I had a conversation today that led to a lot of reminiscing. Much later after I’d gotten home, I continued to recall things from my past.
Midway through that though, my train of thoughts went slightly off tangent to things that used to irritate/annoy/bemuse me. Here are couple of them at random:
When I was young(er), I occassionally played pool at Sega City. This was a large arcade on the third floor of Sungei Wang Plaza (where all the other arcades currently are) which occupied a huge space including a section with pool tables.
I finally stopped playing there though due to one incident. At that time Sega City was going through a financial crunch (business was bad for them – which is why they no longer exist), and so they decided to diversify their revenue base. Noticing that there was an empty spot as one entered the pool parlour (the spot was too small for a pool table), they decided in their infinite wisdom to plant a karaoke machine there.
A karaoke machine is bad. A karaoke machine with majority Malay songs is worse. Don’t get me wrong, there are Malay tunes that I enjoy listening to, but let’s face it, a huge proportion of Malay songs for the gen-x group is the mat rocker style of music. They usually have lots of screaming, yelling, and trying to hit notes that they shouldn’t be trying to hit.
So yes, 3 ringgit went into the pool machine (no one was at the karaoke machine when I started) and of course midway through the game, the sounds that emerged from the machine was like a cat being skinned alive. Still, I managed to be the one to pot all my coloured balls in, followed by the black ball too…along with the white at the same time.
I was getting extremely annoyed at the singers who continued to belt out their renditions and wanted to leave. But my fellow pool player said since I’d chipped in for the first game; it was only fair if he chipped in for another. So we played game 2, and again I was the first to pot in all my coloured balls, followed by the black…and the white at the same time AGAIN!
[For those who don’t know the rules for pool, potting the black ball is the last thing you do to win the game. If you successfully pot the black ball, and your white ball goes in as well, you lose.]
Ever since then, I stopped patronising the place, and several months later they went bust.
2. Radio Ads.
For those who listen to the local radio stations, there used to be a public service ad proclaiming how if one were to save 10 ringgit a day everyday, after 5 years, one would have amassed, with the wonders of compound interest, almost RM18,000.
Now for those of you who don’t notice immediately what annoys me about that statement, reread the above paragraph and ruminate on it for a bit.
Got any idea?
If no, here’s why. In one year, there’s at least 365 days. In five years, that would be 1825 days.
RM10 multiplied by 1825 comes to RM18,250. And this is without factoring interest. The wonders of compound interest indeed. According to that ad, if I saved RM10 a day everyday after five years, I’d end up with less then the sum of all the money saved daily!
If you imagine that the person saving here is a lazy bum, who takes the effort to say open a fixed deposit only at the end of each year, at an interest rate of 3%, the amount saved should be in excess of RM19,300.
3. English in School.
Some amusing lessons that I received back then:
In Standard Four, I was taught to pronounce words in what the teacher thought was the correct pronunciation. Carpenter is pronounced with the “pen” rhyming with “fern”.
In Standard Five, the teacher taught us that words such as carpenter is pronounced with the “pen” rhyming with “hen”.
In Standard Six, the teacher began a lesson explaining the term, “jiran”. Those classmates sitting closest to me threw me a quizzical look hoping for an explanation as to what it was about. I just gave back a baffled look in response. I couldn’t figure out what this “jiran” was until the teacher wrote out “gerund” on the blackboard.
4. The Gentleman’s gentleman.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a country estate, and sample the pleasures there.
The place was gorgeous, with acres upon acres of greenery in all directions. The first activity that I endeavored upon was horse riding. Now I never am, and never will be an equestrian of even the minimum standards. So midway through the ride, my horse of course decided to buck and throw me off. And of course, it had to dump me in the one spot of non-greenery around us (a huge mud puddle). Unhurt (physically at least), I returned to the manor where the house butler assisted me in getting fresh clothing and taking away the mud-splattered ones.
I apologised for the inconvenience and he remarked with a, “That’s quite alright, sir.”
Still somewhat red-faced, I wandered about the different rooms until I came to the library. Now that was fantastic sight to behold, floor to ceiling bookshelves with thousands of books. I happily explored the different titles, climbing up on the stepladder. In the process of doing so though, I didn’t realise that I had unhooked the ladder from the rails that secured it to the shelves…so of course as I was examining different tiles, the ladder suddenly lifted off from the railings, up to the apex where I frantically tried to push my body weight forward and of course failed most miserably. The ladder went on from the apex straight down where I prepared to crash onto the floor upon my back (yes, this is like a scene in a movie).
Now if I crashed into the floor, that’d be quite alright, but this was at the corner of the library and I managed to slam with substantial force upon the bookshelves behind me, and in the process dislodging a goodly number of books.
There I sprawled on the ground, amongst piles of books at my side and on top of me as the butler rushed in along with an assistant. With my face growing redder then ever, they assisted me to my feet whilst making sure that I wasn’t harmed. I apologised for what had happened, and again the butler looked at me with a straight deadpan face, “That’s quite alright, sir.”
Do bad things come in threes? In this case, it did. I tried my utmost best not to cause any more harm to my surroundings (or myself) for the rest of the day but failed. I went to take a shower, and opened the faucet to test the warmth of the water. Evidently the washer had come loose at the bottom end of the shower spray and water shot out in a sharp burst from there blasting me nicely (it was cold thankfully) as I stood there agape (I was still fully dressed). I, being the genius that I was grabbed to close the shower curtain and prevent the water from flooding the rest of the bathroom. I grabbed too hard. The shower curtain (and rod) came down in a crash, one end smacking quite well on my big toe.
I gave a yell and hopped out of the room. By chance the butler was passing my room at that time and he rushed in upon hearing my yell. He sized up the situation in a glance, strode into the bathroom and closed the faucet. (Which is what I should have done in the first place)
Once more, with my face couldn’t possibly becoming any redder, I apologised for the mess. The butler of course replied with, “That’s quite alright, sir.”
Happily, I was not banished from the estate by my most gracious host, and those were the only three incidents to mar that holiday.