Chatterbox fits well as my middle name. Believing that it’s not quite a nice trait, I tried shutting my mouth up. I changed school thrice, I thought to myself that it might be a good chance to change. Unfortunately it remained a thought. I love to talk. I starts conversations. I approached others. I ask questions in class, sometimes on others’ behalf. Some people have questions but were to shy to ask the teacher, knowing the answer I raised my hand and asked the question on their behalf.
I entered story telling competition as early as six years old and continued representing the school for competitions every year until I left primary school. I was in drama, choral speaking, debate team. I write and recite poem for competitions. I went for public speaking and brought the judges to tears with my prepared speech on “mother” but lost too much point during the impromptu that I lost. I was 12 and my English was not good. Still not tho. I had my tonsil removed when I was 14, might be because of all the talking I did. But that did not make me any less of a chatterbox. There’s so many thing I gained by being talkative that I turned a blind eye over the cons.
When I went for a stay in Sarawak, I had a short chat with a fisherman. The river that he took to the sea happened to be crocodiles’ nest. I learnt that to chase them away, hit two steels together in the river as crocodiles are scared of being scarred. A single scar on their body, may bring them to death as the scarred area could easily be infected.
I made an acquaintance with an aged Felda farmer. He brought me to his house and gave me a short tour of his orchard. I still remember hogs footprints at his backyard. They fed on young plants he said. It’s quite a nuisance as you have to keep a close eye to prevent their intrusion, he added.
My trip in either plane or trains had never been a boring one. If I don’t have a book with me, nor food to dig in, I’ll be having a nice, unexpected chat with strangers beside me. The topics could be of anything. When I was on my flight back from Penang, there’s an aged lady alongside her daughter in her 30s on the seats next to mine. The aged lady did most of the talking. Addressing herself as ‘Mami’, she told me of her plan once she landed in Kuala Lumpur and even asked about my stay in Penang. It was a simple chat, but she managed to make it a memorable one. She told me that knowledge is our treasure, seek and keep it well.
A chatterbox like me need listeners. Or else we’ll ended up as bloggers or vloggers, which I already am. But respect is earned and not given. Hence, I tried to be a good listener. I love to mingle around elderly, aged people because they’ve been around for much longer, they have more stories, and I love stories just as much. And you need to know the right question to ask to keep the conversation to flow. Never ask an objective question. Leave the whats behind, use how and why instead. Don’t forget to give your opinions on issues as well, because there’ll be opportunities for arguments, hence opportunities to learn as much.
Be reminded that there’s always a chance of a slip of tongue. The more you talk, the more chances of mistakes will be made. You might even reveal too much of yourself. Know your limit, care for your boundaries, use the right words and find the suitable subject to talk about. I went into awkward conversations few times myself. And at times your convos might not ended the way you intended, but it’s okay. Every step is a learning progress. See, even talking needs knowledge. So guys, next time you hopped a train to the city or bus to lectures, put your phones down and say hi to the person next to you and be prepared for an unexpected trip into an unknown world of theirs.