Friday, October 30, 2009

More haste, less speed, but he couldn't help it.

This is another of my observations & thinking aloud on the stress of 'civilized' living and how each person handles it.

I looked on helplessly as the Wantan Mee man rushed back to his stall, wild-eyed and panicky, grabbed a handful of raw mee, tossed it into a long-handled perforated container and dipped it into the boiling pot of water.  He then quickly grabbed a bowl, plonked it down on the bench top and shook some sauce into it.  Then he reached out and clumsily tried to grab a scoop from another pot steaming with hot soup. 

There were two other customers standing next to his stall when I came in, so I stood off to one side and told him in the most soothing voice I could master, "It's OK.  Don't panic.  Take your time.  We're in no hurry..."

But he seemed oblivious to my calming words and kept muttering, "Must hurry... quick... no time..." and continued to rush about like a headless chicken.  The other two waiting customers also voiced the same sentiments as they moved aside to give him more space to work.  But the grim-faced guy just carried on with his quick but clumsy movements. 

Just then a friendly lady from a nearby stall came over to help him out.  That didn't seem to calm him down but it at least it prevented him from running into walls... or rather, splashing the soup and hot water all over the place, or getting a heart attack.

A couple of days later I dropped by at his stall again.  He apologized and said not everyone is understanding and patient.  He explained he was once threatened by a very angry customer with bodily harm when he was too slow to serve him.  That was why whenever he got more orders that come at the same time he would panic.

As I stood listening to him I compared him to another stall owner next to his.  The lady owner used to have her elder sister helping to prepare, serve, pack and collect payments.  But this lady was a screamer.  The more customers waiting in line, the louder she screamed.  The poor, soft-spoken, long-suffering, slightly hunched elder sister took it all in her stride.  Years of such verbal abuse obviously took its toll on her and she looked many years older than the younger sister.

One day, the elder sister just disappeared.  She was replaced by another lady who doesn't look like a relative.  The screamer doesn't scream anymore.  I wonder what happened to the elder sister.  And I also wonder what happened to the screaming.  Maybe this 'punching bag' could punch back...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adverse Reactions

Everyone reacts differently to pressure or stress at the workplace, public place, home or life at large. 

Some take it out on their colleagues, subordinates, friends or mates.  Whether their outbursts are justified or not, they don't really care.  They just have to chew up someone who happens to get in the way.  All they want is to let off some of the steam. 

Some blindly pick on the wrong victim and get bashed in return.  That's how law enforcers and doctors get more work, lawyers get clients and judges get to sit and decide who's right or wrong and who should pay whom and how much.  If they happen to be in Who's Who lists, reporters get some scoops to fill up their newspapers or magazines.

Others carry the whole thing on their own shoulders.  They get blood pressure or ulcers.  That gives doctors more business.  Some take it home and lash out blindly at whoever get in their way, as in wives, siblings, parents, or children.  Some who have no families simply go home and kick their dogs. 

For those with none of the above, they go to the gym.  Or they learn yoga. 

Many young executives I heard, went and got involved in some pill-popping or head-shaking parties.  I think that's more self-destructive than helpful.  The much better thing to do is pour yourself a drink and go to bed.

Seldom would anyone, especially in the retail business, take it out on the customer.  That would be business hara-kiri.  But some do.  And they close shop and go do something else, or they wise up and learn which side to butter their bread on.  There goes their poor dogs or cats or whatever.

Others with more knowledge or experience and have better control over their senses and coordination of their brain power, aim their pressure in the proper directions.  Employees or colleagues who get caught on the wrong foot often get the best of these fireworks.  That probably gave them the label of being dominant characters in management.  You can't fault them for that because in the corporate world you either take charge or other more dominant characters will eat you for breakfast.  Like the one who said, 'No, I don't get ulcers!  I give them away!'

If you get two such characters within the same organization, then you should sit back and watch the fireworks.  But such conditions usually don't last long.  As they say, 'two tigers cannot stay on the same mountain'. 

Meanwhile, they also say, if the heat gets too much for you, stay out of the kitchen.  Go find yourself a quiet place and meditate.  As in a monastery or temple.  Sorry, all private caves are taken.

Can't walk like everybody else?

Heres' a typical morning market where everybody walks in to buy provisions and foodstuffs and wanders around wondering what else to buy and where and what to eat for breakfast.

Sometimes it can be very crowded, especially during weekends.

But what's it with those guys on their motorbikes and the poisonous fumes they leave behind? 

No, they can't sacrifice their convenience for others' health and safety.  They can't bear to leave their wheels for a while.  They can't park their bikes outside and walk like everybody else.

And these same fellas do the same thing even on crowded days.

Shame... (or, to quote Patrick Teoh;  NIAMAH!!!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Battle of the giants...

