Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Sad Ping Pong Queen Vol 9

Hi all!


For those who just came in, welcome! we are nowin a full fledged running series. so feel free to scroll down for the earlier volumes. from volume 5 onwards, there are links to the first one, so thanks for taking the time to finger-clcik a little while longer.


for those who have been following, here's the latest longest episode yet.


I think you all must be waiting with bated breath to the answers to all your questions about the PPQ stories. Me? I confessed to much glee with the outcome of the series so far. Everything is so beyond expectation that I am absolutely flabbergasted. This episode will be no less dramatic. Please do remember that the whole story is true so far. There’s no addictives, MSG or other artificial colouring and flavouring added to this spicy drama. I swear. I really wouldn’t have cooked up such a storm.

So the following questions which I know you readers are thinking of, because I have thought of them myself, you’ll finally get the answer to. I’m proud to announce that I have diligently taken down all your questions and posted them to him, so it’s straight from the Horse’s mouth, LK himself. Under zero influence and hypnosis somemore! He was most willing to share.

And they are:


1. The reason why he never mentions he’s married till now.


2. Whether he told PPQ he is married.

3. What’s with the flowers on the first date?

4. How does PPQ know about the cookies? This one, I really want to know....

5. What, exactly, does he think of the fish porridge episode?


So the camera pans back to LK and AKK seated across each other over a large expanse of the meeting room table. The Ikea clock ticked its way to 7pm while the scanner hums contentedly in the background, minding its own business. Another 30 minutes and the whole thing will be done and it’ll be time to pack up and go home.


Contrary to popular belief that I’m not cut out for hard work, after the initial first so-called request to extend beyond office hours for LK, I got to entertain a few more other clients with the same treatment. Mainly because they really are nice and their bosses have finally come back from the Spring holidays to bug them about work progress. After a while, I’ve decided to hell with the office hour restrictions. After all, if the hoteliers are serving their customers ‘beyond the call of duty’, I figured that if I’m free that weekday evening, I might as well be putting a few more hours to prevent my clients from crying, which the female ones will do, since the experiment is usually kaput when it’s not ‘run’ on time.


Of cos, once an extension happens, I usually will go back to the office slightly later than usual the next day. At the end of the month, I still manage to churn in a tidy amount of profits just by being flexible with the opening hours, so why not? Boss’ happy that I seem to work longer than usual, clients are happy that their experiments are ‘served’ and I get a few more hours sleep into the morning.


So it’s a typical day at work for me. Just to set the stage, clients either sit with me to check the scan between breaks in the meeting room or to come back to collect when it’s done. LK chose the former so I was sipping my normal evening coffee kindly produced by Jill before she left while he took his lunch/dinner. I have found out that while most of my female clients eat lunch and skip dinner, it’s the other way around for the guys.


It was all good till the issuing spill from the overturned cup of kindness from Jill (hey, it rhymes!). Which left me bereft of fortification in the face of his bald statement and shall I say it, slight anger that he should chose such a moment to enlighten me and make me lose my drink. (see the previous entry)


I pulled away after he gave that cryptic answer. While a part of me is singing the high chorus for this extreme piece of juice sure to spruce up my diary, another part of me was aghast with the thought that this man is trying to play with us all. While I still believe that giving a gal flowers was a great ladykiller move, I don’t think it’s justifiable to do so after said ladykiller is married, yes?


I mean, what is he trying to proof by roping them all up like trophies when he’s obviously not available anymore?


Great! I miss my kopi and I need a Bacardi right now….



‘Why don’t you,’ I put a hand up and put the whole length of the table between us. ‘Tell me the whole story.’


He sighed and leaned back on his chair.


‘I knew people are going to look at me this way the way you are doing right now. It’s hard to change people’s immediate opinion about others.’



I bristled. I was playing the high horse and wasn’t counting on him frankly accusing me of being ‘like the rest’.


‘Sorry.’ I sighed. ‘I promise to keep an open mind.’


‘OK’ he was back to grinning again. ‘The truth is…..well, the truth is that I’m in the midst of separation.’


‘How young are you?!!’ I was aghast. He didn’t look a day over 30 and he’s getting a divorce already??


