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Being a Girl from Malaya: Born and Raised to Please a Man and His Mother (Part 1)

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The man who will one day (possibly) ask for my hand in marriage is:

a) A complete total idiot, or

b) Simply fated to be unlucky for the rest of his life. 

Because any man that has a brain can see that I’m not one of those girls made to be good wives. This is not a self-pitying, “Oh-woe-is-me” note, mind you. I do not feel unfortunate of my very nature, but I am simply stating real cold facts. 

When I turned eighteen, my mother decided that it was now time for me to learn the art of housekeeping—cooking, cleaning and all that in-between ingredients in the making of a good Malay wife. 

I resented it. 

In those subsequent years, I rebelliously resisted her teachings and advice. I’d sweep the floor, mop them next, and yes, clean the restrooms as well, but never with the determination of wanting to scrub off every bacteria there was lurking just beneath the shiny surface. I basically just did those ‘housewifely’ things, frankly, to shut my mother up. 

There. It’s done. 

My mother, however, is not the sort of woman who easily gives up. She lectures through and through and I especially hated her ‘precautionary warnings’ in my resisting the role of a good Malay wife who cooks and cleans after her family. 

One of my habits that clearly annoys her (well, for good reasons as well, I must admit) was that I insisted on shutting my ears off with my trusty iPod whenever I did cook and clean. The result was a half-assed performance in housekeeping. Let’s just say becoming a maid is definitely not a good career move for me. My brother, in fact, jokes, “Kak (Sis), if you ever become a housemaid, you’re probably going to be abused by your employers … and the police would completely understand!” 

Har. Har. Har.

“It is too boring to do these things! I need to entertain myself—somehow!” I talked back. 

With cold hard stares, my mother repeated the lines I am becoming oh-so-familiar with, “Do you know that if you continue to behave this way … your husband is not going to be able to stand you?!”

I tried extremely hard not to roll my eyes. In days I just could not take it anymore, I do roll them. However, often I end up to regret the ‘rolling,’ instead wishing I had pulled my eyeballs out and hurt myself instead. Sorry, Ma. 

Part 1 | (Part 2)


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