Tag Archives: female

To Be Or Not To Be… Married… That Is The Question

Standard

I have been thinking about posting this article few weeks ago, but I thought it would be a brilliant idea to post it on the celebration of Kartini Day.

It has been awhile since I posted anything about Kartini or anything related to Kartini Day as it coincided with Chika’s and also Superbyq’s birthday. But anyway…*moving swiftly on* marriage. Yes…

Growing up, I did not have many female friends. I did not have enough social skill to put up with their gossips and whines, and their constant reminder that every teenage girls need make up and diet. It was not easy sometimes, but then I began to have some female friends. Of course, it was never easy to have female friends, I still do not have the extra patience to the gossips and whines, and their constant reminder that every adult women need marriage and children. But I got better at ignoring these remarks.

Up until few weeks ago, when two of my female friends, who seemed to be coming from two different planets, talked about one same thing. Marriage.

One of them, was my childhood friends. It was one rare occasion that I maintained friendship for so long. Just call her Minnie Mouse, not because of her having a squeaky voice, and definitely not because she looks like a rat, but because of her disney crush to Mickey Mouse. Minnie Mouse, was about to get engaged when she told me that she finally broke up with her boyfriend. Well, he was a tw*t, so I did not feel sorry that she broke up with him. I felt sorry because she was sad and broken hearted as she did not want to break up with the dickhead.

She has been in the quest, of finding a husband, because she believes her clock is ticking and she wanted to have a family, and children. She is a typical traditional Asian woman, whose — despite her bright future in her career, her financial stability, her high profile family background, and also her promising degree in engineering– sole lifetime objective is to get married and breed. She has told me again and again that she is not getting younger, and all of our friends have already had kids (she forgot about me), and some of them has even had their third. And she wants it.

https://i1.wp.com/cbs-academic-housing.dk/sites/default/files/family-planning.jpg

traditional family ideal

Too bad she ended up with wrong guys every time.

While the other friend, is someone coming from a closer planet than mine. I have known her for few years, never actually met her in person. She is a blogger too, and if she read this she will know that I am talking about her (or so I hope). Like me, she left Indonesia for study — but while I went north, my friend went down south. Let’s call her the Aussie Badass Chick.

Yes, she might be a couple of years younger than I am, and she kind of reminded me of what I wanted to be when I was her age. Independent, tough, badass. And she posted about marriage too, but from a completely different point of view: she said she does not want to get married. And I believe her.

This is the thing.

I did not want to get married either. I never thought that marriage institution is as important as what is perceived by many people. It is probably promoted in the first place as a population control, and helped with the gene pool. But when people are more educated like now, it is not more than tradition. If you just want to live with the person that you love for the rest of your life, just do it… you can live together in a house, sign the house certificate together if you want to protect yourself from being screwed around, and so on and so forth.

Well, logically speaking, there are some benefits of being married; and they are totally unromantic. First one is social standings. Especially in Asian family, being married means you are given so much more trust as a person, and finally considered as an adult by your parents. You are no longer the child — the lower rank member of the family, but you are the queen of your own sovereign. Your parents would be seen as successful for being able to marry you off, not only congratulated for being able to get rid of you. Your opinion would started to be considered in the family meetings, and you suddenly have the rights, and even encouraged to be a bitch.

The next one is the more important one for me: the legal status. Not for your children, but for you. It does not only mean that you can sue the shit of them if they are cheating on you. It is not only about the financial security either. It is about how the law in the country see you as a family. If one of you are in the hospital, they cannot visit, or take decision for you if they are not legally registered as your family/partner. If you adopt children together, only one of you can be their parent, because you are not legally a family, and a child cannot legally registered to two guardian family (and if you split up, one of you will definitely lose the custody).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/2962449/Star-Trek-actor-George-Takei-weds.html

George Takei (Sulu) and Brad Altman wedding… After 20+ years in relationship

And this is why the LGBT group wants the gay marriage to be legalised — just to answer people who insisted that if gay people wants to live together they could just… do.

And the third one… is freedom.

Majority of people would not see marriage as freedom. Instead, they believe that being married means you are being chained to a rigid institution and shit. I agree with them too, but I must point out the other side that they failed to see.

Women from eastern culture are tied down to her parents (her parents’ house, her parents’ family, etc.) until they are married, and have her own family. For some people, marriage is a way out from their parents’ house. Like Kartini (now you see why I chose this topic to be posted today, yes?) who agreed to marry a man who was way older than she was, just so that she could get out from her father — who denied her education because she was a girl. And use her new social standing as a married woman to do what she wanted to do — build friendships with foreign correspondence (hence her letters were made as a book), and got educated.

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f9/Raden_Adjeng_Kartini.jpg/640px-Raden_Adjeng_Kartini.jpg

Kartini with Djojodiningrat “Raden Adjeng Kartini” by Original uploader was Meursault2004 at id.wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by Ennio morricone at id.wikipedia. – Transferred from id.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Manuguf using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Raden_Adjeng_Kartini.jpg#/media/File:Raden_Adjeng_Kartini.jpg

If anyone ask me if they have to get married, my answer is “definitely not”. No one can tell you to or not to marry anyone, if you want or do not want. The pressure, the thought of you are getting into the age you would no longer marriageable, would make you jump to the first person come to you, which lead you to the date wrong person… again and again. Have you not learn anything from How I Met Your Mother?