OK, at least one of them is called by the above name, but I'm not saying which is which.  Somebody might just sue me out of my pants.  But their battles against each other is fought without guns and bombs or missiles.  They only use strategies.  They try to win hearts and wallets.  And of course, the bottom line; Hard Cold Cash.

In the beginning each occupy his own location and each try to exert and expand his area of influence.  One stayed north, the other stayed south.  One plays by a more gentlemanly rule.  Let's say they advertise a period of a few days and put up certain items at reduced prices.  They make sure they have enough stocks to last the few days throughout the period advertised.  Customers happily part with their money even though some of those items are not really needed at the moment.  They feel this giant is more trust-worthy as they are given a fair deal.  Most customers even become members of their card club.

The other uses little bits of tricks every now and then.  They also advertise certain number of days of sale with items on offer at reduced prices.  But a few hours after opening, the items are finished.  Customers who go through the aisles, the shelves and hunt diligently for those items end up frustrated.  They find only empty spaces in the shelves.  The spaces look too small to be convincing.  Customers started talking to each other.  Some are made to go a wild goose chase by some equally blur staffs.  Or they are told to go to a special counter. 

Sometimes they go home empty handed, or without those items they want.  They buy less.  But they never forget they feel like they've been tricked.  A few times of hearing "sale, sale (wolf, wolf)" and they begin say, "Oh let's not bother wasting our time.  Sell their fliers to the old-newspaper man.  Let's wait for the other hypermarket to put up a sales offer".

Soon, the other giant, knowing they're winning the war, decided to invade the other big guy's territory.  They put up an even bigger building than their enemy's and sent out their fliers and buntings.  On opening day, the whole area was jammed. 

So far, the story is on-going.  In the end, who's going to win the war?  Well, the end is not here yet.  But we're enjoy the shopping and watching the battle of the giants...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How to get rid of village bums

A certain rich man in a village lost a chicken.  Just a chicken out of his backyard coop full of chickens, but he went ballistic and had to blame someone for it.  So who should happen by but a village bum, a young man who had nothing better to do but spend his days hanging around the village shrine, fishing by the river or playing with the kids.  He argued and yelled and said he didn't even know there were chickens around the place! 

A crowd gathered round.

The rich guy was adamant he got the right man.  "Show us the proof then," said the villagers. 
The wealthy one couldn't get any proof, but he refused to let the young man go. 

Then the young man had an idea.  He suggested they go to the village shrine and ask the Tuapehkong.  He thought the Tuapehkong would favor him because he was always there taking care of the place.  The rich guy agreed on one condition.  If the young man was found guilty he will be banished from the village.  The bum said confidently, "OK, let's go find out the truth." 

Tuapehkong decided in favor of the rich guy and the poor bum was thrown out of the village. 

He had nowhere to go, so he hiked to the next county. 

The folks in the next county were fighting a war with several of their neighbors.  The young man was immediately drafted into the army.  They trained him.  To his own surprise he found he could do lots of things he never knew he could.  He learned fast and he fought well with different weapons.  He was always suggesting strategies to his captain and they kept winning battles against their neighboring county.  And they kept promoting him until he became a general.  Then they won the war. 

Years went by and the emperor heard about the young general of the county.  He summoned the young man and made him a general of the imperial army.  He won campaign after campaign, until the whole country was united under one emperor.  The wars ended and the emperor made him a governor of his own county.  It was good thing.  The guy had a desire to visit his home village again.

The first thing he saw upon entering the village gates was the little shrine and the Tuapehkong staring at him.  He stared back.  He ordered his men to tear the shrine down and throw everything into a vacant lot nearby. 

That night he had a dream.

"I want you to build a house for me right in the vacant lot where I am now." said Tuapehkong.

"Who are you to order me to do things?" asked the governor.  "You didn't stop them from throwing me out of the village years ago, remember?  They still think I stole that chicken."

"I did that on purpose.  If I'd told the truth you'd still be a village bum today.  But look at you now.  A word from you and things will be done." 

The governor bowed his head when he realized the truth of that.  When he woke up the next day he ordered the temple to be built.

The rich man who lost the chicken protested.  The vacant plot of land belonged to him.  The governor said, "I shall now pass a law that says all land not occupied or planted with food crops shall belong to the government."  Soon the rich landowners began to lease out their lands or hired laborers to plant crops instead of leaving them to grow weeds or became jungles.

And that was how the poor of the village finally got some land to plant their own food.

Moral of the story:  Some people have the potential to be great.  They just need a boot in the butt to get them going.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Smell a rat with this health check?

How long does it take our health authorities to smell a rat?  I mean, about a possible health scam.  4 years.  That's how long. 

Look at the front page of today's theStar.  And look at what my street-smart niece wrote in her blog HERE in the year 2005.  And don't forget to read what her experienced uncles, friends and cousins, among them a couple of doctors had to say about it.

Meanwhile, some people have already made a pile out of putting a scare on health conscious young or middle-aged executives et al, with money to spend, and laughing all the way to the bank.