’28.’


I had a God-awful thought.


‘Oh man, she found out about the flowers, didn’t she? Your flowers for PPQ? Arrghhh….’


He laughed ruefully. ‘Nah, although it would be nice to be the one who hurts, but actually my wife left me.’


‘Why?’ Because you were infidel? But I did not say it out loud.


He crossed his ankles and lean back to stare at the ceiling. This time I would be lying if I didn’t mention that his eyes glimmered in those few short seconds under the lights. At first, I was indignant for myself, wanting to throw him into the mold of a stereotype so he wouldn’t accuse me of being narrow. However, seeing those liquid eyes suddenly brim made me feel like the worst sinner ever.


I have made a grown man tear up.


And then my timer beeped its 15th minute and made me jump in my chair. It was a complete anti-climax, but I leaped up gladly anyway and left him to recover while I check the machine.


By the time I was back, he seemed more normal, like his usual cheery self, although his eyes looked more red than usual. The suaveness had gone from his shoulder. LK has become more human. The chair creaked and he began his story.


It was by all accounts, a very sweet love-gone-wrong story. They met in school real young and spent a decade together as a couple, studying together from JC to Uni, finally accumulating in a wedding after their graduation. Newly wedded, they were poor but ambitious. The girl, in fact, had plans for post graduate studies overseas.


‘To where?’


‘Oxford’ and no less, she said. She wanted the best but wasn’t able to get a scholarship. He was ready to indulge her fully, being the newly blessed man. He never thought they could never work anything out, they had been through lots of thick and thin together. Although the entry fee alone was enough to cripple the couples’ finance, they both took multiple jobs to save. Boosted by his wife’s very obvious ambition to get a doctorate, he plunged in his whole savings into her venture.


‘The money was used for what?!’ I repeated.


‘Meant to pay the tuition fund. I took a scholarship which paid my Uni fees all the way till PHD.’


‘I don’t get it, why is there a need to save money to pay them back when you are on the scholarship?’


‘Because I didn’t want to carry on after graduation and the clause was to pay them back in full if I stop after graduation. Anything after that will be considered bond-breaking’


I gasped. ‘So you gave up the opportunity to buy your way out so she could have her dream.’


‘Yes, I never wanted to be a scholar or a postgraduate. In fact, I always wanted to go into finance, stop all this research thingy.’


‘So now that you are in it, how long is the bond?’


‘6 years, it was a longer version since it was a tuition and research scholarship combined.’


Fuck.’ I swore.


‘Yes.’ he agreed somberly. ‘Absolutely fucked up.’


‘You are a damn poor thing.’


‘Tell me about it.’


‘So when did you realize something was wrong?’


He shrugged. ‘The usual. We use to hold long distance calls every week. When that got too expensive, we relied on emailing. Then after a while, she said she was on a camping course with the school. Didn’t write for 2 weeks. I believed her.’


‘What was she doing then?’



He ignored my question, eyes glazed in remembrance. ‘Immediately after that, she called me and cried on the phone. I thought she was sick or got into an accident.’



‘She told me she found another guy there. Told me she couldn’t take the distance. She told me she wanted a divorce and then,' He turned his grave eyes at me. I stared back, soaking up the whole story.


‘She told me he was a banker and that I should be happy for her because she did not have to worry about money anymore.’


Fuck.’ I swore again. I couldn't help myself.



‘Not really. I would have flown over in another 2 weeks to surprise her. It would have been our 2nd year anniversary. It was good that she told me earlier, I cannot imagine being stranded in a foreign country knowing I wasn’t welcome.’



I sniffed. Sometimes things just have to seen as half-full even when it hurts like blazes.



‘How long has it been?’



He closed his eyes. ‘2 years. I haven’t seen her in a long while. The next trip back, she’ll be here just to sign the papers. I cannot imagine what I’ll do if I were to suddenly see her in front of me again.’



