Bad WeatherOctober 5, 2009 at 12:51 am | Posted in Thoughts | 25 Comments
Tags: さよなら 絶望先生, 糸色望
This is a delayed post. ‘Delayed’, as in ‘should have been completed a month ago, published a month ago, forgotten a month ago’ delayed. As for the introductory picture, don’t worry, I’m not feeling suicidal. I’m far too irrationally rational- or rationally irrational, whichever one you prefer- to even contemplate doing such a thing. Hence, boo.
Things have been rather crazy, lately. Monday morning, I was awoken from my dream-induced slumber by a sudden ringing of the bedside alarm clock (i.e: cellphone). I thought it was the people from Converse, calling to get my shoe size (I’d recently won a contest), and was quite delighted, but for the one little nagging thought that I knew this voice from somewhere.
It was a lecturer from college, whom I’d dealed with just the other day, when I went to her to hand in this years fees to be mailed over to luxurious Russell Square in London, where it would most likely be used to fund the next round of betting on the outcome of the next football game.
The pleasant surprise- pleasant from the point of me thinking that it was Converse, up to the point where I realised it wasn’t Converse but College; became a pleasant surprise again once I considered the fact that it was pretty strange for them to call me so early in the morning (Noon, but then again I’d just woke up), plus the fact that it was a lecturer who made the call and not someone from admin.
It wasn’t a pleasant surprise, no longer. At least not after what she said to me. Apparently there was a fee to be paid for my referral paper, which was in direct contrast to what I was told by the course counselor, who assured me that there was absolutely no fee to be paid. Well there was. A whopping sum of some RM1600 for just one paper, to be paid to the Examinations Syndicate (Even the name, in English, sounds fishy). That shocked me long enough to stop me from vomiting blood when she then told me that I’d missed the deadline, blablabla…
I ran downstairs and called up the Syndicate- She’d given me their number, said I should try to call them up. After waiting a while I was told that they were in a meeting. Um. The entire building? Everyone? No one I can speak to? Gorgeous. I was given a trio of extensions to dial up which I feverishly took down but later decided to consign to the great trash heap of Useless Information.
Got ready, had a quick breakfast/lunch/blunch, and rushed to college. I went looking for the lecturer who called me earlier- but she wasn’t there. Already in a state of panic (Although you’d never be able to tell), I rushed off to see one of the admin personnel whom I’d had dealings with in the past, and in doing so, committed a possibly fatal blunder, which I’ll leave for later. Everything in its place.
Found her. Asked her about my form. You don’t have it, she asked, looking rather surprised. London only sent as many forms as were needed, she said. So where’s mine then? I was told to come and get it, so why isn’t it here? More questions and speculation, while being pelted with radioactive nagging from my dad. Not much help at all. She called an officer in the Syndicate, and worked out a deal- rush over to Putrajaya (The new administrative capital) to meet him, deadline, 3PM. It was then sometime around noon.
Raced off again, stopping at a bank on the way- to get a banker’s check- more time wasted. There was only one counter for our purposes, and pop wasn’t much help this time either, hovering behind me as I filled out a form at the counter, repeatedly telling the teller that ‘we’re in a real hurry; it’s an emergency’, etc. When I told him to calm down, he blew up- “How can you tell me to calm down in a situation like this?” or something like that. Gritted my teeth and coldly told him that there was only one counter, and that there was no point in rushing the teller. After filling out the form, I found out that it was the wrong form, and that we could actually have gone to any of the other counters. No matter. The teller was kind enough to take care of it. Luckily for me, he’d already exited the bank. If he’d overheard that last bit, the sprinklers would probably have been triggered by his burning head.
We reached Putrajaya sometime around, um, between 2 to 3PM. We met the officer, and he said that he’d try to help. At some point he went back up to check whether my form had been mailed- and it was then that the aforementioned lecturer called up again, asking why I hadn’t come to see her. Eh? I’m in Putrajaya now. What? The form is with me! Oh crud. Pop blew his top again. Let’s see… I’ve died at least, um, twice today. Recess please.
We explained the matter to the officer when he came back down. Got the college to fax the form over as well, but I’m not sure if it’ll go through to London. The snotty cads might take one look at it, sniff, mumble ‘wrong colour‘, and toss it into the fire. Never mind that it’s Summer now. At least I think it’s Summer now, but that’s irrelevant. We also had to pay an extra RM100 to the Syndicate- a sort of penalty, I suppose.
A brief period of winter.
Now for an analysis: first, to dole out the blame. On my part, it was asking the wrong person (The course counselor); and panicking when going to get the form; and not notifying them of my new mobile number. Now for the college: not making more of an effort to contact me. Never mind my change in number, in the registration form I filled out when I joined the college, I’d given my primary email address (Which I check every ten minutes on an off-day), fixed line number, dad’s mobile and email listed under sections ‘Guardian/Parent’ and “In Case of Emergency”. So much for ‘We’ve been trying to contact you’.
