Monthly Archives: March 2015

Lieutenant Commander Data, and I

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Unlike Mr. Fix It who grew up watching Star Trek the original series, I grew up with The Next Generation… wait…

That sounds a bit creepy is it not?

Anyway…

Therefore, instead of having an extraterrestrial crush to Mr. Spock — bless his soul, I had one with Mr. Data.

Even before I understood what was going on on the show due to my English skill (or the lack of), I thought Mr. Data was really cool. I thought, even the Captain Picard himself consulted that handsome pale robot (he was an android, by the way — it was my ignorance as a young and stupid little girl which made me mistake him as a robot).

After having a long and somehow rather embarrassingly geeky conversation with Mr. Fix-It, we decided to download the whole Star Trek: The Next Generation series and watch it from season one. We had few marathon for the last few weekends, but there is still a long way to go (season 4 now).

It is funny how at first we were so excited about watching the series just for a giggle but then got really into it after the first few episodes. I agree that the acting was a little over the top, but so were most of the TV series and films produced during that era. The fact that it is still enjoyable to watch after more than two decades from it was first aired only highlighted how classic Star Trek: The Next Generation is.

I am going to stop talking like a film critic, because I actually wanted to talk about my favourite Lieutenant Commander Data.

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Lonely_Among_Us_(episode)

“It’s elementary, my dear Riker… sir”

Mr. Data was — like I said, not a robot but — an Android. He resembled human in almost anything except that he was obviously superior in learning skill, memory retention, physical strength, analytical ability, and — as a woman I would add– aging process. However, Data’s program was not pre-installed with the ability to feel. In the series it has been repeatedly shown that his lack of ability to empathise with others made it difficult for Data to interact in a social conventions. I do not think it was a plothole, but I found it interesting that although Data was not equipped with the ability to feel, he was a rather curious being.

I am sure he explained it somehow in the conversation, that curiosity is one of the natural human trait. And, there is nothing he was interested in more than humankind, and humanity.

I understand where he was coming from. I agree that human beings are such interesting objects to be observed. You could predict their reactions to almost everything, yet they could response in so many different way. They have personalities, they develop unique kinds of relationships, they need the platform to demonstrate their creativities. They have traits that some other species in animalia kingdom do not acquire.

However, it was probably Data’s disability to feel which made him so persistent on understanding human being. I, for once, have given up my faith in humanity a long time ago.

As a human being, it seems normal for me to be able to feel anger, disappointment, impatience, and boredom while dealing with people I consider stupid or ignorant. Data in the other hand, had the total understanding that he has superiority in knowledge, and information processing — plus the fact that he could not feel bored nor impatient, that makes it much easier for him to deal with intellectually inferior species. Once again, it has been proven that Android is superior than human to the very last bit.

How could it not make you think about whether the ability to feel and empathise to other individual is actually a good thing or not? Would it – as the Borg put it – relevant?

Human being boasted that their ability to feel gives them the joy of love, but if you could not feel it to begin with, you would not miss what you have never had. You would never even know its existence if other individuals surrounding you never had it either, hence you would not be curious about it like Data did. You would rely solely on logic, and instinct, to survive as a species.

Then I thought again, how about compassion? That would also be redundant as there would not be anything to be compassionate about. Would law be enough to put an order to the society? If people do not have greed, nor ambition, then logically choosing a leader would not be based on political agenda.

Man… maybe Borg was right.

Gosh…

Is it my PMS talking?

Anyway… I have to stop now before I talk about something even more surreal.

Bybyq out.

 

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Mr. Fix-It and The Boiler…

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Last few days were tough…

Mr. Fix-It and I came down with a bug (and PMS for me), which has made both of us feel like crap. It was a constant lethargic feeling, with a headache which was persistently coming and going, and sometimes also followed with muscle pain and sudden blocked nose. It was horrible. The week was draggy for Mr. Fix-It at work. Even for me, a short 10 minute walk to the supermarket felt were agonising.

Of course the changing of the weather did not help. Spring is coming, but –hell, the winter has not yet over with its torturing session. It was cold and dry windy sunny day one day, and wet and slightly warmer the following day. Oh, curse the weather…

But, what makes it worse is that our boiler just went bust last night and it drove my husband bonkers.

