligently recording his matches for me, and save for his first round match against Igor Andreev, his matches have largely been snoozefest. (I say this without watching the last two sets of his match against Albert Montanes but I've never found anything interesting in Montanes' game so I bet the rest of it is boring too.)
Wei Chuen asks - why do I watch all his matches? His match against Victor Hanescu was an absolute demolition. What's so interesting about that? It's the same thing over and over - forehand, backhand, service winner, ace, forehand volley, backhand volley, high backhand volley, smash, the occasional half-volley.
But you see, it's not the same. The opponent is different, the surface is different, the occasion is different, his outfit is different; most importantly, it's never the same watching him hit the same stroke a million times, because after watching him for as long as I have - which is fucking long for someone who is not inherently interested in sports - he still takes my breath away. The sheer artistry and beauty of his tennis still boggles my mind. I am still unable to comprehend how it is that he plays tennis as if it were a performance art, so effortlessly and yet so lethally. His grace is unparalleled, and it is tireless and infinitely fascinating. Even if he loses, watching him hit groundstrokes after groundstrokes, rushing to the net to hit a winning volley, serving his silently lethal serves, all that in themselves transcend the point of a tennis match. Take away the fact that someone has to lose at the end of it, and that I want him to win every single time, and you're left with the incomparable beauty of his tennis.
And that is why I watch him - that is why I watch all his matches, even the boring ones against the likes of Hanescu and Montanes. In fact, the best Federer matches for me are the easy ones - the ones in which he's able to display his artistry with no holds barred, where he can play within his comfort zone and produce breath-taking tennis just by hitting the ball. His stroke per se is beautiful. And no one I've seen - absolutely no one, including the women - has come anywhere close to producing tennis half as beautiful as his.
I hope he wins the Australian Open, obviously. I will be very sad if he lost. But in the process, I will continue to watch all his matches, if only to enjoy, appreciate, and marvel over the fact that a mere human being is able to transcend the boundaries of sport and elevate it into an art.
2. Australian Open 2010 - OMG NEARLY DIED
More on the AO: So I spent 3 hours watching Andy Roddick play Fernando Gonzalez. Andy is my #2 player after Roger; by default, I wanted him to win.
After the second and third sets though, I was firmly behind Gonzo.
He's one hell of a passionate player. He brought so much emotions into the match that I couldn't help but want him to win, even if it was at the expense of a player I liked better. He hit these amazing backhand down-the-line winners in quick succession, as if they cost him nothing, and then he fired winners off the forehand wing the way he ought to all the time. He's known as Crazy Gonzo amongst tennis fans because of the way he plays - no holds barred, freely, fearlessly.
It worked for two sets and nearly worked for the third, but a shit call from the chair umpire won Andy the set point. Lines judge called out a cross-court forehand from Andy, and it was break point at 6-5; Hawkeye revealed that it was in, and the chair - Enric Molina - decided to award Andy the point on the premise that Gonzo couldn't have had a play on it.
Gonzo was pissed. Gonzo was fucking robbed. He was RIGHT THERE, at the corner of the right baseline, and he could've done something to that shot if the linesperson hadn't called it out. Andy lucked out, got the fourth set, and Gonzo completely faded in the fifth. Double-faulted on the first break point to give Andy a 2-0 lead; gave Andy a few match points which he saved, but eventually double-faulted on the last.
It was a tragedy of epic proportions. Gonzo played such heroic, inspired tennis for more than half the match, but just had to get affected by the lousy call from the umpire (I expected much better from Molina - I am very disappointed) and tanked the decider.
Well, on the bright side, his girlfriend is smoking hot, so he has that to look forward to when he gets back to his hotel room.
Poor Gonzo. I wish he'd won. I'm simultaneously happy Andy's through but I wish it'd been Gonzo instead.
