Five

It’s supposed to be a warm spring day, but I don’t feel it yet on the side of my office. There is also not much for me to do since my boss is taking forever to give me feedback on the Expression of Interest that I’ve been working on to help the company apply for funding. There is only so much that I can do. I’ve also been trying to help the new accountant who has trouble tracking the previous accountant’s footsteps, because, while working here, she didn’t set up a good system for anyone new to jump straight in. She was Chinese. I guess Chinese people just like things complicated or have things structured and organized their way. I’ve witnessed that many times before. Anyway, I am not at all knowledgeable enough to help out with accounting.

I was just googling the map of China, because I wanted to see where exactly my dad was born. Hong-Chow showed me the very east of China, south of Shanghai. My mum is full-on Hong Kongese, my dad migrated there when he was younger, but I’d like to say that both my parents are from Hong Kong. I think I feel some sort of a pride along with them. People from Hong Kong don’t usually like to be compared to people from mainland China. It’s like Hong Kong gives them privilege, because of the British colony. It’s the same with Cantonese, which, I personally find sounds much better than Mandarin. The origin of Cantonese is not 100% known. Apparently, there are not enough historical records, except that it leads back to the Tang Dynasty. People like to call it a dialect, but it’s, in fact, a language. If it was a dialect (which literally means: ‘words used’), then I would understand Mandarin perfectly, but I don’t, except that every now and then I spot a word that sounds the same. But the tone and structure are different. I remember when my mum sent me to a Chinese School in Hamburg to learn Mandarin along with writing Chinese. During that time, she befriended a lady (whose kids I also made friends with) who advised her to find me hobbies, or leisure activities outside school, saying that it would be good for me to socialize and discover things that I might like. In hindsight, I do appreciate it, but I wasn’t made for Chinese school, piano lessons, or tennis, therefore, I didn’t last six months at either activity. These activities helped me a little bit on the socializing front, but I was no talent for (or had no interest in) them, and my brain just never had the switch on for anything. Absolutely nothing interested me or caught my attention. I’m trying hard to remember and when I try to go back in time and visualize the past through my childhood eyes, I feel like I’m watching it through thick glass. All I can sense is numbness in my body, a complete lack of focus, as if I weren’t there. And this is how I remember my childhood when looking back – the world had a very paralyzing effect on me, but there was no escape. In my report cards, the teacher would say I was attentive, but quiet. I almost want to say, ‘daydreaming and apathetic’. There was absolutely nothing in my childhood that grabbed my attention. I’m sad to admit this because there was so much, I could’ve learnt well as a child, if I had just made the effort to force myself. My writing proves that I am not a talent, but a hard worker. I’m not saying I regret things, but I used to care more back then than I do now, and yet I still find myself trying to understand why I was the way I was.

There were five planets in retrograde when I was born. They say that these people are often misunderstood, like they’re from different dimensions. And this is exactly how I felt as a child. Whenever I spoke a word, nobody really listened, or no one was able to respond to me. Nobody wanted to explore deep and complicated nonsense. So, I kept my mouth shut throughout elementary school. Imperceptible. Numb. And later I realized that it’s terribly difficult for me to express myself verbally – there are either no words for these thoughts or my choice of words aren’t in accord with other people’s perception. Then they become frustrated and mad at me, and I wish I’d never spoken.

I ponder about all sorts of stuff when work is slow. I feel bad for the company. It has great ideas and potential, but the municipality is stopping it from everything. There is not much that I can do though, which is why I always feel like landing jobs that are doing my ego no good. It’s hard to find the energy to motivate yourself to do what makes you happy, as it’s not just many steps, but also a bit of a gamble. And then again, this numbness, lack of focus, different dimension.

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