I’m not making Tools; I’m making Art

You know what?

I missed out Technical Studies completely from my previous post!?

Did I study so many subjects during Sec 1 and 2? Now that’s what I call a broad education!

Subconsciously, it probably showed how much I hated Technical Studies….

I’m a klutz when it comes to DIY. So how did I ended with a DIY company!?

Yes, I’m the kind of “dainty” Singaporean male who will pay for someone to assemble the furniture…

LOL!

My Gan Eng Seng School (Anson Road) did not have a workshop. So we had our Technical lessons at Bukit Merah Secondary School.

I’m terrible with woodwork. Can’t saw straight. Cannot hammer the nails in straight. I think I have a talent for veering off tangent!

Metal work slightly better. I enjoyed this thing we do with the metal file to get a rounded corner on a metal plate. And remember countersunk? That’s the fun part where we widen a hole to fit a screw or bolt to make it flush.

Guess what?

I often failed. Lots!

Why? I never adhere to the instructions when it comes to measurements. When it says 5 cm, I’ll produce something like 4.98 cm or 5.3 cm… I’m more a “agar agar du hor” (estimate can oredi) kind of person…

Don’t ever hire me as your renovation contractor! No matter how cheap I quoted you!

As for my woodworking instructor, he “sees” me as transparent. So I shan’t talk about him.

Now this metalwork instructor couldn’t take it anymore one fine day. He called me out during break time and threw the handheld garden shovel tool I’ve submitted back to me on his desk.

“Why did you countersunk on the reverse side?”

“They looked pretty…The 2 silver rings.”

“Do you know how to use a ruler?” You can almost hear the exasperation in his voice…

I can’t say I don’t care about precision; sure get scolding. Till this day, I don’t know what transpired me to reply in Mandarin…

“我不是打造工具,我是创造艺术品。” (I’m not making tools; I’m making art.)

He was surprised by my answer; and he stared at me through his glasses for quite a while. Then he waved me off saying never mind…

From that day onwards, I never got into any trouble with the metalwork instructor. He still fails me; but now he will speak to me in Mandarin whenever he passes my workstation. Curious to see what product adaptations I’ll be making next!

Years later, when reviewing my Jedi skills (EQ), I realised I had intuitively replied in Mandarin as I knew the metalwork instructor was Chinese educated from his English accent.

I showed him respect and created a closer bond by speaking in the language of his heart.

I do this too during my weekend sales gig by speaking in broken Malay to my Malay customers. They laughed; I laughed. Rapport created.

As a Chinese educated instructor in a English educated world, he definitely has a hole in his heart.

I’m purely guessing here, but I think for that instant, he realised what I am going through was similar to his hole in the heart… A broad brush stroke trapped in a CNC (computer numerical control) precision world…

He cannot pass me like my Art teachers – this is after all still a Technical class – but by seeing me in a different light, he wasn’t angry or exasperated with me anymore. Phew!

This is why I can poke and debate vigorously with bloggers holding complete opposite views, and we still can have coffee together. Wink.

I don’t need to stick only with my “own kind”.

As for the woodworking instructor?

Well, it shows my “bawu” (Jedi mind trick) will not work on everyone.

And this is very true as they would prefer to see me as “transparent”.

Especially if your worldview is based on – either if you are with me; or you are against me.

So serious!?


Singapore Man of Leisure (welcome to my blog; just google it!)

Comments

  1. Fred says

    Jared,

    I really like your writing style. Lots of realities and humour. You should write a book. Don’t waste your talent, bro.

    Fred

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