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Never A Snob


WHEN I was growing up, I've been mostly seen as a snob.The truth is I may have been a little shy but never snobbish. I was just a happy kid being on my own and didn't think I needed many friends and have noisy gatherings during recess. So I usually stuck around with one or two friends whom I was happy with for the most of my school years and spent a lot of time watching other kids talk, play, grow boobs and later come back with a baby or two to visit the teachers at 16. It amused me but I wasn't surprised or felt anything at all.  

And then I grew up. The snob, among other attractive descriptions, continued to make the list of words to describe me. It's interesting how people perceive or simply choose to see you regardless of how you project yourself to the world around you. The best cure is not to care. So I don't and most times, I'm just me, in my comfort circle. But work often gets me out of it. In my business, I'm constantly talking and listening to a lot of people. Mostly things of the same kind, spoken by different tongues, and strangely it never gets boring. When work is done by the end of a day, I usually just switch off. 

This means I don't make eye contact with people whom I bump into while in a lift unless of course, if I know them, we'd exchange polite greetings. Or if there are children who stare, I smile back. What happened today was a little out of ordinary for me though. Back in my condo, a lady walked into the lift I was in, all smiley with her face caked up with a two-way cake, two shades too bright for her skin. A dark shade of lip colour filled her lips to the brim. Hair high up in a bun, a black boat-neck top with a matching long skirt, carrying what seemed like a laptop bag in one hand and a canvas bag in the other. She walked in like it was home but she didn't look like she belonged there. 


"You live here ?," she asked in Malay dipped in thick Indonesian. By now, I couldn't help but notice the teeth. You could park a truck in between those and they also needed some serious dental scaling. But she was polite.


"Yes... you too ?"


"Fourteenth floor. Sometimes I'm in my Ampang house. Most times, I'm based here and work from here. I do traditional massages and care, mainly for women on confinement after childbirth."


Now, I don't know why she had volunteered that bit of information with me. I hope it wasn't my child-bearing hips but it did interest me a little. My gran had a lady like that for most of her life. Massages were done only with the Mak Cik (aunt in Malay) in her Kampung (village) house. I remember the house on stilts being dark at most times, almost always reeking with the smell of Ikan (fishes) from the kitchen. It's like she only ever ate fishes or something. It bothered me. But the old lady had fingers that glided like butter on the skin. I've only had her services once where she made me sit in a meditative position for a massage. I freaked out despite the gentle, gliding hands. Well, that's another story. 


"Do you do house calls?," I made conversation. By this time, the lady had fiddled into the canvas bag. With the clasp wide open, I caught the cause of her stained teeth staring back at me in a box of Gudang Garam (Indonesian clove cigarettes). Then, she handed me a name card hurriedly before staggering out to level 14. 


Ibu Ratna is a professional Tukang Urut Tradisional (traditional masseuse). My perception of her ? She is not a snob but her teeth bother me.  

Comments

  1. I hate how some people mistake being shy for being snobbish but don't worry Jaya, you seem down to earth to me, you seem cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) thanks, Matthew.
      sometimes we just used to it.

      Delete
  2. I agree with waffles, the two are often mistaken. I'm more shy than snobbish and I always hope nobody thinks I'm doing the latter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i suppose it doesn't matter after a while, Adam.
      :)

      Delete
  3. Yeah the best philosophy is to not care what 99.9% of what others think. As most of them don't matter anyway, sure you aren't a snob or annying like What About Bob?..haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i remember that one, Pat.
      good one :p

      Delete
  4. Don't you have to say something snobbish to be a snob? If that masseuse had told you she only offers her services to the upper classes she would have been a snob.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. apparently not, GB.
      i would have just laughed out loud if the lady had said that to me.
      :)

      Delete
  5. I think there's a difference between being a snob and being reserved. Some people just choose not to become over familiar with others. With me, it depends on my mood. When I'm happy I will talk to just about anyone like I've known them forever (even when I don't know them at all!)... and when I'm feeling less than, I usually ignore everyone lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. there is, Azra. but often mistaken. well, true dat. depending on the mood, i can be quite a social butterfly sometimes too.
      :)

