Date : 19th Nov 2013
Condescending—anyone knows of this word?
I got a call yesterday, from my good friend. Let’s call him John. Phone rang; I saw his name on the screen. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to picking up his call, so I muted my phone and carried on with my work. It rang again.
I had to pick it up this time, lest having to receive more unnecessary rings and getting more disruptive. His perseverance can be of a certain degree of nuisance at times. Swiping the green button on the touch screen, that is.
“Yah?” I asked.
“Siao eh, went missing ah?” His loud voice came through in the form of a question. I had to pull my phone a little away from my ear.
HATE NUMBER ONE—THE “MISSING QUESTION”
Dude, I know your work can be flexible at times, but you really shouldn’t judge everyone with your size. We all have commitments and jobs—even thought I am self-employed, but still—we are not that free to randomly pick a number from our contact list and call to ask why hasn’t Mr Random call for the past 2 weeks. (That reminds me of the gorilla-nun joke. Hahaha.) No, not even fucking close friends nor fuck buddies. No, not during office hours. We all—ALL—have jobs to do.
So, this good friend of mine, Mr John, called up and decided to start off our conversation by asking, “Went missing ah?” Just the right holla to piss me off, especially when I’m rushing to get my work done.
“Lan jiao, I’m busy. What do you want?”
In case it’s offending to you (I never care anyway), this is how good friends speak. Deal with it.
“Didn’t hear from you for very long. I thought you went missing.” Came the reply.
“I was pretty much prepared to hear him say things like that when I swiped the pick up button on the touch screen saw his number appearing on my phone when it rang. But since I’m penning down this incident, I’m going to include this in (might as well).
Again, I am not excited to get questions such as the missing mystery topic striker whenever I get calls from friends whom I haven’t been contacting for sometime.
Friends whom I haven’t spoke to for years? That’s okay and totally understandable.
Friends that we haven’t spoke with for months? I can deal with it.
Friends whom I have just conversed with on the phone a couple of weeks ago? Fuck you, do you understand?
“No, I didn’t go missing. I’m busy.”
“You could have swing by for a coffee even if you are busy. Don’t forget friends, you know?”
Okay, this is blended. I appreciate how John appreciates friendship as much as I do; there’s just this thing that I am not of the same frequency with him.
“You could have swing by for a coffee even if you are busy”
“Swing by for a coffee even if you are busy”
“SWING BY FOR A COFFEE”
“EVEN IF YOU ARE BUSY”
No shit. Anyone noticing the problem already?
First of all, I am busy. FUCKING busy. (If we are not measuring productivity here)
Dear Mr-Last-Chatted-Two-Weeks-Ago-Friend, I am, at the moment, busy, and you are suggesting that I swing by for something so productive and feasible such as coffee?
Don’t get me wrong, but aren’t we supposed to have timings for everything? Say, watching TV during TV time, lunch during lunchtime, and coffee during…coffee time? As much as I know, coffee time is a period of 1 to 2 hours when we get together with friends during our free hours or leisure time. I don’t remember that the words “busy” and “coffee” align. I really don’t.
In order to remain nice like I always am, I replied to his no less than idiotic friendly question with my usual niceness. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings after all.
“The word ‘busy’ already tells you that I won’t have the time for coffee, doesn’t it?”
“There’s still time for coffee, right?” He asked—sadly—nonchalantly.
Geez. Someone get that guy a dictionary. Hold on, I have some here. Maybe he doesn’t need a dictionary. He needs a FUCKING ENGLISH CLASS.
“Hello, do you have any idea, the distance between your work place and mine? And how much time do I need to spend traveling to your side for coffee? That’s not including the time I’m going to spend traveling back.”
“Uh…” That was all he said.
“I believe you are intelligent enough to understand this—the more time spent on coffee gatherings, or traveling, the lesser time I have for productive stuffs. Also, the earlier I get my things done, the earlier I can see and monitor the progress of my work, and if the need arises, the more time I have to right any wrongs. Minimising of opportunity losses, you know, right?”
“So, you are busy recently?”