The timer leaped into life, slamming him back into the present and throwing me off my tiny perch on the seat (so engrossed I lean forward too much). Thank goodness for timers! We hurried back to the machine the final time and retrieved the data. I surreptitiously dried my eyes while the CD-R revved to life on the computer. Now I wonder if it would such a good idea to continue with the PPQ series, because it’s so invasive. I feel like a paparazzi who goes around collecting stories of other people’s private life and splashing them like front liners. Who would have thought that LK would turn out to be the one carrying the burden of hurt and anger? Compared to him, PPQ just had a nice walk in the park. Imagine if your other half, someone who pledged his/her whole life to you, turned around and said good riddance, even after you had done everything in your power to pledge your own life to theirs.



I was getting more and more upset. LK apparently send money to her every month as he slogged his way churning out tons of data in my lab, while she was happily studying away in prestigious Oxford and canoodling with a banker. Of all the things to say, she had to talk about money!



‘Oy, hello?’ I started and hastily blinked. I had been staring at the CD-writer till the CD popped out and had made no move to pass the data over to LK. I took it and handed it over while he peered at me closely.



‘There’s no need to get so upset.’



‘I don’t think I have the right to say this, but I think your wife stinks.’ I blurted out.


‘She doesn’t! Don’t say that!’ It was LK's turn to bristle. 'I didn’t tell you this so you can pin all the blame on her for our failed marriage. We got together too soon and married too early, we were both too young and I was too na├»ve. It takes two hands to clap.’



‘You’re right. I’m sorry.’ I apologized, all contrite. Things just happen sometimes. Perhaps it was the best course of action for all. Everyone moves on. At least she wasn’t cheating on him. He didn’t have to know anything but she told him anyway.



He smiled. ‘That’s why I tell you.’



‘What? Tell what?’



‘About this. At least you listened. I don’t want friends to drum up a personal vendetta against her just because I’m the one being dumped. It’s been better for me now. After a year, everyone starts forgetting the story and stopped looking at me with sadness. It’s easier to go through the motions everyday that passes.’


‘So I take it you did not tell PPQ?’ The journalist in me is remembering all the questions posted.


‘Right. About PPQ. To tell the truth, when I saw her at the seminar, I thought she just might be somebody who could be special to me. And knowing we are all connected made it just a tad easier to invite her out.’


‘So the flowers did mean something.’


‘Yes. It did. I lied to myself that I was accompanying a friend, in truth; I think I subconsciously agreed to go because I also needed some encouragement and some insights. Seeing her there was a step to venture into expanding my life again emotionally.’


I got it. ‘She was your first date since, that’s why you tried to celebrate.' With a pretty gal, flowers and a nice dinner.


‘Yes.’ his eyes mellowed again. ‘The flowers were for her, but I bought them because they were, to me, a symbol that I’m trying to move on. They meant more to me than she’ll ever know.’


‘So how are things between the 2 of you?’


‘She is a nice girl.’ He tried to speak carefully. ‘But we don’t have much in common. And frankly I don’t think I trust her enough. She strikes me as the jealous type. Oh, you better be careful.’


‘Me?’



‘You really should see her face when I off-handedly told her about the cookies.’


‘So it really was you!’


‘I’m sorry.’ He grinned. ‘Did I cause any trouble?’


‘Nah.' like cobwebs, i waved away all the trouble and stress PPQ ever caused me. 'I guess you know by now she has got the hots for you.’


‘Believe you me, I didn’t encourage her anymore beyond the flowers. I even paid her back for the porridge.’


Strike 3! ‘And how was the porridge?’ I asked.



‘Cold.’



‘No, serious.’


‘I was a bit freaked out, to tell the truth. It’s sweet but I don’t even remember telling her I was going back during the weekend.’


‘She must have hung on every word you were saying.’


‘As I said, a bit freaked out right now.’


‘You led her on, with the flowers and everything.’


‘I'm sorry. I led myself on too.’


I nodded. Somebody was trying to chase his own ghosts away. ‘Did it work?’


‘No.’ he sighed mistily. ‘I miss my wife still.’


He held his experiment and CD and grew silent. I waved my hands agitatedly.


‘Get a grip. If you blurb now, I’ll blurb too. Then my eyes will become smaller than they already are.’


He pinched his nose. ‘Right right. Guess I need to tell PPQ straight huh?’