3. Rant #1: Fucking Hokkien Restaurant
Today we had family lunch at this Hokkien restaurant at OCBC Centre. To say the least, it's not one of my favourite places to go to because the food does nothing for me. Of course, I attribute this to the fact that I don't eat 99% of the items on the menu, but still.
All was well and good. I was in a decent mood, I had food on my table, I didn't even mind too much that the woman didn't tell me what tofu she was ordering for me when I asked her if there was any without meat (she ordered some seafood thing with crab and prawn which was um, gross, to say the least).
The shit hit the fan, though, when some waitress refilled my glass meant for warm water and I took a drink quickly 'cause I was thirsty (can't drink tea - more about this later, if I remember), and had the nastiest shock ever when the water burned my tongue.
It wasn't warm water. It was hot water, the kind you soak a teabag in. The woman poured it into my glass with no warning, absolutely no warning, and the mere fact that you can even serve a person water THAT hot shows that there's something wrong with your brain. I should have checked the temperature before drinking it, maybe, but then again, the previous glasses weren't anywhere close to that hot. They were all drinkable.
I scalded my tongue like fuck and that set me off. To begin with my temper isn't something you'd like to mess with. I went, "Fuck", spat out the water, went, "this is fucking hot", and tried to get someone to get some ice. I waited for a few minutes and nothing happened, which made me even more pissed off. I got up, approached the nearest waitress to me and told her that I wanted drinkable warm water right now, with emphasis on "right now". I went back to my seat and yet nothing happened, which had me fucking pissed off. I went, "This is fucking ridiculous" and once again approached the waitress nearest to me and told her, in a tone that no one sane would describe as nice, to get me some ice cube because some moron just served me hot water. I said "ice" in Chinese just in case she didn't understand and came over with some ice cubes.
By then I was already pissed beyond reasonable belief, and when I'm in such a mood, it'd take a very long time for me to get over it. I sat at the table - with my grandma, mind you, and an aunt and some cousins - all stormy-faced, and then my mom went on to make things worse by making comments that were simultaneously unhelpful and hurtful. I'd think that after forever of living with me, she'd know not to say stupid things like "it's just a small matter" and "what are you doing sitting here all pissed off" when I'm already in a very, VERY bad mood; but no. In the end I grabbed my bag and stormed off after failing to get Wei Chuen.
My tongue still hurts like hell. I'm NEVER going back to that stupid restaurant ever again. Apart from the ridiculous hot water, the woman who took my own order said she'd recommend some tofu for me but didn't even do that and just served the crab thing. If I'd wanted to make things difficult, I would've told her that I was allergic to seafood and make her take the item off the tab.
And speaking of taking items off the tab - this brings me to rant #2.
4. Rant #2: Fucking useless managers
I was at Cedele Ngee Ann City Friday afternoon with Audrey and Olivia (we left work at 4 due to office moving and shit; everything was shut down at 4 so we all left. Yay!). I had a really bad craving for fudge-y chocolate cake, and I remembered eating one with Mag and Jolie at Cedele Chevron once during the first month of pupillage last year. So I ordered the same thing, and when it came I started eating it and thought it tasted rum-ish. I voiced out my concern to my friends, and Audrey called the waiter and said, "My friend is wildly allergic to alcohol and she thinks there might be rum in this cake. Could you check for me?"
First it was some Chinese "trainee" waitress who looked blur as hell so she wasn't helpful. She called over this Indian guy who checked with the chef and told me that there wasn't any rum. But I was still unconvinced; in fact, I was SURE there was alcohol in it because I could spot these things really easily. But since I was wrong, apparently, I said it was fine, I'd just take it.
The Indian waiter, however, was nice enough to offer to change it to something else, which my companions thought I should do. So I changed it to some brownie with ice-cream which was yummy and didn't taste dubious. After a nice tea break sort of thing with juicy conversation, we called for the bill.
When the bill came the first cake was still on it. I told the guy - this Chinese dude who looked like he'd just graduated from Poly or some crap JC like mine - that I was told that I wouldn't be charged for the first cake. The guy was all blur and shit and muttered something I don't remember, to which Olivia said, "Can we talk to the manager please?"
