Every time I coincidentally meet Tim at the Shah Alam station, he would be eating a sandwich. He’s a market researcher, and his sandwiches are typically wrapped in paper towels very nicely, and then sealed in an Ikea zip lock bag (those ones la, where you use your thumb and index finger to pinch the opening to seal it; the “click” feel you get from sealing it completely is oddly satisfying; I think it gives people with OCD the time of their lives too).
The last time I saw him (which was today) he brought a tuna sandwich with cucumber slices;
the time before that it looked as though it was a grilled cheese sandwich-french toast hybrid;
and the time before that it was a plain tuna sandwich.
“Is it nice?” I asked.
“It’s not about how it tastes; it’s about what is put into it,” he replied in a dramatic tone.
“Your mum made it for you?” I continued.
“It’s the loooooove, you know?” The “love” was intentionally extended.
I don’t know if it is just me, but the new friends I made recently all specialise in the art of “bullshitting” -Gabriel, Joseph, Tim, and Farzan, this dude who pulled a mini prank on me last night at a birthday dinner, letting me believe for a second that I had met him somewhere before when such a thing never happened. I was pretty convinced by it, which is why I told Tim about it.
“Actually I aspire to be like him,” he was impressed.
“I can see that; I am telling you this because I know you will do this on someone else.”
Then he immediately tested it out on me, “Eh long time no see weh!”
“No. The key is to pause for a while to let the guilt of not remembering sink into your victim slowly.”
I like people who know how to separate the good from the average, the truth from the bullshit, the idea of knowing what you want to do in life from what you are stuck with; Tim is one of them. Once Tim mentioned about going to Japan to live. The day before he had just returned from Tokyo, and when he saw me he said, “Every time we meet we keep talking about our destinies”. Deep sial, but no joke la we always do. Either that, or cynical jokes about Malaysians.
Sounds familiar, Gabriel?
Like many he wants to get out of Malaysia because 1) the whole world is your oyster, and 2) Malaysians know they can live a better life outside Malaysia. I can resonate with him: I always thought although Malaysians should try their best to assist their country, many of them are either unable to derive any satisfaction from the idea, or are doubtless put off by its worsening conditions.
Although I think the perception of how much shit this country is in is exaggerated (especially recently), perception is perception, and there is no point in trying to call to the rakyat on how they “should be grateful to the government’s effort”. I’d recommend one thing for all politicians though, especially Ahmad Maslan (check him out on balikcina.com): everyone should invest in a public relations team; if they already have one, time for REFORMASI la obviously.
I scrolled through my news feed that day to find photos of him hunting down various vending machines in Japan. He loves his job and he does not like to settle for the average pay that graduates can get, and although his tone is always a sarcastic one, I sensed in all our encounters that he knew what he really wanted to do.
Maybe one day I’ll see the location on his Facebook profile change permanently to Japan.