Fuck. Someone get me a knife. I’m going to kill myself.
“Yes, yes I am.”
“Your boss mentioned that you are working on something big.”
Excuse me? Why is it that I don’t remember having a boss?
Your boss, your boss lah!”
Simi lanjiao? Where is this boss coming from, for a self-employed person?
“Who the fuck?”
“Your investor lah!”
Fuck. (again) This guy seriously needs a slap on his face with a 20,000 words Oxford Dictionary. Okay, so that you’ll know, I have an investor who invests money on me hoping that I can achieve something, and this kind old man happens to be the friend of John. I’m not going to deny; I got to know this benefactor through this idiot. He’s my mentor (that’s what I call him. He calls me his partner).
“Yes, I’m working on something.” I was getting irritated.
“I have to tell you this. You know Mr X (let’s call my mentor Mr. X, shall we?) and I are friends, and it is no doubt that you have your chance today because of me linking you up with him. You better show that you are capable of some results. I’ve told Mr. X that I’m prepared to lose you as a friend if you are out to cheat money from him.”
This was where I fucking snapped. Let me break it down:
I know John and Mr. X are friends; I don’t need reiteration. I knew about this before I know Mr. X. So, thanks but no thanks, you are making yourself appear condescending. And for the record, this is one freaking habit of John that I hate about—he IS condescending.
2) WE ARE PARTNERS
Mr. X calls me his partner—he always reminds me to see him as his partner. He never acknowledges me as a worker, nor did he accept me calling him “boss”. I can totally see where he is coming from. He wants me to feel empowered, so that I will have the morale to put in my best in whatever I am going to do. So right now, we are very comfortable with this mutual arrangement that we have long discarded formalities in this venture. Technically speaking, I AM the boss, yeh? (Tsk… we don’t see CEOs calling shareholders boss, right?)
What’s more, I am a very sensitive person. If someone like John was to call me to talk about Mr. X by referring him as “your boss” to me, I’ll take it that he was indirectly reminding me that he is above me—because they are friends. That might make him feel better, but definitely not me. That is also going to defeat the purpose of the empowerment act Mr. X has been actively putting on me. I’ll be fine if I was to be drawing a salary from Mr. X. Fact is, I am not. This is a venture (no shit, I should really teach him how to use a dictionary), not an employment. Friends don’t do that. He further showed the condescending side of him.
3) DON’T FUCKING DOUBT MY INTEGRITY
For the record, I had been in few ventures and never once did I pull the ninja stunt of disappearing when they failed. So, don’t ever, ever try to insult me by offering “gentle reminders” that I don’t need. Mr. X put his trust in me when he offered me an option, and if he didn’t doubt me, who the fuck are you (John) to even go there?
Let me share a little story here. Years ago. Mr. X offered John some money to invest in some business. For your information, Mr. X advocates self-employment. He strongly believes that working for a paycheck means you are getting yourself underpaid—no matter who or what you are working for. He believes that the possibilities are endless, and everyone should be given a chance to at least try to start, or own some business.
So this nice Mr. X—the humble millionaire—decided to offer John a chance to work out something, and make it work. John, due to various reasons, did not take up the offer and it was called off. Years later, Mr. X offered John another sum of money to start a business, again. That did not materialize also.
There are a few, but let me just tell you what Mr. X told me, “ Luckily that did not work out.”
I am not trying to put down my friend, nor am I saying that I’ll see success in time. John is my friend, and I respect him as one. What I’m saying is, there are already problems (or whatever) behind his failed ventures (I think I am nice to consider them ventures even when they did not start in the first place), and what makes one think that he is the right person to give the “advice”? I’m sorry, but friends don’t doubt integrity. I have never doubt John’s; I never expected to see myself being doubted. Friends really don’t do that to each other. Unless of course, he is condescending.
4) THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME
Did I tell you how I didn’t want to pick up the call when I realised it was John?
Oh, yes I did.
Yeh, so one of the many reasons I did not want to pick up the call is because this is NOT THE FUCKING FIRST TIME! Once every 2 weeks, this friend of mine will call me and start blabbering nonsensical stuffs like these, and I am starting to lose my niceness over his condescending attempts to provide advices I don’t think I need from the start.
