“Daddy!” I called him last week.
“Daddy, I found one lamp, one antique lamp, which looks wonderful, and may look good for our house. Take a look at this photo…*sending e-mail*…how do you find it?”
“Well, son,” he replied, “it indeed looks good…and indeed it is your right to choose a good lamp for you. But are you sure that it can match other lamps in our house? You know that our house is very old and have a very Javanese atmosphere.”
“Yeah, I know, Dad, that a Javanese-style lamp might fit better…but I am in Singapore, how can I find Javanese lamp sellers here? My network contains mostly locals–Chinese, Malay, Indian, you name it–and some more from other countries. If I should go for the ‘perfect fit’, I should just return home, right. And to be honest, I want to have some foreign touches to a little bit diversify our house. You can see that the houses in our neighbourhood; no, our hometown, are very local. We are not global enough, and in fact that is why I started my journey to go abroad.”
“No no no. Son, I am fine if you look for a foreign-style lamp. But you have to know that this lamp has to match our electricity configuration and house style. Our concern is still compatibility. The lamp does not need to be of Javanese style, but it has to fit a Javanese atmosphere here. You don’t want the lamp to explode or fall to our heads, right?” *laugh*
“…Hahaha, yes, I agree with you on that thing Dad. That’s the scary thing. I don’t want our house to explode because of a single lamp…”
“…and I have to be honest with you: based on my experience, the style of the lamp in the photo is not generally suitable for a Javanese house like ours. Well, I am not saying that all lamps which fall under this category are not compatible, no. Some are compatible (I have seen some), but not all. Heh, even some Javanese kind of lamps are also not suitable for us. If you really want foreign style kind of lamps, why don’t you look for such and such styles?”
“…Dad, my network is limited, and lamp with those styles are very rare here…”
“Well, I understand that…”
“…Dad, I am scared now. Actually I have doubts as well about that lamp…*explaining such and such doubts*…and that’s why I haven’t made any enquiry.”
“It’s OK. It’s just an enquiry, so if you think the lamp looks good, go for it: contact the seller and ask things about the lamp. I just have to warn you: 1) do not, I repeat, do not say prematurely that you want to buy it, and 2) do look around as well. Take a look if there are actually lamps which actually are more suitable.”
“Yes Dad, I undestand that. The thing is this…if it turns out not to be compatible, it is easy. I can go to other sellers in my list,”—I do make a list!—“but what if it looks compatible? Can I proceed with the paperwork? Because I can’t help to think about it (I mean the above things), and if you don’t like the style at all then I better don’t enquire at all, right? Waste of energy.”
I forget the rest. Well I can just ask him though. Anyway, my hope is actually simple: to find one lamp which I can use not only to brighten my room, but also other rooms in my house. But given my journey, this turns out to be not so simple. I have been dreaming, since I was a kid (probably about 14 or so) to have my own lamp someday. But I always failed in the past. Now that I have gained some knowledge on electricity and lighting art as well as some skills in business negotiation, I want to try it again, but my past failures make me very very careful now. Doing lighting business is quite tricky (and I do speak in understatement): one day you might find a lamp is good, another day you don’t. You may suddenly decide that one lamp does not fit your house style, but the seller may think that you are a perfect buyer (well lamps are precious!), and ha! Drama. I have seen some friends’ lamps crack, fall, or even burn an entire house because of these things, and these add up the worry. On the other hand, I saw some friends—or competitors, depending on your point of view—find their lamps so easily, to the point that I wonder, are those lamps really fine for their households?
Anyway, if a good situation arises, I have to make my enquiry. I have concerns, a lot of concerns, but apart from being constantly tied to computers (because of my job), I think solving compatibility issues is another thing I am “trapped with” in my entire life, as I want to visit many countries and broaden my knowledge on different styles of lamps. I have to face them and solve them. For now, at least I am glad that I (think I) have been given a green light.