I have heard the anecdotes about the Brits and their boiler (try to google it, I could not be bothered to do it today). However I have never imagined that I would be in the position of witnessing it myself.

Sunday morning, I was expecting a nice relaxing weekend with my husband — after a week and an extra day work. Good morning kiss? Nope. Breakfast in bed? You only wish. Warm worry-less snuggle? Not quite.

Once I opened my eyes and ears, I could hear his voice in the background talking on the phone to someone from the council. He said something about the boiler has been dripping, and the pressure is down. I understood that it meant a day without the boiler heating and hot water from the tap. But bear in mind that we do have a separate water heater for shower, so as far as I know I could just walk in to the shower and get wet happily. Electricity was on too, so we could always put the kettle on for if we need hot water for washing up purpose.

I was not worried until I saw his gloomy face.

I prepared lunch (obviously I was hungry as there was no breakfast in bed), and we ate. But he, of course had no appetite and soon after he finished half his lunch, he rushed back to the boiler room to find out how much it has leaked.

It went on and on and on and on again for a day. Well, at least until dinner time. That’s when he decided that there was nothing he could do except to wait for the next day (which is today) for the boiler guy to repair our heating system.

Yet he still made a few return to the boiler room just to give me elaborated reports about how bad the boiler has broken.

No I was not upset or impatient. Of course I was upset that my husband was under a lot of stress, because it was supposed to be his day to relax and wind down. The fact that he was so preoccupied and unable to enjoy his day off was worrying because it means he could not rest to ward off his bug. But I understood that he was concerned with the condition of our boiler, although I could not understand why.

This morning, he texted from work. Seemed lighter and less worried, telling me that the boiler repairman would be here. And he is here now, working on it, while I am typing this.

Well, he said there was NO problem whatsoever. Happily took my offer for tea — which suggested that he is a very well mannered and civilised person, and also competent –obviously.

So, hope for the best 🙂

Cheers

Book Review: The Zahir

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Title: The Zahir: A Novel of Obsession
Author: Paulo Coelho
Language: English
Format: Paperback

Review:

The story is about a international best seller author whose wife has gone missing. He did not know whether his wife, who was also a war journalist had been kidnapped or gone with her own will. His search for his wife made him understand his own obsession, and took him to meet people and go to places which in the end opened his horizon about the power of love.

At least that’s what you will read or interpret based on the writing in the back cover.

One that I like so much from this book is that Coelho wrote something along the line: if the book is not self explanatory than it is not worth reading, as if it gives me a permission to freely interpret what he wants to say in this book. It carries so many messages, I couldn’t even pick one to start with.

Of course being me, I don’t believe in love mumbo jumbo in this book. I don’t believe in the supernatural feminine power which has been the central issue for some of Coelho’s books (probably it’s his own Zahir). I couldn’t care less with the issue of spirituality which I sensed very heavy in his books. I still like reading his works merely because he wrote things very beautifully.

He has been writing about some of the oldest theme in the world: love, obsession, life and death. How come he keep making it enjoyable and satisfying without becoming incredibly mushy.

It’s a joy reading his book, and it was so hard to put this book down. I finished it in only three nights, and mind you I only read before I go to bed. Imagine how many late night I have been having lately!

I know some people enjoy reading books because they like or concern about the issue the author would like to talk about. But I think it is more enjoyable to be able to read a book with a fully open mind and take in the story as it is. And, if the message is really important for you, there is one thing I actually learn about this book.

It is about the importance of telling a story. It reminds me about why I write this blog. To share a story. The same with why Coelho wrote his books. And the same with why the characters in his books kept telling their stories.

And for his wonderful story, I would rate this book 4 out of 5.

This Is How Marriage Changes You… (Allegedly)

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It always bugged me when people use generalisation to help themselves explain what I do. It was annoying when it came from a random stranger, it was more annoying when it came from someone I considered as a friend. Really, I don’t have to tell you that I don’t have patience with people.

Anyway, it happened some times ago, but I just read it again, and got enraged again. My fault I know — I blamed it on hormone.

I have this particular satisfaction posting photos of my cooking attempts, and my crafty projects on my facebook and instagram. I genuinely believe that it was much much more acceptable than posting photos about your children all the time. At least with cooking and crafty projects, people could get inspired to be creative, and also some people would be relieved to see different things everyday.

