Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lessons in Life

Well, I have now officially joined the 30 Club! (Just type 'turning 30' in google and be entertained!) It's something that I am the first to do among my close circle of school friends. Not the first time I am celebrating a birthday without them by my side, not the first time I am spending a birthday without my family by my side but the first time I am celebrating a birthday without a man by my side. (To feminists out there who are already yelling ‘You don’t need a man to be happy’ or tuning in to the PussyCat Dolls song ‘I Don't Need A Man', yes I know I don’t need a man to be happy but for better and not worse ((hehe)) I would prefer to have the one I love by my side). And for something that’s not happened in the last 17 years, it took a little getting used to.

But anyhoo, it was a very nice birthday. I had a great confirmation of love and respect from my team members at work – now for those of you who remember last year, the atrocities I used to grumble about regarding work, they’ve all taken a turn for the better this year and I am so grateful for it. I couldn’t bear to take on personal and professional problems together this year of the Dog 2006! And I had like a million friends who all took the time and effort to remember my birthday and wish me – props to Lisa, Melinda, Thing May, Janice, Mum (but not DAD!!!!), Shanthi, Liz, Sookie, Anizah, Adzam, Kong Wai, Fungky, Cynthia, David A, Anita Abdul Rahim (whom I have not heard from in AGES!!!!), Mark B, Elene, Mei, Chitra, Sri, Ayn, Trish, Sherine, Shamini, Ashifa, Amutah, Logs, PY, Audrey, Jim, Shanthi N, Amy, Wendy……………..

It’s like I told Anizah, I may have lost 1 person but its opened up a whole new world of friends to me. I am blessed to have the friends that I have and for them to come out in full force to show me the impact I have made on their lives is greatly fulfilling.

I also see a difference in my appreciation of my friends these days – I used to be completely wrapped up in 1 person, my life revolved around him, my schedule revolved around him, my habits and hobbies revolved around him but now, I do charity work, I go clubbing (sometimes), I go to the gym, I read more, I do my laundry more regularly (hehehehe). I get to make the time to do what I need to do basically, instead of trying to steal time from my time with him to do normal stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it, I loved spending time with him but being without him now, gives me much more opportunity to do what I want to do and what I need to do. I’m sure my employer prefers it more this way too – since I don’t rush off from work the moment I can, to go home to him.

Sure it gets lonely or boring sometimes but you win some and you lose some eh?

So I had some birthday songs, a cake, some gifts, some cards, it was fantastic. I was rushing around work a lot too – everybody needed something done……, so it felt like an extremely fruitful day which makes me feel GLAD TO BE ALIVE AND 30!!!!!!!

Yesterday too, the Corporate Social Responsibility Club organized an AIDS Awareness Week at the office and I helped sell quite a bit of merchandise of which the proceeds go to the Malaysian Aids Foundation – MAF. Our Club also wants to print up our own AIDS Support t-shirts for sale and some of the slogans we came up with/found, I felt were so fantastic I would have bought every t-shirt design. For example:

Don’t Be A Fool, Cover Your Tool
Stigmatisation = Discrimination
Support Malaysian Agriculture, Use a Rubber

These are just some.

I must confess a Boo Boo I committed when helping out at a Charity Sale for the Spastic Children’s Association of Selangor and Federal Territory. I was looking for a plastic bag to pack all the merchandise this woman had bought from us. I found one ratty looking one under the table and I wondered aloud if she would mind it being a little ‘cacat’. She took offense (albeit very gracefully and politely) at the word ‘cacat’ because apparently her daughter was afflicted with a “Big Head”. She called her daughter ‘Special’ and I guess that is the politically correct term.

I felt terrible having used the C word but looking at the other side of the coin, I don’t think it actually matters that much what people call it (the condition). What matters most is what your loved ones and yourself think. For argument’s sake, (and I know I may get a lot of hate mail for this but bear with me and reserve comment for now) if people deem it a cacat condition, then yes, fine, cacat. What is so wrong or bad about this word? Poor word I think, because it was coined for everyday usage, never intending for itself to be a pariah among other words but its maker (people) has made it so.

(Killing myself here but) Some definitions from online BM dictionaries:

Cacat =
defective; handicapped; deformed
disabled, defect, flaw, blemish

I think the more people accept a certain condition and accept that ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’, we would live easier lives. A word is a word is a word. There is nothing good or bad about it except the connotation and definition that people give to it. Everybody has flaws and defects – however, of course, there is the severity of the defect that is important here and how much it impacts the quality of life of the inflicted person. But still, a flaw and a defect is a fact of life. You cannot pretend it isn’t there – just like AIDS and TB and Leprosy…..- the best thing you can do for people who have ‘special’ conditions is to accept them as they are, treat them as you would everybody else and help each other when help is asked for.

Laziness is a flaw, lying is a flaw, inconsideration is a defect, having a ‘heart of stone’ is a defect……see my point?

FYI: Did you know that in some parts of the US, ‘special’ means dumb or mentally slow, but used as a slang word?

(A word to all those who are now itching to comment on my blog and give me a piece of their mind – I will not be responding to your comments because I have said what I have to say and I believe in it. As is my motto always, there are only a handful of people in the world whose opinions I really care about.

I did not intend to disrespect anybody with my thoughts and comments above and I am appreciative of and sensitive to the conditions some people are in – however, I think physically challenged people do get on with their lives very well and they have come to accept themselves, perhaps you ought to too!

I am never sure when to offer help and when not to though, because sometimes you can get your head bitten off – “Why would you think I need your help???”)


mithz said...

Happy Birthday Errolyn! Many happy returns of the day. Its good to hear that you had a wonderful day, surrounded by friends. I turned 30 last year, felt really bad about it too, but then again, with friends around celebrating it with me, it made the occasion something to remember! Have a good one.

Murli said...

Errolyn -- happy birthday!

I went looking for, reached some strange music download site and scratched my head for a bit. Finally googled my way here.

How are you? I'm gonna be in KL three Saturdays from now with a friend. Will be nice to have a cuppa with you while I leave her to shop. Email me if you're gonna be in town :)

szup said...

Hey...I wished u happy birthday mention of hoo hoo....LOL!

Murli said...


Called you yesterday but reached your voicemail. Just call me whenever you see this or send me an sms (my number is in my email signature) and I'll call you back.