I said. ‘Well, she isn’t the most subtle of people.’ And I really wanted to add ‘you’ll probably have to hammer it into her head with a mallet.’ But I didn’t.



‘Yah………. I’ll probably have to hammer it into her head……... u OK?’



‘Good luck.’ I coughed.


‘That bad huh?’ We walked out the doorway so I could send him on his way.



I thought about her and what she did throughout the whole series, then opened the security door for him.


‘Ok lah. She just needs to grow up a little.’


‘Don’t we all?’ His voice echoed down the corridor as he walked off.


Knowing exactly what he meant, I waved him Goodbye.


And so the camera pans out AKK as she diminishes in size and dims.


OUT!


AKK.

19 comments:

JayWalk said...

*breathless*

Ensui said...

What a fantastic account! I applaud your journalistic skills. It almost feels like i'm watching tv! :D

I really do feel sorry for LK. To spend so much time and effort on a marriage, and not having it work out... It must hurt like a bastard. >.<

P.S: I like the 'closing scene' of all of us needing to grow up a little. :)

Jaschocolate said...

Sibeh touching... Make me sympathize with LK loh... Sob sob...

OLLie said...

Poor LK. I hope he'll be alright soon.

hmmm.. I wonder how the aftermath would be like.

An said...

er.. the sceptic in me ask... Can we hear the wife's side of the story first before saying anything else?

Otherwise.. it's really poor LK.. arwwwwww.....

shun kueh said...

wa lau, LK is using PPQ as a stepping stone to mend his broken heart. Thou, I sympathize with him but he should be more sensitive to PPQ's feelings too.

Sibeh Sian said...

No offence, but that sounds like a fine tale LK says to the females he wants to bed. Oops.

Anonymous said...

wow - didn't quite expect this ending! I wonder what the wife's story is. I have a friend who had his marriage annulled - similar reason too (got together too young, married too young, lots of airy-fairy ideas of what marriage is about)... he's now happily married 2nd time, and father of 2. and he's only 33.

Ang Ku Kueh said...

jaywalk:

kam siah. when i heard it first hand, i also breathless at the turn of events.

ensui:

but sometimes, we also need to think young. Life is like a big paradox.

jaschoc:

it's a tough account to write.


ollie:

eh? no worries. he's fine.:)


an:

hahahah...i know for the sake of fairness, we should all look at things from all ends. but hey, this aint talking about minister's pay (which is also quite one-sided) or even anything as important. it's only an account reproduced for the blog. it's highly unlikely I'll ever meet the wife. Even then, i admit my entries have always been one-sided. you may as well tell me i need to go find PPQ's ex-bf to find out if he is indeed a monster?

for all things, always read with an open heart. i guess for this blog, probably appreciate the turns and twists of an events unfolding rather than the justification to the authenticity of the stories.


shun kueh:

well, he is sorry for it. but he did indeed thought PPQ was a potential choice and candidate whom he could like and love. hmmm...sometimes when a person has such a large burden or experience, he may sometimes do the same thing that other guys do, but hold a larger symbolism towards it, not neccessarily the one that the partner is thinking of.

sibehsian:


then he will not gain much from telling an auntie who is happily married, and not telling PPQ, who is single, young and nursing the right kinds of feelings for him, whom he could easily lure home.


anon:

i like your friend's story, altho its very short and i like that you have an open mind. most ppl would have thought that divorced and annulled meant that these people cannot handle marriage stress and try not to know them better or leave them or always think lowly of them for quitting. i also have a fren who annulled, then married. she went through a lot. trhe point was that while everyone thought she's just flightly because she a slight wildchild, but she left him because he was a gambler and wife-beater. when i asked her why she did not tell her other less close frens, she thinks it's more humiliating to be in a abused situation, rather than be seen as frivolous over her choice of partners.

ah fatt's fan said...

PPQ seems like a smoke screen to me. LK's real target seems to be AKK. And now, AKK's line of defence towards LK is finally broken. AKK will not reject LK's invitation for dinner, just to lend him a listening ear. Then one thing leads to another....... Good move, LK!!

tiramisu said...

Ah Fatt:

For goodness sake, AKK's hubby is a yan dao kia! U think LK got fight meh?
haha! haha!

