Sunday, May 2, 2010

49. Mind Your Own Business

Chinese Wedding dinners are very boring obligations unless one sits with a talkative group. A vet whom I still remember as a primary school boy in his mother's practice was hosting a wedding dinner and his mum invited me.

I had asked to sit with a group of friends so as to enjoy my dinner. The bridegroom's brother was very helpful and found me a table with 5 people though it was meant for 10. A Myanmar vet technician who told me he was sitting in this table suddenly disappeared but there was Mr Goh, a veterinary drug salesman I had known for over 30 years. Mr Goh, another vet and her friend were good conversationalists and we had some laughter when my old friend, a retired vet called Dr X, came to sit beside me. I had not seen him for several months and it was good to catch up with him.

Soon a Filipino vet technician joined us. For some unknown reason, Mr Goh, asked Dr X to give a lift back home in front of everybody. Dr X said in his usual quiet voice, "OK".

While Dr X went back to his table where his wife was seated, the veterinary technician who had left as his wife was at another table, came to our table again. Mr Goh asked the waiter for a glass of brandy for him. A second glass was drunk. For some unknown reason, Mr Goh bragged about his doing a good service of getting a free ride for the technician.

The technician announced calmly, "I will be taking a taxi with my wife home after the wedding dinner. We have to go somewhere."

Mr Goh said, "Where do you want to go with your wife after the wedding dinner? It is already 11 pm?"

This is where Mr Goh should mind his own business. The technician raised his voice, "You think that Filipinos can't afford taxi fares and must take lifts home! In the Philippines, I can afford a Mercedes." Dr X who agreed to give him a lift home drove a Mercedes.

I minded my own business and kept mum. Mr Goh could not keep his mouth shut, "Dr X is going home in the same area as you live." This was a fact.

The technician's eyes looked bigger and he stood up and shouted as loudly as he could, "You will not survive if you live in the Philippines."

The wedding dinner crowd was not the hard-drinking noisy type. The bride had changed from her white wedding dress to red and was going round the tables to take pictures. As the crowd was the conservative type, there was not much cheering and toasting the wedding couple. So the technician's shouting could be heard distinctly.

Suddenly the technician's wife came over and spoke to him. Her forehead wrinkled and she pulled him away from the table.

This was an unforgettable incident and reminded me that it is best to "mind your own business." I can't figure out why the drug salesman would impose on Dr X to ask him to give a lift home to the veterinary technician, causing the latter to feel that he was penniless and could not afford taxi fares.

Dr X was a retiree and was most hospitable and happy when he came to chat with me and those at the table. Resentment surfaced in unexpected situations and one should mind one's own business as there are better and less stressful things to do in life than doing "match-making" car rides.

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