To my absolute shock, the guy said, "I am the manager."
Wow, Cedele must've been REALLY desperate for staff if they hired THAT as theur manager.
Olivia and I explained the situation to him, and he eventually went away to take it off the bill - reluctantly. We saw him talking to the Indian waiter at the cashier; Olivia thought he was scolding him or berating him or whatever, so she went over to scold him. The worst part was, when the Chinese manager came back with the revised bill, I told him not to reprimand the Indian guy because I really appreciated what he did.
But guess what the Chinese manager said to that? ABSOLUTELY FUCK-ALL.
YOU TELL ME, WHAT KIND OF FUCKING SHIT MANAGER IS THIS?
I got the Indian waiter's name and I'm SO going to write in to Cedele's head office to relate the incident. These stupid Singaporeans - they can be so fucking myopic. How much money did they lose from that one stupid slice of cake anyway? I don't know if the Indian waiter was Singaporean, but I totally wouldn't be surprised if he weren't. I was obviously displeased with the cake (I swear it tasted nothing like the one I ate with Mag and it was the same damn cake, and I swear it contained rum) so did it matter that I'd eaten more than half? Maybe I ate more than half not because I was okay with it, but because I was fucking hungry (which I was). The non-Singaporean Indian waiter did the exact same thing when my mom and brother didn't like some weird dish he wrongly ordered for us - he changed it. And he didn't charge us for it.
Singaporeans are just so robotic and stiff. All they know how to do is adhere to stupid rules. And when the customer tells you something, you act like she was talking gibberish and completely ignore her. Well, guess what? Stupid Chinese manager messed with the wrong bitch. He'd be lucky to still have his position after the email I'm gonna send. The Indian guy should be promoted - THAT is how you serve customers. Not ignore them. Fuck, how did that moron become a fucking manager? What a fucking joke.
I'm thinking maybe I should email from my office account since I don't even have a signature set up but I don't know the protocol in relation to such things so I think I'll just use my Gmail.
5. Rant #3A: Fucking useless ang mohs
Adidas' previous season range finally went on sale online and I decided, randomly, that I really wanted this skirt. I googled it like mad, called up ALL the stores in Singapore to ask, but couldn't find it - until I came across this Canadian store that had it in my size. Naturally I placed an order for it and was all excited when I got the confirmation email.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I checked my email the following day and found this:
Order Number: 1335
Detailed Invoice: https://secure.merchantoftennis.com/account_history_info.php?order_id=1335
Date Ordered: Saturday 16 January, 2010
The comments for your order are
Thank you for your order. Unfortunately we are unable to process international orders at this time. Please check back with us in a few months.
Your order has been updated to the following status.
New status: Processing
Please reply to this email if you have any questions.
Any reasons given? No. Any details given? No. So I was supposed to glean WHAT from this email, exactly?
Annoyed, I sent this back to them:
There was no mention of your purported inability to process international orders when I placed my order. May I enquire as to how long you expect me to wait for one tennis skirt? I think it's slightly ridiculous for you to ask me to check back "in a few months", with absolutely no stipulation as to how long that entails, when no notice was given to me at all that this would happen. The least you could do is to offer a refund. Has my card been charged?
The following morning, I received this reply:
On Jan 18 we tried to process your order but our banking verification system could not verify your billing address. Your card was charged and then refunded. As we couldn�t verify your card, we couldn�t process your order.
After receiving your e-mail this morning we tried to process your credit card without the billing verification and your card was declined from your bank in Singapore due to lack of funds.
If you would like to try another credit card or send us a money order we will be happy to process your order.
AND YOU COULDN'T HAVE TOLD ME THAT IN YOUR FIRST EMAIL BECAUSE? SINCE WHEN WAS IT MY PROBLEM THAT YOU'RE TOO BLOODY LAZY TO EMAIL YOUR CUSTOMERS PROPERLY?
