Monday, April 04, 2005

In which I act all wise and understanding

I was just recounting my first years of work, and how they were hell because I had an extremely harsh boss (Brit - perhaps this explains it all!!) who would yell and snap for everything I did wrong (which was pretty much everything I did, period). She made me so nervous that I would have stomach cramps just thinking about work. But she wasn't as bad as the FieldBoss from hell (also Brit female) who purposedly told her head field assistant to make trouble for me (she was a total fruitcake - I wasn't her only victim, she basically hated all female fieldworkers). And boy did he make trouble... We had an unpleasant encounter in the field because he was bullying the Orang Asli labourers (he was Malay) and they came up to me for help.

Possibly one of the worst things you could do to an arrogant asshole like this guy was to confront him - but that's what I did because I was young, naive and idealistic. As a fellow native, I was pissed off at his attitude towards the Orang Aslis - they were so much more hardworking and efficient in the field than the Malay labourers but nevertheless, they still get treated like shit. If he were in Sarawak, he'd never get away with this imperialistic shit - we'd chop his head off - hah. But anyway, he was so offended that I had the nerve to stand up to him that he came back screaming towards Brit lady who then yelled at me for being an inconsiderate Westerner wannabe who didn't understand how to be "truly Malaysian".

To her, to be truly Malaysian is to live and breathe Malay culture. Anything else is a discrepancy. Talk about misguided neocolonialism. She was suspicious of any Malaysians who spoke English fluently, of Malaysian women who did not shrink in front of the company of men, and felt that they were not "real Malaysians". Whatever gets your goat, lady.

Anyway... the point of this pleasant trip down memory lane was that I had promised myself that if I ever had someone, especially a young woman, under me, that I would treat them with respect and courtesy, teach her/him everything I know, and not be a complete psycho hose beast. What I also had in mind was that the person would be alert, careful and enthusiastic. Well, my young intern has a whiles to go but I will cut her a break... We all have our growing pains.

It's Yoda time.


At 7:37 PM, Blogger Bertha said...

Somewhat different context, but I just 'met' an American professor (woman) this weekend who's notorious for almost similar things.

I think if we were to send the fruitcake boss to the conference I was at this weekend, where there was some discussion on how traditional anthropology (or just the whole movement of going off to some exotic land) is just plain wrong and problematic, her head would explode! LOL

Your two bosses sound like they've either come from an upper class background (read: whiny and removed from the rest of the REAL world) or those from the working class who'd risen in class status but did it the hard way. But it's most likely the former. Oxbridge losers, I call them.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Cayce said...

ooo... i would love me some head explosions...

btw, you do know one of them ;) the other.. yeah, actually she's Irish and she's definitely from the upper class background. Both of them attended Cambridge.. those Cambridge losers! lol

At 6:29 PM, Blogger mac said...

People like these ought to be shot. Would you like me and SP to talk about guns again ?

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Cayce said...

errr... that's ok..

anyway, the best revenge is to live well!

At 9:18 PM, Blogger Bertha said...

Ooo, I know one of them? I can probably guess. ;)

Yep, Cambridge losers - they seriously think they're the best, and everyone else in other institutions are second-class citizens. Jesus, get a life, will you! I remember seeing a quote once, which goes something like, "I failed in Oxford, but you only failed in LSE". WTF?!

At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Loved the entry hehehehe, I call that a condescending attitude, but perhaps she doesn't understand Malaysians at all."neo colonialist" yeah ???!! You get that attitude from some people, it never ceases to amaze me how they were brought up. "As for Malaysians who speak English",....Well the English should have never bothered colonizing the world if that's the case :), Moi personally thinks the English Language use has grown on a international scale, probably at the expense of other indigenous languages, however it's a global village now, the Anglo Saxon language spoken in ENG - LAND differs from other rich varieties so no, it's not ok to patronize others, especially if the language is closely associated with just one culture.

My dua sen...."di situ kita nanti, pastikan bercahaya, pintu akan terbuka, meleraikan hakikan"

SP :)

At 3:33 PM, Blogger Cayce said...

bertha: that's such a lame quote.. how insecure can one get? lol

SP: speaking of quotes, that's pretty good. :)

At 6:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Ms Cayce :)

The quotes are from the lyrics of a late 80s Malay song hehehe,.....perhaps you might recollect ?? Or Mac?? Or anyone here ??:)

The title is "Suci dalam Debu" as performed by Iklim. Don't think I got the lyrics right.....



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