Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ask and ye shall receive (Some answers, that is!)

Another day, another meme. This one came courtesy of
Collecting Tokens' Alejna and, interestingly, has her e-mailing five questions that were completely of her choice to answer as a follow-up to someone else having done the same with her.

In return for my participation in this meme, she is courageously volunteering herself to be tagged for the Six weird things about myself meme. And yes, the idea with today's meme is to also see whether anyone wants to volunteer to getting asked five questions by me -- and in this way, further continue the meme's progress -- in addition to finding out what my answers are to the questions that were asked of me (and which I actually had to spend quite a bit of time pondering since, as I told my questioner, I've never ever been asked four out of five of those before!)... ;)

In any event, and without further ado:-

1. What is your happiest childhood memory? (Or more than one if you'd like.)

I'm not sure I can pinpoint a single childhood memory as the happiest of the lot. However, I can recall many happy times spent in England exploring museums (yes, really!) in the company of my mother and being allowed by her to go on buying sprees in more than one bookstore there.

As I disclosed in an early post on this here blog: for a good part of my childhood, I used to regularly spend part of each year in England. However, what may not have been clear previously is that this involved my being taken out of the Malaysian schools I attended for weeks at a time. Alternatively put, my parents got me playing "hookey" for significant periods of each year!

As compensation, my mother would see to it that we did educational things while there -- like go visit museums and other places of cultural and/or historical interest (of which there are, to put it mildly, quite a few in England!). And lots of reading. Only, for the most part, she didn't dictate which museums and other places to visit or even what I would be reading.

Rather, I got to research, pick and plan stuff pretty much all by myself! And oh boy, did I get quite a bit of joy -- and, looking back, quite a bit of a practical and useful, even while also unorthodox, education -- from doing so! :b

2. What do you see yourself doing in 10 years? Are there any particular goals you'd like to accomplish in that time frame?

For the record, this is the only question of the quintet that I've been asked before by others. And, as I told Alejna, usually in job interviews and/or by individuals who were my bosses at the time of their asking this question!

Also for the record: My response these days -- one which can seem to freak people out -- is that I no longer try to look 10 years down the road and, instead, tend to only look at my life and related matters in, at most, six month increments!!

My reason for this is that once upon a time, my life path did seem like it could have been as predictable as that of a train's but, especially over the past 10 years or so, my life has taken such unexpected twists and turns -- much of which I truly feel were beyond my control -- that I no longer am inclined to try to predict nor seek to purposefully and single-mindedly dictate the course of my own long-term future.

Instead, I'm content to see what life brings and respond as well as react accordingly to the surprises along with more expected developments that it tends to turn up. This way, I feel that my life path is more flexible and open to interesting possibilities. And even while this way of living can bring with it its share of anxieties, I think it compensates by being more exciting as well as generally less disappointing.

3. If you had the power to bestow a gift upon a baby girl, such as those given by fairy godmothers in a fairy tale like Sleeping Beauty, what gift would you bestow? If you could bestow three such gifts, what would they be?

If I could bestow just one gift, it would be the ability to think for herself. And if I could bestow two others, it would be a good -- as in caring as well as physically healthy! -- heart and the ability to not take herself too seriously. This way, I hope, she'll grow up to be a wonderful individual who will do some good in the world, and without getting an over-inflated ego while doing so!

4. Let's go with the inanimate object route. If you were a box, what kind would you be? Describe yourself, your uses and your contents, if any.

"Boxes are highly variable receptacles." Thus began the Wikipedia's entry for "box". This fact notwithstanding, I have to admit that I've given scant thought to these inanimate objects and, especially, what of their kind I'd like to be!

After devoting some thought to the matter, however, I'm going ahead and concluding that I'd like to be a box that contains a present and which, when opened up by the recipient of the present, would be party to seeing her -- and I'm definitely seeing a female in this vision! -- face light up with happiness.

And no, my size won't matter or even my appearance (though, for some reason, I'm getting a distinct vision of myself as being rather plain and square in shape!). Rather, it's what inside that counts
-- ...and here I feel compelled to make clear that I most definitely am not the kind whose purpose is to house or transport jewellery or some designer dress or associated accessory! -- and the role that the box has in making someone happy even for a time... :)

5. I think the word "pants" is a funny word. Also "squid." I like to say "arugula." Do you have words (in English or other languages) that you like to say?