That’s the first bullet in their head. Now for the second: giving me false information. My question to the course counselor, repeated more or less verbatim: “Are you absolutely sure? There are no forms to fill up, nothing to be paid to anyone at all?” The answer I received: “Nopesy~” Sigh. If you don’t know for sure, don’t make things up. Refer me to someone who actually knows. Unless she actually believed what she said.
The third shot, although not too serious, did cause some damage, although I was partially to blame for this one: Zero coordination between staff. The lecturer had the form, but no one else knew about it. Ah well. That’s it for the blame section.
Now for something a little more interesting- what I actually learned (Or rediscovered) about myself as a result of this unfortunate series of events. First up, my inability to project intense worry onto my face. Don’t get me wrong, I was worried. Very worried. Even a little scared. But my face remained flat and emotionless. I didn’t flap my arms wildly or get all goggle-eyed. Perhaps the only sign of how high-strung I was was the momentary twitch of one eye.
The sad thing was how this outward calm was interpreted as nonchalance. Pop gave me an earful (And more) for this. No beating around the bush. It hurt. I tried my best. I told him that I did care. I don’t think he was interested in listening. I even tried my hand at apologizing, despite my belief that I didn’t screw up as much as the college did. ‘So what?’ was all he had to say. Nothing I said or did would do any good. In the end I just took a vow of silence. Some compassion and understanding would have been nice, but things would just have gotten worse if I’d even breathed those words.
It’s pretty annoying, the fact that some of my best points can also be my worst. I’m a living, breathing, Sentient Paradox. I thought up a a few other examples to better illustrate this statement, but since this post was typed out over a course of about a month, inserting paragraphs here and there, I’ve forgotten everything I meant to type out. No matter.
Things died down after a few days. My vow of silence proceeded as necessary. Pop went to college to speak to the lecturer who called me up, but she was lecturing in Hong Kong at the time, and was turned to another lecturer. Who pretty much made a mess of covering things up:
Lecturer: “If he (Meaning me) knew about the referral classes, then he should have known about the form blablabla”
Pop: “I know about it too- from the stack of timetables on the desk here”
Lecturer: “…” (Me: It seems that he too took a vow of silence at this point)
And what about the lecturer who first called me? Over the phone at the Syndicate, she’d told pop that announcements were made in class. Har? Not that I recall. True enough, she did come in to make an announcement, but it had nothing to do with payment or registration for the referral paper.
From the very beginning I’d known that it would be pointless to invade college and demand an explanation. It’s only natural that they’d try to to cover up their error, and try their best to shift the blame to me (Although they did a crappy job at it). Might as well toss in a snide remark while I’m at it- they’re all lawyers, or almost-lawyers, after all. I don’t really mind. It’s to be expected. There’s nothing much to gain from throttling them, anyway. If I can’t sit for the referral exam because of them and have to repeat the whole year, though, there’ll be hell to pay.
I dragged out a replay of the confrontation from pop when I got back from class. Luckily for me, he didn’t blow up in college- didn’t want to cause a scene, he said. Phew. He was in a better mood, too. After I explained my major points against the college (As outlined above), and his first-hand experience of a lame cover-up, he was firmly on my side. A little too late, after the barrage of furious invectives that were lobbed my way the other day- but better late than never.
Post-publish edit: Just remembered one of the things he said to me- ‘you’re just too independent’, he said, this being an offshoot of his interrogation of the lecturer, who said that normally when students find out that they have to refer a paper, they run to the lecturers for help, and thus find out everything that I was supposed to know. Not me. I didn’t panic. I didn’t run squealing for help. I went to the course counselor, asked a very specific question that would have made any lawyer proud, got an answer (Albeit a wrong one), and satisfied, headed for home. Too independent, huh. Yet another winning point of mine that contributed towards getting me into a royal mess.
As I type out this final paragraph, the clock shows that it’s the 5th of October. I’ve heard that the referral exam will be sometime around the 27th. I am yet to receive any information from college (I think they’ve washed their hands off the matter) or the Syndicate. But then of course, they are the Syndicate– and therefore evil and not to be relied on. Time to shake some trees, methinks.
On another note, I’ve just bought the domain name aprilius20.com, and already have a possible parking place in mind. Might take some time before it goes online, though. Think I should use IP masking to redirect traffic from this blog? I haven’t decided. No that I know how to do it, anyway. Other tech stuff like DNS redirection which I have to figure out first. There’s a webmaster who’s supposed to do it, but he’s slower than escargot.