Contextualising Everyday Conversations

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B: "What's 'third party'?"

C: "You mean you don't know? It's the person that comes in between two people in a relationship."

B: "F***, can't you use the word 'cheat'? C*** Bye! F***, trying to act chim is it?"

C: "Hey, is 'third party' a chim word?" (asking other people in the apartment.)

B: "F***, just use a simpler word lah, f***!"

I was really fed-up with the conversation that two suite mates were having along the corridor. Also, very tired of B's defensiveness about his own ignorance.

It's okay to not know the meaning of a phrase. Just learn it and move on. Is it necessary to take personal offense? There's really no need to let loose a string of expletives over something so minor.

Why not be humble and accept responsibility for your not knowing? Why be so egocentric and impute the blame for your ignorance on others?

A girl - another suite mate's girlfriend - was around and it did not seem proper to be cursing with phrases that refer to the reproductive act and organs.

But with great energy, B kept cursing. His vulgarities were filtering past the wooden door. How to concentrate on my work? Urgh.

Then, over tonight's dinner, I mentioned my growing intolerance with B's uncouth nature and his self-centered manner of pinning responsibility on another.

My dinner companion raised a few interesting points:

*B had been teased about his lack of general knowledge all too often. As such, now knowing terms deemed as common knowledge may be a sore point with him.

*Also, most people are very defensive about their ignorance. They may judge people harshly, thus imagine that others are judging them in the same cold glare. Hence, their defensiveness is a screen for their insecurities.

*B comes from a single-parent family and may behave in ways that are less tactful.

*B, by nature, is a mathematical person. Everything is either black or white, plus or minus; there can be no middle ground.

As I write this now, I wonder if I'm guilty of superficially judging B. Had I spent more time thinking about his background and personal nature, I might have been more understanding.

In this somewhat mundane friction of personalities, behaviors and world views, there is a lesson embedded within for all involved parties.

And here's a random photo of a cute Thai baby :D

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