Playing Nice

I’ve been missing quite a bit from my blog so much so that friends aka readers of this blog ask me when I’ll be updating it. Hah, sorry my dears. I have been too bogged down by other work and I had just come back to Penang after one week of relaxation sans PC, sans Internet, sans email. Oh yes, sans husband too. (Yes, couples do need to spend time AWAY from each other. I don’t know about others but I need my own space. It’s even more needed because Nic and I work together, 24 hours a day. If I don’t get away sometimes, I would go mad!)
While on my one-week break, I was supposed to attend WC’s wedding dinner too but I didn’t go in the end. The guy, WC, is a good school friend of mine. We had been classmates for 5 years; he used to translate my cuttings of Chinese gossip magazines on Leon Lai (yes, yes, I used to think the world of that cutie pie) and I used to bug WC whenever I got stuck doing Add Maths. He loaned me his mountain bike (in those days, having a mountain bike was a cool way to get around) for my jaunts across town with my two best friends. In fact, he was a great friend.
So if he was such a dear old friend, why did I NOT go for his wedding dinner? At first I had been excited. I would see him again, after more than 12 years! We had lots to catch up on. I really wanted to see if he had changed. The years in Canada must have done him some good. Plus I would get to see the woman he’s marrying. She was not someone we knew, thus more curiosity.
But one thing stopped me from going. I didn’t want to see the rest of the gang whom he had invited for his wedding. They were not my gang anyway. I actually didn’t want to see the rest of them. In school, I was not close to them.
Perhaps it was the problem of language. I only picked up Mandarin while I was in varsity. Yet that’s the biggest problem we non-Mandarin speakers have in secondary schools – Mandarin speakers think we are stuck-up just because we don’t mingle with them. We don’t mingle with them because we don’t speak Mandarin. So in schools, you get two distinct groups of students – those who speak Mandarin and those who do not. Those who don’t end up with their own gang/clique.
I had another reason too for not attending. At 32, I realised that I could stop pretending to like certain people. It was a different story when I was in school. When I was 16, it mattered to me that I was well-liked and popular. I wanted to please everyone which meant I didn’t want to ruffle feathers.
At 32, I realised that I should do as I please. If I didn’t like the company at dinner, I should shut up and not go. I don’t want to spend two hours trying to be nice to people whom I disliked immensely when I was 16. Perhaps I have less patience now. Perhaps I am coming into my own and can actually say no when I want to.
I once read somewhere that we should have the courage to say no when we want to. We women tend to play nice and refrain from criticizing or giving offence. For me, I used to think being nice scored brownie points. But in the end, I end up not satisfying myself. I end up more upset and cheated. So I told myself that if I disliked many of WC’s guests that night, I should not endure the two-hour dinner. So that’s why I ended up not attending. Unlike most times, I did not feel an iota of guilt either.
I must be growing older!

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