June 1, 2014

Born This Way

In my line of work, I meet all sorts of people. Sometimes they're nasty, and sometimes they're nice.

Sometimes, they're just clueless like my intern, Innocent Idina. A fledgling communications student, Idina is the epitome of what it means to be a sheltered child in a rapidly advancing world. A result which I've attributed to her upbringing, overseen by a strict patriarch with an iron fist whose conventional Muslim sensibilities is only second to his traditional Pakistani values.

Idina is a bubble child; you would think that she had spent the last 20 years of her life living in a cave distant from civilization. Her thinking sometimes amuses me, so much so that I sometimes wonder if she was playing the fool or just plain silly.

But in all fairness, I've come to appreciate her strange sense of humor and her sheltered outlook on life. Because when you get to know Idina, you get to know this wondrous, innate sense of excitement and curiosity that seemingly emanates from within her. It's like seeing the world with a fresh pair of eyes for the first time.

So it didn't surprise me when she discovered my sexuality and was taken aback, nor did it offend me when she tried to probe (mind the pun) my life for a deeper (mind the pun, again) understanding about what it means to be homosexual.

Everything is fabulous.

Me: Being gay is not a choice. A lot of people find it hard to accept themselves, but it gets better.
Idina: My mother says it's bad to be gay.
Me: Why? Does being gay affect moral judgment?
Idina: Why can't you love a woman?
Me: Partially because I'm not into tacos and oysters, but mostly because I love sausages and eggs.
Idina: It's very sad. You make me sad.
Me: What's sad is the ignorance the world has for gender identity and sexuality.

Obviously the child got a long lecture from me about life on the bright side of the rainbow, but only if it was to make her understand that no one in their right mind would choose the harder life against all odds. To struggle against peer pressure, societal norms and familial responsibilities.

An hour after we started talking, Idina finally understood why it gets better. And underneath it all, I saw a bright young girl emerge from the bubble.

May 31, 2014

Buy Me Love

Prostitution may be one of the oldest jobs in the world, but there's a reason it's survived all these years. Sex sells, and while you can't put a price on love, you can certainly enjoy an evening of hot, unadulterated, animalistic passion.

Personally, I've always seen prostitution as a viable, legitimate trade. It may not be widely acceptable, but the fact that there's a supply and demand just means that you can slap a price tag on it. From what I hear, it also pays well... unless you're making shady deals in darkened alleyways. Wouldn't be surprised if the IR came knocking for their taxes.

Now, who's up for a good time?

That said, not everyone agrees. Take my colleague, Sexy Sandra for instance. Young and fresh-faced, you would think that Sandra might be open to the idea, having just moved back to KL after nearly five years of living and working in amazing Australia. With all that Western influence and culture, I was quite surprised when she expressed her hesitation to have sex for money... even after she received quite the proposition for a night's work, back in Sydney.

Me: He offered you AUD8,000 for a night?
Sandra: Yes, I turned him down.
Me: What? Why! Was he hot at least?
Sandra: I'm not that cheap. Plus, he wanted me to spend a whole night. And yes, he's hot.
Me: Honey, if someone hot offered me that much for a night, he can take me to town and ride me like a horse for all I care.
Sandra: Actually, he upped the offer to AUD12,000, but I'm still not sleeping with him.
Me: For that price, I might even throw in a take-home souvenir.

Evidently guys don't think the same way women do, but I think it's more about being practical than emotional about it. After all, where there's money to be made and nothing to lose, why not, eh?

May 29, 2014

That's Not My Name

My name is not Strapping Shane, obviously. My godbrother, Paul (who runs the blog, Bedtime Stories) gave it to me when he decided to write about me back in 2006.

In some ways, it's also an indication of my blogging age; I've been around the sphere for over 9 years now, although I stopped writing regularly since 2010. There were a handful of posts I wrote in 2011, but it was in that year that I decided to take a hiatus to focus on my work as a full-time writer.

Busy at work; disturb at your own risk.

Naturally, when you write for a living, you probably don't feel like writing when you come home after a long day. Well, that and the fact that with the prevalence of micro-blogging - Instagram, Twitter, etc. - does anyone still blog?

