Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sexy Account(ant)s

One day, and this is pretty normal of me, I decided that I should get into trouble with my fiancé. I told her, “Whoa! I went to this event, and it was full of accountants. Lots of sexy accountants,”

“What do you mean?” she said, her fingers curling over the cleverly concealed little sharp implements that she uses occasionally uses to make a point or draw a line, whichever more painful.

Laughing sheepishly (does sheep laugh?) I told her that it was accounts which as gone sexy. There were so many young girls doing important accounts related job that it must be sexy.

Phew.

Anyway, the point is that too. It was an event jointly organised by ACCA (to lazy to define it, find it yourselflah) and Securities Commission (they usually enforce company regulations) and naturally, there were hundreds of guests, most of who are accountants, auditors and financial officers. I know, it is difficult to figure out which is which, like the Power Puff Girls.

Now, remember the image of an accountant that we know, male, usually clean-shaven, square thick-rimmed glasses, and the demeanour of a geek and nerd with a touch of class? Well, all that is gone now. You see mostly gals, looking dashing in their smart office dresses, with melting smiles and great pair of…I mean, eyes that are very friendly. There were smattering of men there, but I voluntarily chose to ignore them.

Believe it or not, somewhere in me there is an accountant. Its true…hey, don’t go and name the part where the accountant is. You will not believe it, but once I actually attempted to take the highly tough and hopes-killing ACCA course. What led me to that decision, I wonder?

Going back in time (think of the era of the emergence break dancing, baggy pants, Michael Jackson, Ronald Reagan and, ugh, those mullet hairstyle), when I went to high school, I was placed under the agricultural stream. You have three streams those days, trade/business, agriculture and industrial. This concept is, without doubt, was designed by some sexist prig, because under the industrial stream, male students get to work with machineries while female students get to cook!

Anyway, bright students of that year (yes I was one of them, can you believe it!) went to agricultural stream. After second year, I was transferred into another school and the bright students there were placed under trade/business stream. An uncle of ours was an important teacher there. He arranged to have me placed in that stream instead of the agricultural stream where some still couldn’t spell basic stuff.

Aside. This is probably a favour that he probably would have regretted as he hinted to me when he had to rescue me from the can wielding headmaster. That’s another story involving sitting position. End of Aside.

In that stream, I learned a new subject; Perdagangan (trade, but it had accounts and business stuff) and I hated it. I was happy with the agricultural stream, and I think I would have inherited my mom’s green hand (as opposed to the Incredible Hulk’s). And they put me here. It’s like taking a cabinet minister who was handling agriculture to lead the international trade and industry ministry. Wait a minute….

So, I hated accounts. Then, for fourth or fifth year I was happily put in the science stream. It proved to be an inspired choice, because I flopped miserably during for my form five SPM examination. Perhaps, my talent actually lied in accounts, not science. How would I have known as the most accounting I did was whether I had enough cash left at the end of the day to buy Rokok Batang (Academic magazines for those who don’t understand Malay, hehe).

After form five, while waiting for the (expectedly horrifying) result, I worked as an office boy in, ta-daaa, an accounting firm. The boss was a newly converted protestant, whose brother, next door, was always inviting me for “free lunch with talks”.

The thing is, no thanks to the treatment I received in that office, I hated accounts further. But it just drew me closer, as I would realise later. When finishing my form six, I was brought to KL by an uncle who got me the job as an administrative assistant.

Despite the ambiguity of the name, I was basically a clerk and I ended up working in the accounts department. I used to report to a visiting auditor, Juswanth Singh. Juswanth was a nice man, then in his forties, who loved to eat mutton until one day a mild heart attack suggested him otherwise. Of course, he has recovered and is doing fine, still striking terror to many account clerks hearts.

Juswanth suggested that I should take up accounts course. I had this in mind, when I went off to work in Singapore. First thing I did when I got a job was to sign up for ACCA course. In return, they gave me papers and books, which are thick enough to be used in interrogation room.

One week into the course, I realised something: ACCA is not as easy as getting into a phone booth and changing into a superhero costume. Lots of people drop along the way, like those forced to walk the plank in pirates ship. This is one tough mother of a programme. If you survive it, it means you went through an insurmountable task that only proves that you are not human. Well, most accountants those days were not humans anyway (don’t ask which planet they used to be from, but it has to be hostile).

So, for a year, I struggled. Well, not much of a struggle really, considering that I never attended most of the classes – movies provide greater religious experience . After a year, I quit. I told myself, “look, you keep going to accounts but it is slipping away. That’s not you. Maybe that’s part of you in a way that in the intergalactic…” At that point I wanted to slap myself.

So, my ambition in accountancy went out of the window and in came my love for writing. And here I am, bugging the life out of you readers.

But, the ACCA event recently, after thirteen years of my own little adventure in accountancy, suggested to me that maybe accountancy has become more interesting over the years that they attracted all these attractive ladies. Those yummy looking… shoot, Linda might be reading this. I’d love to continue analysing the link between lovely ladies and accountancy, but I have appointment with my auditor.

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