Friday, June 23, 2006

Sexual Harassment

This story was relayed to me by Zah yesterday. It happened to her husband’s friend at the airport on his way to the plane to catch a flight home.

To prepare for his flight he shaved his beard and mustache, so he’d be clean shaven when he arrives home to meet with his wife and kids.

At the airport, he felt a hand at the back of his jeans.

“Very nice,” said the voice.

And he thought the admirer was admiring his jeans.

But the hand still remained there. And the touch began to feel like a grope.

“Very nice very nice” said the voice again.

He walked away as fast as he could. He was too shocked to do anything else.

I reckon he should have given the other guy a black eye.


Every now and then I hear stories of women being harassed here. But men being harassed, this is my first time.

What does a man do when he is molested? Should he try to embarass the other guy and pop him one? Slap him? How would the spectators react? Fight with the other guy? What if the molester enjoys the physical contact?

Most guys would be too embarassed to do anything anyways. He doesn't want to draw further attention to himself. But thats what bullys know and capitalize on. They choose their victims well.

What would you do?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Cultural Difference

Whats the difference between a Ma/aysian and a Sing@porean?

We had seen the X5 a few times. Once outside a compound of a friend and another time parked near the Ustaz’s house. And both times we saw L* there. So we guessed that L* must be driving the X5. Not satisfied, we asked L* at the Ustaz’s house the other day.

H.. L* is that your X5 parked outside?

L*: Yes it is.

Me: Very good choice! Very nice!

H: Yeah we almost got one too.

L*: Yeah you know the X5 here is the same price of a Camry in Sing@pore and I got it with a good offer.

In a true Cik Bedah manner, the nurse who sat next to me, whom I knew for barely 15 mins asked me. How much?

I didn’t know it myself and waited for the question to be asked.

H: If you don’t mind me asking, how much did you get it for?

L*: 210

Me to Cik Bedah: two ratus sepuluh.

And she asked me to repeat at least three times. Two ten. Dua ratus sepuluh. Dua ratus sepuluh ribu. It’s an X5 for goodness sake and he’s bought it brand new. Rilek la kak. That gaping look is not becoming of you. Nanti lalat masuk!


W: So where do you live?

Me: Zippy compound

W: Where is that?

Me: Exit 9.

W: Where is exit 9?

Me: Near the airport.

W: Wahhh! So farr!!! I live in downtown only! Very near ah very easy!

The Ma/aysian thinks RM100 is very expensive and the Sing@porean thinks 100 km is very far.

Monday, June 19, 2006

My two months on Prednisone

The drug that lifted me up oh so high until I came crashing down.

How many of us are explained what medication we are being prescribed, why we are told to take it and what the side effects of the drug are?

Sometimes we’re so much in pain and in ignorance that we put all trust on the medical practitioner. Until of course we face the consequences of having taken the drug.

For me the side effect of prednisone stared back at me in the mirror. My already round face was becoming rounder. I look like a kuih apam that had a double dose of baking powder and was threatening to overflow from the base. And my tummy just ballooned! For a few very long days, I agonized at the possibility that I was pregnant. My stomach got so big that surely something was growing in it!

And the munchies! I just couldn’t stop having them! My favourite refuge are the chochie bikkie (chocolate biscuits of the dark chocolate variety) that I simply magically wolf down in stacks. They were finished even before I realized that I ate the whole pack.

But the energy level I had was phenomenal! I would sleep for a couple of hours from 11 pm to 1 am and I’d wake up and do some sewing and fabric cutting. And my concentration level was undeniable. I would be sewing cutting and sewing from 1 am to 6 am. I’d go downstairs and fix breakfast for hubby dearest and wake him up with the smell of breakfast. And then I would go back to sleep and wake up later in the day.

But as soon as my prednisone dosage was reduced, so would my power of concentration and energy level.

I started at 25 mg a day for a month, which was gradually reduced by 5 mg a week until I was weaned off the drug. And immediately I felt the difference. My body was aching all over. My face was rounder than ever, which contributed further to my depression. I was feeling so tired and so overwhelmed. All that energy I had the two months prior was gone, gone, gone. My vision became blurry and even if I had the energy to sew, my eyes were unwilling to cooperate.

I was so depressed about everything and I was so easily irritable. Someone maybe saying something to me and it would upset me for 2 whole days. Which made me want to stay away from people and that didn’t help with my depression either.

At the same time, I began needing massages. My feet were aching even though I only walked round the block, and my joints were groaning. And up till today I am still nursing a sore shoulder. I was beginning to question everything. Was it my diet? Was it the weight I am gaining? Surely the extra kilos are not straining my joints already? And I didn’t have internet connection to do any sort of research.

I have to confess that it did cross my mind how wonderful it was to be on steroids. I suddenly understood all too perfectly how people become prescription drug abusers. Its easier to handle the highs than the lows. And being in this country, it would be all too easy. Everything, almost everything (drugs that is) that is available in the Kingdom, can be purchased without prescription at the pharmacy. And there is a pharmacy at every other corner here.

Imagine that.

So Dr pardon me when I question you on what you’re prescribing me. Because it is my body and I’m still stuck with it long after your job is done.

