Thursday, October 10, 2013

of 'pre-occupations'

This was what I originally posted on Monyet King's wall as a comment on his PTPTN update.
I had never had any second thoughts about the jobs I ever had. These experiences, like all experiences just lingered at the back of my mind.

I never really thought about them.
I even thought I had it easy.

Having put it down on paper, I feared that I might have glorified my life experiences with the jobs I had before I started with my current one, I asked my most trusted chronicler, my dear, dear younger sister, W.

 I asked her on iMessage,
"Do you remember how it was, growing up?"
I attached the comment I posted in the message and asked her another question.
"Was it something like this... Or was I just dreaming it up?"

Her answer, as always, was the simplest few words she could muster to appease her ADHD-ridden sister;
"You didn't dream it up."

So, with that, I will share with you, the jobs I have ever had in all its grammatical and spelling error glory:

First job...
Helping my dad mix concrete.
Susun brick.
Make mortar for the brick.
Bring the mixed concrete loaded into yellow pails from the mixing place to the acuan tiang concrete, pass it up to him so he can pour it down the top.
Brick laying, dad tak kasi buat cuz he was very particular about having laid down straight.
I mixed plaster as well.
1:2:3 ratio... But what is what... X remember.

Painted the window panes. I almost fell through the roof when the old asbestos porch roof broke away under my weight as I was painting the panes. I held on to my dear life onto the newly installed window pane. My asthmatic mother, for the first time in years ran up the stairs to pull me back into the room, as my neighbor laughed at pants split down crotch all the way to the back, cuz I had one leg hooked onto the window pane. I was trying to hoist myself back into the bedroom through the window when I heard the third crack before the roof fell away from underneath me, leaving me dangling there with both arms and a leg holding on to the pane while other leg was dangling in the air underneath me.

Thank God the mortar securing it to the wall had dried through or it might have fallen along with me onto the porch below.

Dad ended up having to install new asbestos roof, replace the broken trusses, and install new ceiling.
I did pretty much anything and everything to help dad build our house extension, with the 12k my mom got for her grade duty upon her retirement.

Dad was a jack of all trades. To optimize the money, we decided not to hire anyone. Just me, my little sister and my older brother when he come home from work.
We built 2 additional bedrooms, 1 bath, 1 toilet, 1 small corner for the stove.
I don't remember how much my dad paid me, but the wage included the full-length mirror I had been wanting for my room.

Second job,
Mini market staff.
Then promoted to cashier.
Don't remember the pay either.

Third job,
Baby sitter.... 4 kids.
Came home in between classes to bathe, feed and play with them.
One of them comes at 5am.
Sometimes stayed 2 to 3 days with us.
She considered me her mommy.
She is now in form 4 and still come to visit during school holidays.
They were supposed to be under my mom's care, but i think mom have had enough with toddlers. But these desperate parents left their wee babies with us anyway. So to make things easier for my mom, i did all the job.
Paid with nothing but the love and joy I got from taking care of them.

Fourth and fifth jobs went simultaneously during the long semester break;
Pagi, go to teach kindergarten (lied to the headmistress about bad SPM grades to get the job)
Petang to malam go to work at a speaker component manufacturing plant in Bangi.
Don't remember the pay.
But factory worker, where got payment like execs.

6th job....
Sony Video Bangi.
Stood up all day, slept with pillow elevating my feet cuz knees hurt from standing from morning till time we get off work, as operator pengeluaran.
Forced to do OT whether I like it or not.

Somewhere in between i was also the sambal tumis cook for my mom's nasi lemak. Would cook a whole fresh batch every week day in a huge kawah. Would cook it the night before as i have class in the mornings so waking up so early in the morning jual to make the sambal would mean I will sleep during classes. Ibu will just have to heat it through in the morning. She jual the nasi lemak after she retired just for fun.
Paid with nasi lemak.

7th job...
Teacher, wrangler, motivational speaker, counsellor, nurse, torture officer, surrogate mother, tukang maki, tukang nasihat, tukang motivate parents, tukang motivate budak, jail warden, judge, jury and executioner at current school.
Paid more than I can ever dream of.

The first six jobs, all while i was doing my bachelor's degree at UPM.
Stayed at home cuz it's 5 minutes to class from my parents' place.
Dad's passed on in 2004.
I graduated in 1999.

I didn't actually need the money, as I got a full JPN scholarship.
The one extravagant spending I did was on a computer for assignments.
The only internet thing I was crazy about was mirc.
No cellphone. Started owning n using one at 27 cuz where i was posted in the rurals of Sarawak, there was no point owning one as there was no coverage where i was.

I used some of my scholarship to buy fish, meat, chicken and other dry grocery to fill up my parents' pantry. They never asked me to do any such thing, but i did it gladly.
The money i got from the first 6 jobs was to help cover home expenses while waiting for the next semester's scholarship.
They never asked. I wanted to do it.

I x go shopping because i x know how.
Curfew at my parents' place for us kids was at 6pm.
Even now, as old as I am, visiting mom, I x feel the need to stay out so late.
My life was home-class-home-class-home-theatre rehearsals-home and the odd silat sessions i quit after a few confusing lessons.
No lepaking outside with coursemates.
Mom and dad would never stop me if i asked.
But home was heaven to me, that cramped PKNS house mom got for RM18k.
And of course, i had those toddlers waiting for their obligatory motorbike ride around the housing area before moms and dads came to pick them up.
I pretty much had my hands full.

I don't ever feel like I lost out on my youth.

I am grateful I managed to help my mom n dad eversince I entered uni.
Not being a burden to anyone was my goal and i did the best i could until today.

Lessons i learned?
Experience is a good teacher.
A lot of things in life, we x learn in classrooms.
If i can do it all over again, i would maybe next time around i will include opening a burger bakar stall. Hahaha.


rya said...

I still remember the nasi lemak. The sambal was delicious!

Lina Calen said...

It wasn't the best in town, but I am glad you get to sample it and liked it! Thanks, Yas!