Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Muse Tinkerer

For brief moments last Monday, I shamefully sank to the “Western Great, Elsewhere Less So” kind of thinking.

I had signed up for a technical report writing course at a city hotel in glitzy Bukit Bintang with all the initial impressions but promising.

It started with my being unable to locate the said hotel, which turned out to be at the rear portion of another (bigger, more luxurious hotel) and having to park my car quite a distance away. The classroom was located right at the end of a cramped corridor. This same corridor doubled as the "buffet snack" serving place, for want of a better word.

Care to guess that (early) morning dish? Char Kuew Tiow. “It cannot be any more Malaysian than this,” I thought deciding to skip the meal and opting for coffee only as I step into the function room.

It was dimly lit, classroom styled setting with two whiteboards and, on the table, an A4-sized booklet. I flipped it open' ready to criticized and did just that after the briefest of glance: “How drool.. This is going to be one dry course.”

By then, I had decided to stay on just until lunchtime and skipped the rest. A daughter down with abdominal pains being the other reason – never mind that she was already with a nanny.

Just a week before, I attended a similar one-day event in Singapore. The hotel was great, the food sumptuous, the speaker a Texan who injected humour into his presentation. I forgave his rushing through the session as he was just such a darn great speaker. A communications expert, as the marketing slip went.

Nancy – the local course speaker – is meanwhile a former banker turned freelance trainer.

Four hours into lunchtime, I ate back every prejudiced thought of her. She was simply superb, making a dry subject into a very entertaining session without the need to turn it into a guffaw fest just to keep eyelids open, interest from waning and minds wandering. And after lunch, the session’s end came fast; too fast in fact, a sign of how well things had gone.

Of course, the food was still horrendous-tasting, the corridor a source of body-brushing sessions as participants of other courses and seminars pass our room to get to the corner washroom but Nancy was worth every bit of inconvenience.

Did I absorb everything she taught in the two days? Not without some re-reading, but she certainly managed to wake some participant’s muse.

(Note: the “muse” is mentioned in Stephen King’s “On Writing”. They supposedly have a bag, pocket, knapsack of writing ideas in their safekeeping. His is a gruff, cigar chomping, hairy little guy who makes Mr. King do all the work while he loafs about. I haven’t found mine. My guess is that I am not looking too hard for him/her.)

On hindsight, Sturtevant was okay as was Nancy with solid knowledge and expertise in the subject matter their clarion call.

The latter just offer greater value in Ringgit and Sens. Not to mention the chance to ogle at the urbane souls of the KL Pavilion crowd whose life seemingly revolves around fashion and exercising their consumer rights of buying and buying and more buying.

Very deep pockets, hmm?

Ghost in Shell

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