Week 8

25 Oct 2015

I met a retiree while I was treating the coconut husks outdoors last week. He bombarded me with many questions and was eager to talk about his work. On first impression, I was skeptical, thinking that he was planted by certain authority to check on my moves but alas! I can be illogical sometimes. Once my narcissism worn off, I was back to my usual self. If I can rank a person's chattiness on a scale, Uncle Eric will score a record-breaking 16 points out of 10-point scale and I'll be a 3. As a retiree, he has set himself to idealise some projects that he claimed he was unable to fulfill when he was younger. 

He was very kind to lend a hand in drilling and his expertise in landscape design work shone through his handiwork. He made this huge bowl made of coconut husk for me! After keeping the husks for 8 years!

My takeaways for this week are...

I observed Uncle Eric talk about his interests and ideas. He communicated clearly to residents and at the same time didn't appear too pushy. An advantage for him is his ability to speak the residents' language, in fluent dialect. I have decided to keep quiet and listened to their conversation as even my grandmother has difficulty understanding my spoken dialect so why should I confuse more people.

He told me many of his big ideas while my mind was brewing with negativity. "That wouldn't be possible," I thought to myself. These thoughts got me reminded of the Others who initially thought my project isn't possible too. So, why am I doing this now? All he wanted to do is to borrow a small plot of land from a resident here and do his farming. He's willing to give away all the fruits of his labour (quite literally!). When I suggested that he could easily have done this at his local community garden, he explained all the issues pertaining to ownership, responsibility and management that is happening now and he wants to avoid being involved. It makes me think of the many problems that can be solved if one does not mind not taking the credit.

He credits his backpacking experience as his most enriching life journey. It's a time when you are alone and you have to depend on the self and the goodwill of strangers for survival. He agreed that we have to break away from our usual circle of friends and be willing to learn and listen to anyone. As an ex-employee of a Japanese firm, he could still recite the 7 principles of the Japanese Management Culture and he regarded teamwork as one of the most important factors.

It can be quite draining to internalise all these information and sometimes listening to his repeated telecasts while maintaining a straight face. I think I can recount his whole life, family background and purpose of his visit now. 

I can assure you this was a friendly conversation but just bad timing

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