Can you imagine I take photos of a roasted chicken. Same roasted chicken everyday, since it came out from the oven, until it becomes a pile of bones in the plate, and still taking the same photos everyday from different angle. Even, to add to the disgusting factor, take a photo of the bones and the flies that started gathering around it while attempting to say something cute like: Oh look, my chicken bones with its new friends. How sweet…

Yes, I do not mind you post photos of your children, because I like posting about my puppies too. But it does not mean I have to flood my friends’ feed with babies – toddlers photos. Argh…

Anyway, just for the background, I started the cooking project photos when I moved to the UK for the first time. I was a student, I had budget, and british food doesn’t really entertain my palate at all. So I learned how to cook, and as I learned I got better. I started knitting and crocheting way earlier, my mum taught me how to do it, and I actually took a few classes at Hobbycraft in Jakarta to get to knitting better.

So when people started to make ignorant comments about me cooking and knitting BECAUSE I was married, I was officially offended. But knowing our culture, they would not care, would they? They said what they needed to say, and that’s that. Saying that I cook and knit because I was married, was as stupid as saying that some people having a poo because they’re reading a magazine.

Yes. That stupid.

I don’t need to explain, because if I do then you probably don’t deserve the explanation anyway.

Some people believe that marriage change your life. And even if it doesn’t they believe it should. I have been asked many times by many people what has changed after we signed that piece of paper that tells us that now our relationship is now acknowledged by the government. I said nothing has changed. We were still our-silly-selves. We still enjoy our me-time, as much as we enjoy cuddling up in the sofa watching Star Trek. We still make each other’s life miserable, but we haven’t killed each other yet– or planned to do it.

The difference is that I like my kitchen in this house more than my kitchen in Indonesia. This is MY own kitchen, and I do not have to share it with my servants. I am the only one touching the pan, and only my foods are made in those pots. So, yes, I cook more here than I do in Indonesia. After all, I don’t need to cook in Indonesia. I am a princess…

And being unemployed (AAARGH), I have more time in hands. If I have all the money in the world to splurge, I will travel like Haris, but I don’t. So I stuck with my hobby, something that I like that prevent me from going mad for not doing anything: writing, cooking, and crafting.

Tell me how my hobby could have anything to do with marriage?

Let me tell you how.

Demographically, people who have been stereotyping my cooking and crafting hobby as being a married woman / housewife, could be put in these categorisation: female, indonesian, having a relationship or had a relationship with a white male partner.

Surprised? I do.

Like it or not, there is an “asian wife” stereotype still attached to us. And apparently, the fact that they have/had a white partner did not undermine their beliefs; it has strengthen them. It seems that having a non-Asian partner has highlighted the “Asian-ness” in them.

Oh well…

I understand that being grumpy is rather useless, but I did feel really irritated when people stereotype me. I don’t care if they think or feel they they fit that particular stereotype. I believe if anyone else start stereotyping them with “bule hunter” (Indonesian girls who “hunt” white expatriates to marry, usually have a severe inferiority issue and thought that getting married to white expatriates will elevate their social standings).

See, you don’t like it when you are objected to a stereotype that doesn’t fit your personality. Don’t do it to other person. Isn’t that what you tell your little children/nieces/nephews when they were not being nice to other kids?

The Princesses

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It’s been years since I called my friend, AK as Princess AK. It was of course an over-friendly remark that I made since I know that she WAS actually an equivalent of a princess or at least a duchess in real life. I wouldn’t be surprise if someone tells me that she’s actually related to some really important figures; even, it would make sense since her personal life is very mysterious as well. But luckily for AK, I am not going to pursue this… not today.

“DisneyPrincessLineup2013” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:DisneyPrincessLineup2013.jpg#/media/File:DisneyPrincessLineup2013.jpg

AK always protested every time I called her Princess, or referred her as Princess AK in my blog. Obviously because she did not think she was one, OR she’s just trying to hard to convince me that she isn’t one. But I liked teasing her about this.

But anyway, I just realised that Mr. Fix-It called me princess too >_< . Something that I definitely am not used to. I suspected that there must be a little bit of cultural gap there, because I was definitely not a princess. In fact I was incredibly down to earth, that sometimes I shortened my name from Bybyq to just Byq.

See how down to earth, easy to approach– kind of person I am. I could not understand how could he get the idea that I was a princess? That was surreal.