If anyone asked me if they need to get married, I would ask them why. Why do you want to get married? Do you think you cannot have sex if you are not married? Well, you can. If you feel guilty, ask forgiveness. If god is so forgiving he would absolve whatever sin you did or will do in the future.

If you think you cannot have children without being married, you are wrong. In fact you can have children any time you want: pick one from the foster houses.

Basically, the traditional justification of marriage is not applicable for me. But, if you want the benefits of marriage I just mentioned above, go for it. It came with responsibilities too: means they can sue the shit out of you if you cheated, means you might have to face the custody battle if you split up, means you would no longer receive red envelopes full of money from your parents during the Chinese New Year *broken inside*.

So,

Happy Kartini Day, my dear friends.

Cheers…

Advertisements

This Is How Marriage Changes You… (Allegedly)

Standard

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

Standard

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…

Malala, Again :)

Standard

Senang rasanya saya mendengar bahwa Malala Yousafzai memenangkan Nobel Perdamaian tahun 2014 ini. Meksipun gadis ini baru berumur 17 tahun, tapi saya sama sekali tidak ragu bahwa dia layak mendapatkan penghargaan bergengsi ini. Saya ingin mengucapkan selamat pada Malala atas penghargaan yang diterimanya — meskipun mungkin dia tidak pernah akan sampai ke blog ini untuk membacanya, dan juga berharap penghargaan ini akan membantunya untuk meneruskan perjuangannya memberikan pendidikan kepada semua anak, terutama di negara-negara dengan teroris — melalui Malala Foundation.

Ya.

Saya memang tidak bosan-bosannya bicara tentang gadis pemberani satu ini. Kebanyakan orang hanya tahu mengenai kisahnya ketika diincar oleh Taliban, dan ditembak di kepala, dan selamat setelah dibawa untuk dioperasi di Inggris dua tahun yang lalu. Setelah itu, tidak banyak yang mengikuti sepak terjang Malala, sampai diluncurkan buku I AM MALALA yang kemudian mengingatkan kembali pada kita bahwa hidup di negara yang relatif aman, dan lingkungan yang relatif enak membuat kita tidak sadar beruntungnya kita memperoleh pendidikan yang tinggi.

Video ini merupakan rekaman wawancara Malala di salah satu acara televisi di Amerika Serikat. Tidak hanya berhasil membuat penonton bersorak mendukungnya, namun juga membuat pembawa acaranya, Jon Steward terpaku dan tidak bisa bicara apa-apa.

Kalimatnya yang paling powerful menurut saya adalah saat dia menekankan pentingnya pendidikan bagi anak-anak.

“… So I think education is the best way. People would be thinking, just going to school, learning about Chemistry and Physics and Maths, and that’s it. Going to school is not only learning about different subjects, it teaches you communication, it teaches you how to live a life, it teaches you about history, it teaches you about how science is working. And other than that, you learn about equality. Because, students are provided the same benches, they sit equally.It was an equality, it teaches students how to live with others, how they get to accept each others languages, how to accept each others tradition, and each others religion. It also teaches us justice. It also teaches us respect. It teaches us how to live together…”

“… Jadi, saya pikir pendidikan adalah jalan terbaik. Orang-orang berpikir, pergi ke sekolah belajar Kimia, Fisika, Matematika. Sudah. Pergi ke sekolah tidak hanya untuk belajar berbagai mata pelajaran, [sekolah] mengajarimu bagaiamana untuk berkomunikasi, mengenaik bagaimana menjalani kehidupan, [sekolah] mengajarimu tentang sejarah, tentang bagaimana ilmu pengetahuan digunakan. Selain itu, kamu juga belajar mengenai persamaan. Karena siswa diberikan kursi yang sama, mereka duduk sama rendah. Itu mengenai persamaan. [Sekolah] juga mengajari siswa bagaimana hidup dengan orang lain, bagaimana mereka harus menerima bahasa [siswa] yang lain, bagaimana menerima tradisi yang lain, bagaimana menerima agama yang lain. Juga mengajari kita tentang keadilan. Juga mengajari kita mengenai rasa hormat. [Sekolah] mengajari kita cara hidup berdampingan…”

Saya setuju dengan yang dikatakan Malala. Saya percaya bahwa sekolah umum yang waras akan mengajarkan pentingnya toleransi. Bahwa membully siswa lain yang minoritas itu salah, atau mengganggu siswa lain yang lebih lemah itu tidak baik. Itu kenapa saya percaya bahwa orang-orang yang suka ribut-ribut merusak rumah ibadah orang lain adalah orang-orang yang tidak berpendidikan. Saya tidak bilang mereka bodo, tapi menurut saya mereka tidak mendapatkan pendidikan, seperti yang Malala sampaikan di atas.

Sekali lagi, saya ucapkan selamat kepada Malala atas penghargaan Nobel Perdamaian yang diterimanya, meskipun harus berbagi dengan Kailash Satyarthi. Selamat berjuang 🙂