25 September 2017


“In one sentence, describe yourself.”

This could be the simplest question ever at interviews. I have a script for this. I would tell them my full name, my highest qualification, what is my career objective, and simply explain how I could fit into the company based on what I know about them.

When I am all alone, I actually struggle to define myself.

I notice that I always view myself as an extension of somebody else or an organization. Like all I amounted to was just another fragment of a bigger picture. 

“I’m a student of UPM.”
“I joined a club called al-Biruni back then in university.”
“I used to work with this company specializing in environmental monitoring.” 

This is the gross idea. Going several layers deeper, I would behave according to what I belief is expected of me. I do not assert my preferences, always agreeing. I always ridicule my existence to the level of insignificance. 

It’s like when your roommate asks you if he could switch off the lights, and you tell him go ahead even when you have an important submission tomorrow. Oh I could cram this paper tomorrow morning. I don’t want him to feel uncomfortable or feeling that I am unaccommodating. Even small matters like this could trigger a war in my head. 

See? I adjust to my surroundings more than I shape them. 

I do not plan, I always go with the flow. In the long run, I began to wonder if ever I have a personality of my own, preferences of doing things. Like people telling you “I have this principle that I hate liars more than I hate people who procrastinate.” And you wondered how did he mold his conscience to have this notion, when you just don’t have anything that you’re holding onto in your life. 

“I accept and judge them all the same. People do bad things – liars and procrastinators both.” Is what I would tell them, to give out an illusion that I have my own principles as well, when I simply don’t know if I do have that stand.

People could be mad when you crossed the line, but do I myself have that line? Is it a sign of cowardice, that the reason I am so soft spoken and mellowed was because I am afraid to assert my stand that there was no line to cross to start with? But more importantly, do I have anything that I would stand for?

It’s like a meeting, where people would throw in suggestions and justify their opinion by reasoning. I often find it hard to do this, that if my suggestion is indeed accepted, I would offend those who got theirs rejected. Or worse yet, my idea would come under scrutiny and it would destroy me. I ended up not speaking out my mind, and accepted whatever decision that we (they) collectively came out with just to avoid conflict. Yunuss once pointed this out, and it left me speechless.

I come to people’s house just to see that they have a clear idea on what they want to do with their house – a sign that they have a clear idea on what they want to do with their life. Their method of housekeeping, arranging things, interior design. This should be placed here, this should be kept there.
Just who taught you this? How did you come to this conclusion? 

I have no sense of direction, that I believe that everything would turn out okay no matter which road you take. This applies to everything in my life that I could not decide if believing this is bad or good. Oftentimes, being indecisive frustrates people more than it accommodates them. 

“Where do you want to go to eat?”
“I don’t mind.”
“Just give me suggestions. I’m tired of being the one who thinks.”

See? It taught me that being accommodating sometimes actually do more harm than good. I always wait for the final act before I would take action on my own. Wait until the meeting is over, I’m going to meet the chairman and tell him that I have another point that he must consider – just so I won’t have to spark a conflict in the meeting room.

Wait till the lights are off and I’m going to know what to do with this unfinished paper – to apply for a postponement or to wake up very early tomorrow and finish it. 

Like everything in my life is expendable, that there is no real tension, just me keep delaying deadlines, lowering standards and me accommodating everybody’s opinion that nobody would disagree with me because heck, I would agree first with every shit that they come out with no matter how ridiculous.

This lack of discipline, devoid of opinions often threw me in unexpected situations. 

“Hey, could you join me hiking next week? To the highest peak of Titiwangsa ranges?”
“Well, I have no strong reasons to say no..but I have doubts..”
“Then please follow this trip.” 

I ended up joining the trip though I felt like it was a crazy, spur-of-the-moment decision. But just like I said, no matter which road that I took, I always ended up okay. This offers me a reason to feel safe or at least optimistic about my indecisiveness.

Methodological approach sounds like a myth in my life as I always tackle matters with sudden spikes of energy, and when that spike is nonexistent, I could not be bothered. I ended up not finishing what I’ve started because the energy has run out, methodological be damned.

So as an attempt to define myself, I wrote this one down, with one big question in my head. Am I relative to other people, or do I stand as my own? 

I simply could not make up my mind.

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