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Sep 25

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Speaker: Pei Geok

Oh my God! Shit! Damn! It slipped my mind!

How many of you find the above scenario familiar? Yes we all have incidents of forgetfulness so that’s why notebooks have been invented. However with the current cutting edge technology, you do not need to literally bring a physical notebook now. Your smartphone can now do the job of recording your task lists. Although we all have such a recording device in our pockets right now, unless your phone is too big or your pants do not have pockets, we still nevertheless have the scenario I mentioned earlier. Why? Because of Out of sight, out of mind. When we don’t see the object, we will not remember it. Good evening club president, distinguished guest and friends. Today I would like to share about three personal incidents that demonstrate this theory of out of sight, out of mind.

The first incident happened when my husband, Sandip and I travelled to Canada for a personal trip. How of you print your travel documentation such as air tickets, insurance and so on for every travel? How many of you only print one copy? Two copies? Well my husband is those who will print three copies if possible. My husband went to Canada earlier than me for a work seminar and I was to join him a week later for an extension of the trip so he printed out two copies of the travel documents for me to bring along. The whole stack of documents consisted of my tickets to Canada, our accommodation and our return tickets back to Singapore. On our return journey back to Singapore at the airport, my husband asked me for the return tickets. I stopped short in my tracks. “What return tickets?” I asked. Now imagine a guy who is particular with documentation hear this type of response? Lucky for me we were not married yet elsewhere he would have WTF at me. You see, in my mind I didn’t see the return tickets at all. The return tickets were in fact in the very same staple bullet as my going there tickets. My husband managed to be as cool as a cucumber, maybe because we were not married yet. “I gave you the printed copies of the travel documents right?” Something in my mind clicked and I Ahhhh. I bet it must have been an exasperating moment for him to have a girlfriend who is a klutz.

A second time that something similar happened was with my work laptop. I travelled to India earlier this year in May for my wedding in India and I brought my laptop along. Well as you can see I am an extremely hardworking employee. The incident happened on my trip back home again. As with all customs you need to take your laptop out of your bag when you go through the screening gates. I was given a tag for the laptop. The India customs are more stringent than the Singapore ones, for everyone had to be checked manually despite going through the metal detector gates. For the ladies, after going through the metal detector gates, you will need to go into this makeshift room where a female officer will frisk you from head to toe for any suspicious bulges. As a bride to an Indian husband in an Indian wedding in India, one DIE DIE must to do thing for the bride is mehendi/henna. The basic expectation is that the mehendi has to be from your elbows to your fingers: that is how extensive it is. All the Indian custom officers were praising me about the beautifully done mehendi that I must say the praises went to my head and made me forget about my dear laptop. After the frisking room, I just blindly, absentmindedly, cheerfully put my tag onto the rollers. There was not an officer in sight to stop me and I happily went to wait for the flight until an announcement stopped me in my tracks. “Will the passenger who has left his Dell laptop at the customs checks please approach the customs officer right now.” I was puzzled for the words “Dell laptop” rang a bell. My heart sank upon realizing what a fool I had been. I went up to the customs officer to acknowledge my forgotten laptop. The officer asked: “Is the laptop password protected?” I replied “Yes” but in my heart I was thinking: Of course it is password protected! What are you talking about? He then asked me to log in so as to show that I was the laptop’s owner. The customs officer said: “When you passed through the screening gates, you are supposed to pass me the tag.” I refused to admit it was my fault. I was indignant and said: “But there was no one there to take my tag.” And I would like gone on arguing that it was his fault for not being around if my husband had not whispered at me: “Do NOT argue with the customs officer.” I kept my angry retorts inside my mouth and let the customs officer chide me, feeling unjustified.

The last incident was with my retainers. For some of you who have heard about my earlier speeches, you might remember about my stories of my braces. I changed job recently and my ex colleagues gave me a farewell lunch at Swensen’s. I had to remove my retainers before eating and I did not bring out my retainers’ box then. I wrapped up my retainers with a tissue paper and took my lunch. When I was proceeding to leave the restaurant, out of sight, out of mind, I forgot totally about my wrapped up retainers in the tissue paper. It was only on the way home that evening that I felt that something was missing. Then I remembered. “Eh, where are my retainers?” And again I had the same sinking feeling when I realised that I left them behind at the restaurant. I gave the restaurant a call without much hope that they would have found it for the retainers were well camouflaged in the tissue paper. My second pair of retainers cost me a whopping $214 including GST. Like what I said in my previous speech, “Dentistry is not expensive, neglect is.’ And as what Qing Hong said: I didn’t manage to retain my retainers.

I hope none of the guests or anyone of you here are potential recruiters for I am sure you will remember this weakness of mine: absent-minded. But I do have other good points: I am hardworking for I brought my laptop along for my personal trip. From these three incidents, I do strongly agreed with out of sight, out of mind. 1st: my return tickets were with me right from the start. 2nd: My forgotten laptop at the India customs. 3rd: My expensive retainers which I did not retain. Although it seems like out of sight, out of mind is an undesirable state, however it does has its good points. For example, if you are in a friendzone and the other party does not fancy you back, you can apply this “Out of sight, out of mind” theory. By seeing the person less, you will eventually forget about the person. Lastly, I would like to say Out of sight, out of mind may just happen to anyone in this room, not only me. As the saying goes: “Everyone has photographic memory, some just don’t have the film.” Thank you.

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