Say that to me when I was just starting out? That’s nice of you.
Reminding me 2 weeks into my work? Thanks mate. I’ll bear them in mind.
Tell me the same after 2 weeks? Erm…that’s okay. I will not forget them.
A same call the week after the next? What the hell is wrong with you?
Again?! Fuck. Please let me book in and draw my SAR21. I am seriously considering getting court marshalled.
As if the calls were not damaging enough, he would say the same in front of everyone when Mr. X and I meet for discussions through coffee (sometimes, Mr. X would invite him along if our time coincides).
He is condescending.
“You know, anyone with a brain will know this.” I said to him in an irritated tone. “I’m not working from home, neither did I ask money from Mr. X for anything. I believe I have proven myself through my action.”
“I’m just reminding you. You know, Mr. X and I are friends.”
“I know you were reminding, and I know also that you and Mr. X are friends. We have been friends for years; I trust you know I’m educated enough to know what’s right and wrong.” The volume of my voice was rising.
“You don’t have to get angry. I’m just saying.”
Really? I don't have to get angry?
“I’m not angry. I’m trying to tell you that you don’t have to repeat the same things everytime you call over and over again. And I’m also just saying. I say again—my actions have been proving myself so far, and I believe Mr. X can see.”
“So when’s the next coffee session possible for you?” He tried to change the subject, knowing that something was not right. He wasn’t really dumb, huh.
“Quite impossible for weekdays now. Let me arrange a weekend; you pick us up from the customs.”
Oh, he’s a Malaysian working in Singapore, by the way.
“That isn’t a problem!” He said with his usual ah-beng chest-tapping tone. “As long as you are coming. Bring your wife and kid along; I don’t mind playing host. I don’t even mind having extra members in my family. I’ll agree even if your son wishes to retain your surname.” He was so self-impressed at the jokes he threw in.
Bad attempt at humour—did you read that?
“I don’t mind having extra members in my family.”
“I’ll agree even if your son wishes to retain your surname.”
See anything very wrong, anyone?
This fellow can’t joke, really. This is also something that isn’t new to me from him. He has been pulling this disgusting joke over and over again, and it’s…oh? Yah, it’s interpreted like this:
“I don’t mind taking over your wife from you and letting your son retain your surname.”
Disgusting. I know, right? I’m not going to talk about this—it’s going to be another long topic.
“Ha.ha.ha.” I laughed it off sarcastically. I’m just a very nice guy, you know?
“Let me know when.”
“Let me arrange.” I said, of course with little intention to really arrange. “Will give you an advance notice when I’m going in (Johor). I’ve got to go.”
“Okay. Shall not disturb you. Bye.”
Really? After this long, you finally realize that you are disturbing?
“Yeh. We’ll chat again. Bye.”
-End of call-
Now, before you start seeing me under bad light, and go on to label me with “Certified Jerk” stickers over my penises, let me explain myself:
I am glad to have a friend who will remember to call me from time to time. But friends being friends, there are some lines we don’t cross, especially if anyone of us were to cross it because of some egoistic self-assurance hunger that we might mistakenly think we need to feed. People with self-esteem don’t need to bring down anyone to feel better. If you see a friend as a threat, then it’s time to re-think your confidence before you decide to pull down that poor fellow so that you can feel taller. I appreciate encouragements more than the what-you-call advices that weren’t helping at all.
That’s right. The word is condescending.
Andy Lawson is the average man on the street that you’ll not even trouble yourself looking at him if he passes by you. He’s sensitive to bullshit, and he hates mediocrity in most people. He is the author of his self-published book: Facts and Fiction of Fengshui: Facts that Masters are NOT Telling You. He doesn’t have Facebook or Twitter, because he hates to be associated with people who tend to be passive-aggressive online, but he does have a very limited set of vocabularies, terrible grammar, a twisted mind that makes himself God in his own twisted world and an ability to communicate with people who wish to be his friend.