Want to be an advice columnist?

If we don’t feel grateful with what we already have, what makes us think we’ll be happy with more?

Anon

Sometime in May this year, my best friend brought his 30-something son to me for some advice. The young man’s relationship was going through a rough patch.

To protect his identity, let’s call the young man Bob. His girlfriend of five years was cheating on him and he accused her of having an affair with this guy, who happened to be her boss.

Was he sure? Yes, Bob said the boss’s wife had tipped him off about the illicit affair. Though shocked, he didn’t want to believe it until one day or rather night, unknown to his girlfriend and her boss, he caught them checking into a well-known hotel in the city.

Bob waited patiently outside the hotel for several hours for them to check out and when they finally emerged well past 2.30am, he confronted them.

“They were shocked to see me, especially my girlfriend. Not wanting to further embarrass her boss, I told him to leave. I drove my girlfriend home and demanded an explanation.

“She claimed she didn’t do it voluntarily and that her boss had pressured her. She needed to keep the job and she had no choice. I knew she was lying to protect herself,” said Bob.

The young man said his girl begged for forgiveness and promised never to repeat it.

“I forgave her on condition that she would change and never repeat her infidelity. But it happened once again. I am now in a fix … actually I had decided to let her go. But I guess I love her very much. What should I do now, Mr Rajah?”

Huh! I was stunned. Why me?

A sad Bob replied: “Because dad said you are all ears when it comes to issues of the heart. And I understand you gave good advice to others in a similar situation.”

What choice did I have! 

I told Bob to give his girl one final chance. But so long as she was in her present job, repeated infidelity would continue. So, first thing first; she should quit her job and go job hunting. In the meantime, Bob should take care of her welfare as she would be giving up a RM4,000 plus pay cheque.

Bob took my advice, I guess. He and his girlfriend met me last Wednesday and invited me to their wedding this coming December. It’s going to be a garden wedding.

Looks like my advice worked.

Before leaving, Bob and his future wife suggested that I should start an advice column in my paper offering solutions to people who write in for help.

Really-ah

“Why not, I think you are capable of being an advice columnist. I’m sure you will soon have a strong following,” said Bob.

Advice columns have always been popular ever since they first appeared in newspapers and magazines several decades ago.

Readers take advantage of the anonymity of letters to such columns. It gives them the opportunity to share information about themselves and their lives that they are embarrassed to tell their families or friends.

Okay, following Bob’s advice let me try out a trial advice column here. I will create some hypothetical problems and I’ll attempt to offer solutions. You guys decide if I should start one after this or forget about the whole idea.

Let’s call the column TELL IT TO RAJAH.

Dear Rajah,

I have a huge problem. Yes, the problem is a huge and heavy one. When I married my wife, she was slim and curvy. We have been married for 10 years now.  She loves to binge on any food she can get hold of. She now resembles a hippopotamus. I have advised her to go on a weight reduction programme. But she doesn’t listen. Please advise.

Rahim

Rajah says,

Now, look here. You letter is too long and I have to remove 400 words. Regarding your problem with your spouse, if she continues to ignore your advice, tell her you are leaving her for a SYT (sweet young thing). She should come to her senses. If she doesn’t, she is not worth your trouble. Dump her and move on.

Dear Rajah,

My teenage daughter is giving me migraine. She continues to mix with the wrong company despite my numerous advices. My husband has given up on her. What should I do? I think I will soon go into depression. Is there any agency where I can run to? Please help.

Wilma

Rajah says,

Looks like your daughter is out of control. Apparently, you have not brought her up well. She is a spoilt brat. I suggest you tell her you are going to report her to the police. If she doesn’t give two hoots to your threat, the best thing to do is marry her off to someone rich, preferably someone 20 or 30 years older than her. Don’t expect a young guy to control her.

Dear Rajah,

I am the HR manager of a small company. Many of the older workers have the tendency to go on medical leave now and then. Some of them are exceeding their entitled sick leave. This is affecting productivity. How do I resolve this issue?

Samuel

Rajah says,

Simple, give them the boot and take in healthy young ones. There are so many fresh graduates out there. If you can’t handle this, quit and let someone else do your job.  

So, my dear readers, can I be an advice columnist?