But yes... Shane is not my name, but I'm quite comfortable using it for the sake of my re-entry into the sphere. Don't know if I still fit that "strapping" image Paul painted for me (I'm not that young any more!) but let's keep it that way.

The name's Sam (if it wasn't already apparent from my Twitter handle). And no, I don't like green eggs and ham.

May 27, 2014

Make the World Move

My president and CEO paid us a visit recently at the Agency and suffice to say, it was an uplifting experience. I've always been one to be easily inspired by leadership and sound advice, but it was good to have someone come down all the way from Manhattan to tell us how important we were in the grand scheme of things... even if we were just cogwheels doing the same stuff everyday.

He left quite an impression, but even more so, he left us some really deep, profound thoughts that validated our existence and our work.

He said: "Here at the Agency, we do some really great work and that's because we do work that not only does great things for our clients' business, but work that's also shaping the world we live in. We are influencing human behavior and you must realize what a power it is to have when you can change this world for the better."

Contemplating how my actions can change this world.

I didn't feel like no X-man, but it was good to understand the infinite capabilities of the work I do; how a small ripple I make can send huge waves crashing across the beach halfway across the world. To be honest, I never saw myself in public relations; my entry into the business was no more than a fluke that caught me by surprise. An opportunity presented itself, which I grabbed without a moment's hesitation and ran with, without looking back.

Never mind I didn't have the certification for it, never mind I didn't have the experience for it. I ran for my dear life and you could say, in a sense, that I saw the bull and took it by the horns.

It's been nearly nine months since and I am enjoying the work so far, although some days feel tougher than others and I am reminded of my good old days in the media when I had less to worry about except for a word count and a monthly workload of about eight articles on average. It's certainly very different, but when you put into perspective the kind of work I do now and the kind of work I do then... it's pretty amazing.

My ISO (insignificant other) always said I had a talent for writing (and manipulation), but I guess neither of us saw this one coming. But hey, let's see where this goes...

May 24, 2014

Shut Up and Drive

Malaysian drivers are a complex bunch.

They swerve into lanes at a moment’s notice, they don’t bother with their turn signals, and they drive like they own the god-damned road. When it rains, it gets even better; Kuala Lumpur, especially, goes into a total lock-down. It’s almost as if everyone has suddenly forgotten how to drive.

Then, there are the traffic jams that result from Malaysian curiosity; a collision between two motorists, a burning bush (not the biblical kind) or cars parked by the side of the road are more than enough to pique their interest for them to slow down for a look-see. Some even pause to take a pic and tweet about it. Bitch please... just drive.

I mean, I would totally understand if there was a hot hunk parading his goods on the highway, but the last time anything of the sort happened, everyone was driving past the homeless guy as if they couldn't wait to get out of there any faster.

And it’s no fun because I spend a minimum of at least 1-2 hours every day to get to the office and back home, making the daily commute to work the least exciting part of my day. For over five years since I started driving, I've been studying the traffic patterns that clog KL to no avail.

Now, if Vin Diesel was my chaffeur... maybe the commute wouldn't be so bad.

There’s no putting a finger on it; it just doesn't change and you can’t tell when the traffic is ever going to be clear and when it’ll be a raging mess of metal, brake lights and angry hooligans on the road.

One thing I've noticed, however, is how driving shares some correlation with work-life decisions. Like how every car is just a representative of the people you work with; you have to overtake the slow pokes to get ahead, or you can choose to stay in your place forever.

Then there are the ones in front who don’t know how to drive properly; like an aimless leader who’s leading the team in circles. There are only two ways about this: honk him to get a move on, or overtake him and get ahead in life.

There’s also the fast lane and how taking it can be great for quick progression, but risk spinning out of control and hurting yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing. Worse, if someone spins out of control, they could take you with them. Then you’re just collateral damage.

Worse are the ones who don’t abide by the rules and just swoop into your lane, regardless of how long you've been in the queue. These are the douchebags who just need a five-finger sandwich to the face.

Evidently, I find ways to keep my mind alert on these hour-long drives to the office, but sometimes you can’t help but ponder the similarities.

If only there was a hot hunk on the highway to look forward to every morning, but alas I wish for too much.