Really annoyed, I replied:
I just called my bank to ask about the transaction. There is a discrepancy equal to the price of the item between my available ledger balance and the total balance. According to my bank, that amount has been set aside for you to claim in relation to this transaction. I don't think I have been refunded. Could you check again please?
For avoidance of doubt, my billing address is:
I have to say that I am surprised by the lack of clarity of your first email. A lot of trouble could have been avoided if you had conveyed the problem from the start instead of sending me some automated email that tells me absolutely nothing, and worse, misrepresents the problem. I'm sure this can be solved within a few days, not a few months. I'd appreciate it if you could clarify whether or not I have been refunded, and whether or not the address I provided in this email can be verified.
I mean, really. And I just noticed some tense problems in my reply which has distracted me from what I was going to say.
Uh, anyway, so yeah, what the hell right? Their reply to me was about how they don't usually process international orders and how I should try Tennis Warehouse.
THANKS FOR THE SUGGESTION BUT IF I COULD USE TENNIS WAREHOUSE WHY THE HELL WOULD I ORDER FROM YOU?
In the end I gave them my mom's card number. Which means when she gets the bill I'm going to get scolded 'cause the skirt totals up to 76 plus shipping. GREAT. I don't know how the hell these ang mohs do business but clearly they've got a thing or two to learn.
6. Rant #3B: Fucking useless ang mohs
This relates to the court transcribers we used for the trial. They were a couple of Australians hired by the company that provides the real-time transcripts. One of my tasks during the trial was to note down the errors on the transcripts and inform the transcribers of the errors during the break.
So during lunch on the first day I did as I was told - gave the woman the errors I noted down and all, with my associate next to me. And there were quite a number of errors, especially the names of the parties and all that. She wasn't overly thrilled about the help and tried to explain the errors - which pretty much made me hate her for life.
First she said my side's lawyer - my boss, essentially - spoke too fast (I can assure you he doesn't speak fast at all). Then, and worst of all, she was all, "We couldn't understand your witnesses because they spoke...Singlish."
WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU KIDDING? NOT A SINGLE FUCKING PERSON SPOKE SINGLISH IN THE COURTROOM. A part of me wanted to retort, "You mean they spoke with a Singaporean accent?" But because I was just a lowly pupil (this "trainee" nonsense doesn't exist to me), I kept my mouth shut and just smiled and nodded.
Singlish? SINGLISH? Sorry, but that's mildly offense - to say the least. Is it my problem you can't understand my accent? No, it's not. We're paying you to type everything out verbatim, so you make sure you do your job and stop making stupid excuses. If you find it so difficult to understand Singaporeans, don't work here then. No one's forcing you to. Go back to Australia. There are so many courts there; I'm sure you can find a job ANYWHERE in Australia.
What an utter moron. And it completely beats the hell out of me why the company isn't hiring at least one local to do the transcribing.
Can I also just say that I HATE Singaporeans who fake some stupid gross accent and pretend to be able to speak ang moh-fied English when they clearly can't pronounce properly and can't speak good English? They should just quit the stupid act and get a life.
1. The reason I changed my commenting system is because Haloscan decided to cease its free service and is making everyone upgrade to some whatever shit that requires payment which I'm not interested in. I don't like the current commenting system 'cause it doesn't distinguish between my index and the actual entry. Clicking on my blog takes you to the index, so leaving a comment at the bottom of the page is leaving a comment on the index page, not the actual entry itself. To leave a comment on the entry you'll have to click on the entry, right at the bottom - which is too troublesome and no one's gonna remember this so whatever comments I get will not be stored in the entry to which they belong. And this REALLY bugs me. And I have no time to fix it. So it's pissing me off.
2. The reason I can't drink tea is because the doctor has ordered that I can't take caffeine. No coffee. My life is over.
3. I am too tired to continue. I have work again. I am very sad.