I would like to share with you an incident that happened at my work place in Gebeng, Kuantan at a Petrochemical plant that we were building about ten years back. Well this place is in the interiors and it is quite far from the town. Getting a secretary for me was quite hard as no one would really want to travel that far and also to a male dominated construction site. But somehow I managed to get a secretary, a young Malay girl even though her knowledge of English was pretty bad, but then I thought to myself, half a secretary is better then none. I needed the secretary to sort out my paper work for filing as I had to be on the site most of the time either making my rounds or attending a never ending stream of meetings.
At the site office, I had briefed my secretary on using the word processor in the computer and to check for the red marks for spelling mistakes and to make sure it is corrected accordingly.
So I wrote a draft for the letter for my secretary to type it on the computer so that I can forward it to the Project Director regarding some complaint that I had on site. So typing what was already drafted I guess should not be a problem, even if you are not good in English. But that’s where I was wrong, After signing the letter and thank god, I decided to glance through it again. And to my surprise , I found that there was this word “panties” on the contents of my letter. Can you imagine what an embarrassment it would be?
I asked my secretary, why didn’t you check on the spelling, little did I realize that panties is a correctly spelled word. Instead of all parties, my secretary typed it as “all panties”. So I asked her why can’t she make out the difference between parties and panties, she just smiled and told me that English is like Greek and Latin to her and besides that there was no red mark on the typed letter.
From that day onwards, all my letters were typed by me and that’s when I decided to get my own laptop.
Maybe a blessing in disguise as I don’t depend on anyone to do the typing and also I write as I think and my flow of thoughts are not altered by correcting the mistakes that my secretary makes on my handwritten drafts.