When my KL girlfriends were here during the Hari Raya week, we had a great time catching up late into the night. Then, one of them turned to me, and wanted my solemn promise that I shall not quote any of our conversations with her in any of my blogs. She put up her little pinkie for a shake but I declined. I told her it’s my blog and I write what I want, without any restrictions from anyone.
My friend, who tells me that I can’t even use her initials, thinks too highly of me, and for that matter herself. I am not a celebrity blogger who commands a huge number of followers. Neither is she is a celebrity worthy of anyone’s interest. So why the concern and fear, I cannot understand. And as if she doesn’t know me well enough? Would I slander my friends’ reputations with untruths or gossips?
I am mentioning her now because she had wanted me to meet her care-group leader who happened to be in Singapore with his family that week too. I had declined the meeting. I told her I have reached my target of meeting 5 new friends a year. Too many new faces would confuse me. (My friend doesn’t listen to me of course and I hosted the couple and their daughter at my house for a couple of hours. Their daughter is considering a scholarship to study at my alma mata.)
I explained to her what I meant by meeting five new friends.
In his 2009 National Day Rally speech, PM Lee was again lamenting on the lack of babies in Singapore and the high number of singles amongst women. One problem he had highlighted is that single women don’t socialize much outside work and thus have difficulties getting married. I quote him: ‘What are these difficulties? Some have never dated. They didn’t date in school. They started work, once they settled into a routine, they’re older, no chance, no social circle at all, no opportunities to meet new people. So one matchmaker told me one conversation he had. He talked to this lady. What do you do after work? First of all, what do you do? She says I work. After work what do you do? I go to the gym. Weekends? I stay at home with my parents. You go out? Yes, I bring out my nephews and nieces. So he says oh dear, everybody will think that these are her children and will not chat her up. So have you met any new friends last week? Dead silence. How about last month? Again, dead silence.’
Even though I am happily married, I am a homemaker who doesn’t work. Thus my chances of making new friends are even worse and my social circle would get even smaller. Hence I decided after PM Lee’s speech that I should try to make at least five new friends a year.
It has been easy.
As a parent volunteer, I meet many faces and we have lots of fun together. Joining a class (the one conducted by Dr Mel Gil) also enabled me to meet many interesting people, one of whom is a yoga volunteer who shared her life changing experiences with me. This year, as a SFE coordinator, I meet professional trainers, a job I had once considered, and was fascinated by how they conduct training. One trainer and I compared our iPod and realized we have the same audio books by Eckard Tolle stored inside. It was akin to meeting a kindred spirit. I had added admiration for him as he was conducting training while fasting for the Muslim holy month.
Yesterday, as I was on my return journey run, a lady walking in the opposite direction stopped me in my track.
“Are you Vicky or Dicky?” She asked.
I looked at her, my mind running, trying hard to connect the face with the places I’d been or the occasions where we might have met.
“Remember we met at the party?” Party? Have I been to any party lately?
She continued. “I received the photos during Pilate class this morning. When I thanked the teacher, she said to thank Vicky instead, and pointed you out in the photos. I am so happy to meet you now to thank you for the photos.”
The jigsaw in my head fitted finally. Doris and I were at the annual Teacher’s Day gathering for my yoga teacher (her Pilate’s teacher), Sophie. I had taken a group photo at the gathering for the ladies but had to leave quickly and didn’t really talk to everybody. I printed the copies of photos and handed them to Sophie to pass around.
As I ran home, my spirit, and thus my feet, were lighter. I remembered my conversation with my friend two weeks ago. It’s fun meeting new people. I really shouldn’t restrict myself to just five. (initially I had thought that was a reasonable and easy enough number to realise.) It’s especially fun when the circumstances of meeting new people are spontaneous and not just for the sake of networking.
Come to think of it, why should I even be concerned about not meeting enough new people. I have always been a social animal since university and have never had problems before. I’d like to think that’s why I married too young and didn’t date enough. 🙂