Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Sad Ping Pong Queen

hi all!

My circle of colleagues typically end the week of work by booking the office table-tennis er...table to have some ping-pong session. Being naturally bad at anything resembling sports, I was the one they kept pushing to 'play more play more!'. This is really what I call a great crowd, mindful of newcomers and made sure they feel welcome. That, or they just wanna watch me run all over the place trying to catch their whirling pink lightnings.

It was here that I got to experience most of my colleagues’ fantastic, even operatic moves on the ping pong table. Watching them play, you can almost imagine the Chinese fan whipping out and all the ‘fei-piaos’ at the ready…..

During another one of colleague G’s moves that prompt me to hallucinate flowing scarves ala Zhang Zhiyi in House of Daggers and had me running all corners of the rooms, spraining my back to pick up the balls, I had to ask..

‘Wah, G. Who teach you your ping pong skills? So fast….’

‘Heh. I learn from the best! My ex-bf taught me one.’

‘He must have been very good at it.’ *pant pant* Another hurtling ball missed me by inches.

‘Yup, he is. But I improve very fast becos of the way he teaches me.’

‘Like how? Video-taping and showing you your mistakes?’ I was thinking about how a swim-coach normally deals with his trainees.

‘Nope, even simpler.’ And looking at me in the eye without any inflection at all, she replied, ‘He used me as a target.’

At my face of incredulity, she elaborated, ‘He said the best way to force me to learn is to aim all his ping pong balls at me hard, so I’ll be extremely compelled to catch them before they hit me.’

I wondered if by her frankness, she was testing or judging me on the type of response to give. So I went for another question.

‘Did it hurt?’

A pause. ‘But of course....’

And I wondered if her answer had a deeper meaning than it was intended.

We let the pink ball move back and forth across the table a while longer in silence.

Then I said, ‘I’m glad he’s your ex, then.’

We looked each other fully in the eye again before hers slid away. I had been accessed and found wanting. She probably got a lot of similar responses like these which she did not agree with.

‘At least he stayed with me for 7 yrs. I wondered how he could have done that, you know.’ Defensive stance.

‘And why not?’ Perhaps she had been a difficult GF?

‘Well, I used to look like this.’ She took out her ID pass and showed me her photo.

In there was a picture taken only 2 yrs ago when she first joined up.

It showed a gal who has, frankly, a very rotund face. It was round like a moon, with cheeks you can squeeze and jiggle.

What a complete change to her present state. She now looks healthily built and toned.

Now, I became more puzzled, and something close to anger surfaced. We stopped the game (after I lost all 3 rounds) and I pressed, ‘What did that have to do with him staying by your side for 7 years?’

‘Don’t you think there’s something admirable about him wanting to be with such an obese gal for 7 long years?’

There was an inner light in her eyes when she said it, obviously for the ex-bf who was courageous, brave and invincible for daring to go against convention to hang out with a plump gal for so long. She had forgotten the blue-blacks she had taken from his training. I bet she must have been thinking he was very noble for even taking time out to train her in his favourite sport.

I felt sorry for her. Right now, I would say that she looked great. She isn’t exactly thin, but hey, she’s got curves rather than angles where curves ought to be. She dresses well and walks well and does her job with great pride. She’s very well-educated too. In fact, her academic qualifications are much higher than his, which prompt me to wonder if he didn’t have a streak of malevolence because of this.

But that’s the thing. I always thought that education can increase a person’s self-worth. If you know more facts about the world, feel good that you can do many things, have pride in your responsibilities and abilities to carry them out, shouldn’t that make you feel less indispensable in Life than others who are less educated and feel less in control?

But for G, no matter how well she works or looks, she’ll always see a worthless fat person in the mirror that she despises. I contend that her self-worth wasn’t there because she did not love herself very much. And funnily, that got me really pissed.

I was angry because the world seem made for the bold and the beautiful. Skinny twigs with perfect hair and teeth. Never mind they weren’t very useful in anything else but looking pretty. They earned the equivalent of my annual salary a day just by walking, a skill we all learnt when we were 3 yrs old. We fawn on them, we want to be like them, we want to live their lives and just for an instant, G and all who are like her, wanted to experience that kind of fixated attention that men gave to them.

And people like G, smart, funny, kind and plays a mean game of ping-pong, gets sidelined into thinking she should be grateful for any kind of attention bestowed on her. I later found out that she has been that type of gf found only in romantic MTVs, where the gal does stuff like make soup, cakes, cookies and wrap them up nicely to give her man. She routinely treats him to candle-lit dinners and gives him wake-up calls. That fucker should be grateful that someone would even give him the time of day, much less someone like her.

Sad to say, her current squeeze also seemed destined to be shaped from the same same cookie-cutter. He has tried to dump her once already, citing that his diploma-holding personality makes him feel inferior to her honours background. Of cos, she begged him to come back, which he did. When I heard about it, I had a feeling it’ll end up the same way again.

When you don’t love yourself, how can anyone love you? Your whole being relies on self-love to project a certain image to the world. If the world sees you as inferior as you see yourself, you’ll agree with it. But the world got its first impression of you from you. It’s all a vicious cycle.

OK, I’m rambling, I know. I’m still mad also. After I argued with her, she started apologizing profusely. I wanted her to stand up for herself and yet, I don’t want her to stand up for herself on views like these.

I don’t know what I want. She confuses me.

Because when I look in the mirror, sometimes another person stares back at me.




Ensui said...

In truth, there is a harsh reality there. We are always judged on first impression: our looks. No matter how many people vehemently deny this, this is an inescapable fact.

However, i do agree that if you don't love yourself, then no one will love you and your life will be a perpetual misery. I hope your friend will find someone who cares and loves her for who she is. :)

ah fatt's fan said...

Self confidence is what makes a woman really irresistable...

Ang Ku Kueh said...

yah...makes me wonder why my hubby chose me also, heheheeh.....

ah fatt's fan:

some guys think self-confidence is arrogance in a woman.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering, why do many ppl assume that "Never mind they weren’t very useful in anything else but looking pretty." What makes people think that pretty girls aren't smart?

Its the same self image problem you talked about in your post.

Pretty girls have the kind of confidence that says makes men look twice at them, but at the same time, alot of them don't think they are smart cuz thats what they've been told. As if being pretty sucked all the brain cells out of you.

The world is unfair, but I don't think you have to add to it by saying that pretty girls are useless.