Of course, like Princess AK, I deliver my protest. I told him that I was not a princess. I was alone in a foreign country without any bodyguard following me to make sure of my safety; no nanny following around to make sure that I was well fed; no chef to cook my dinner; no chauffeur to take me around in a private limo. I was just an Indonesian girl strayed in a little fine city called Norwich… and that’s all.

He laughed when I gave that argument. Not the kind of happy, or amused kind of laugh, but a little bit patronising.

“But you had them when you were in Indonesia.”

I hate him.

It reminded me why I called Princess AK that way. *flashback* *black and white photos, film rolling noise in the background*

We were still young and free — but cynical nonetheless, and we were studying … you know where. I had my little red pepita (yes, I named my car), and Princess AK had her own car with a designated plate number and a personal chauffeur. I think one day we planned on going somewhere to do something (come on, that’s not the important details anyway), but we planned on doing it on weekends a.k.a not school days. She said that I would need to give a specific time so she could book the chauffeur.

So I asked whether she could drive — she had her own car, with a designated plate! She said she could. So, naturally I asked her why didn’t she just drive.

She told me her parents wouldn’t let her so.

I laughed, maybe the same kind of laugh Mr. Fix-It did at me. Not a spiteful mockery laugh, just… annoyingly patronising. (SORRY, Princess AK >_<) *flashback done* *back to reality*

I have been away from home since 2003, when I entered that architecture school. It means I have not been living with my parents for more than a decade. Sometimes I just forget that I have developed different personality, and habits my parents do. I like waking up late, my parents hate it. I like spending time alone, my parents embrace family time. I don’t like eating in the bedroom, my parents have piles of snacks in theirs.

When I lived with them for months before I went back here for good with Mr. Fix-It, I felt like a misfit. I needed to adjust with the heat, I needed to adjust with someone entered my room and moved my personal belongings while cleaning it, I needed to cope with not being able to choose what I want to eat. It was horrible. But scarily enough, I got used to it.

It was as if my brain retains some of the things I had as routine when I was a child. I started to feel fine not to have an option for dinner, or where to go, or even to choose what I want to do in the weekends. I started to feel fine not to be able to pick the entertainment program, TV channel, when to go to sleep, when to wake up. I started to forget how to take control.

I spent years to learn how to take control, and months at home I just… lose the ability again?

That’s horrible.

So when I was confronted with this fact, I realised that my husband might be right. Maybe I was a princess… Maybe I was a princess the way Princess AK was a princess. Maybe we ARE still princesses.

Hell, that’s confusing…

Phoning Indonesian Embassy in London…

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Literally just hung up few minutes ago, and still in shock…

They were rude, unhelpful, impatient, impolite bastards.

This is not fair.

Why do the British people got to be served by a nice helpful bunch of people, who would be polite to them even when they were acting like a bunch of idiots, while I… have to be served by snappy Indonesian public service officer who thought I was an idiot while I was being very polite to them? Haris, you are wrong, they are not better than their colleagues in Indonesia, they are worse. At least in Indonesia, they would greet me with smile… (In Solo they do).

It took ages to get an answer through an email, and it was not really informative. So I phoned them to get more information, after taking almost 10 minutes for them to finally pick up. THESE are what I’ve got, about getting a passport:

1.  Passport? Wait, I’ll get you the right person… *an another 5 minutes waiting*

2. Passport? Yes yes, but we don’t have the passport book right now.

3. So when? Just come here and we’ll tell you what to do.

4. Photo? We will tell you where to get your photo taken.

5. But I am not living in London? It doesn’t matter just come, we’ll tell you what to do from there.

6. Payment? Yea yea, can’t do it with debit or cash. Go buy postal order from the post office.

The hell is wrong with them? They don’t even let me talk… They don’t want to hear me talk. AND I WAS TALKING IN INDONESIAN…

When I read on a forum that they only accept photo from a certain shop, I thought they were joking. Why don’t they just tell us WHAT KIND OF PHOTO YOU NEED?? 4×6 red background? 3×3 white background? Why do I have to take photo at the appointed place? It’s not even owned by the Indonesian embassy, is it?

Fuck sake…

No wonder Mr. Fix-It told me that they were the rudest public service officer he’s ever dealt with…

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say…

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There goes the saying…

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.

