Monday, September 19, 2005

Me and My Ambitions

Remember when your primary school teachers had to fill these green (was it green?) and blue cards. One of the entries was a question on what would you like to be when you grow up, namely your ambition. The standard answers were either a doctor or an engineer. I knew back then what being a doctor was about but was never quite sure what does an engineer do except build bridges.

Well, being a doctor was really one of my ambitions and I did tell my mom I wanted to be just that. Surprisingly, she didn't look too happy. Perhaps working in the hospital has informed her well about what being a doctor entails: long working hours, 24 hrs on call, cranky patients, etc.
But when I was much younger, maybe 5 or 6, I wanted to be an 'ustaz'. I really don't remember this but this is what my mother told me. Looking back I believe I did say what I said because I was living in an area where there were a lot of would be ustazs. I was living very very close to a very very well known and established religious school. It was perhaps the MCKK of religious school back then in the 60s and 70s.
Later in life I wanted to be a pilot. My brother had to spoilt that by saying being a pilot is like being a driver or a chauffer, except you get to handle a plane and get paid a lot more. There's some truth in what he said. In fact, if by some reasons you have to quit being a pilot early in your career, you are left with no paper qualification except your SPM.
I had this notion that I can draw well when in actual fact I can't. So I decided one day that I want to be an architect. Influenced by my artistically talented friend, I wanted to design olympic stadiums and airports. He went on to become one, but I had to give up that thought because some people told me that I had to be good in maths also. I'm not good at drawing and not good at figuring how to calculate complicated formulas either.
Right after SPM I decided I wanted to work in the business world. I was not sure what kind of job you get to do with a BBA other than being a manager. I had that ambition almost realized, except that I had to wear school uniform again and be at a well known boarding school for the matriculation program. I did not register at that school and luckily for me I was offered a scholarship to go overseas.
However, the kind of work that the degree I was supposed to complete prepares me for was a job that was never an ambition I would ever consider. It was a job that requires a certain kind of personality and certain skill which I did not posses. Friends and relatives told me back then that this line of work has no 'prospect'. Only my parents and siblings were supportive. Others were not supportive or encouraging except for one kind and smart boy, Azam, who told me that I could be a ____ one day. The allure and thought of going overseas and living in the US abled me to postpone the fears of having a 'prospectless' career when I come back to Malaysia 7 years later.
Today I'm still in that line of work. I cannot really say I like doing it but I can say I'm comfortable with it since I've done it for almost 17 years. I am also now what Azam told me I could one day become. Thanks Azam, wherever you are. Wish I could convey this to you and kiss you at the same time.
Given the chance I would rather be a chef. Would like to go all over the world and learn all kinds of cuisines. Get to meet Rocco or get to travel and taste all kinds of food like Anthony Bourdain gets to. Perhaps meet a stocky chef and live happily ever after with him. Hehehe...sigh.

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