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Birth defect as an excuse…

January 2009, the first month of the New Year 2009 passed by whilst I was still concluding the past many years resolutions. This year 2009 will be similar to past years and soon, we will be singing out of tune the 1788 traditional folk song Auld Lang Syne which idiomatically means “long long ago” or “days gone by”.

Days, weeks, months and years gone by almost instantly, and next month, I will celebrate yet another birthday. Once upon a time, I was so impatient waiting for the eve of my birthday when my parent and siblings would sneaked into my room with a cake and loads of present at the stroke of midnight! The birthday month was all about party! now, i will hide as early as a month before my birthday, refuse to celebrate the getting older age.

On my 10th working year anniversary, I made a personal declaration that I will not work on my birthday if it falls on weekdays with a sole objective of reminiscing the younger years. It will be my 4th year soon on 1st March since my declaration but this year, my birthday will fall on Sunday and i do not need to take any leave from work. However, the objective was never achieved. The non-working birth day and month was celebrated with endless luncheon, dining and outing. There wasn’t any moment spent mesmerizing the past.

It was not the past that I wanted to re-live but it’s the people in the past. If I have a birth defect, it must be my memory-lapse for faces and names, which i happily claimed a 'birth defect'. I forget people too easily that many may think I am less friendly and at times over-flirty. The ‘birth defect’ was unintentional. I always greete people by mistaken them for someone else. There were once, I could have sworn she was my class mate in college, happily greeted and pecked her on the cheek as a gesture of ‘hi, haven’t seen you for ages…’ and it turned out, she was never from the college although we ended up dating thereafter. It was a lucky coincidence. There were many other occasions when I approached, spoke, laughed and sat with some people that I mistaken them for people I knew and was later asked (by them), ‘have we met?’….! I wanted to scream and hide under the dining table!!

This ‘birth-defect’ may also be quite offensive to some. Once, I had to represent Azhar Sulaiman (my brother in law) to accept the best supporting actor award at some function. I was seated with a bunch of well-known artist and actresses, I think it was Raja Ema or Raja Azura (notice the memory lapse). I wanted to be polite and introduced myself “Hi.. I am Armin….” And she looked at me in a daze and abruptly say.. “Armin.. its me..!! (we have met before)” …and I had to say.. oh sorry, I didn’t recognise you in the dark but really I could not remember who she was.. until I saw her name pasted on the seat as “raja ema/azura (something like that). After accepting the award and gave an embarrassing speech in malay (I mistakenly said Cenderahati instead of cenderamata and was teased all night by the MC), I walked down to the backstage and was greeted by a teenage girl-band group (Elite?) and again.. I stupidly asked (again) for their name (they must be thinking they are losing their popularity).. but I wanted to just bury myself under the stage when they stared at me in disbelief.

There were many other embarrassing moments that arose from the ‘birth defect’ from calling friends with the wrong name to conveying regards to their wife when they are not even married. Eventually, I decided to be the reserve person that I am today and stopped saying hi and converse with people unnecessarily unless spoken to which I will then pretend to lose their business card so I could keep re-collect who they are.

This year, I shall not accept the ‘birth defect’ and will attempt to keep in view all past and present friends. As a start, I dug all past and present photos, scanned and uploaded them on Picasaweb where I can tag their name and background so that I can remember all.

Having found many old photos, I pasted some into my Facebook and was surprised to found many friends (on FB) whom I have lost contact from as long as 28 years!! Soon, I will meet all of them to catch up on the good old younger days. Friends whom recognised and saw me by any roadside, please stopped and say hi.. if I looked puzzled, it is due to the ‘birth defect’ and I promised I will immediately run home and search on my Picasaweb for memory recollection.



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