**A little knowledge could be a dangerous thing huh.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Disillusioned go home

I’ve seen him at a few functions we organized but never did have the time to really have a conversation with him. His wife was friendly and I thought we could get along just fine. Sama kepala comes to mind.

Then I heard news of them leaving. They have had enough of this place. Barely 7 months and they’re packing their bags to go. Another one I thought.

And I had an opportunity to meet up with them before they leave.

They wanted to leave because he was unhappy at work. He felt unhappy with how he is treated at work and how his colleagues were.

They had come with some preconceived notions and expectations of the country. They had wanted to come to perform their Hajj, learn some Arab|c and delve more into the religion. They managed to do their Hajj trip but not much of the rest.

When asked by his MD his reason for leaving, he said it was the injustice. Injustice? Well he felt sidelined by the locals because of the color of his skin. This is one of the most racists places I have been and I lived in Austral!a. I shook hands with the labourers and they asked me at the office why I did that. Was it wrong to acknowledge my fellow man?

I understood his point and his struggle but did not anticipate the intensity of the man. Until of course, I understood that he had come, thinking that the people here would welcome him with open arms because he is a “brother.” He thought that the mosque would be an open place for ibadah, for the exchange of information and religion but saw nothing of that sort.

“We don’t think we can contribute to the society here. They are not accepting of the sort of professional level we could give.”

“I did not come here to make money,” he says.

“For the amount I spend on school fees for my children here I can get something better back in Austral/ia,” she says.

Whatever their reasons were, they are set to leave.

I wanted to say. Give it some time. Time for you to understand their culture here. Time for you to make new friends whom you can berdakwah with. Time for you to learn the Arab/c language. I tried to point them to the direction where the information was available but hey the rest is up to them.

The more preconceived notions you have, the more likely you are to be disillusioned.

This isn't an easy place to move to.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I took the Myers-Briggs Personality test recently and found that I am an INTP. And surprise surprise, he happens to be an INTP as well.

He took the test one day and came home very excited. He said he had arranged for the test practitioner to come to our place so that I could do the test as well. I had hoped that we could have done something more interesting with my Friday (read going to a Mall somewhere off the compound) but since he had already arranged it, I agreed.

It didn’t take me long to complete the questionnaire and we did the tallying and Walaa I ‘m an INTP although I’m a low T.

So what does it mean knowing that I am an INTP?

From Conversations with Designer Theorizers

The following is adapted from Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi, The 16 Personality Types: Descriptions for Self-Discovery (Telos Publications, 1999) *Used with permission.

What’s it like to be you?

I want to know the truth and get down to the bottom of things. It’s an internal life, living in the head, theorizing constantly about how things work.

I can link many thoughts and shoot off in multiple directions at once in an attempt to clarify and explain things really well or to try to represent the fullness of who I am and all the different things I can do and can’t do. I like to design—not just implementation but the stuff before that.

There is a goal, a theme, and I start from that and work through the specifics one by one, keeping the whole thing integrated as I go, until I come up with “the elegant solution.” Often when I talk to people they only get from me a few steps—one, thirteen, a hundred. That’s all that gets verbalized, and what’s very clear to me either I’ve forgotten or find unnecessary to say out loud, which can come across as confusing at times.

I am very knowledge and big picture oriented. I want to bring everything that can be known into understanding a problem or situation. I enjoy working with those who think like I do but verbalize better. We can end up leaping forward rapidly and building off of ideas, asking questions with an answer in mind but wanting to verify things and learn more. If I am knowledgeable in that area, I always have something to add, to help better understand the idea and add something new. Although sometimes, even when I know we agree, people feel like I am trying to challenge them, which is frustrating because I am just doing it out of excitement. I try to understand all the variables and possible influences and then apply as broad a range of information as I can bring to the problem, to impact why the problem exists.

I am interested in developing new skills and trying new ideas with those skills, and I am a good team member, and yet sometimes a little group work can go a long way. Most of all, I love to learn.

Central for me is honesty and integrity, especially intellectual integrity. If it’s not an honest approach to the issue at hand or to the relationship or organization, then it becomes an illusion—it only appears to have substance. I respect people who are genuine, honest, and open and doing what they are good at and what they enjoy and are up front about what is important to them.

I have a penchant for clarity. Some people say I’m hairsplitting, but there is value in precision.

I don’t like sloppy thinking, waste, and redundancy, and I am uncomfortable with sending out something that isn’t as good as it can be, but it has to go out anyway. I like things thought through. Incompetence just sets me right off. I have very little tolerance or patience, especially if the person is above me or isn’t really trying. I don’t think I push people any harder than I push myself and most people probably push less, which is where conflict comes in. Some people say my standard may be way out of whack and I assume the other person is competent. I like to avoid conflict at all possible costs, but if it reaches a point where I can’t go anywhere unless this gets resolved, then I will jump in and take care of it. That takes me a long time and I will go miles out my way to avoid that. It’s an ongoing decision between fairness and not letting people walk all over me.

