This is a random post so I don’t expect to make any sense. Also I am writing this on my phone so excuse formatting and spelling.
If you knew me in real life you would know I always go for classes. At 22 I learnt flower arrangement. Over the years I went for writing, drawing, painting, sewing, and graphic design classes. Not at the same time. I had always wanted to be a designer of some sort. And a writer. And a DJ (NOT AT MALAY WEDDINGS! Something like David Guetta but only way cooler). Or an artist.
Two months ago I was busy with fiction writing class. I write a lot for work, but it’s mostly serious stuff like passive-aggro emails, notices for students, minutes of meetings, and Facebook posts for work, which was why I was excited to learn from a local published author.
I respect the craft, and for a brief period was even seduced to devote whatever spare time I had into learning everything about writing, and completing writing exercises on Word, selecting all text, and changing the font to Courier New.
So I went for class. There were about 20 of us, tired after work, most were MOE teachers, and the structure was:
- Peer Review for the previous week’s homework
- lecture about writing techniques
- writing exercises (short ones)
There was a woman who probably took one look at my hijab, decided we would be best friends, and started talking non-stop to me about writing. I was amused. I was just there to be a sponge and learn, and maybe network a little.
She talked about publishing a book, name-dropped everyone in the local scene (unfortunately I am not familiar) and bragged about writing one script for the local Malay channel.
I looked uneasy because I would be embarrassed if she asked me anything Malay channel and I didn’t know. My mistake was to tell her I didn’t watch the Malay channel. I should have explained I meant I didn’t watch TV in general, but the damage was done; I now came across as pompous. Which, if she had made the effort at all to get to know me, is hilarious. I worked as a dishwasher/cleaner/kitchen help when I was jobless at 23. I worked in fast food as an attempt to discover myself (the only thing I learnt was cheeseburgers and double cheeseburgers were different). I am far from pompous.
She told me she worked as a cleaning lady and earned SGD 1.7k a month despite having a degree in finance. I nodded. I subscribe to the belief that we are not defined by our jobs, but she obviously had already sized me up. She started talking to me in that tone. That tone people use on me when they want to emphasise my life is…. easy, and I have no right to complain about my ‘first world’ problems.
Two lessons later she asked if I taught, and I said no, but I did admin work in a school.
Her reaction was funny. She crinkled her nose in disgust as soon as I said ‘admin’, as if I didn’t warrant the same respect a teacher did. When we had Peer Review she took a full 20 minutes to read my writing, and criticised it (didn’t like it, the pacing was weird) while I sat there not knowing what to do with my hands because she didn’t do the homework so I had nothing to read.
Fuck. I didn’t like her and I hardly give toss about strangers.
The class is now over. I am now learning about writing in an MOOC (f yeahhhh).
Here are some pictures of what I am currently up to after work:
Reading these two books (I read the second one when I was in my teens, but I am re-reading because I really want to understand local writing)