The lost message

January 15, 2022

A WhatsApp message popped up on the screen and woke me up one night while sleeping in bed. I thought it was an emergency, but it’s simply a girl who wants to say hi, “How’s life, Victor?” Joanne, who was my girlfriend in Hong Kong, sent me the message. “Did you get my message?” she inquired. “Why didn’t you respond?”

“I changed my phone number when I relocated from Hong Kong to Singapore,” I explained. My thoughts of her came into my mind as I began to wonder what had happened to the lost message.

We went to different universities and got different degrees. I enjoyed science, so I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. I wanted to know everything about the truth of the universe. I was idealistic, whereas Joanne was realistic. She decided to pursue a career in accountancy. Her ambition was to achieve good grades, a decent career, and a nice salary. Also, find a proper and prosperous husband.

“Let me take you to my favourite hawker centre, $5 egg fried rice,” I said to her one lunchtime when we were dating. “No, I want to go to Japanese restaurants for delicious sushi, even if it’s just a few bits of rice,” she expressed her dissatisfaction. I turned the subject to our holiday plans in an attempt to please her and make her happy. “Let’s go on vacation; let’s go to a local island, like Sentosa in Singapore,” I suggested. “No, I want to go to Europe, to Switzerland, and see the snowy mountains,” she expressed her dissatisfaction.

The problem was that I did not have sufficient funds. “It’s not about the money,” Joanne explained, “it’s about your ambition, your ambition to work hard, earn more money, and change your social status.” That’s what a responsible adult should do.” I put in long hours to work hard, but my knowledge of quantum mechanics, Schrodinger equations, and black hole theory did not help me land a high-paying job. “Victor, please be more mature?” she inquired.

Later on, I switched jobs. In addition, my pay increased. Naturally, as my income increased, I felt compelled to upgrade my lifestyle. I used to take public transportation, but now I’m looking for a better quality of life. When I told Joanne I wanted to buy a car, she answered, “YES!” right away. I bought a blue Mini Cooper and she was more excited than I was.

I pick Joanne up in my car every day. Like a private taxi driver, I drove her home. Her entire family and friends would occasionally join her for a free ride. Maintaining my car was costly, but keeping my relationship with Joanne is even more so.

Joanne liked handbags. And I had to buy her nice gifts. I don’t even know how to pronounce her favourite brands correctly. Is it Gucci or Guc-ci among those Italian and French labels? Is it Chanel or Channel that you’re looking for? Is it Louis Vuitton, or just LV for short? Or is it Bvlgari or Bul-gari? Any of these handbags would cost me several months’ salary. To pay off my credit card debt, I had to reduce my parents’ monthly allowance. I felt bad about it.

We were having a romantic dinner at a Japanese restaurant one night. “Victor, do you love me more than I love you?” Joanne inquired. Or do you prefer your car?” That was the choice between Joanne and my automobile. And I just had only one option. I paused for a moment before responding in the opposite direction. “Of course, it’s my car,” said the driver. It’s all in good fun. I tried to be amusing, but Joanne didn’t find it funny at all. We were constantly arguing and fighting about these minor issues. “Victor, can you be more mature?” she asked again.

We’re a couple with two distinct personalities. Joanne is an extrovert, while I am an introvert. I’m a software developer who prefers to talk with machines over people. However, she worked as a relationship manager in a bank; she sold financial products, and her tone had to be soft and gentle, yet a little pushy. Do you have any idea what that means? It indicates she earns more money than I do.

We became more serious one day, and Joanne took me back home to see her parents. I was nervous since I wanted to make a good first impression. “Victor, where do you live?” her mother asked when we first met. This question is a trap because your residence address reveals a lot about your social status. If you live in public housing in Singapore, you are most likely not wealthy. And it’s considerably worse if you live in a red-light district neighbourhood. As a parent, you’d be concerned about your daughter dating a guy from the area, known for drugs, sex workers, and other potentially dangerous activities. I don’t come from a wealthy family, and I’m sure her mother would be disappointed with my response.

After dating Joanne for eighteen months, she decided to make an important decision. Continued with this “immature guy” or looked for an alternative. One evening at our usual dates, I felt uneasy at her behaviour. She refused to hold my hand. I wondered why. She was strange in answering my questions. After a long silence, she said,” Victor, let us split.” I could not catch her sentence. I asked her, “ Can you say that again.”

“Let us separate. You go your way, and I go my way.” She spoke a little louder. My heart dropped, and I could not believe what I heard. I controlled my emotion, and my tears were flowing from my eyes. There was a long pause. Then, Joanne said, “ Victor, can you be more mature.”

We remained friends after we broke up. Every year on her birthday, I continued to send her gifts. I was hoping that Joanne would reciprocate, but she didn’t. Time will heal my broken heart. Time flies; one day, Joanne sent me an unexpected WhatsApp message.

Frankly speaking, I did not lose the WhatsApp message she sent to me, except I didn’t know how to respond. I was stuck when I initially read the first line. “Hey Victor, my wedding is coming up.” “Would you be interested in attending my wedding?” The invitation irritated me. “Congratulations,” I tried to type. However, I did not push the send button; I accidentally deleted the entire message. Well, at her wedding, I didn’t want to present the angbao (red pocket) to her. “Why should I? After all, I am not attending,” I pondered.

However, I peek at her FB page; she looked stunning in her wedding pics on Facebook. Her husband appeared to be wealthy and well-educated. “He’s such an idiot to waste all this money on this wedding,” I thought.

Anyway, I’d already moved on and didn’t give it another thought. Once bitten, twice shy. It takes a lot of trial and error to find the right person, but primarily error. If you don’t want to make the same mistakes I did, keep reading the book, and I’ll give you some advice on dealing with life’s challenges.

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Experience in software development, application architecture, and deploying cloud solutions for enterprise customers. Strong hands-on skills with a Master's degree in Computer Science and business acumen with a master of business administration (MBA) in Finance. Certified in Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, Kubernetes (CKA, CKAD, CKS, KCNA) and Scrum (PSM, PSPO) with experience in building banking products from scratch. Connect on Linkedin

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