I once knew a man who's down on his luck. He dropped out of secondary school and was jobless for some years. Then one day there was a job vacancy at a KFC outlet, inviting applicants for a "walk-in" interview. He went for the interview, but his application was rejected. He came home grumbling.
Some people are like thatthey lack common sense, and have a hard time progressing beyond the first chapter in the book of life. You see, he attended the interview at KFC wearing a shabby T-shirt and in flip-flops, unruly long hair and had multiple earrings in both earlobes. I remember thinking that if I were the interviewer at KFC, I would have done exactly the same thing too. The harsh reality is that the first impression does count.
Quite often we meet and get to know people for the first time, and how they appear during that first encounter is the impression that remains in the mind. That may be a good thing, or it may also be a bad thing. If say a person is seen as a fatherly figure, that impression has the tendency to stick in the mind until perhaps such time when one gets to know him a little better. He may turn out to be a totally different person than that of the first few encounters.
I'm a member of a running group in Kota Kinabalu on facebook, and I have come to be known for my tendency to post articles that include topics other than running; in fact they are like an old man rambling aloud. For example, this is one of the many articles that I've posted in that group. It is written in Malay, and what's more, it is in the style of Sabahan Malay. That, then, is the general impression of the members of this old man, or Angkol (uncle). Many of the members of the group have never met me in person although some of them have since been accepted as my friends on facebook.
Yesterday, I attended a formal meeting at the Dewan Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu (DBKK), and in the course of that meeting, I had to fill up an attendance list, providing details including my email address. Of course I dressed differently than how I would usually dress for running, and I dare say that for those who only know me as that Angkol who's famous for his ramblings on facebook and in this blog, I may appear like a totally different person.
Not surprisingly, therefore, I received an email after the meeting yesterday afternoon from a DBKK staff, entitled "Confirmation Enquiries". She said:
"Hi Sir, I just need to confirm...hehe...Are you the "angkol" Cornelious Koh? The Great Marathoner?"
That email made my day, because now I know that there is at least one person out there who has the impression that I am a "Great Marathoner". The truth is that I'm not that great a marathoner, of course. I'm not sure how she got that impression of me, but I could live with it. However, I would have been even happier if she had been able to spell my name correctly.