Saturday, March 22, 2008

Mother vs bad manager

Case 1 of the day:

Way before dinner time, I really craved for Matsuharu Japanese food, so I told my family that I will treat them today's dinner at Matsuharu. Everybody was ok with this idea, including Abu. I was happy and look forward for dinner time.

Finally, dinner time. While everybody is changing...

Abu: Let's go to Riyoma (another Japanese restaurant).

Moi: But we agreed on Matsuharu and I am giving a treat. I don't feel like giving a treat if it's not at Matsuharu.

Abu: We can go to Matsuharu another day. We will go to Riyoma today and Old Bean will pay. (Old Bean: ?!?!)

Moi: ..... ok .... (again Empress Abu decides for our dinner)

The dinner turned out to be good, which I have no complaint on (especially when I don't have to fork out the bill).


However, it's still against my initial wish for my Matsuharu dinner. You can call me a very stubborn Leo but an agreement is indeed an agreement. Maybe I am just being petty, super petty.

This is the reason why every time when we are deciding where to go for dinner, Old Bean, Han and I will not make an effort to suggest a place because the final decision will be on Abu, despite the fact she said ' you decide lar...you decide lar...'

How funny!

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Case 2 of the day:

Finally, pest control is coming in the afternoon to hapus the irritating cockroaches. I am not a girl that will scream madly when I see a cockroaches. No doubt, it still give me goosebumps when I see cockroaches family having a picnic in our food cabinet.

Few days ago, when Old Bean emailed us that pest control appointment is confirmed. I immediately tell Abu that I will help out to clear the food cabinet before pest control comes.

Ok, Abu is ready. I am ready. However conflicts come in....

Abu: (standing on a stool in front of food cabinet clearing top cabinet) I clear the top cabinet, you clear the bottom cabinet.
(pointing at bottom cabinet).

Moi: Ok. ......
(thinking how to get into the bottom cabinet because Abu is blocking my access to bottom cabinet).

Abu: Come on! Do it!
(shifting food stuff into a box)

Moi: Sure. ....
(should I just push her away so that I can clear the bottom cabinet?)

While I am 'planning my strategy' how to get into my bottom cabinet while Abu is blocking it, Abu suddenly walk away from cabinet to clear another cabinet somewhere else. Good, I grab a box, hand goes into the bottom cabinet....

Abu: What are you doing?

Moi: Clearing the bottom cabinet.

Abu: NO! I said '2nd bottom cabinet in top cabinet'. (There are 3 little cabinet within the top cabinet).
Why you never listen to my instruction? #(^($^#$^#&!@$&.....

Moi: Well, you said and pointed at 'bottom cabinet'. I am just trying to help out...

Abu: You always don't listen properly to what I said. I said '2nd bottom cabinet in top cabinet'. 1%@(#%^#$(^&!)@#$&!@)$.....

Moi: Ok lor. No big deal. I can clear the top cabinet too
(plus grumble a bit because I kena scolded merely because her instruction wasn't clear).

Abu: Why you show me that face?
(You can't expect to smile or laugh while you are scolding me right?)
Is it so difficult to ask you to help me? Why is it so difficult? Why is it so difficult? WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT?

Moi: I.... I...
(thinking whether should I answer the question honestly, but Abu always say that we should be honest kids).
It is so difficult because your are always not clear in your instructions. How would I know what it's in your mind while you speak otherwise?

Abu: See, you always never listen properly. If you are not willing to help me, go away. I rather pack things up myself slowly than depend on your help. GO AWAY! GO AWAY!

Moi: Mum, you are putting me into a difficult position.
(because I told you I want to help means I WANT TO HELP. And now you are 'instructing' me to go away)

Abu: What now? If you are not happy on helping me, GO AWAY GO AWAY!

Moi: ....


So, do you think I did go away as per Abu's instruction?

Of course NOT. If I go away, I will be a dead meat the next moment. Haven't I learn enough on 'following the instructions honestly'? Don't I learn enough that when a mother says 'go away', it means die die you must stay?

What I did was just 'eat the dead cat' and clear the cabinet quietly, while Abu making loud noises like banging the stuff into the box. Han is smart enough to run away from the scene from the beginning by saying 'I'll be back in 10 minutes'. When he is back to the scene 10 minutes later after numerous shouting from Abu, he has the right to vent his anger by saying 'I TOLD YOU I'LL BE BACK IN 10 MINS. I AM DOING VERY IMPORTANT THING. WHY ARE YOU KEEP SHOUTING FOR ME?'.

How I wish I can do the same. But I wouldn't. I will never shout at my parent. At most, I will stress my point in a louder voice but not nasty volume.


I can understand why Old Bean often feel frustrated when he is trying to help Abu, because:

  1. We have to follow exactly her specific way of doing things.

  2. Yet, often the instructions are often not clear.



Somehow, this experience can be related in bad management. It's kinda like a manager instructs me to do action A, who later scolds me for doing action A because he/she insists that he told me to do otherwise. And when he/she demands for an explanation and I tell him/her the truth, I am labeled as incompetent staff as I 'didn't listen to the instruction properly'.

I don't know how many of you have such experience in work field or at home.

Anyway, the differences between mother and a bad manager are:-
  1. you can 'fire' your manager but you cannot fire your mother.

  2. You will laugh about this experience with your mum after some times, but you will curse your manager forever.


I called these experiences 'sweet conflicts'. And I should be happy that I can argue with my mum because she is still with me, despite that I feel hurt at that very moment.

I guess I will miss these conflicts when I am back in Singapore, alone.

Ok lar, not really alone lar. It will be a new chapter of 'husband vs bad boss'. Hehe.

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