Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Daria's Rantings - Magica de Spell

*I am posting this fourteenth ranting as my alter-ego the misanthropic Daria Morgendorffer

It’s International Women’s Day today. How ironic that I should be ranting about a particular woman similar to Felicity Huffman’s Headmaster character (Leslie Graham) in American Crime (AC) season 2 series.

Unlike Leslie Graham who was quite an eye candy, this woman looks more like Disney's foulest female fowl, Magica de Spell. It must be that A-line skirt, high heels (to boost her short height) and hair that came straight from the 1960s. I couldn't care less about physical appearances. To me, if you are ugly inside, even your physical beauty can’t mask that ugliness. But if you have a good character, that inner beauty shines through making you beautiful on the outside too.

Anyway, I was unfortunate to have worked with Magica de Spell. I was away from office for some time. Before I was scheduled to return, I heard we had a new female boss. Just like Leslie, she was once a headmaster. People at the office were excited saying that she had extensive experience blah, blah, blah. On my first day back at the office, one of my colleagues, cautioned me. Apparently, at one of the meetings, Magica lamented among other things, “Oh, that Scholar is coming back.” She told me to be weary of Magica as Magica was not what she seemed to portray on the outside.

Magica seemed nice, competent and outwardly caring. Similar to Leslie, all smiles, efficient, professional and by the book. Hmm… I thought, that colleague had misjudged Magica. Then, I noticed hints of favouritisms (sometimes discreetly, sometimes outright blatant). I felt that there was something about Magica but I couldn’t finger out. The religious and charitable Magica seemed to bring the company to greater heights, just like Leslie with the Leyland School. Magica seemed supportive when I voiced to her that I wanted to transfer to another agency. She said she wouldn’t stop me and wanted the best for me. Yet, she never made any efforts to make sure that I get the promotion I deserved. She told me before I left the company, “Oh, it would be hard for you to stay on as you don’t have a degree in film unlike ‘God’.” ‘God’ was the nickname for this arrogant colleague who could do no wrong – he even got away with his office scandals just because he gained some fame from one of his films. What the hell! I wanted to tell Magica that the legendary film-maker Quentin Tarantino is a high school dropout and doesn’t even have a degree in film. The bottom-line was Magica wanted to get rid of me. Again like Leslie, she did it in a way that seemed fair and legitimate.

My perception of Magica was proven correct. She refused to give me my employment testimonial (HR said it must be given within 3 months of my resignation) for more than a year! Of course, the persistent me hounded her every month (she wouldn't even reply to my emails). She finally (and grudgingly) gave me one after I complained to her boss. I remember, I had emailed her, “You couldn’t be that busy that you couldn’t write a testimonial for someone who had been with the company for nearly a decade!”. She curtly replied, “You don’t know what I am busy with.”

After watching AC season 2 (the story touches on issues such as social class, homophobia, cyber bullying and racism), I drew this comparison between Magica and Leslie: Both are highly manipulative characters, masked behind efficiency and perceived professionalism. The last episode of AC is yet to be broadcast so I don’t know the fate of Leslie (in the previous episode, she manipulated the Board of Directors to dissolve itself though it was her who they wanted to fire and whom the lawyer told to resign), though I hope she will get her just punishment. But what will become of Magica? Well, as long as her colleagues remain afraid or ‘in awe’ of her, she will triumph. Maybe I should do what Hidayah did – she took ‘revenge’ on the 2 educators who discriminated her by writing about them in her ‘Mina meets Cambridge’ book. Classy! 

Magica de Spell, don't forget, Karma has no deadline, bitch.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

A Journey of Giving: The LBKM Story

'A Journey of A Journey of Giving: The LBKM Story' book (written by yours truly) was launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 22 January 2016 at the Mandarin Orchard. 

My team at Archipelago Consultancy was commissioned to publish this book for LBKM. It was a honour to write this book because LBKM has helped more than 25,000 students (including me) from 1965.

About the book: Lembaga Biasiswa Kenangan Maulud (Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday Memorial Scholarship Fund Board) or LBKM began its humble journey of giving bursaries to students in post-independence Singapore. Five decades on, LBKM has earned recognition as a reputable charity, disbursing the largest amount of bursaries to Singaporeans, regardless of their ethnicities and religious beliefs. The LBKM Story is one borne out of sheer passion and perseverance. It represents the collective effort of ordinary people who believe in the power of knowledge, and that learning and educational pursuits should be made accessible to one and all, independent of one’s financial background.

This is A Journey of Giving, but not without its share of trials and tribulations. LBKM has been steadily growing alongside a maturing Singapore. It has endured a long journey, successfully helping many along the way. Like Singapore, the LBKM Story continues with the hope that it will make a difference in the lives of many more beneficiaries to come, including their families. This book not only chronicles LBKM’s history, but also celebrates the triumph of the human spirit; one that believes in kindness and empowerment through helping others gain precious knowledge.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Becoming White

I really admire Ryan Murphy of Nip/Tuck, Glee and American Horror Story fame, and now American Crime Story (ACS). What a great storyteller and film-maker! Ryan, pls mentor me! 
Anyway, in episode 2 of ACS: 'The People vs O.J. Simpson', I was amused by the conversation between lawyer Chris Darden and his neighbours who were commenting about O.J. and the famous Bronco car chase:

"Look at O.J. go. That boy could still run… Nobody could catch the Juice."
"I don’t know what you guys are cheering for. Jim Brown was a much better player."
"O.J. is local. He went to Galileo High."
"So, what? O.J. never gave back. Did you see any parks around here named after him? Any children’s centre? Jim Brown cared about black people. He was an activist. He spoke up. Once O.J. made his money, he split and never came back. He became white."
"Well, he got the cops chasing him. He’s black now."

The 'becoming-white-syndrome' is synonymous with some Malay folks. Once they have reached a certain status, they shy away from the Malay community and pride themselves as being "not your average Malay". They are embarrassed to be associated with the Malays. They don't want to help the Malays at the workplace or elsewhere for fear of being branded racist (unlike the Pinoys, Indians and PRCs who help their own ethnicities get employment, in education and getting PR status etc).
Some claimed they are not pure Malay ("Ohh, I have Chinese blood" etc). There's this Machievellian guy I know who even contemplated changing the Malay race in his identity card to Chinese because 1) it's economically better and 2) "My grandma is biologically Chinese. She was given away by her Chinese parents to the Malays... still, we are Chinese by blood." Putain de merde! 
The worst kind are those Malays who insult their own race and believe that "Malays are lazy, stupid and drug addicts. All those institutional racism reasons are bullshit; Malays are in their low socio-economic state because of their own doing."
I have this to say to you with the 'becoming-white-syndrome': Look at what becomes of O.J. Simpson now.