The Husband

Most men genuinely believe that they are a perfect husband to their wife. Or the king of some sort. Unfortunately, the husbands that I’ve been observing over the years including my next of kin are the complete opposite.

Most of the irresponsible pieces of shit often think they are superior and try in any way possible to make their wives feel inferior. And to me, this is a classic case of low self-esteem. It’s also a classic domestic abuse which so many men get away with. You don’t see the scar on the skin, but they are eating them slowly from inside.

The traditionalistic school of thought believe that husbands have authority over their wives. It is a highly ingrained belief. Today, I personally do not think so. It’s a practice that should stay in the past. I find it downright ridiculous to ask for a husband’s permission to pay your family a visit or shave your armpit. Even if he forbids it in the most gentle way, it does not make any sense. It’s just domineering.

In my opinion, it only makes sense to ask for permission to buy a new car knowing maybe the husband will have to pay for the monthly instalment. But if you are forking out your own money to pay for it, by all means, go ahead and there is no need to ask for permission. It’s fine to discuss before making the decision, however, and if there is a budget, stick to it.

But if you got a job offer and you want to work, and you happen to have a husband who constantly makes a condescending remark or acts as though he is the smartest person in the universe, fucking grab the opportunity by the balls before you both (and your kids) starve to death. We all know that some men have a very bad track record when it comes to monetary and family management. Not trying to be sexist here; just stating a fact.

You see, marriage is founded on the principle of mutuality. It’s a partnership, not a private fiefdom for dominant husbands. I do however understand that men need to feel respected by their wives. Especially around their friends and extended family. They need their ego stroked.

Newsflash dickheads, the keyword here is RESPECT. And women need to feel respected and loved by their husbands too. Not to boss them around, humiliate them and mute them. There is only to a certain extent that a wife can give in and show admiration. And while they can still and want to do so, a good husband should know not to cross the line.

While I disagree with how other religion views this matter, I would like to share a quote. Believe me, I don’t want to use a quote from the Bible as a reference because it will look like I’m biased but it’s so good, I can’t resist.

Proverbs 31:23-26

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

You see there will never be gender or marriage equality. But I do believe a change can be made if men (and women) just leave the old practice in the past. After all, behind every great man is a great woman. And in Proverbs 31, it’s stated that the support of the wife has helped to elevate her husband. He didn’t go up there by himself.

We have all heard jokes about “who wears the pants in the family.” Yet leadership in the home is no laughing matter. And one of the primary roles of a husband which I believe is to lead. That leadership simply means influence. A husband should not dictate or demands total obedience to his every wish and command.

But have I seen this leadership though? No, unfortunately, I haven’t. I’ve only seen pathetic submission and marriages on the verge of failing.

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It’s Just An Old Soul Thing

I don’t really believe in having acquaintances. And fake people, half-hearted friendships and surface-level relationships are just not my cuppa tea. Let alone hookups and one night stands. I’m the kind of person who believes in developing real meaningful relationships that are long-lasting in all stages of my life.

And if a relationship doesn’t last, I believe I’m mature enough to understand that some things come with an expiry date. And that people just don’t click. At this stage though, I keep only a few people close to me. Likeminded ones. Old souls to be precise. After all, old souls are not easy to find. They are often in their own world.

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Being an old soul.

I’ve known this about me since I was a kid and I’m quite used to the fact that people think I’m strange and a little too quiet sometimes. My parents appreciate my silence because whenever I open my mouth, I tend to make everyone around me feel illiterate. My sisters enjoy it but I dare bet that my cousins and relatives are certain that I’m a weirdo.

See I’ve always felt like I’m 30 years older than my age. Most of the time, I prefer having conversations and debates with people my parents’ age. And as a kid, I’ve never really understood the motivations of the people my own age. I didn’t understand why 6-year-olds would throw tantrum at the mall and why my cousins want to have so many toys. As a teenager, I find their goals and priorities to be a little looney.

On top of that, I can never get my head around chasing style and following new trends and technology. Not knowing how to use Waze or Spotify or that there’s a new iPhone coming up doesn’t define me. And so far, I’m fine with that, to be honest. It’s cool. It means that there are fewer things to worry about. After all, you can’t really trust technology.

Back then though, I used to think that I didn’t have a choice and was forced to grow up due to circumstances and because I have four younger sisters. However, slowly I began to understand that I was born an old soul. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Because by the time I was an adult and left high school, and broke up with my boyfriend, I was comfortable being who I am. College was fine and when I started working, it got a lot easier for me to find like-minded souls – especially when they are older than me, even by a year.

