January 30, 2004


Emily’s father – my father in law – is a very nice guy. I am a very nice guy too. But for some strange reason, we don’t seem to be able to get along naturally. You see, every time when I go to Emily’s hometown to meet her father, our conversation will just be limited to 3 topics, and each will in turn, be sub-limited to only 1 or 2 sentences. 3 the most.

1) standard greetings
2) work schedule
3) weather report

Here is an example of how our conversation’s like…

Father In Law (FIL) : “Just arrived?”
[this is his trademark standard greeting]

Me : “Yes, just arrived. Lots of traffic.”
[this is my trademark reply]

Standard greeting – check.

F.I.L : “Not working today?”
[apparently, he always has an impression that I’m a workaholic, which is so untrue…]

Me : “Oh, we’re not required to work on weekends.”
[I have been telling him the same thing for the past few years]

F.I.L : “Work only 5 days a week?”
[he will ask the same thing if we meet again]

Me : “Yes, that’s why I’m free to visit”
[again… my trademark reply]

Work schedule – check.

This will be followed by an approximate 20 seconds pause and I will then make a futile attempt to revive the conversation,

Me : “Hot weather huh? Not much rain lately?”

F.I.L : “Hit by dry spell for weeks. What about Penang?”

Me : “Same old same old. Only rains occasionally. Not any much cooler.”

Weather report – check.

And that’s about it. The 3 main important topics.

It’s pathetic I know. And it has been like this for the past few years. I just do not know how to have a natural conversation with him, like I’m with my buddies. Maybe I’m just not that good with old people.

michaelooi  | characters  | 

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