I started to hear about this expression since few years ago, when I got better acquainted with British TV programmes. And the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of it. I would love to live in a place where people would rather embrace the awkward silence than saying anything offensive.

But in our culture, that’s not the case, isn’t it?

While I have been embracing this one British golden wisdom, and trying to apply this in my life, I was bombarded with all the negativity coming from the eastern side of my life. While I was trying to understand the importance of rapport building, and tact management, there are cretinous dimwits that would just trample down everything that I believe is good.

Oh yes, our culture does not recognise tact and rapport building. They would just say it, and say it in your face things that is not theirs to say. For example: a long lost friend just learned how to use facebook found your profile photo amusing. Obviously it is just natural for them to click and comment something about how you have gained/lost so much weight since the last time they’ve seen you — about a decade ago.

Or, you haven’t talked to this mysterious auntie from your grandmother’s brother’s wife since you were born. Probably the first and the last time you talked to her is to say, “fuck off you old hag” in baby language, and then you forgot because you were milk-drunk. But this particular lady thought it is perfectly acceptable to ask you why you haven’t got married while your younger cousins have already got their second pregnancy on the way. And just an icing on the top, they would tell you to stop doing that freelance job because there’s no money in it.

When the first time I invited my husband (then my boyfriend) to Indonesia, I warned him that Indonesian, especially Chinese Indonesian is not known for their tactful behaviour. Not only that our language composition sounds crass, but also that we don’t understand the concept of personal boundaries either. One of the elders would start making gestures of babies and shit, and not even language barrier would stop them from being offensive. I am quite aware of that.

Maybe, it is one of the reason why I am not too keen on the Indonesian Society gatherings. Or bringing my husband to that place, to meet my fellow Indonesians in Norwich. I know in fact that some of them would come across, not only incredibly rude, but also… a little bit twat-ish.

It is embarrassing.

Wait… I am not embarrass with my origin, my culture, or my friends. But I am embarrassed that we are so ignorant, that we as a culture don’t understand how offensive we are to other people. We are so blind to the cultural discrepancies, and forgot that we are no longer surrounded by the forgiving Asians who believe that rapport is just a myth.

I thought the younger generation is not as embarrassing as the older ones. I thought as we are going global, more exposed to different cultures and societies, we learned something about it. No we don’t.

It is not only rooted deep and strong, it is mutated with either North American (I don’t mean USA. Honest!) style bravado and arrogance (“BABE, you have to go to my gym, they’re fab and you can lose that flab”) , or religious bigotry and arrogance (“*gibberish chant from an exotic oiled desert* Man, you are so going to hell if you keep denying the existence of MY god *more gibberish chants*”).

If you are not coming from this particular culture, you would ask, “why can’t they just keep it to themselves? Why do they have to meddle in someone else’s business?”

The answer is they cannot. They physically cannot restrain themselves from being a dick/bitch, and blurt out their mind. It’s like a brain disorder, where they cannot just not say things, no matter how offensive or stupid it would sound. It’s an urge. Like when you are having diarrhoea, and you would have to go… that’s exactly what happens to them. They blurted out shit.

Oh dear, I sounded angry there, didn’t I?

Anyway, anyway… I know that some people found it okay to be commented about their weight, or their marital status, or whatever, by a stranger. I don’t.

So, see you again next time.

Cheers

 

Book Review: Between The Assassination

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Title: Between The Assassination
Author: Aravind Ardiga
Language: English
Format: Paperback

Review:

I found that this book is seriously difficult to read.

I am not saying that I do not like this book. In fact, I enjoyed some part of the book, and found it quite amusing. But, as I have said, I found it very hard to make sense of the story as a whole novel. From how I read it, this book is as if it’s only a collection of short stories, instead of a whole novel.

I did not understand the title. Not until the last page and I just, “aah… hence the title”. But even after I understood, or made sense of the title, it still did not excite me at all. I did not find any of the characters interesting, or described deep enough to show their real personality. It is like telling your mum about people in your high school — you mentioned names and what they do, but never actually tell her what sort of person Jeremy was. And what frustrated me, was there were probably thirty different names I was not familiar with, and only popped up once or twice in the whole book.

So, when another reviewers said that it is a very ambitious work, I might agree with him. It is an ambitious work. Ardiga wanted to present the City of Kittur with its social problems that has risen between years, and everything else that surround it — which is on paper, it is a promising premise to start with. But in the end, for me, it is not well executed.