When I was jobless for almost half a year, I spent my days at home hanging out with my mom and sisters. Sometimes I’d drag them to go on midnight drives with me. I didn’t go out and have drinks with my friends like most normal people would do. Here’s why – I SPEAK AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT LANGUAGE. And I am aware of it.

I’ve always known this because I was a social outcast in school. I’m still figuring out how I made friends. But I realised this more the last time I had a gathering at home. I was the host but my friends were much comfortable with my parents and each other. We did talk, however. We did the whole catching up thing over a few bottles of drinks. But there were limitations and I didn’t know how to express myself entirely, realising that they couldn’t really respond to me. Yikes!

And plus, I don’t like to go out just for the sake of going out. Going out is really a waste of energy, time and money. It’s pointless. But when I do, I’d like very much to experience something that echoes my way of perceiving the world. I really don’t mind spending money on people and things that would give me experiences that worth my while and broaden my horizons. Provided they have nothing to do with height. That shit scared the shit out of me.

Anyways, because of this, people my age think I’m boring. I guess some people just can’t accept the fact that I don’t really need to have fun all the time. And that I’m fine being home alone. Being alone doesn’t really mean I’m lonely although there are times that I am. But that’s another story. I’m a good company for myself. I prefer time to myself than packing my weekends with social events.

That being said, being an old soul means I’m also struggling with many other things. Things that many people may not be able to relate to unless they’re of the same species. These struggles are bad and I’ve not been able to find ways to combat them. Wait, maybe I did. By slowly removing myself from the eyes of the world.

Being an old soul and doubling up as the eldest child, my idea of responsibilities, possibilities and explanations are vast. I see life for myself from many angles. Like a bird view. And I do the same for my parents and sisters. It’s often because I feel like it’s my duty to do so. Because goddammit, making decisions and judgements can be very harmful to you and the people around you sometimes. Especially so, with endless internal and external influences.

I don’t think that I know very much about anything. But at times, I do somehow seem to know how to do things I’ve not even done myself yet. It’s almost like I’ve lived before. And most of the times, it feels like a deja vu. For some reason, I just know how all the shit works and get done. People come to me for advice. And I don’t know how I know the solutions and outcomes. It freaks me out sometimes. But at least those who seek advice will feel a lot better. I think so. I hope.

However, I get emotionally drained pretty easily because of that. While I sincerely want to be there to give them the emotional support they need from me, it can really take a great toll on my energy. It can also be very mentally exhausting. It sometimes affects my work and my sleep. I guess that’s also probably why I like being alone. It’s because I’m a sponge. And I tend to think a lot… About everything. Which later sort of leads to depression.

Anyways, while it is already a challenge to find like-minded friends nowadays, finding a life partner for an old soul is even more challenging! I used to think of other reasons and blame it on today’s dating culture. But the truth is, I’m not capable of just dating or having one night stands even though I did. It’s because I get emotionally invested in whoever I’m sorta dating.

I feel things on a deeper level than most people do, and I don’t open up to just anyone. But I did have a few hookups in my life before. For two years at least. It was a stage in life I never plan and never saw coming until it did. Until it ended and crushed me like a popsicle.

I refused to say it out loud previously, worried I won’t stand a chance with anyone at all but after all that, I know that I won’t settle down with anyone unless I think that there’s some future potential in the relationship.

I’m just another old soul stuck in the 21st century. A century where fake people, casual dating, open relationships and hookups are acceptable. I’ve had my share and I don’t want it anymore.

It’s just an old soul thing.

The end.

A Muted Global Pandemonium

Internet luring is common, since perhaps, 10 years ago. And any child can become the victim of an internet predator. A sexual predator, to be exact. And these predators are open to anything. They don’t discriminate gender, ethnicity, education, socioeconomic status, even religion.

Nowadays, there are many stories of young children being groomed online and raped. Rescued? Less than half of that.

However, even at home, one is not safe. One does not have the fear of being left alone for no reason. Or being left alone with a certain person.

I don’t personally know any rape victims, but I do know a number of those who were sexually abused – as a child, even adults. And there are a few that I know who were sexually assaulted by their own next of kin – the victims of incest.

While they nervously shared with me about the routine event of molestation, whether or not they experienced the sadistic crime of rape, I don’t really know.

