I don’t really understand why colleagues express surprise after hearing me on the phone or seeing me talk to patients or visitors. After which they will almost always comment or, in this case I guess one can say, compliment that I’m very pleasant/nice/polite to them.

Honestly, do I look like a rude or impolite person?

I thought by the looks of me, people would usually think that I’m a pretty decent person (note that there’s no comma in between, so I never say that I’m pretty). 斯斯文文, as how we would say it in Mandarin. I went with my boss to a convent girls’ school last year as she had to give a talk during the morning assembly, which is damn early for me, given that the last time I’d to attend a morning assembly was during my JC days and that’s like almost 6 years ago. One of the teachers immediately predicted that I wasn’t one of the old girls (because an attached student who came along was one) because I looked too 秀气 to be one. I swear, that was the teacher’s very own words! I’ve no idea beforehand that convent girls aren’t 秀气 haha. I’m from a heartland co-ed secondary school anyway and that was by my choice even though I could effortlessly enter the best girls’ school around, because I love boys since kindergarten, so there’s no freaking way I would choose to surround myself by girls and only girls. If I could, I thought I might enroll myself into a boys’ school but alas, MOE would never have allowed that. And boys in my school are in white uniforms because I think guys look the best in that color as compared to the grass-greens, viagra-blues, mud-browns, concrete-grays of other schools nearby (-.-).  

Nevertheless, people who know me well enough soon realise that profanity is my middle name and strangely, my middle finger is my favourite one. Even though I’m too much of a prude to ratter off the ever locally popular Hokkien vulgarities of KNNs, CCBs and LJs (and my dialect’s yours truly, Hokkien by the way), F-U-C-K is the only entry in my dictionary of profanity haha. If I’ve to burn in Hell just for saying the F-word once, I will definitely burn for eternity until the Sun gives up and just dies off and we humans finally figure out how to use Hell as Sun’s replacement for heat and light. And I have not count the lies I’ve said in the past and the hexes I put on people I dislike like my stupid colleague here (JPS).

I discovered the middle finger in JC and darn, I was actually in a really good school but that’s the thing, smart people are all a bit imbalanced in the head. The first time I used it in front of people was when my two buddies from my class played a tiny prank on me. It was after the last lesson and we all rushed to the washrooms immediately because somehow back in JC days, teachers didn’t allow us to excuse ourselves in class to pee. If you were one of those whom the teachers had no problem with, ie did your tutorials on time, paid attention in class and better still, exceled at the subject, a request for a toilet break generally wouldn’t be refused but we all tried not to take the risk. My buddies definitely needed not bother to try because it would just be a loud NOOOOO, but because they are irritating idiots (I meant this in a fond way), they would always try.

Anyway lucky for us, the washrooms were right outside our classroom. We girls usually put our stuff on the ledge outside before going in and that was what I did, except when I came out, my bag was still there but I couldn’t find my Reebok bottle. For a while, I was stunned and thought it must have somehow rolled and dropped to the ground floor where it probably wouldn’t have survived the fall. Then I noticed the two fellows standing not too far away at the corner, grinning like mad Cheshire cats at me. That was when I knew. Sure enough, I looked to the extreme side of the ledge and spotted my bottle standing there in sad, sad solitude. Damn, I was punked! They just wanted to see my reaction and they sure had fun. Before I even realised it myself, I was flipping the finger at them. They kind of went woah and then laughed like mad. That really helped to deepen our friendship, I think. Thereafter they no longer seemed to see me as a girl and slammed all sorts of vulgarity during conversation because according to them, it’s perfectly okay to talk “men’s talk” in front of me as they know I won’t go tsk-tsk like some uptight prude.  

I’m basically a harmless kitten until someone steps on my tail. That’s when I won’t hesitate to show the person my finger and showcase my profanity vocabulary. People I meet at work, particularly the patients, have done me no wrong, so why would I be hostile towards them in the first place? Besides, I believe in quality customer service and take pride in it. I find immense satisfaction when I make their day a good one with my service. That’s why even if the person may not be very polite, I still won’t lose my cool. The worst I’ll go is to raise my voice slightly but that’s only over the phone and never in person. Besides, I realise that when you are very nice and polite, people feel bad scolding you haha. The only reason why the colleagues find it strange, I believe, is because they themselves don’t practise it. For example, if you eat durians for breakfast every day, you won’t think it queer that your neighbours do the same. I don’t want to go into details why some people provide unsatisfactory customer service but regardless of what others think, I do what I believe in and that’s it.

Going back to the middle finger, these days I keep showing my backstabbing, badmouthing, clouds-in-her-head colleague JPS (Ji Pu Sai: meaning “a pile of shit” in Hokkien literally) my middle finger in the most obscure way haha. It’s damn childish. Facing my computer and not looking at her, I will raise my hand, point my middle finger as she walks back to her seat (which is beside mine – we occupy 2 adjacent corners of the cubicle) and innocently push up my specs with the finger. Or raise my hand and scratch my head, with the middle finger stuck right out. Or simply raise the middle index of my right hand as it lies on the mouse.

I know! It’s absolutely childish but still, I can’t help it! 

I totally loathe her and yet because she has the HOD as her backing, we all can’t do anything about her! I’m very certain that she’ll get her punishment, what she deserves ultimately, but in the meanwhile, I’m happy to show her the length of my middle finger proudly.    

 

“A PATIENT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN OUR HOSPITAL.
HE IS NOT AN INTERRUPTION TO OUR WORK, HE IS THE PURPOSE OF IT.
HE IS NOT AN OUTSIDER IN OUR HOSPITAL. HE IS A PART OF IT.
WE ARE NOT DOING HIM A FAVOUR BY SERVING HIM,
HE IS DOING US A FAVOUR BY GIVING US AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO.”
BOMBAY HOSPITAL MOTTO
adapted from a quotation of Mahatma Gandhi
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