Thursday, November 30, 2006

Malay Male Paranoia

A man came a few days ago to view my vacant room. He knocked on the door, I opened, and this conversation ensued:

‘Oh..dah sampai dah?’ (’ve arrived?)

‘Hah…suami dah balik ke?’ (Yes…has your husband returned?)

‘Belum, belum tapi dia dah nak sampai dah ni..masuk lah..’ (No, no…but he’s on his way…come on in.)

‘Takpe, takpe..saya tunggu kat luar je lah..’ (It’s ok…I’ll just wait outside.)

‘Takpe, takpe..masuklah..anak2 pun ada kat bawah ni..’ (It’s okay, it’s okay…come on children are playing downstairs.) (Plus it’s bloody freezing outside!)

‘Ok, ok….’

‘So..apa cerita…dalam email katanya your wife still ada kat Malaysia..?’ (So tell me, you said in the email that your wife is still in KL…?)

‘Ha'ah..tapi takpe lah tunggu suami you balik nanti lah I cerita (Yes…but I think I’ll wait for your husband to tell the story..)


I was stunned by that answer but I controlled myself saying, he’s right..maybe he wanted to just tell us the story once and save his air liur (saliva). I thought it was bordering on rude though, because I was being friendly and trying to be a good hostess by making some conversation with a guest, but instead, he just brushed me off.

And then when my husband did come home, about 5 minutes later, the man went on to tell his story to my husband without even looking at me – as if the hostess who was bringing the drinks and food did not even exist.

...and continued to ignore me for another 5 minutes when I finally got very annoyed and went upstairs with my children.

It seems that to this man, without one’s husband, a woman is a non-entity. This is the type of man who takes it for granted that the woman of the house will provide the drinks and food – it’s her job (not unlike a maid’s) - and therefore it is not necessary to acknowledge the woman and say ‘thank you’ or at least, the malays like to say ‘susah susah je..’ (you needn’t trouble yourself) ..and then, without even blinking an eye, the man goes on to consume the food served.

To this type of man, a woman has its uses but not of which that requires the brain functioning for some intelligent simulation because to them, a woman is just not capable of such a thing. Especially housewives like me - I suddenly remembered that I told him that I'm a housewife just before that, somewhere in our conversation…

OR, scrap all the above and we’ll just call him ‘pious’.

But since when has any religion dictated its male followers to be RUDE to women?

God help us women from all the over zealous men of the world.

After the man left, my husband had to listen to me rant and rave about the irritating behaviour of that man and at the end of my long speech, my husband's conclusion was this:

"OK je mamat tu pada I...dia segan tu..." (he's Ok, he's just shy)


My husband defended his conclusion by saying that, most Malay men, when confronted with a Malay woman will feel that way; they're not completely at ease, they just feel like they need to keep their distance a bit so as to not be 'over-doing it' because most Malay women will not 'welcome' any extra attention. Basically, they just don't feel 'free' enough to chat or speak to a Malay woman in fear of trampling on certain 'barriers'. On top of that, he says that most Malay men find it easier to speak with women of the other races because that 'barrier' is not there.

What the heck?!


Kuzco said...

Hallo Kak Ibah! Let's hope he's a good housemate!

halwafy said...

Hello there! Our new housemate is ok..although he's too busy to help me with any kneading :) This was someone else who came to look at the room. Thank God we got another person..

FloweRinTheDesert said...

I think ur husband is right kot. There are men like that - the types who don't feel at ease with other women. But I also do agree with you on the fact that a simple 'thank you' would be appropriate. I can imagine how u feel bila u hidang and he terus makan without even an acknowledgment glance or a thank you. At least pun if he's the really pious type, a note of thanks to you through your husband later pun would have been nice.

halwafy said...

Flowerin, I know his observation is probably right because I have met many other Malay men like this guy, but on the other hand, I also know that it's not right to be at ease with non Malays or non Muslims because they somehow feel that there is 'no barrier''s a little hypocritical, to me...I strongly feel that a certain 'barrier' must always be there between men and women, however, men should treat all women with courtesy too.

cp1 said...

haiyoh .. at times the abbreviation MCP pun ada betulnya ..

Adam said...

It's sad but I have to agree with your husband. The fact is that in Malaysia, a lot of Malay men are brought up like that and it's hard for them to change.

You can be in trouble if you invited a man (who's not your relative) into your house when your husband is not around. One friend of mine got into trouble just because she was sitting in a car with a guy waiting for their friend outside a house.

Hopefully the guy will change.