“You know, Dick, when life gives you lemon, just shut up and eat the damn lemons.”
– Harry Solomon, “Third Rock from the Sun”
There are some days where I feel pretty darn miserable about working in Malaysia. And despite wanting to let it out, or write it out, I find it difficult to do so: I start wondering what others might think of my professional behaviour, especially since I work in a very small industry. I take utter care in my professional behaviour and I pride myself for being professional.
And then yesterday happened.
My client is currently 2 1/2 months late for paying my invoice and despite various cajoling and emails and letters from my end and outright lies from the client end (“Yes, we’ve sent the cheque”), their rep, a bitch and a half with an engagement ring the size of a rock called up to verbally bitch slap me. I don’t take very kindly to being bitch-slapped, verbally or literally or metaphorically, so I proceeded to give one to her. I go into some sort of zone when people challenge me to a duel, I can actually feel the brain warming up and my eyes narrowing as I zone in to effectively destroy her.
She became hysterical. I became colder and louder. After her incessant whining of why my rep on my end didn’t have to be so rude, I had to interrupt with a very sharp: “Listen, WOMAN!” and she slammed the phone down.
Thing is, I always don’t get why it has to deteriorate to this. They have been two and a half months late on their first invoice, one month late on their second invoice and no doubt, they’re going to miss their third invoice this month. That means, I’ve been doing jobs for them for freaking three months without pay.
I don’t quite know which is making me feel worse, that it had to end up with a hysterical shouting match between two women, minus the mud-slinging and the sharp claws that usually make cat fights so entertaining to watch or the fact is, despite it all, I still haven’t been fucking paid yet for the work I did.
One advice that was given to me when I first started working here was that I have to be careful whose toes I step on. “Ooh, KL is a small place,” they warn me, usually with a nod of a sage. “Take care not to offend people.”
Err…yeah? What about these people who offend me? The ones who seem to sashay about town with a short skirt, a bit of Aussie accent from their 2+1 degrees (or worse! 3 + 0 degrees, gah, where on earth do those fucking accents come from if they’ve only studied in Malaysia ?) and who somehow still manage to be promoted over you? You know the types where after their promotion, most of their colleagues fantasise running them down in the carpark?
As Sheila wisely pointed out: “You know why they get the where they are? Definitely the blow jobs.”
In KL, people can do unethical things and not only do they get away with it, they are fucking rewarded and promoted for it. And whilst someone like me is badgering for a 3 month late payment, I end up feeling that I’m the less than professional one. And then when people say, “Don’t burn bridges”, it suggests that despite their less than professional, sane and humane treatment of myself and other human beings, I have to continue kissing their ass.
And I’m also tired of people saying, “It’s no better off in the UK,” for instance. Because in my three years there, I never had any ridiculous desire to ram sharp objects down people’s throats or better yet, twist their nipples off till they pop.
Gosh, writing the last line has certainly made me feel better. Now, back to the play.