An Ordinary Life

What I do, what I think

off schedule March 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — reneewong @ 11:05 pm

our interior designers are way behind schedule. way behind. and after looking at the design today, i think they are way above budget. way above. time to pray. really pray.
i need my medication but am stuck at hot’s office, waiting for him to finish work. finish work. woozy..


A Stroke of the Pen

Filed under: Uncategorized — reneewong @ 6:21 pm

I have a confession to make. I just doctored my baptism certificate. I am on medication for having a fever the past three days. Not that that is doing anything for my guilt.

I did it with a stroke of the pen. Literally. I added a stroke on top of an “e”. I think that from the moment the name “Renée” came to me as the name that would define me, and the name that I would take, I also knew that I was taking on a losing battle. That the accent on that “e” will always plague me, or the lack thereof, in any place where French is not common, i.e. here in my homeland.

On the day I received my baptism certificate, I was very happy, but a huge part of me knew that the accent aigu will be missing. (Yes, there actually are different names given to the different strokes, and they can change the meaning of the word, and that’s why they are there! They are not there to prettify a word or make it “French”.) So, lo and behold, no surprise there, when the space above the “e” was, well, space. It disturbed me, and I wondered if I should march back in to the church admin counter and explain to the nice people there that there is a missing stroke, very small, almost a speck in some fonts, then I decided not. Why? Read on.

A couple of weeks ago, I was near Chinatown with the ex (that, is another story altogether) and we walked past this hair salon called “Nice de Paris”. The ex, in a way that only he could, ridiculed and laughed at the name. Myself, I think I have become so inured to the abuse and misuse of the French language by beauty salons, cafés and boutiques in this country, that I barely even raised an eyebrow. And as we walked along Neil Road and the environs, there were pubs and other establishments which had happily adopted “French” names, which mean nothing at all in French, or any other language. And the only reason I can find, the only attribute that I can give to the owners of these establishments is “pretentiousness”, which, incidentally, has its origin in the French word “prétentieux”. To be “pretentious” means, according to Oxford, “to attempt to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed”.

When I chose the name “Renée”, it actually was the simplest of names. In fact, it cannot be simpler. It’s so literal. In French the prefix “re” means the same thing as in English, the sense of “again”, and né means “born”. René means “born again”, or even “reborn” if translated directly. And that’s what the baptism is supposed to be, and that’s what I was supposed to be: born again. “Ne” without the accent in the French language forms part of a negative construct – “ne… pas”, “ne… jamais”, “ne… plus”, “ne… rien” – “not”, “never”, “not anymore”, “nothing”. Now, why would I name myself after part of a negative construct? The accent was meant to be there, right from the start.

I understand the difficulty of adding the accent. It requires a few extra steps in Microsoft Word. That is provided one even knows that there is such a thing as “Insert symbol”. On all the forms that I have filled in for church, I have always included the accent. In fact, on my church membership card, the accent is there, because I specifically emailed the person-in-charge to include it. But I did not want to trouble the Diocese of Singapore, and I did not want to be one of those pretentious people who decide to adopt a French name without knowing what it means, or how to spell it. So now, ironically, I have a misspelled French name that doesn’t mean anything. I have become like one of those pubs along Neil Road.

So, why did I doctor the certificate today of all days? That’s the crux of the matter. I want to change the name on my IC. Or rather, add my baptism name. Now, since the church admin has failed me in their word processing, I am hoping that the Singapore government will get it right. But, I need to show proof in the form of my baptism certificate.

Of course, it has occurred to me that even if the accent appears on my IC, it is possible that it will disappear somewhere in the bureaucracy which is present in any government. Then again, let’s see if it even appears on my new IC at all, or if I will receive a phone call from a doubtful officer at the ICA.

The battle wages on, and in the meantime, I do feel bad.


Adieu March 18, 2009

Filed under: Ex-boyfriend — reneewong @ 2:14 pm

The past few days have been draining and I actually feel it physically. I reached the end of the rope where the ex is concerned. I finally acquiesced and met him last Friday for tea. I did what he does – I slotted him between my appointments. We didn’t talk about anything serious and as far as I was concerned, I only met him at his insistence and I had nothing to say to him. Still, we made polite conversation. And as we parted, he asked if we were still going to meet for lunch on Monday, which was the original plan before I rescheduled him. I said no. He bored me. I’ve killed friendships for lesser reasons. No, I did not tell him the reason, just no. And I thought all will be fine – I had done my duty, met him like he had asked, and that was it. Then on the same night, actually it was more like the wee hours of the next morning, he smses me that he really wants to see me again one evening when I didn’t have other appointments that I had to rush off to. So my plan had not worked. I ignored that SMS.


My general wellbeing March 7, 2009

Filed under: boyfriend,rambling,wedding,work — reneewong @ 12:09 am

I’m sitting next to the fiance in his office on a Friday, minutes from midnight. Before this, I was at church, from where I had run away towards the end of the session when the senior pastor was going to engage us in prophetic drawing and I wasn’t feeling up to feeling like Helen Keller where God was concerned. I love going to church, except on Sunday mornings, but that’s only because getting up in the morning is a constant struggle for me. It seems as if in the past few months, I’ve noticed plenty of areas for improvement in my life, but it has been a matter of “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. Like, going running. It’s amazing how I fall sick every time I start exercising. It has occurred to me also that I was at my healthiest, i.e. not falling sick at all, when I wasn’t exercising, and was drinking like a fish and working like a horse. I’ve been trying to sleep more normal hours, but I realised that no matter how early or late I go to bed, I still end up waking up late, so why waste time? I’m also trying to go on a diet, but that’s just not me. In recent years, I’ve only lost weight if I fall ill for a prolong period of time. I have no wish to wish that upon myself, so the flesh will have to catch up with the mind soon.

Anyway, the reason why I’m sitting with the fiance in his office is because he is working. And I feel that we have not been spending much quality time with each other. Not that this really counts as quality time since he is in a world of his own, typing more maniacally than usual. I think that we spend so much time with each other that when we don’t spend as much time with each other, I feel we’re drifting apart. The fiance has been on his own planet because he has been sick and in his own bubble of mucus. I am not the most sympathetic person around when he is ill because I find that he doesn’t worry enough about his own health, so why should I? I could nag. But I’m averse to that, so I just avoid the walking germ factory and call him names, in the hope that that would spur him to recovery. I think he’s developing a fever even as I type this.

We’re supposed to meet florists and the pastor this weekend, but the fiance will be working. I suppose I’ll have to meet the florists on my own, which is just as well, as I think the fiance might disapprove of how much flowers I want.

On a final note, I want to quit my job!! There is no such thing as a free meal. Getting a raise comes with increased responsibilities and obligations, and where mine is concerned, this is palpable. It’s almost as if overnight, I’m suddenly being milked for every teeny bit of essence till I’m as dry as a raisin. I need to quit. I also need to pay off my reno loan, and all the other expenses and debt that I will incur for the wedding.