I agree that I might have had my expectation too high for a writer that I haven’t known very well. My only benchmark was The White Tiger, which I should say, incredibly well written.

Between Assassination did not offer me the same kind of excitement. It did not have the same interesting factor, nor entertaining factor the previous novel has presented to me. So, I would have to say, reading Between Assassination is a little bit of disappointment for me. It’s my mistake, of course, because I should have started reading this book with an open mindedness.

So, I believe it is unfair that my inability to understand the story is used to rate down this book. Therefore, I would only rate this book based on my reading enjoyment (or the lack of) only, which is 6.5 out of 10 stars.

Making “THE” Fuss

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I am so inspired by one of my blogging friends — Rae’s blog post few days ago, so I asked her if I could make a blog post about it. She gave me the permission, there it is…

** DISCLAIMER**
It’s going to be a long one, so if it’s tldr, just skip… OK?
**

On her blog, Rae told her story about her personal achievements. One particular story that I would like to highlight is the one where she found a courage to confont her superior at work. She stood up for herself and confront her superior at work, when she found out that her working ethics had been unjustly questioned. And when her superior listened to her, she apologised for being unfair, and acted professionally. Quoting from Rae’s post, “no hard feelings”.

Personally, I think this is incredible. I always assumed that Rae and I was brought up in a similar environment. Probably not exactly the same, but similar enough. At least that’s what I gathered from reading her blog. From where we come from what Rae just did few days ago was considered outrageous.

Before I went to the UK, and experienced myself the importance of assertiveness, I would not even dare to think about confronting a superior, a teacher, my parents, and elders. I was told to keep it to myself and not to disrupt the “peace” and put everybody in an awkward situation. I was taught not to make a fuss about “little things”, and just go on with the consensus. I was trained to put up with things, for the sake of the convenience of people around me. I was brought up believing that telling other people the discomfort they have inflicted upon me is bad.

This is why when I totally got it when Rae said: this is something that my old self would never do.

Well… I think this is just the perfect time to tell you one of the backstage stories about my wedding day that I promised you before. But before you go on reading, I would like you to think of it not as me grudging or regretting my wedding day. It was one hell of a day, no doubt, but I was happy nevertheless. I was only telling you one of the backstage stories 🙂

Long before the Indonesian wedding reception was planned, I have properly married to Mr. Fix-It in registry office in Norwich. So when my parents told me their wish to hold a celebration in Indonesia, I made an agreement with them that it will be small, and that I am not going to get married again. I told them that I understand that the objective of holding a party in Indonesia is to announce our wedding, and to show friends and relatives that: this is not a shotgun wedding, that I did not get married because I was pregnant out of wedlock, and there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Hence, there is no hidden marriage whatsoever.

Agreement made, I let my family in Indonesia deal with the preparation of the wedding. I just let them, trusting that they would hold on to the agreement.

But I should have known better. Nothing is weaker than a promise an Asian mother made to her daughter — to let the daughter to have what she actually really want. So the wedding got bigger, she wanted us to get married in front of god in the church –she did not even care if both Mr. Fix-It and I were non-believer, and she wanted the traditional Chinese ritual to be held as well.

My husband is White British gentleman whose knowledge about China is stretched as far as the Chinese takeaway restaurant 300 metres away from our house. And suddenly you expect him to start bowing around to little old Asian fellows? You should have the decency to at least warn me about it so I could prepare my husband so that he wouldn’t feel humiliated.

Anyway, one of the rituals required Mr. Fix-It to stay at the hotel for a night, and picked me up in the morning. Allegedly, it signifies how the groom picked up the bride from her family and bring her with him for the rest of his life. This time I could no longer stay silent.

So I told my mum, in front of my aunties and my dad, that it is not happening. I told them we’ve already married, and the mock ‘groom picking up the bride’ is silly. It’s my husband you’re talking about, and we have done the “not meeting the bride until the wedding day” bollock on our REAL wedding day in Norwich, eight months earlier.

She, and my dad took it really personal. It is as if I have challenged, not only their authority, but also their culture, their value, and mostly their convenient. They were very unhappy not because they realised that I wanted something different than “normal Asian bride” would want, but because I spoke out my mind, and disrupt the happy mood everyone’s having in the house.

