Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Over The Phone.

When it comes to me, I'm most probably not the kind of child who makes his parents proud and happy all the time. I do have my rebellious moments, trust me. Obviously, not the kind of child who dutifully calls his parents daily at work just to have a chat or make their day but certainly the kind of child who dreads any impromptu conversations with his parents. Probably because mom has always been (and will always be) hard on us - always picking up on conversations like school, discipline, hardwork and etc. where I'm only able to nod my head in disagreement given that I do not wish to argue any further. Somehow, today was different. I made a phone call to mom's office with a "proposals" right after I came home from school.

Surprisingly, when I took up the receiver to dial the numbers to mom's office, the whole telephone felt almost alien to me. Got me realizing how long was it since the last time I actually called anybody through landline telephone. Almost shocked to even see that the telephone still exists at home. Calling mom at the office this time also brought back old memories of me when I used to bug either mom or dad at the office way back then when I was about 4 years old. Used to be babysat by amah when mom and dad went for work where I'll always call either one of them to ask for absurd favors - like asking them to come back and hug me or make milk for me, simply because amah made it too hot that one time! The telephone bills were usually printed with both mom and dad's numbers.

I wonder if they miss me. I miss me.

Anyway, I called mom today at her office because I just needed to get something off my chest. My first attempt at her office number (had these memorized since 4 years old!) didn't receive any response so I tried her mobile. She picked up and replied "Hello" with a light chuckle when I called, "Mom". She told me to call her office again and I did as I was told. She picked up, asking in a strict manner, "So what paper will you be having tomorrow?" Now, what kind of question is that? Cheerfully, I blurted out Accountancy paper 1 and History paper 1 (objective questions) and told her that tomorrow will be the final day of the 8 days examinations! She sighed (as if in disappointment!) and asked me what did I need to be calling her at such an odd hour at work.

I quickly turned to my wail-ish voice and explained to her that I didn't want to attend the People Are Gifts (PAG) 3 days and 2 nights church camp this coming 17th of November. There was going to be this church camp opened for students between 13-16 years old. It's the annual church camp but this year, they made it sound more interesting with throwing in a theme of some sort. I wasn't at all intrigued by the idea but kai ma, being my official godmother, had sponsored me to go for this camp. Meaning, she paid the camp fee of RM30. I kind of joked about her being my godmother and all and that it was her duty to put me into such camps but apparently she didn't take it as a joke.

It was too late to actually say no when she called me to the registration counter at church to get me signatures of confirmation. Initially, I didn't think it mattered much to be stuck with another bunch of naive looking little 13 and 15 year olds. I mean, after all, Carina was going to be there. I didn't realize the urgency of the situation until I found out in school that a couple of friends (who obviously goes to the same church) that none of them were going also! That just pushed me over the line. That's it, I'm not going to put myself into some camp with little strangers and no one I know in sight. The worse thing is, it's going to be held in the compounds of church! I've attended church camps for the past 6 years of my life and I refuse, I repeat, I refuse to be treated like another idiot in another church camp. Don't need it anyway!

"I practically don't need it anyway!" I told mum over the phone, as she struggled to cut me off with every word I said. The gimmick girl who went up the podium to speak read out her well memorized and nicely written speech about her experience after the camp obviously didn't work for me! "I was quiet and shy but now I'm no more that person I was..." I quoted her in a little girly voice to mom adding that, "I'm neither a quiet nor shy person mom! Furthermore, I've already had my Confirmation last year and I'm practically as old as a 17 year old!" She argued, saying that me being confirmed is no reason for me to be proud and that I needed more friends and it won't hurt me to gain extra knowledge from this camp. Another round of Praise And Worship and kiddy telematches is knowledge? Not convinced.

"Mii, I'm satisfied with my social network currently and am not looking for more friends to add to my already depleting list of friends or social connection, " I complained to her again, hoping that I've convinced her enough. "Then what about the RM30 that you've already paid? It's not easy to earn money you know. I think you're better off with the camp, ok?" mom replied persistently. "What if I told you I could get a refund? Will you let me then?" I sort of challenged her, keeping the fact that it might have something to do with lies to myself. "Well, I'll need time to think about it," she said, brushing the entire conversation short. I told her she should think fast and I'm hoping for a positive answer. I pulled the conversation on a little longer, complaining and wailing desperately trying to convince her about how much I don't need the camp before she sighed in exhaustion and stressed on the final words, "...I WILL NEED TIME TO THINK OVER IT!" and hung up without much hesitation. Probably shaking her head all the time.

I turned to dad and tried convincing him also. Not that I didn't as soon as I hoped on the car at school but he wasn't really paying attention trying to avoid running down school children. As he was sitting on the couch watching his daily afternoon Hokkien drama on cable TV, I told him what I have said earlier to mom. He got annoyed not before long and brushed me off with waving his hands and telling me, "You go and tell you sponsor lah! I can't possibly do anything even if you kept this conversation on for the next half an hour!" Well, that's mom and dad for me. Things have certainly changed since I was 4, that's for sure!

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