Hmmm...words that I find funny and like to say or just like to say? In view of the examples that were given, I'd say the former. Okay, then, about the only one that comes to mind fairly immediately is "walaubagaimanapun" (the multi-syllabic Bahasa Malaysia equivalent of the English "although") -- in part because although we were taught this word at school, very few people (beyond grammarians and government officials) really use it in real life!

(As an aside: I often find Bahasa Malaysia -- or, at least, its official version -- to be a way too long-winded language for real, practical and regular use. As an example, the English "please help me" (three syllables) would get rendered, if one stuck to the language's formal rules, etc., as sila berikan saya pertolongan (eleven syllables). So you tell me which phrase you'd be more likely to utter if you really were in serious trouble!!!)

As far as English words are concerned: Um...maybe just "squish"? On second thoughts, there's also "hippopotamous"; this not least because I was taught to pronounce it as "hip-po-po-tey-mous" in Malaysia, something which got my English friends laughing hysterically when they heard it, while to this day, I still find their pronounciation of the word as "hip-po-pot-te-mous" as not sounding quite "normal" to my Malaysian ears! ;D


Anonymous said...

It is to be noted that unlike mnay languages, the spoken Bahasa Malaysia and the written is very much different. It is definitely awkward to talk in a normal conversation using the formal Malay structure that the schools/university uses in exams. That's one reason why when you hear a Chinese speak Malay, it sounds very awkward.

Also, please help me is usually spoken as just "minta tolong". something like that. ;-)

YTSL said...

Hi hdoong --

"That's one reason why when you hear a Chinese speak Malay, it sounds very awkward."

For the benefit of this blog's international audience, I'm going to clarify that "Chinese" in that sentence refers to "Malaysian Chinese" (or "Chinese Malaysian")... ;)

"Also, please help me is usually spoken as just "minta tolong". something like that. ;-)"

Hmmmm and heheheh since "minta tolong" actually translates into English as "beg [for] help" and, even then, has one more syllable than "please help me"...! ;b

Anonymous said...

While we are on the subject of funny words "meme" in Turkish means "female breast" :)

YTSL said...

Hi "eliza bennet" --

Bwahahahahaha! I think you just gave me the laugh of the day, if not the week with that revelation!!!!!!!! :DDDDDDD

(Also, there's are different words in Turkish for male vis a vis female breasts???!!! :O)

Anonymous said...

In elementary school spelling class we were taught to spell Mississippi by chanting Miss iss ipp i. People my age in the northeast USA will occasionly chant the word after saying it. This makes me smile.

In my very brief study of Mandarin our instructor would sometimes use the following expression to describe our language performance.

馬馬虎虎 (mamahuhu) literally horse, horse, tiger, tiger. The expression can mean 'just okay' or 'so, so'. The whole class liked this word.

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Thanks for those language stories. Yeah, Mississippi can be hard to spell correctly. OTOH, the American state name that I find most difficult to say (especially with an English accent -- which I had for a time) is Connecticut. ;b

just me said...

The US city I found the hardest to say till someone taught it to me is Indianapolis. Several of my fellow Asian friends had trouble with it too. We kept saying "In-di-ana-po-lis". :)

YTSL said...

Hi "just me" --

Should you (or anyone else) wonder, the US city name I find hardest to pronounce -- and have problems remembering how to spell correctly too! -- is...Schenectady! ;D

Anonymous said...

Thanks for those great answers, YTSL. Did you have any takers for getting you to ask questions? (I found this to be a really cool meme, both the asking and the answering. It's so individualized.)

I like your answers.
1. This one makes me think you'd have some great stories to tell.
2. Sorry for the job interview question! But I was curious. And I see that you really are a rolling stone.
3. I particularly liked "the ability to not take herself too seriously." If only more people had this quality. (Though I agree the ability to think for oneself is key.)
4. Yes, I can see that contents are more important to you than the packaging!
5. Excellent words. I love "walaubagaimanapun" (which is, not too surprisingly, a totally new word for me).

YTSL said...

Hi Alejna --

You're very welcome with regards to "those great answers". And thanks in turn for getting me involved with the meme.

Sadly, there haven't been any takers for getting me to ask questions. Perhaps this is on account of this blog entry having come too close to my temporary blog hiatus announcement.