Green-eyed-monsters: the fallacy of thinking yourself smart.

Being criticised and commented on is part and parcel of being a blogger. Some question the premise of your statements, others, your right to make them. As most of you know, I am a rather modest sort of gal; you won’t find my CV in the “about me” column or do I purport to be an expert on any of the topics I write about, even if what I write about is based on my experiences, which are as innumerable as they are varied.

But one criticism I refuse to let go unaddressed is that I am what an acquaintance of a friend refers to in Cantonese as a “tai siew lai.” In English, that would be a “lady of leisure.”

Indeed, it is true that I enjoy more leisure than most people I know – and that is my good fortune – but I find this comment is often accompanied, as in this case, by some presumption that I must be somehow “dumb” or “mercenary enough to marry well” and hence, my opinions undeserving of attention; the acquaintance chided the friend for sharing my playful post on Malaysia being nominated as one of the most dangerous places in the world as she thought I was criticising Malaysia, when any lay person could see  that was obviously not the case. Alas, envy of my God-given luck at having unlimited leisure blinded her to the fact.

Meanwhile, she assumes that I, and others like me (whom I have identified in an earlier post) are simpletons, dealt a brilliant hand by the universe because we are “not as smart as she.”

Well, well, I hate to break it to you, young miss, but while you are slaving away on minimum wage with a fire-breathing dragon at your back reminding you of deadlines, I’m enjoying a low-fat soy latte at a cafe perusing the daily papers. And while you are having that same dragon spray your lovely face with spit for a minor infraction, I am enjoying lunch with some of my gal pals.

I know some ladies whose lots are much better than mine and instead of wielding my supposed smarts like some sword to swipe others with the way you do, I stand in awe of their ability to negotiate such stellar, life-impacting, deals for themselves; I marvel at their ability to single out the grain from the chaff, green grass from weeds. They know what is truly important in life: family and friends and time to spend with both. Thus, when I look at them, I don’t see the losers you do. Instead, I see very smart women.

For if at all these women work, it’s because they want to, not because they have to. Their families don’t need them to pay half the mortgage or the car loan, to put food on the table or save for the children’s school fees. They can do whatever they like with their money and their time. Even then, none, I assure you, feel especially compelled to talk about how smart they are.

You, meanwhile, chew on the chaff like it is imported Post cereal, kill all the grass with your brand of self-promotion, leaving only weeds to flourish around you. Using your friends’ facebook posts as podiums, you shout about your smarts to anyone who will listen. The occasional sycophant with an agenda of his or her own to push will agree with you, but what you’ll notice mostly, if you quieten down long enough, is the chortles. People are laughing my dear – unfortunately – not with you.