The call…

I was enjoying my afternoon tea that day – sandwiches with mashed sardines and thinly sliced fresh shallots and chillies…when the telephone rang. Darn!!! I grudgingly went to receive the call…


“Hello, Mr ***!” a woman’s voice was heard on the other end of the line. “I understand you are an expert in choral speaking.” It was an ENGLISH TEACHER and she did not even have the decency to introduce herself nor did she tell me how she got my number. She just said she was from a primary school, that was all.

For one thing, she spoke in that unnatural saccharin-sweet tone that came across as most pretentious and hypocritical. It simply pisses me off really. I do not know why some people (women?) do that for it always conjures images of a vampire on the prowl, going all out to suck my blood…and I would switch into a defensive mode right away.

I told her quite truthfully that my school took part only once because after that year, the Education Director at the time stopped the annual competition for secondary schools as there was a big hoo-ha in Kuching over the judges’ decision and they were fighting tooth and claw, so much so that they started to refer to the activity as “quarrel-speaking”. Over the years, I had been more into debates and public speaking competitions, I told her. I also did not know a thing when I first started. I just plodded on and on, learning slowly bit by bit as I went along.

But she was persistent and kept asking me how to go about it and whether I had any texts. Gee! Did she expect things to be handed to her on a silver platter? Did she expect eveything to just drop down from the sky onto her lap? Well, woman, even if I have, what makes YOU think I will give it to you? My patience was wearing thin…but still, I told her calmly to go to the technology section of the Education Department and borrow the video tapes and cds of past competitions and listen, but she said that they were not clear.

“Well, if that’s the case,” I said, “you will just have to write your own text.” Finally, THE MOMENT OF TRUTH! She whined that they had been taking part for four years and losing and the GB (guru besar or headmaster/mistress) was not happy at all about it. FOUR YEARS? Where have you been, woman? This choral speaking thingy has been around for so long, ever since my daughter was in primary school (and she took part!!).

Obviously, this wretched woman had other GBs before this who did not give a damn whether they participated or not…and obviously, she is one of the MANY teachers like that around, responsibility shirkers whom my former principal would term as “tai chi masters”, pushing everything to everybody else! And it is quite obvious too, the present GB just came four years ago and forced her to get the kids to join, and since they never won, the GB is not too happy with her and probably taking it out on her.

I just told her that if that was the case, she could just go on losing…and finally, she got the message loud and clear and abruptly ended the call and hung up rudely! No apology for disturbing me nor a word of thanks for my time, nothing! I do not see why I should help her. I do not even know who she is…as she did not even have the courtesy to tell me her name. And what will I get in return? Nothing, I bet…knowing the likes of her. Hey, woman! If you’re willing to give me half of your monthly salary, do call me again. Otherwise, F**K off!!!! And those of you who have my contact numbers, please, for heaven’s sake, do NOT give them to such kind of people who give teachers a bad name. The Chinese will say that such individuals say kay nui see bor, pang kay sai see oo! (Direct translation: Lay chicken eggs, don’t have; pass chicken shit, got!)…and just when I was enjoying my afternoon tea! Drats!!! Some people just know how to spoil your day!