      Delete
  6. If those teeth of hers bother you, I suspect you’re not going to have her give you a massage any time soon! ;)

    I have been haunted by the description “nice” my entire life. It’s certainly not a bad way to be perceived but it’s wrong!! Or, at least, definitely not totally true…

    You certainly don't strike me as being a snob!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are right, Beth.
      the teeth is just a bit too off for me. lol

      well, nice is not bad really. but i get what you mean ;)

      Delete
  7. In my line of biz I get a lot of those silent snobs. And my site is crappy so I bump into people all of the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. there's nothing crappy about your site as far as i know. i've learnt about some strange and interesting things there :)

      Delete
  8. i have been told several times in my life that people are surprised that i am so friendly, cuz i look like a total bitch. ouch! i guess i need to pay more attention to how i look to other people! i guess i look like a snob, but really i'm just nervous around other people and what they're going to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that happens to me too, Kage. but i think we dont have to really be troubled about how we look to other people.
      hope you're well after the dental visit :)

      Delete
  9. Bad teeth bother me too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it's like it's the only thing i see on a person with bad teeth.
      ;P

      Delete
  10. I find it hard to imagine anyone would thnk you're a snob (judging purely from you blogger id pic, that is), but I suppose just like how some of the other bloggers have mentioned before me, quietness or being plain old blur can be mistaken for snobbishness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thats a smiley pic :)
      when i dont smile, and walk about with a hundred things on my mind, i may appear like a snob.

      Delete
  11. I have to agree with Beth's comment. If her teeth are rotten, I'd have to wonder where her hands have been and if she's washed them. Eww!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it's okay if you don't have any teeth at all, but when you have them, you need to keep them in order methinks.

      Delete
  12. When work is done by the end of a day, I usually just switch off. That sounds familiar to me. Very familiar. A studet of mine once told me I seemed to shut down right after our lesson. Somehow that comment made me think. I guess 600 students on a yearly basis is enough company. I don't feel the need to say very much at the end of a working day.

    I can only imagine ho much those teeth bothered you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. P.S I guess the image of those teeth bothered me s-o-o much I wrote ho much. I wonder what Dr Freud has to say about this one. I just wanted to say you're not a snob nor do you look like one :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. its always nice to switch off, RC. although i think the perfect winding down for me is still a solitary run in the park on a sunny evening. i miss that a lot.
      600 students. do you remember their names ?
      aww. thanks, RC. i'm not a snob and really dont care if some think otherwise.
      :)

      Delete
  14. I miss running around the park. The last time I did that was the end of August 2011 and then, after about a minute, I had to stop because I wasn't feeling too well. That was when I found out something was seriously wrong with my health. As for their names... let's say it's my number one challenge when it comes to teaching. Chinese names I find particularly difficult to learn by heart, but it's only a matter of time.

    It's almost weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  15. i hope you feel well on most days. i cant imagine it though. must be like having bronchial asthma or something? i last ran in Sept end, 2011, for about 10mins, and then i felt like my legs were going to snap into two. my toes are now permanently numb! hahaha. i felt nothing in my recent footsie attempt! chinese names tend to seem bi-gender but it helps when there is a non-chinese first name to go by. however, it's not too bad with us here because it's a huge community and we live together.

    have a good weekend, RC.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it feels more like a jet lag to last a life-time.

      Your recent footsie attempt? Hahahaha.

      Delete
  16. The child bearing hips made me laugh, she was sizing you up, first it is tailors, now massage therapists, who next?. Don't walk by an undertakers or you may be in trouble.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. always someone ! hahaha.
      have you seen that movie After Life with Christina Ricci and Liam Neeson?

      Delete
  17. Reminds me of a quote I read once:

    "I'm not shy, I'm actually silently judging you from afar and I've realized you're all retarded".

    ReplyDelete
  18. the first half of the quote sounds like Gabriel Garcia Marquez though.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I was very, very shy as a kid. Less so now, but still quiet in new situations.

    ReplyDelete

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