I was in KL recently for the Vote Sipadan campaign where I spent three days talking to over 400 people about the same bloody thing till I was frothing.
Basically, it was a two-man show (until Carol showed up to save the day, yay!) throughout the weekend. We started at 1 Utama, followed by Sunway Pyramid and finally KLCC's Aquaria. We set up a booth from 10:00am to 8:00pm and by the final day, I was ready to vomit blood if I had to pass out another flyer smiling ear to ear while hollering "Vote for Sipadan!". All I can say is I have newfound respect for people doing booth duty at any public area because, I tell ya, you meet ALL SORTS of people. I mean, ten hours is more than ample time to encounter various species of humankind, especially in a city like KL.
Let me identify some of them for you:
1. The Ignoramus
This species is usually found residing under a rock and can be identified by their huge eyes and perpetual look of surprise. Their favourite phrase is: "What's this? What for? Hah?" And because they don't know, the come with the attitude of 'Don't care'.
2. The Missing-The-Point-Completely Clan
Even after I've explained to them six billion times the objective of the campaign, they seem to look completely past you and say the most irrelevant things. My favourites include:
a) "You all selling package ah?"
b)"Can win trip ah?"
c) "You selling t-shirt?"
3) The Scaredy-Cats
These people cringe or start to melt when approached with a flyer, as Superman would when offered kryptonite. They can be identified with their increased walking pace when passing the booth or pretending to study the "Don't let Erectile Dysfunction dampen your love life" banner on the wall with such interest when you try to approach them. I approached a middle-aged woman with a flyer and barely got a 'Good morning' out when she put her palm out, turned her head away and said, "I been to Sipadan oredi, dowan, dowan..." and scampered away. This was a unique hybrid of a Scaredy-Cat and Missing-The-Point-Completely.
4) The Whatsthecatcharoonies
On the bright side, this species will actually let you finish explaining, upon which their eyes dart left and right and they tilt their head sideways and say the classic line,"Okaaaay, what's the catch?" Even when I say, "Nothing. We just need your vote." He/she replies,"Okaaaay and then what's gonna happen?" Then I say, "Well, hopefully we get to be one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature." He/she goes, "Okaaaay but..."
"Nothing happens! We don't charge you. You don't get spam mail. You won't get bad luck for the next seven days. NOTHING. WE JUST WANT YOUR SUPPORT AND THERE IS NO CATCH."
At this point, I call security.
5) The Gatals
They don't really want to know about the campaign. They don't really care where or what Sipadan is. You could be talking about dishwashing liquid for all they care - they just want to undress you in their head and that polite smile on their face isn't polite at all. I had a middle-aged guy - in the presence of his WIFE and KIDS to top it off - suddenly stroke my beaded bracelet while I was filling in the form for him. He said, "This is pretty...Is it Sabahan made?" As I recoiled in disgust and pulled my hand away, I politely replied, "No" and ignored his attempts at small talk, which included his insistence that I looked like a singer whose name he could not recall. If I had my choice, his vote was one that I'm sure Sipadan could do without...
6) The What Do I Get Willies
I've learned that some people just cannot do things from the goodness of their heart. For them, there better be some back-scratching involved. They just cannot fathom why oh why should they give their support if they're not going to benefit from it directly. Umm, how about national pride? How about not being an ass and just give me a break because I've been sitting in this mall for the last 6 hours and all I need is your bloody vote? Some girl actually said, "Oh I'm not from Sabah..." as she walked away in her overpriced leggings and lalat sunglasses. And all I could think was, "Thank God you're not."
7) The Supportive Sams
I've saved the best for last because for every five idiots you meet, you get 1 Supportive Sam. And this is the person who will sincerely listen to you, not give you a hard time, not ask stupid questions like "Do they throw rave parties on Sipadan?" (Yes, someone asked us this) and at the end of 2 minutes at our booth, cast their vote without fuss. Some of them were scuba divers and needed little persuasion ("Sipadan is beautiful. Definitely gets my vote!") . While others did it simply as a show of support for Malaysian pride.
Anyway, it was quite the experience and I want to take the opportunity to thank all the great people who supported us during the roadshow. Even if you couldn't swing by the booth, thanks for sms-ing me your e-mail addresses which allowed us to cast an online vote on your behalf.
Ah KL. A melting pot of the Weird and the Wonderful.
"So let me do the dishes in the kitchen sink,
put you to bed when you've had too much to drink...
All I wanna do is grow old with you."
-Adam Sandler, I Wanna Grow Old With You. Yep, I've been watching The Wedding Singer again.