When I was 18, a friend in high school once shared a very disturbing story with me. A story of incest that took place in the 1970s between his uncle and his aunt. Every now and then, whenever the topic comes into discussions, I would have flashbacks of the narration that makes me sick. The narration was so graphic. It was more than just molestation. And I questioned the incident, though – was it rape, or accidentally a consensual sex?

It was a tale of incest that first took place in a cornfield. His uncle who was drunk when he shared the story with him was in his late teen when one day he realised how fully developed his younger sister was. Puberty did her right. She was curvy and voluptuous. She still is today, even in her late 50s.

The siblings were close when they were kids. They were innocent. He admitted, however, that he has always been sexually active and developed wild imaginations when he was a young boy. As he gets older, masturbating was getting boring for him.

He has had his eyes on his sister for quite some time before the cornfield incident. He shared that he would have sexual dreams of her. Her shadows and silhouettes at night drove him crazy that he would masturbate to the images he has of her whenever he had the chance.

The sister who had no idea what was going on in her brother’s head, of course, didn’t have any suspicions and was okay being left alone with him. He was her trusted babysitter. Or at least, seemed less predatory.

The story as told by my friend:

So one day, in the cornfield, and happened to be far from everyone else, just the two of them, he couldn’t control himself. Watching his sister walking from behind, somehow physically exposed, he could feel himself having a hard-on.

He couldn’t stand the torture anymore and told her to stop walking. She ran to him and coincidentally brushed her breast against his face as he lifted his head and moved closer to her.

He took a step back and looked at her from top to toe. Obviously, he was undressing her. But still, she didn’t suspect anything. Until he got even closer to her and started violating her body. She was stunned, I’m sure but, couldn’t say anything. He pinned her down in the dirt in the cornfield.

He started touching her firm breasts. He took off her shirt. And then her bra. He groped and massaged her breasts. He pinched her nipples between his fingers. Her nipples both go rock hard at that. She whimpered. It turned him on and then continued rubbing and pinching her nipples for a while. He was having a time of his life with no guilt at all. And she moaned a little as if she liked it.

He then started kissing her breast, and slowly went down and started sucking them. While at it, he pulled down her pants, sliding it down her hips. He spread her legs and started caressing her thighs. He could feel her body shaking. And slowly pulled down her pants and panties to her feet. She was breathing heavily and moaning as he became more aggressive with her breast. When he rubbed her pussy, she whimpered. She was so wet!

Dude, I am a guy and I know for sure, why he couldn’t help himself!

Her body language was so inviting, she whimpered and moaned! She was so wet that she allowed his finger slid up her snatch then forced its way inside her pussy! She was a virgin and her pussy was tight.

It’s so wrong that I was so into his story. They are my uncle and aunt for fuck sake!

And of course, naturally, she spread her legs even wider. He didn’t need any more encouragement to go on. He took off her pants and panties, shoved his head down, started kissing and licking her pussy. She was moaning like crazy as his tongue plunged in and out of her. He fingered her and ate her out. And later, his hard dick slid into her wet pussy. As he was fucking her, she was moaning, gasping and panting, craving more.

Doesn’t she know that she was being raped? Did she want it to happen? I had so many questions in my head.

And I asked my friend, “Didn’t he feel guilty at all?”

“He said he enjoyed it, and he could tell that she enjoyed it too. She sort of didn’t say stop,” said my friend.

“Did it happen again after that?” I asked.

“No idea, I didn’t ask. But I can’t look at them the same way anymore,” he said.

Well, I don’t think I can even see them as siblings, hugging each other without thinking it’s sort of in a comforting yet sexual embrace.

But they seem to be cordial with each other. They are both married. Not to each other, of course. And in fact, they are grandparents now.

Let bygones be bygones, I guess. But I am pretty sure, if it was rape, she must be traumatised by the incident. And if she was, perhaps at that time, nobody reacted to her traumatic reactions. Perhaps even she herself would not have realised that she has checked out for a while and was not being herself. And she must have had an endless amount of sleepless nights. And perhaps, dealt with it by never telling anyone, and eventually forgetting it herself.

No two rape victims will react in the exact same way. Some would want to be positive and live their lives. While some would think, what is the point of living anymore? And they would engage in substance abuse of drugs or alcohol to help cope with the overwhelming feelings.

There are many short- and long-term effects of sexual assault and rape. There are the physical, mental and spiritual effects. Mental illness and depression can lead to self-injurious behaviours. Victims of sexual abuse become abusers themselves.

