It Wasn’t A Sequel To Begin With
November 29, 2012 – 18:32 | No Comment

My 3rd novel wasn’t meant to be a sequel to the 2nd novel in the first place. Then something happened. Characters began to beg to be included in the story. Thus, a sequel was born.

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Home » Creative Writings, Viewpoints

Words of Praise or Critism

Submitted by on August 5, 2010 – 09:259 Comments

To many, a word of praise is easily forgotten while a criticism phrase is automatically registered for life. It’s always the negative that gets the fame; the spotlight shining even brighter when negativity makes its way into someone’s life. Most people let negative comments sip into their backbone and slowly rot them to death as they fall into depression for fear of never improving. While others cling on tightly to negativity, depending on them to leap higher and grow stronger in life and as a person. The irony of this phenomenal is people don’t like praises any better than criticism. And I am the witness to occasions as such.

This happened when I was working with the Bank. One fine day I bumped into a colleague of mine at the lift. She is a young sales executive who travels often to meet clients. Her eyes were always weary and dry, probably tired at work from all the traveling. However, on that day, she appeared to be more alert and fresh. There was a glow in her eyes and I told her so. It always puzzles me how someone can change entirely just overnight. When I casually told her that her eyes were glowing, she was surprised. But her surprise was quickly replaced with fear as her other colleague said to me, “I have goosebumps when you say that.” Since the incident, she avoided me like a mice running from the cat.

Another story would be of a senior colleague who is in her early thirties. When we first met and worked together, her hair was always messy and she was always loud. I think it was her first month at work and she was one grumpy soul people avoided. Her grumpiness made her lose the friends she might have had. Then a month later, I was assigned to assist her in a project. This time, she appeared to be refreshed in person and appearance. Her hair cut short and shinning all the time, her eyes sparkled instead of glooming with death, even her choice of clothes were oozing the positive energy from deep within her.

I could only think of one reason for such a change – she must have fallen in love – only to discover later that I was wrong. She is married and her son is three years old. I wanted to ask her, ” What caused the change in you?” but didn’t say a thing until a few weeks later. I was talking with her in her office and couldn’t help smiling at the glowing happy person in front of me. And I told her so. She paused a while before saying, “You mean I was horrible before this?”. My jaw dropped and my face crumpled. But she recovered very fast as a professional. A few pauses later, she managed a smile before I left the room.

People are either not good in managing praises or simply uncomfortable when someone else talks about their eyes and hair. I have queries as to the things they want to hear when people talk about them. Do they prefer criticism or praises? Which makes them more uncomfortable – complementing their beautiful eyes or mentioning about their bad breath? Maybe I shouldn’t say anything at all.

Another example, the (ex)pregnant lady who sat two cubicles away from me at the Bank – I thought she looked like a housewife with a big ‘tai tai’ attitude when I first met her. Then she came back to work two months later with a slim body, clad in dark suits with stilettos that make her stand tall as a senior executive. Her eyes were no longer tired, they were glowing bright. Like usual, we smile when we bump into each other. But I can’t help and wonder what’s the change that must have taken place for the darkness of gloom to be replaced with sparkles of blissfulness. Oh ya, probably the arrival of her baby. ;P

Originally written by Gina Yap Lai Yoong © 2010

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9 Comments »

  • Flo says:

    somehow, it’s not our culture to offer praises and encouragement even when it’s long overdue. so when these positive words are uttered, people find it surprising and are sceptical about it.

    even worse when some people actually coat their criticisms in praises ie. in Malay, they say ‘wah, nampak lebih sihat’, doesnt necessarily mean u r healthier, it means you have grown fatter. Or, ‘wah, sexynye’, doesnt really mean you are attractive but as a way of saying you have dressed too little. Also, when people start with praising you and then ask you for a favour (which happens 9 out of 10 times they praise you), it’s like sugarcoating with praises before asking for help.

    therefore, based on these experiences, people no longer believe in the existence of genuine praises…unless it’s from really close friends / relatives.

    sorry malas use proper punctuation 😛

  • Flo says:

    in very conventional chinese culture, parents / elders are not encouraged to praise young kids…like cannot say the kid is good-mannered, etc for fear the kid will turn out exactly opposite. it’s a superstition which leaves the kid very deprived of proper affection.

    also, when (humble) chinese parents talk about their kids with other people ie neighbours / relatives and compare other ppl’s kids, they will always say their own kids are not (so) good, etc in order to avoid being labelled as being boastful.

    that’s the culture i grow up in.

    • Cmate says:

      Well, my mom used to be that way… but as times changed, she learnt to be proud of me. She goes around and says, “My daughter did that and this…” – not in the boastful way, of course, more like the information way. And somehow, this spreads to my dad as well. So now, I have parents who go around and talk about me proudly… or maybe cause people around them praise me first, that’s why they feel it is okay to praise too… something like that… hmmm…

  • Flo says:

    would u like to be the first? lol

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