So my mum told me to shut it up, and suck it up. She told me that everyone was happy for me, and I should be grateful everyone wanted to celebrate this happy day for me, that everyone cares. I don’t — but that does not matter, does it?

Rae’s story about confronting someone for the discomfort they’ve made her feel reminds me of this day (then, it is true that your wedding day is one of the most unforgettable day of your life). The Asian way of dealing with confrontation has been my personal battleground since ages ago. It sent me to the first voluntary counselling almost five years ago, and sent me back to another counselling when I was in the uni two years after.

It affected my relationship with my parents, my friends, my previous lovers, and of course my current husband. And it did not affect us in a good way.

I am telling you this, because this is not out of my introvert personality. Even Asian extroverts have problems confronting uncomfortable situation. They would happily divert the confrontation to different things, but almost never discuss fair and square about what truly bothers them.

I don’t blame my culture, and I don’t hate it either. I just think that there is a room for improvement. Not everybody has the luxury of being able to vent out in our blog like Rae and I. Not everybody has the privilege to experience the liberating moment of finally being able to stand up and confront, and just let loose for the first time.

Oh…

That feels good.

Thank you Rae for opening this discussion (although not deliberately).

Cheers.

A White Man Should Not Marry An Asian Woman

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** DISCLAIMER **
This particular entry is full of generalisation, and stereotyping. It could be offensive, so before you continue reading, it is better to keep in mind that if you cannot handle harsh comment, just skip this part and go ahead with your life. If you want to continue reading, please be prepared with an open mind.

Thank you
**

Not so long time ago, my husband and I watched a documentary about some British men who tried to find themselves “love” abroad. Using the internet and the local dating services they were introduced to local girls who seems kind of desperate to not only marry but also marry a white male from a first world country. Some of them ended up with some genuine girls, some of them seems to date women who just want to get out from their lives, and poverty in their origin third world country.

And these country they’re talking about is usually somewhere in Asia.

So what’s wrong with it?

I am not saying that trying to find love using dating services is wrong. I don’t think going all the way to Asia to find yourself a bride is wrong. But I found this –or their, obsession to find an Asian wife is rather troublesome.

They kept talking about how these Asian women look, how they were very nice, and behave very girlish, etc. But they don’t know anything about these women’s lives — the producer of these kind of program did not think of doing that anyway (maybe because they don’t think that matters). It seems that all these Asian bride hunting is just to get themselves an obedient/submissive, little wife who cleans, cook, and don’t talk back (because they barely speak English at all).

It is as if not important that they cannot communicate, or share interests, or exchange information, or knowing what each other likes or dislikes. That is disturbing me.

One of the men found himself a nice young Thai woman who seems very genuine with their relationship. She was very happy that he chose her from so many girls. He was happy that she seems to understand English, although she couldn’t reply properly. They decided to get more serious and met the girl’s family.

This is where the program became even more unpleasant for me to watch.

The guy was so upset that the girl’s family asked him to send money home regularly if he marry the girl and bring the girl to the UK. He believed that it is a kind of human trafficking, or selling or buying a bride.

Well…

Asian is not known for being tactful. Especially with Western standard, Asian culture seems to be too forward and too personal. On the other hand, Asian people think that their culture is universal, that’s why many of them seems to act disrespectful whenever they’re not in their homeland.

In most Asian culture it is just natural for children to support their parents. It is just natural for children, girls or boys, to send home some of their money to their parents to show their piety and their respect to their parents. When a man take a girl to his house, in Asian (south east asian, and east asian mostly) culture, it means he would take in her parents and her family as his.

If in the modern Western culture people are sending their parents to “homes”, that’s not what happen to the Eastern culture. So I can understand that the idea of taking care of your parents seems so alien to that guy.

But what does that show tell me?

It tells me that arrogance has made a person failed to see how close minded some people are. They don’t bother to learn the girls’ language, the girls’ culture, their lives, etc. All they know is that they now have a nice quite obedient wife they can tell to take care of the household work.

How do you think they develop that kind of subservient attitude if it’s not because of their culture? How could you think they can be so skilful in the house if it’s not because the teachings from their old folks?

Don’t get me wrong, I am marrying a white guy myself. But I really believe that if you can’t be bothered to learn about the culture of the girl you are going to date, don’t bother to date an Asian girl at all.