According to Penang Women Development Corporation (PWDC) chairman Yap Soo Huey in 2015, there are 3,000 rape cases reported every year on average in Malaysia, with only two out of 10 cases going to court.

Rape is a crime that revolves around power, hostility, and violence. Rapists don’t discriminate. And they can be anyone – strangers and family members with an insatiable thirst.

Rape happens every day. Yet, it’s one of the most under-reported crimes in Malaysia and around the world. A lot of evidence point out that Malaysians’ attitude towards rape is very poor. And victim-blaming seems to be the culture.

I’m not a professional but I’m glad that people trust me enough to talk about their experiences with me. I believe by doing so, they feel more relieved and liberated. And that they stop blaming themselves for what had happened to them.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. For some of us, it’s a day of love and romancing. Some, it’s a day to be a complete couch potato. While for the rest, it’s probably a day of reliving their worst nightmare.

Everyone wanted their first time to be a loving and positive experience. Unfortunately, not everyone gets what they want and eventually make themselves believe they had a wonderful night.

On a separate (yet related) note, one of the biggest forces in the Universe is puberty. It has the highest potential for transforming one’s life from zero to hero. Don’t forget, good genes play a part too.

While we can say that puberty kicked in at the right moment and did the right job with some of us, it did not for the rest, with additional fat tissue and funny patches where they are not needed.

But when it did the right job, and you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, it gives rise to certain evocative tales – sexual assault and rape. Perhaps, let’s include child sexual abuse as well.

 

Being Sarawakian: The Reserved Tribe

All the while I was in the Peninsula, I have had the chance to mingle with people of different culture, mindset, attitudes and characteristics. This was through my college years and employment at two different companies.

Quite embarrassed to say, I feel like I know the people of the Peninsula more than I know my own people back home. Even more embarrassed when they ask me questions about my own state, I could not answer them confidently; worried that I would be the butt of or their jokes if they happen to know more that I do.

Here is the thing, I left Kuching before I turn 21 and basically grew up in the Peninsula as I was there for almost a decade. I was a loner in my teenage years and I was deep in my own world of imagination and worry. I was busy writing and making music.

Leaving the Peninsula meant leaving my life, my friends, and my career. During my time there, I was not surrounded by any Borneans (relatives not included). Even when I come across a few, there was a degree of uncomfortableness that made me distance myself from them. The main reason would be their mindset. However, I do have two close friends that I met in college, though – Sharon Bentley (Kelabit + Chinese) and Clarribel Sayong (Iban). And they are an exception.

While they claim to be much more open-minded and liberal, they are to a certain degree, the opposite. Excluding my close friends, the majority of the people in Peninsula are downright racist and judgemental. I was lucky to have the one-of-a-kinds as my friends and confidant. They are the reason why I stayed there that long apart from it being the land of opportunities.

However, I am not discussing their attitude and characteristics to cause unnecessary chaos. Abiding by the series Being Sarawakian, this post is about my opinion on the progress of my own people.

The Attitude and Characteristics of the Bidayuhs

As mentioned in my previous post, the Bidayuhs are generally soft-spoken people. We are quite reserved and do not open up to strangers very easily.

Many articles/books written by the Europeans in the 19th century portray the Bidayuhs as people who suffered oppression before the arrival of Rajah James Brooke in 1841.

Malaysian-based New Zealand travel photojournalist, author and photographer Peter Anderson stated in his book Discover Borneo – Sarawak (page 58) that the Bidayuhs almost became extinct in the early 1800s due to their mild, inoffensiveness, and tolerant nature. The Brunei Malay rulers of Sarawak enslaved the surviving Bidayuhs from the Iban attacks, which the Brunei Malays encouraged. The Rajahs brought peace to Sarawak and the Bidayuh have prospered since that time.

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However, one of the White Rajahs did not hold the Bidayuhs in high regard, as stated in Dato Peter Minos’ book; The Future Of The Dayak Bidayuhs In Malaysia (page 15).

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“Charles Brooke did not think very much or very high of the Bidayuhs and thus he described them as having customs and appearance which do not encourage so great an interest in a traveller’s breast as the Sea Dayaks (Ibans). His words implied that the Bidayuhs lacked self-confidence and gregariousness.”

Yup, that… may be true, to a certain extent.

