Wednesday, 31 August 2016

You are not the door mat

There's this arty-farty Mainland China movie that I watched in Shanghai some years back that left a deep impression even now.

I normally prefer mindless action flicks; but this was an exception because of the actress. Yes, she is pretty.

The protagonist in the movie is an aspirant opera singer living in the shanty town suburbs of Beijing. 

The problem is...

She is way past her prime at 40 plus...


And downright ugly... 

But that has never stopped her from taking part in opera singing competitions and auditioning for parts in operas. 

Rejections after rejections; she will cry her heart out. 

To pay for her living expenses, this opera aspirant gives singing lessons to the young 20 somethings who are chasing their own opera dreams.

When some of her young students managed to land small opera singing roles, you can see the internal struggles she had to grapple with... 

Behind the congratulatory smiles and words, there's this sourness that she is way better than her students at her craft, but why them but not her!?

Living in the shanty town has one benefit. Everyone is equally poor and down on their luck. So it natural to be the support network for each other.

One of her most ardent supporter is lounge hostess neighbour next door.

"Don't give up!"

"You can do it!"

One day, this lounge hostess' gigolo lover absconded with all her jewellery and life savings.

When the protagonist tried to console and give advice to her distraught neighbour, she was taken aback when the lounge hostess snapped back at her.

There and then, our opera singing aspirant had an epiphany!

She had been taken for a fool all this time...

So that's what her ever so kind and supportive neighbours really think of her behind her back! Everyone of them!

She's the door mat in their neighbourhood.

A  few days later, she moved out of the shanty town to pursue her dream in a new city.


  1. 1) When was the last time you felt compelled to give unsolicited advice or words of consolation to people who are - stronger, wealthier, more successful - than you?

    2) If you noticed everyone is very quick to offer words of comfort or best intentioned advice to you, you may want to stop and ponder why...

    3) During tough or stressful times, have you ever took comfort that there are others worse off than you?

  2. Hi SMOL

    1) Do they even need one in the first place? Or who am i to give even though i feel like giving ?

    2) alert...

    3) I guess i would be pitying myself more first. But on deeper thoughts, I think : yeah i'm actually more fortunate than some.

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      And that's what the lounge hostess sneered at the protagonist, "Who are you to comfort me? Look at yourself!"

      And that's the moment our opera aspirant realised she is the door mat for her neighbours.

      All her neighbours were using her to feel better about themselves...

      Even a prostitute sees her no up...

      After the movie, I suddenly have a new appreciation of my secondary school literature book - To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - in much more clarity.

    2. Smol,

      I look what u are driving at. But I disagree it's the same. I know inner demons because I feel them acutely.

      Nope, even with this, I felt nothing.

      Same thing. Blind spots.

    3. I can relate to the stories, I understand the situations.

      U can claim it self-denial, but if one can self-deny inner demons, he is at very high levels, especially previously, he is so always dancing with them.

      Maybe you look at your demons too

    4. Sillyinvestor,

      I'm not sure whether its language or something else, but you have a tendency to write such things a lot in your posts and comments:

      I feel it acutely; I felt nothing.

      I heard you the first time. Thanks for telling me to look at myself the 2nd time, again ;)

      That's why I blog to receive.

      To receive different viewpoints so I can detect my blind spots.

      And to sharpen my saw ;)

    5. Smol,

      I do really think I cannot articulate myself properly. Many gave me this feedback. So I do think I can be misunderstood. I was told I would "mature" in due course... LOL.

      But I do write what I think. I said acutely, because this teacher's day, the "demons" surfaced...

      But cool,u saw!! Yeah!

    6. Sillyinvestor,

      Your England is like coconut's.

      I must pause and think a bit to figure out what you meant to say.

      It's OK with me since I find you and coconut very fascinating and endearing. Hence I will make the effort.

      "Mature in due course" is patronizing you.

      You and I know if you want to improve your communication skills, it takes EFFORT.

      That's if you WANT to improve. If you don't, then even if you are 80, you'll speak and write like today ;)

      Writing and saying what we think is what make us "real".

      That's why people want read what you have to say. Who wants to read a blog that sound like a "textbook"?

      But do be conscious that you are not provoked into saying what you really think in the corporate setting - where they are consequences...

      The Japanese are master of it! The only way to get them to say what they really think, is to get them drunk!

  3. Ya of course, SMOL,

    Next time, I will let off my smoke machine.

    Hey, I know about vision mission, KPI, approach helicopter view too u know ...

    Just thought if she is just another bureauacy or someone willing to do a proper exchange.

    Next she will get what she wants to hear

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      When my boss ask us to jump, I always shout back, "How high?"

      Score brownie points like mad while other idiots were asking:

      "Why jump huh?"

      "Why you ask me? Ask Muthu can?"

      "Sorry, please explain what is jump?"

      "I very busy, you know."

      Learnt it in NS, "Yes sergeant, yes!"


      Patience. When we become the chief shepherd, we can do it our way ;)

  4. Replies
    1. Small Time Investor,

      It's a freudian slip... LOL!

      Sorli, sorli.

      Lucky you guy. If girl, I game over liao!


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