06 July 2015

Alan and I

I met Mr Alan the other day, talking about his marriage, about him furthering his studies and about generally our service-provider-and-client professional relationship. 

Mr Alan is one of the best clients I’ve worked for, who honours practicality over formality and is a realist who sees the best way to do things without having to go through the unnecessary processes. 

“Orang Malaysia ni kan, dalam kontrak tulis punya bombastic. But tell me, can you achieve all those you write in the contract within 3 years? I don’t think so. The contract needs to be revised.”

That was his first comment on our contract that I received from him; the first time we met personally in his office. 

“If you ask somebody to prepare you a report, you should justify why you would need the document. Tapi orang kita suka suruh buat laporan, tapi bila you hantar laporan tu dia bukan nak baca pun. What for?”

Mr Alan’s wisdom is appealing to me. His thoughts virtually reflect mine, and I could tell that we follow the same thinking process.

Me, the lazy procrastinator who would only lift my finger when I could justify lifting it. And Mr Alan, the realist who minimizes tasks and selects the one he loved doing. Mr Alan is a well respected leader, who is loved and respected by his subordinates, the one with the most compassion yet with the highest level of commitment and drive.

I always condemn our clients for demanding this report and that report, which are rejected even when we had done them right and for small reasons that are too ridiculous to comprehend. 

Mr Alan hates that kind of bureaucracy and so do I. Everything should be simplified, according to him.

He’s going to further his studies means losing another great client who would back you up in meetings aka our very own warfare.
“Mr Alan, kenapa sambung belajar?” I asked him on our last meeting, anticipating some predictable answer from him. 

“I tak suka bekerja.” He replied instantaneously, without hesitation, and casually, without any sign of remorse. 

HAH! So do I!

“Cuba you fikir, benda apa yang seronok dibuat dan free? Belajar saja. I dah pening bekerja, dah 11 tahun 1 dekat sini. I memang tak suka bekerja.”

Mr Alan indifferently elaborated. And so do I – I agreed silently.

There is this childish manner of truth-telling in Mr Alan, and I’m glad he was comfortable to open up to me this side of him. You know, everyone in the working industry behaves like an adult; that they no longer laugh and think simple. Mr Alan is an exception. Always with a big smile, doesn’t give a damn on what people think, and yet, still loved by many. His naivety and childishness make me believe that him and me, (and Fahim too!) can work as a team. With those years of experience behind him, he is still that simple minded kid who dislikes being a slave of this crazy system. 

Sadly, people like us would forever be cast into the background; we would only be subjects of people who stood firmly by the system - the crazy, the workaholic, the bossy boss, the fussy clients.  Those who had lost their own childhood and now attempting to rob ours. 
I remember asking him about tying the knot: 

“Seronok tak kahwin Mr Alan?”

“Kalau tak seronok, buat apa kahwin?” he replied, with the same degree of childlike truthfulness. 

Truly, I simply love this guy. I could even imagine sharing a childhood together with him, playing congkak and tuju tin in the evening until our mothers call for us. 

But alas, the circumstances and the time we met are not right. He's the client and I am the service provider. We could not be friends outside this rigged system, because...complicated things. 

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