There is this constant balancing act between self-confidence and questioning myself. Sometimes I feel secure and comfortable about knowing and thinking about and recognizing a lot and knowing how to learn new skills and ideas and concepts. But I have an almost instant ability to detect limitations—not knowing enough, picking out what’s missing, adding in an always-present feeling that it’s not quite right, and not knowing everything there is to know with insufficient time to learn everything that is important.

I can be seen as too unfeeling, too quick to start into work with not enough basis laid out for the day, and I’m not much for the personal amenities or socializing. Yet it is important that others are aware they are important to me. It’s not the first thing, but it’s in my awareness. I tend to try solving personal problems all by myself. Then sometimes I wind up without accurate information from others or about how it will affect others. I believe there must be an answer or a solution if I can just figure it out.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Exhausted from walking

Reluctantly with trepidation
She put on the pair of shoes
A gift it was
One that she could not refuse

Many had gotten it before
And raved about its glory
Claim that everyone should have one
And it is for everybody

Those who don’t have it
Go through great lengths to acquire them
Some successful and some not
Some destined not to have them

She was weary of the shoes
Least they pinch on her toes
For she has gigantic feet
Free to roam the streets

The shoes often held her back
Made her change how she walked
Much slower in case of blisters
Following the footsteps of her sisters

Sometimes she feels like returning the gift
For the shoes felt too big
But when given such a thing
One cannot hesitate

Her shoes brought her so much attention
So much happiness
And so much anxiety
It needed all her energy

Walking in the shoes
Gave her a backache
Her head spinning
Her shoulders aching

So when someone gives you a gift
Be weary
Of the responsibility
The headache, the heartache

That comes
When wearing a new shoe
Especially if it’s a gift
That you can't refund

Its yours for keeps

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Do not leave a vaccuum

Reading Lollies' entry Salah satu factor some how reminded me a topic I wanted to blog myself.

How, if you don’t want to step up and assume your role as partner and supporter to your hubby who lives in this region, then someone else will take up that place.

Ok perhaps you can tell me that, this is not the only factor why these men stray. I’ll give you that. But as Lollies aptly tittled entry suggest, it is one of the factors why the men here stray.

Take my neighbour Mr X. He is one of those men who is house proud. He has lovely and beautiful roses outside his villa. Even before I met him I was really curious who the owner of the roses was because I wanted to get tips from the person. Then I found out that Mr X used to be here with his family and children. Until the bombings started and his wife decided that she and her children wouldn’t like to live here but would go home instead. Leaving Mr X alone. They had a housemaid who stayed on with him and the next thing I heard was the maid now is the mistress of the house.

Of course I mentioned this to Nu the other day. Nu has no heart in living here. Apparently her sister is of no help. “Come home. Come, Its your nephew’s school holidays. Come and help me. Afterall you’re not doing anything there right?”

I know some people will shoot me for this but I will say it out loud here.

Looking after your husband is not nothing, if anything it’s a huge responsibility. Its not about cleaning after him or fetching his slippers. Its about being his companion through thick and thin. Especially when he needs you most here. When he wants to come home to someone and not just an empty apartment so he can tell you about his frustrations, anger and joy at the office that day.

And if you can’t provide him that, then don’t be surprise if someone else steps up and fill that vacuum.

Especially in this region where the surroundings and social structure is very different and unfamiliar.

I tried to mention this to Nu but she said something along the lines of, well I told my husband if he wants to stray he can just tell me and let me go. And I am not the confrontational sort. I wanted to say that if it comes to that, it will already be too late. Problems like this should be nipped at the bud, lined with weed killer and not allowed to blossom and bloom to that.

So if your hubby gets a chance to work in the M.E. or anywhere else for that matter (but normally if its London or the States the wives will jump at the opportunity to come along anyways!) come along with him. Make arrangements so you can bring the whole family together as a unit and live as a family.

But I guess kalau the hubby dah memang gatal takyah gi overseas pun boleh buat gaks.

Siapkan je sebotol Roundup.

Roundup Sirap drink on a hot day it is!

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Million pieces




Lost all capabilities of stringing sentences together
Of having any intellectual thought
Incapable of making decent conversation
Disjointed dreams that left me hanging
With morbid thoughts in search of ice cream

Ballooning beyond recognition

Losing my sanity

Wanting to break free
From the responsibility
Weighed upon me

Maybe a Gucci bag will make me feel better?
Or LV or Chanel or Loewe?

Just a plastic bag from Carrefour will do
Then torn into two
Makeshift changing base
Which later, you can replace.

Just a cup of coffee will do
The strongest you can brew

Just the Muchos Magarita please

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I am back ... Hopefully

After one month of hair pulling and almost non existence internet connection, we have internet access again. I hope. It's a new set up which required an investment of a new hardware so I really hope that it will work well.

Glad to see that my previous posting had some resonance with some of my dear readers. One particularly happened to be a disgruntled individual who proceeded to put 6 very long comments which has nothing to do with my posting and everything to do with racial hatret. To which I promptly deleted and installed word verification for posting comments. I can't comment more about the postings except..... GET a Life!

SO hopefully I am back to reading and posting blogs. Perhaps reading more than posting since I have lots of catch up to do. So many new developments that I missed! I do sorely miss my online friends and my blogger friends.

Anyways thanks for your comments and take care.