One of Running Man’s episode, 327 to be exact, featured a bromance concept and the wonderful film, Brother actors were the guest artist for the show. In one of the games, Jyung Suk sang the song, it was rousing and filled with great spirit. A broadway, reminisce of Frank Sinatra’s My Way and Whitney’s I did it On My Own’s. The lyrics are super.
This is the moment My Final Test
Destiny beckons I never reckoned
It’s a magical moment
The sweetest moment of them all
I remembered the moment, handed the Asia Pacific Cup HOYA crystal, by the Nobel Laureatte winner in Literature, Dr Leo Esaki,pronounced as the Grand Prize Winner beating participants from 29 other countries.
I remembered seeing the memorial tape, a segment showed the judging and ballot process, Dr Esaki asked,”Contestant Number 3?”, then one by one, hands were raised. That was how I became the winner. In that tape, they also showed the a snippet of my performance. In the memorial book, they printed the exact answer I gave the judges, that started and ended with thank yous. You see, at lunch earlier, before my turn, I somehow, kind of dreamt of some probable questions and the one asked was exactly, to the letter, one of the questions that came to my mind as I traverse the pre school building next to the gymnasium, the venue of the APEP 3rd, Daiichi School of Economics.
I remembered, waking every morning, with snow capped Mount Fuji greeting me out of the windows a yonder. I remembered, a lot of people, and some crews were rooting for the Papua New Guinea contestant, Mr Paolo. Almost every other contestants were famous speakers and at least carry the badge as a World Debater. Even the rep from Pakistan, Ms S, who was the second to go up the stage before me, was the winner of the Best International Speaker and was presented the award by Duke of Edinburgh himself at the Windsor Castle.
When I joined an international firm, , I realised that Ms S has already climbed up the ladder in her country and has risen to the title of VP for her chapter. Me, I was struggling even to get to Manager, finally one though. I remembered one moment we bonded a bit, me and the wonderfully talented Ms Iqbal, when I heard her hum a Dil To Pagal Hay OST tune. I was big eyed and remarked that ..Hey ..I know that sound! She smiled and said she liked the song. Dil To Pagal Hai was a big hit in Malaysia too, and it was that time when I really did watch some lot of Hindi movies myself. Now, not so much, I stand corrected, not anymore, that’s a more correct answer.
Even though I did asked how come I only came this far compared to Ms Iqbal, I was happy to finally arrived there. Because, to get there, there were betrayals and pain that I had to go through. But it didn’t end there. Although I would say, it was a good time for me to leave too because the agency was bringing in a liquor conglomerate as a client on board, I was also told of some beguiling reasons that prompted them to asked for my resignation. I remembered my clients were flabbergasted, as I really did an excellent work and they were very happy, they gave us lots more projects, aka more profit to the agency.
I also remember, whenever I see an X model parked or passing by, I would gloat and gawk. Nowadays, the pick up looks so macho and bulky masculine not unlike its brother car model. There were a certain recollections about Ford Ranger because it was one of my projects. Coordinating with the Thai based agency to get the test drive done in X. I remembered I was left numb after a senior manager told me off regarding me nosily and unnecessarily trying to make better arrangements for Halal food services for the muslim delegates going to X. It’s an exception really. I’ve never encountered such a backward Chinese lady ever in my life. In all my life, all my non muslim colleagues and professional counter parts were showed refined sensitivities to this matter. But this daggered heart lady really lost her sense. It seemed that was not the only case she tried to mess me with. In one event for an American company, she rebuked my way of handling the special guest aka reporters. Mind you, I have carried my duties soo many times before and it has always been excellent, and I was never not polite but the way she summarises my callous mistakes to the then MD was I was a kampong boy who finally step into an international agency and managing an US based brand. When I saw that she had to stand up at her desk while typing because she fell in her bathroom, I felt sorry and I wished I knew where the hate is coming from. Does she felt threaten, even at that stage? By me?