Wu Ah Ah said...

Camera pans to AKK and her beau yandaokai. Hahaha. Just teasing u a bit here, kueh.

What a twist! The predator turning out to be the prey who is being victimized. Even without MSG and artificial flavouring, this episode is truly appetizing. Yummy. LoL. *Burps* Now I'm full, waiting for more episodes, more new dishes the next time I visit your restaurant, I mean, blog.

This episode the camera didnt pan on PPQ. Wonders what her reaction will be when she finds out the "truth". LoL. Will PPQ continue hanging out with LK knowing that he is getting a separation or would she prefer a swinging bachelor like me? LoL. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

AKK - thanks for your reply! Interesting use of the words 'open minded' though. Is it that uncommon or that 'bad' to go out with someone who has 'baggage' (cf. ex/dead spouse, child(ren), history...etc)? obviously it depends on what the actual situation is, but I don't see why if the person fits the bill, that he/she shouldn't be suitable marriage material.

I've recently met someone who's 41 years old and has a child aged 7 with a woman he's never married. The mother takes care of the child but he's still very involved with the child. So by all purposes of the law, he's single/never been wed. I found him extremely nice, good looking, interesting etcetc, and if I was on the market as well, I would consider going out with him. On the other hand I know of single men (never married, had children etc) but I would never dream of going out with them (just don't 'gum' with them!).

I know it sounds really extreme, but I just thought it interesting that there still seems to be a stigma attached to people with baggage. I cannot imagine getting to one's late 20s/30s and not having baggage?! Or am I the cynical one?

Ang Ku Kueh said...

ah fatt's fan:

i'm not attracted to LK at all, although i would confess that if he ever turn his lights on me, i'll gleefully blogging it down. it'll be a great turn for the books. but as you can see, i hope not because that would be very unfair to him. :)


tiramisu:

aiyo! hubby may be yandaokia, but let me assure you that looks don't matter at all in a relationship. it's charm. :) A has that aplenty. :) LK too, actually but read reply to ah fatt above.

wu ah ah:

it would say alot about PPQ if she thinks he aint fit just because he's got a past. see the comments below yours. thanks for enjoying yourself. :)

anon:

hmmm...about open-mindedness, you have basically gotten the meaning that I've been trying to make all the time here. i call that open-minded because lots of people (esp the younger ones) don't accept such things. even as i write, i know of many readers who are frowning on this series, but they dun comment here. some thinks LK has got ulterior motives. For me, i think sometimes when the prob's huge, they just need someone fit to listen.

Anonymous said...

akk: I think alot of the naivety etc has to come with age and experience. Heck, when I was much younger, there was a lot of 'talk' amongst my friends and I that we wouldn't 'date' guys/girls from certain schools or from certain religions or much younger/older!! now that I think back, I cringe!

And of course, in reality, we will have met and know of non-Muslims marrying Muslims, younger men marrying older women, locals marrying foreigners, divorcees getting married a 2nd/3rd time, grads marrying non-grads (gasp!), etcetc. :)

27hcram said...

My fren actually recommended me to read ur blog bcoz he loves it too. I know ur stories are all true and what really amazes me is how u actually manage to put it with such a humour and at the same time being able to share what exactly u r thinking of at that pt of time...really makes me learn lots from u...hahaha...esp ur TS theory...lol

I love them...keep it up manz...hahaha...and I can't wait to read on ur vol. 10 then...*wink* :)

Ang Ku Kueh said...

anon:

That will be one thing I'm happy about when it comes to getting older. We become less opiniated as we know more.

27hcram:

Oh wow! thanks for visiting and reading. and thanks to that fren for getting you to read. To tell the truth, I started out writing for the public, trying to find stories on stuff they would like, but as time goes by, i'm glad to say I'm now writing more for myself and strangely enough, while traffic has gone down, I'm happier with the way that i write and my percepion becomes clearer. thanks for your words again, they really made my day.

zhe bin said...

Interesting. Really very interesting. As a reader I am very kept to the edge of my seat with the twist of events. How long did the past 9 volumes span over in real time?

Ang Ku Kueh said...

Pretty short, 1 to 2 months? almost real-time.