45

Stepping into my 45th year of life, I am grateful to have my favourite people around. There’s less personal drama, but stress is now a bigger problem to manage no thanks to the pandemic and work situation. It affects my health and that in turn is stressful to think about. What a cycle.

Still, it is about coping and trying not to fret on things I do not have control over (but idiots are STILL everywhere!).

Here is to another year.

Because wild hearts can’t be broken

I’ve not logged on here for AGES and I don’t know if I’ll be able to write regularly again. There is little urgency to write apart from short captions for work and a bit more for my personal SNS platforms.

It’s so hard to write for myself nowadays. The brain is filled with I have no idea what because while I spend more time at work physically, my mind’s not always at the office. I have the urge to just lie down, to vegetate and do nothing. Not thinking, nothing. All the time. Except when I think about sailing. On a boat or a warship.

I need some sea time. I really do.

The week after

Langkawi race week. My third in four years. Big winds this time around, sometimes too big. Drama everyday, including a man overboard situation, delaminated sails and spinnaker antics that kept everyone huffing and puffing.

Great to see familiar faces and making new acquaintances. Rolling eyes at the same annoying people, sharing stories and laughs over nasik gulai lunch.

Being reminded of my own mortality and physical state of being every morning as I prepare for the next race with bruises and body aches piling.

Back to the real world, I thought Monday would be hell. Turns out that Tuesday was worse but Wednesday (today) is slightly better.

Thanks for another memorable regatta. Guess I’ll see you next year. Maybe.

Friday rant. Again.

So. I raised my voice at an officer today. Obviously, he is ranked higher than me. This is the second time I’ve done this, and both for the same reason. I was asked to do the same task twice.
And both times I had to spend quite a chunk of my time going through words and sentences, looking at the structure, spelling and grammar.

I hate proofreading, but somehow I have a knack for it. It is a tedious job that requires patience and more patience.

So today, after I have spent almost five hours last night and the early hours of this morning, the officer came to me and asked if I could look at a three-pager document which turned out to be the first chapter of what I had already reviewed. He said it was a ‘revised version’. Hah. The revised part was minimal, barely there. What made me angry was how it was 90% still the same chapter and the writer did not bother to make the corrections I have notated! This officer, while just the messenger, should have read through revised version and compared it to the one I have send to him this morning.

– – –

Aku rasa nak maki je dia. And this happened while my ALL officers were in the room. Diorang rilek je biar aku tinggikan suara. Siap bakar lagi. Haha.

– – –

Apa yang aku paling tak puas hati, dia boleh duduk sebelah and cakap “don’t mind me, I just want to see how you work.” Konon impressed dengan hasil kerja aku la. Tapi kerja yang sepatutnya dia buat, dia tak buat. Aku tanya soalan pasal fakta yang berkaitan undang-undang yang ada dalam penulisan tu, dia boleh senang je buat keputusan walhal dia tak tahu. Seriously, dude!

– – –

Aku hormat pangkat dan perjawatan seseorang pegawai dan aku boleh terima kalau dia mintak aku betulkan benda yang aku terlepas pandang atau penulisan yang memang banyak perubahan daripada yang asal. Tapi dia bagi tanpa baca dulu, tak tahu apa yang dia bagi aku.

– – –

I started working in a newsroom, quite a democratic one at that. A junior writer can argue her story with the editor and get her way, or maybe find a compromise if the story that comes out is better that way. And you argue about the headline, and the words to be used. You get asked about the facts that you wrote, the figures, the slant and bias. You admit mistakes, you correct them and you send the story back. When your story comes out the next day, you read it and see how it ended up after going though a number of filters. Sometimes you argue because the last para was removed and it ended on a ‘blaarghh’ note. Sometimes you just don’t bother because it was not vital but it still annoys you.

Kenapa aku masih bernostalgia pasal newsroom? Because I still feel that it was the best training I have received, being a business journalist. Such a steep learning curve, those three years. Kinda defined my writing and editing habits, and later refined by experience of these past 15 years.

– – –

OK dah.

The warm embrace that no one knows

He said he’d pick her up and was his punctual self. What she didn’t expect was his mode of transportation, a brand new superbike.

“Nice ride. Not something I’d expect you to have, though.” He smiled at the comment.

“Thanks. I’m still getting used to it myself,” he admitted and then produced a second helmet for her.

“I hope you know what you’re doing, dude,” the nervous laugh gave her away and made him grin wider.

“Everyone keeps telling me that!”

– – –

While they were on the road, she kept wondering if he could hear her heart pounding, feeling alive and glad to see him again. She felt the wind on her face, partly hidden by his warm back. The journey was no more than 15 minutes and she wished it could go on for much longer.

– – –

“I didn’t say it earlier, but you look really good with your hair like that.  It suits you.”

“Thanks, but I’m actually in the phase where I’m starting to miss wearing it long.”

“Try it out for a while lah. I really like it,” he looked like he wanted to say something else, but stopped himself.

She forced her eyes to look at the menu instead of his face, but not seeing any words written on the piece of laminated cardboard she was holding and stuck to her usual order. Which led her back to the problem of not looking at his face.

“Is there someone joining us?” he asked.

“No, why do you think that?”

“You’ve been staring at the door for a while now.” She smiled and apologised.

He must have sensed her uneasiness and started telling her about his latest sea adventure, a month of patrol duty.

“I’ve made the ship 90 per cent rust-free,” he said proudly. She could only imagine the ‘happy hour’ sessions his crew have had.

“The sailors must be really happy that you’re on leave for a week.”

His laughing face slowly dissolved the tension she felt. “Almost like old times,” she thought.

– – –

Another bike ride and they were at the marina. She thought they were headed for his sailboat, but instead he led her to a bench facing the pontoons.

“I’m selling the boat.”

Her eyes went wide and searched his face, unable to believe what she had just heard. He sat and tugged at her sleeve to do the same.

“I know that I was wrong for wanting to start something with you, not like that,” he spoke softly, eyes looking ahead at the nearby boats.

“After your last letter, I realised that I had hurt you and I’m really sorry. I’m also grateful that you kept pushing me away, even when I felt that you didn’t want to.”

Tears. They came unbidden as always.

“You were an asshole, I’d give you that.” Her shaky laugh was at odds with the emotion he had heard in her voice.

“But what does it have to do with The Duchess?”

He turned to her then, a sad smile.

“Too many memories.”

They had competed in three races on the boat and had won twice. He said she was his lucky charm. Oh how she fell, swift and hard. As fast as she had pulled away, when he told her the truth. She left the team soon after, and it has been almost a year since she last sailed on any boat.

– – –

The rest of the afternoon was a blur to her. She remembered the ride home but not much of the details. The only clear memory was walking away from him without turning back. She knew then that she will be fine. Eventually.