Friday, August 27, 2004

Just a lighthearted post for once.

Thank God it's Friday, eh? Eh?

Hubby and his wanker banker colleagues are having drinks with the regional head of corporate banking division who has flown in to Sydney from Hong Kong this week. So here I am, alone at home at 7.30pm on a friday night, typing away on my laptop. Everyone else I know is out having drinks. SIGH.

OK, OK- I've already stated that this was going to be a lighthearted post.
And it WILL be, dammit!

Today, I was given a Masterplan that another architecture firm had designed- The client approached us and basically asked us to "tweak" it. The client is confident we can do a better job. Our reputation is in our Renzo Pianoism. So, I'm travelling to our Melbourne office in three weeks' time to participate in a presentation together with the director from our Melbourne office.

That's fabulous news. I love that snobby city. All things cultured and arty farty just LIVES in that city. I notice that more than a few prominent Malaysians spent their tertiary education years there, thanks to the Colombo plan. And I've met them too, in many a conference and many an international airport. (Yeah YOU people- you know who you are- who kiss my arse in front of my face because you know who my father is and who I work for and then stare daggers in my back for being the only *ahem* attractive *ahem* young asian woman amongst older white men.)

What are my plans this weekend? Oh, I dunno......
I'm going to chill and catch up with my assignments. I am way behind in my MBA units. Someone like me, who never studied a business unit in her whole life, is now, at 31, finally doing first year Bachelor of Commerce units like Accounting, Legal Framework of Business, Macroeconomics and Organisational Behaviour- which are the core units for any MBA degree.
Thank God for my husband, who is a finance whiz. (He's asian. He's got the natural talent with numbers. He deserves some nookie this weekend for helping his wife!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

My mother in law. (This will not be a pretty post)

She has never liked me, the hussy who stole her oldest and favourite son away from her. I have mentioned in previous posts that she worships him. She thinks the sun rises and sets with him. She takes all his financial advice and lets him control their family assets.

She has accused me of literally stealing him away from the sleepy little town they call home, to live in Australia. I can see that she is terrified that he will never end up taking over their family business (why the hell would he want to do that when he is capable of so much more: he is a Certified Financial Analyst and he has a Masters degree in Business), he will never be the one who takes care of them in their old age (not on my watch).

I have tried being nice to her.

Spending my holidays during the festive seasons with their family (she simply brushes it off, saying: "that's the way it should be."), I have explained to her that my husband does not want to take over their business, he has his own ambitions (she responded by pouring her heart out to his younger brother, who wrote a long email, pleading him to "come home" and be responsible), I have tried to tolerate her long distance calls to him every other day (she simply calls him on his mobile to avoid talking to me), I tolerate her daily pleadings with him to "come home" and her uneducated insinuations the pay is better there, the economy is changing etc. etc.

This woman tried to tell my mother who to put on the main table at our wedding dinner that my parents were paying for. She had always been insecure that we (me and my family) were "looking down at them" during our wedding. Jeez. I can't think of anything LESS classy than trying to interfere in somebody else's dinner. She made him break up with his ex girlfriend because she didn't come from a good enough family for him. I am confident I will not sound like I'm bragging in real life, if you knew me and my family, we're in a totally different class to them.

His father is just as bad. He bought a Dato' title for himself and paid for full page newspaper ads to tell everyone about it. He tried to stick his Rolex in front of our faces and telling us in detail how much it cost him. I've since had the chance to observe his behaviour: That seems to be something he likes to do: tell people how much his things cost him. He installed a DVD AV system in his car.

She makes me feel like an outsider when I am in their home. She'll only talk to me when her son is looking. The TV is constantly on this inane and completely insipid pop and variety channel. No Bloomberg, no CNN, no Discovery..... damn.
Her own husband's mother and her have a long running feud, they are at each other's throats all the time. BUT she makes sure she uses her children to fight her battles for her. She pours out her heart to them and makes them try to defend their poor mother. Thanks to her, my husband hates his own grandmother. He can't explain why, he has just grown up hating her. Thanks to her, my husband's younger brother hates me.

My husband is a nice person. Given, there are obvious cultural differences, but still, I just wonder why his mother is such an insecure person that she needs to do all this stuff.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Fag Hag

That's been my second name as long as I can remember.
Half the people I call my close friends bat for the other team. Maybe I gravitate towards them. Maybe they gravitate towards me. I don't know.

