Saturday, May 20, 2006

My Day of Infamy

I recall reading an article where Japanese executives, suffering from highly stressed work load, were encouraged to go to a gym each week (or even everyday) to de-stress themselves. The recommended technique was to use a wooden sword, the type favoured by kendo enthusiasts, to thrash the hell out of a straw dummy.

Banzai and Bagero and 擬似 (Bastard) - they hammered away with their kendo cane swords, undoubtedly visualising the targets as their superiors, who either demanded some impossible sales quota for the US market, or had humiliated them to no ends (by sending them home early at 5 pm).

Well, just imagine some of my former girlfriends as those highly stressed Japanese executives with nasty samurai swords and poor shivering KTemoc the straw dummy!

Yes, those cruel aggressive Elizabeth Bathory's somehow saw in me not only a boyfriend but a convenient de-stressing agent. And I have the quals [qualifications]. They knew I was pretty timid, passive and under-confident, and had the personality that somehow worked their anger up real fast like a chemical catalyst.

Catalyst! – aha, I still remember my school chemistry lessons. Incidentally I was once banned from the school lab for a month after causing an explosion with an unauthorised private experiment. My crime then was failing to provide Mrs Lim with the recorded process of that experiment and what lab chemicals I had used that led to the minor incident. Being the dedicated teacher, she was not so much angry with the explosion per se but more with my lack of scholarly discipline where I failed to pen down my process that would have allowed a tracing of where I had gone wrong.

I couldn’t, for the simple reason that after finishing the assigned experiment with 10 minutes to spare, I was just mindlessly mixing this and that acid and various unnamed unremembered agents, all temptingly available on the shelves right in front of my bench. I was egged on by my encouraging buddy Michael, to see how the mixture in the test tube changed colours as I added on various stuff, when the mini-explosion occurred. Fortunately, other than a fright, Michael and I weren’t hurt. Now, surely you’d understand if I didn’t write it up for Mrs Lim as:

Aim: To examine how H2SO4 interact with HCL (or was it HNO3?) and agent X and Y (probably Z too), and to determine the relationship of the reaction process with the relevant light band spectrum.

In less than 10 minutes 2 bored schoolboys conducted one sweet but unauthorised experiment that brilliantly exceeded the boundaries of chemistry and (light) physics, resulting in an explosion which would have made Alfred Nobel, the inventor of TNT proud. No doubt the experiment was the genesis of a potential Nobel Prize (in Chemistry, Physics or Peace) but I opted for the one-month’s ban as a lesser evil. Bloody Michael got away scot-free as usual.

Whoops, I have digressed from the affairs of the heart. Yes, I was talking about those former girlfriends of mine who saw in my timidity, passiveness and under-confidence, and annoying (catalytic) personality as the ideal combination for them to vent their pent-up frustration more expeditiously. Yes sir, I wasn’t completely useless.

But as I mentioned in Right Wing Bitch (2) I did and still do have one non-negotiable principle, my socialist beliefs. My left wing proclivity is wide ranging, covering not only the political aspects but ecological stuff as well, like protecting whales, dolphins and orioles. And it was an issue about those mammals that irked one them.

She had gone to Japan for holidays with her parents, and there they partook of whale meat. On returning, after giving me the standard boyfriend present of a little samurai sword (to cut my throat when she's angry?), she crooned to me how great the whale meat dish was, expecting me to gasp in wonder and envy. But all she obtained from was my stoic look.

That somehow sent her into a frenzy of tearful ravings and ranting at me. Poor me - I protested I didn’t, haven’t uttered a single word. And she would cry out: “You don’t have to. Your face tells me you disapprove of me. You look at me like dirt”, and she then gravitated into self-pity. Before she could accuse me of not wanting to kiss her anymore (well, certainly not if there was still whale meat, or any meat in her teeth) I ended up apologising for something I didn’t do. What a wimp, so devoid of self esteem.

Oh no, she wasn’t going to let me get away so easily as that – besides I was providing her a great therapeutic de-stressing session for her post-holiday downs. She accused me of pretentious portrayal of myself as above her moral/intellectual standards. Intellectual standards? It was obvious by then she has escalated from self-pity to carpet bombing.

Don’t ask me how I ended up that way with each succeeding girlfriend. Years later, I had the nagging suspicion those babes, who knew most of each other since Penang is a small island and they were generally from the same Convent school, were passing me from one to another. Each successive one was more aggressive and demanding than her predecessor, making me believe the word must gotten round (among them) that KTemoc was an easy … no, not an easy lay … boyfriend to boss around.

The same old accusation from each of them was that I had put on high moral airs, even though they knew on occasions I could be highly immoral (sorry, Privacy Act legislation prevents me from expanding on this). But it was my left wing principles that got their goat. They would exclaim, individually and on separate occcasion of course: “Oh, KT, you just have to be always morally right, pristine pure without a single fault (and they had daggers in their beautiful eyes when they said this) or ever committing an act of shame.”

Of course, leaving aside the provocative issue of whale meat cuisine, they blasted those accusations at poor ole me when they became bloody mad over some petty points where I got the better of them – you know, sore losers, made worse for them by losing to a wimp like KTemoc.

But they had been wrong in saying I hadn’t ever commit an act of shame. I cringed when I recall that odious sin, my day of infamy.

To be continued ……..

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