My aim was to be a Director, I was given the indication that in 6 months, a senior manager position will be open for me although I came in as a Manager. You can say, I lost at office politics there. But, in my defence, it was all good for me. I can’t work with an agency where the pool of profit money is mixed with non halal sources. It’s just what it is. Things happen for a reason maybe. I happen to be one of the few who actually do try to be a muslim there. It’s a laughing matter really because I am just a moderate muslim. I know that I was accepted to the team on the perception that I am very American in my outlook and open enough to represent such brand as exclusive as theirs. My accolades shouts suchs. But if so and so, higher ups were said to drink or guzzle up alcohol to impress the non muslim guest at a special retreat, being a malay himself, my brow just rose a bit. Just a bit. I always thought that it’s okay. It’s people’s choice to drink or not. But entertaining clients and stakeholders ..to such extent ..there were those questions that popped into my mind ..will I ever had to do that? Even if I’m a malay muslim? I thought that when and if I ever reach that point, I will surely handle it with finesse. But who knows, maybe I, without me acknowledging or knowing, could have succumbed and be of a different me altogether. When a client is not happy, entertain them. Let’s have a drink, drink our woes away, and have a heart to heart talk. Teh tarik is too shabby it seems. There were times, I felt will this be the norm. Nah, I digress. Not all, it depends on the person and of course the leader heading the corporation. Then, is that why malay or muslims can never really thrive in business, because the can’t entertain and drink together?
I never encountered such situations again. I said my goodbyes. It may sound sour but the separation was mutual and convivial enough that I felt that to be able to say I was once a part of that prestigious brand and legacy, albeit a local chapter, I think, that time, I said, I had finally arrived. Who could had imagined, the no clue, blur guy who didn’t really belong in the biomedical engineering course in the nation’s most prestigious university, who got enrolled there after teh economic crises resulted in the American degree program he was on to be suspended indefinitely, could make something out of almost nothing. Nobody showed the way. Even I didn’t know where I was heading. I left biomedical engineering field because of the wicked ( God bless him) sales manager ( I thought he could have blacklisted or smeared my name in the industry for all I know, me being so green and fresh eyed), I was merely surviving when I thought I found some sort of a calling aka connection or maybe, a pet project. Something I felt, worth devoting, learning and mastering.
My father was once captured under ISA, nobody told me. I read about it one weekend as I was skimming old newspapers. Partly reading the entertainment and interesting articles and pictures. Who knew that one’s father could be front page material. But more than that, I remembered later that the headline and story was a bit tad vague. I learnt about this as I loitered at the late legendary lawyer extraordinaire, Karpal Singh. I and my uncle, we waited for the staffs to finish all the documents. Piles of it. Then we scurry to the Pesuruhjaya Sumpah, to request for Habeas Corpus. Me, I am no legal expert but I soon discovered that what was presented in the media was a tad bid different from the arguments resorted and presented in the documents. My father won the case, he was released, all thanks to the works of Karpal Sing, and a legion of NGOs and human rights crusaders, but only to be captured again, just right at the bend in front of the Mahkamah building in KL. I learnt a bit about the so called truth and the power of media. When the opportunity came, I guessed, I was destined for it anyway. Where else does an international award winning public speaker and national level award winner go if not into PR and such. To be honest, I didn’t have much to guide me but even then, I felt that tugging. That excitement. That happiness, that it’s gonna be worth it.
Part of it is because I thought that for all it’s worth, I felt that for the sake of Islam or the truth issues in general, should be fought, or presented sophisticatedly. The people who think they are on the side of goodness, or have a mere hint of truth on their side ( who are we kidding, sometimes it’s quite gray in most cases), they should master the best techniques because people with low moralities or who are greedy and have lost most senses ( like psychopaths) employs soo many good tactics that thwarts good causes just because they can. Ignorance is not bliss.
I thought, that I finally am brave to do something for a greater cause. I was, back then, the only Malaysian to win the Asia Pacific Cup. I did win a writing contest. Other than that, I am no different from others who I believe are more outstanding than me in terms of language mastery. But, I felt that my spirituality understanding, that could not be shook. There is deep well of faith in that we are all in the business of truth. That the truth will out one day, as the infamous saying goes.
Picture credit to National Taiwan University of the Arts, ThisisColassal