When Duran Duran played 3 gigs in Sydney last year, I went to them all with a gay male friend.

I have to admit I dislike the company of straight men because:
a. They just have to be "the man". A lot of them can't handle it when I want to be "the man". And the straight men who don't mind being "the woman", I have zero respect for- I mean, where's the fight in you, boy?
b. Sexual tension. I hate it when they want to get in my pants or even think of getting into my pants.
c. They're just so dorky.

OK. I admit I'm grossly generalising, out of boredom.....

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Ah, marriage...

Well, we've been married for 5 years now. Our anniversary just passed a few weeks ago.

Let me just crap on a bit about marriage.

I met my husband the week after the final semester of our university degrees, at a "Thank God It's All Over!" party. He looked amazing. He's tall, lean but not thin, broad shoulders and he's got strong features for an asian man. His eyes are the prettiest thing about him. Eyes that any asian woman would give their firstborn for. Long eyelashes and big goo-goo eyes. He has a sharp nose and high nose bridge. A cheeky little boy's smile.

In the next six years: We fell in love, we dated for a year, we lived together, he proposed, we got married. We concentrated on our careers. He did a Masters degree, I became a registered architect, he did his CFA exams.

I'm a notoriously negative person, so I want to talk about how hard it is to live together with someone.

You bring totally different values together.

  • I was raised very differently from him. I was a rebellious free spirit- one of those spoiled kids driving big cars and unlimited pocket money that you love to hate. My parents were liberal, sometimes absent and raised me with a lot of trust. I turned out OK. Eventually. He was a studious overachiever (but not nerdy) who was responsible, a prefect, a star athlete in school. His parents worshipped the ground he walked on. He turned out OK. I think.
  • I always had servants tidying up my room and picking up after me when I was growing up- so you can imagine I am hopeless at keeping a house clean. We live in Australia, so we don't have maids here, mmmkay? Not unless you're willing to pay AUD$20 an hour for a nanny and AUD$40 for a cleaner. My husband is a neat freak who can't stand seeing a layer of dust on anything. He gets frustrated not because he expects a woman to do dusting, vacuuming, cooking and all that shit, but because he has to do it all.
  • My husband's mother thinks he's a the messiah, so she raised him to think that he deserves to be worshipped in the same way by the lucky woman he marries. He has a problem when I tell him he's wrong.(Ppppthhfft! That's the sound of surpressed laughter)
  • I'm an expressive person who feels confrontation is healthy.
  • My husband prefers to remain silent and avoids confrontation.

    That's only a few of our problems, but there you go.
    Married life ain't all rosy, folks.

Monday, August 09, 2004

You've come a long way, baby

I had a staff review on Thursday last week. Just when I returned from a business trip with one of our directors to my least favourite city in China.
OH GREAT- after dealing with demanding clients, now this.
The last review I had was in 2002....
There I was, face to face with one of the directors in our Sydney office.
I was positive about the whole thing and my growth in the company- heh.
When you're positive, it makes other people positive too.

The BIG BOSS doesn't actually do reviews. He's famous, he's an international architect, his name is revered and university students study his works as one of the greatest post modern architects of all time. NEVERMIND that he likes me, thinks I have balls and never gives me the same type of savage thrashing he reserves for designers whom he wants to put in their place, I have to earn the respect of the Managing Director of our Sydney office. And that equals making money, money money.......

It's sobering when you put a dollar sign to how much you make for the company. And I gotta say, last year, I made more money for the company than the raise they're giving me. I guess I should count myself lucky still- I get to travel, I get to work on a variety of projects from high rise high density residential to low density golf course resorts. I get to work on international projects which make it into architecture magazines. I will forever carry the name of this master architect on my resume. My future is pretty much set in architecture.

BUT the director did an about-turn when I mentioned my MBA.
Boy, did I regret mentioning a friend of mine who has since left our office for six figure per annum salary after her MBA.

MBA = seeya later, losers

Nah, I said. What I'm gonna do with that is I'm going to run one of your asian offices for you. Two more years at the most. I already pull in loads of contacts because I come from a country that says "It ain't what you know, it's WHO you know."

The country that tries to lure people like me and my CFA investment analyst husband back in their fold.