The Presentation (Flash Fiction #44)

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

Pam is going to give a presentation in a conference and she comes to Ivy Training Center to seek help. Since everybody is occupied, Ivy ends up assisting Pam. The Ivy Training Center almost went out of business several months ago–business was slow to a crawl due to pandemic but the rent had to be paid, albeit in a lowered amount, after all the negotiations with the plaza owner.

However, business is picking up right now, much to the surprise of the owner Ivy and her husband Tom Psai. It turns out that other similar businesses all went under and Ivy Training Center is the only place people can go for help now.

Ivy did everything to help Pam, including all the comments for the slides she’s going to show. And she even managed to find a joke for Pam to put in one of the slides to lighten up the mood.

“I am so nervous. I don’t think I can go. People just don’t like me. They don’t like my accent. I have an accent. An Asian accent. Can I fake an illness?” Pam asks in the end.

“Nonsense. Of course you are going. Don’t worry.” Ivy tries to cheer Pam up.

“No, I can’t. I have some stage fright and I hate my accent. I won’t be able to go on the stage at all. I don’t think so.”

“Albert Einstein has an accent, but everybody loves him. You know he used to live in Princeton not far away from here.” Ivy racks her mind to find something positive to say.

“Come on, Ivy. Albert Einstein has an European accent. People love European accent, like those tennis stars and supermodels. In the hierarchy of accent, European accent is at the top while my Asian accent is at the bottom.”

“Don’t think this way. You are just going to upset yourself more by thinking this way. Try to imagine people love you and you love people.”

Despite Ivy’s efforts, Pam refuses to be comforted. Ivy almost runs out of ideas before she suddenly comes up with something.

“You know, Ronny Chieng has an accent. He’s from Malaysia. He’s a popular comedian right now.” Ivy says.

“So? How will that help me?” Pam says in despair.

“How about this–Russell Peters has a comedy clip called ‘accent’ and it might cheer you up.” Ivy says and find the YouTube clip on her cell phone for Pam.

They listen to it together and Pam finally burst out laughing, “Hahaha. Russell Peters is my favorite. Everybody has an accent. That’s my line. I am going to put it on my first slide.”

21 thoughts on “The Presentation (Flash Fiction #44)

  1. Funny enough, I have this book on my desk called “Thick Face, Black Heart” by the late Chin-Ning Chu. She was a Taiwanese business consultant that lots of people called upon about Asian business practices back in the 80s and 90s. She also had pretty thick accent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, you are right. You can be a popular figure with a heavy accent. It really doesn’t matter. I don’t know why so many people are so frightened with accents. I used to be this way, but I’ve grown out of it. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice story. I sooo agree that people consider Asian accents to fall lowww in the hierarchy as compared to Asian accents. As an Indian I have blood tears whenever they represent people from my country in Hollywood. Same with Chinese, Japanese, etc.. It is quite stereotypical. But they find a French or Italian accent attractive. Glad she came along at the end though 😌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s soooooooo true. I 1000% agree with you. I dislike those Hollywood movies or TV shows with Asian characters that are caricatures–from “Breakfast at Tiffany” to “Simpsons” to “Seinfeld” to “Friends” to “Fresh Off The Boat”. The last one is particularly upsetting to me since it is all about Asians and all the Asians in this show adopt a caricature mentality to laugh and marginalize themselves as if they are cartoonish clowns with strange habits. It is the worst show ever. And the worst thing is I feel like I am infected by such a mentality of marginalize myself and have to do things to mend and overcompensate. Such shows have such a bad influence on people’s mind.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Glad he got over his fear. I love Ronny Chieng- I’ve been watching a lot of his stuff on YouTube and find him hilarious.
    I think people look at accents very differently depending on where you’re from. Just like people look at immigration differently depending on where the person immigrated from.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love Ronny too. He’s so bold and irreverent. That’s hilarious.
      Yes, I feel the same way. In Southeast Asia, everybody has an accent and almost everybody speaks at least two dialects and two languages. Accent is a way of life and nobody cares. However in places where most people only speak one language, accent suddenly becomes a tool of hierarchy more conspicuously (I am not saying hierarchy is absent in other regions).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In Africa, we tend to speak at least three or four languages so accents are very common there too. Here, most people speak one language and I feel like certain accents are looked down upon such as Asian accents compared to European accents.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. My best friend from high school used to date a graduate student from Cameroon, who can speak at least four languages fluently and three more proficiently. And he’s not even majoring in language or anything. And he said he is just average with language among his friends and relatives.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yeah it’s very normal to speak three or four languages in most African countries. It’s actually odd if you don’t because it can make life difficult if you can’t speak the native language of the area you’re in as well as the national language and English/French.

          Liked by 1 person

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