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The following are more excerpts from Minos’ book under the subtopic Attitudes and Characteristics:

“Morality is of a higher standard (than others), their gratitude is undoubted, and their hospitality to strangers well ascertained.” – Hugh Low

“The Land Dayaks (Bidayuhs) have not the bold and arrogant look which distinguishes the Sea Dayaks (Ibans). They are quieter and milder in their habits, and more modest in their dress.” – Odoardo Beccari

“The expression of all classes and of both sexes of these people is that of a subdued melancholy.” – Spenser St. John

Spenser is attributing this to the Bidayuhs past experience of oppression and suppression during the Brunei Sultanate.

“Bidayuh is mild and tractable, hospitable when he is well used, grateful for the kindness, industrious, honest and simple; neither treacherous nor cunning and so truthful that the word of one of them might safely be taken before the oath of half a dozen Borneans (Brunians). In their dealing, they are very straightforward and correct, and so trustworthy that they rarely attempt, even after a lapse of years, evade payment of a just debt. On the reverse of this picture, there is little unfavourable to be said, and the wonder is that they have learned so little deceit and falsehood where the examples before them have been so rife.” – Henry Keppel

“The Bidayuhs, to W.R Geddes, believed in true personal freedom and liberty and were highly independent-minded people who did not like to be controlled or dominated by others or by their own kind, so much so that they were often perceived as obstinate, recalcitrant, and uncooperative”, said Minos in the book.

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W.R. Geddes’ opinion is a slap on my face as that is what I think of myself majority of the time.

“Land Dayaks did not get much attention and encouragement from the Administration (Government) for many years. This neglect was mainly due to competition by other, more numerous and sometimes more troublesome ethnic groups. The Land Dayaks, used to being treated badly by outsiders, tacitly accepted this inferior position, which in turn contributed to the still popular idea that they are a conservative and less energetic
people.” – B. G. Grijpstra

The Bidayuhs today, are they still the same as their ancestors?

Here’s what Dato Peter Minos stated in his book:

“The Bidayuhs regard talking too loudly in public, airing one’s views too openly, pushing oneself and trying to order others around as marks of rudeness and arrogance. To be regarded or said or even perceived to be rude and arrogant in the Bidayuh community is undesirable and demeaning. To the Bidayuhs, a good and respected person is one who talks the least, who does push himself or herself around and who does not annoy or disturb anyone. Being natural adherents of extreme personal freedom and independence, the Bidayuhs tend to avoid those who order them around or who control too much of their lives or who tell them what to do or what not to do.”

In short, we are still reserved, but we definitely are moving forward. At least I think I and some people I know are. The youngsters are definitely pushing the envelopes.

I am hopeful.

And here are the notable Bidayuhs so far:

  1. Anding Indrawani Zaini, an Akademi Fantasia star, model, actor and singer. He is of mixed Melanau-Bidayuh parentage.
  2. Dewi Liana Seriestha, Miss World 2014 Top 25 and Miss Talent for Miss World Beauty Pageant.
  3. Pandelela Rinong, Malaysian national diving athlete.
  4. Tony Eusoff, actor and model.
  5. Venice Elphi, Malaysian football player, played for ATM FA.
  6. Richard Riot Jaem, Malaysian cabinet minister.
  7. Temenggong Salau, Bidayuh community leader during the formation of Malaysia.

PS: While doing my research (for my own intellectual satisfaction), I noticed that other writers who have written about the same thing also used the same quotes. While this is just a random post, I still want it to be worth referring to by some people some day for some reason.

PS: Dato Peter Minos, a modern and highly educated Bidayuh businessman is now the Chairman of Kota Samarahan Municipal Council

 

Stigmatised Solitude

“Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.” – Buddha

I had a very interesting conversation with a Grab Car driver over the weekend. The nice Chinese gentleman in his mid-40s was very concern with the fact that I am 29, single and living alone, far away from my family. And he did not mean this in an offensive way. In fact, I was cool with his thoughts and opinions.

How it started was he began talking about school holidays and asking what my children are doing. So, I told him I am single. It was an interesting 20 minutes conversation.

He also said something very interesting, though.

“Walaupun lu punya hati banyak besar, lu jangan kasi harapan kepada semua orang. Jangan kongsi sama ramai orang. Hati lu cuma untuk satu orang yang lu sayang. Bunga ada banyak, kumbang pun ada banyak. Tetapi satu untuk satu. Kalau mahu main-main, jangan cari pasangan untuk lu kahwin. Suami cari duit untuk jaga isteri dan anak. Suami bertanggungjawab buat mereka gembira. Kalau lu mahu cari suami, jangan cari yang main-main sahaja. Mesti ada kerja. Gaji kurang dari lu punya pun tidak apa. Sama-sama lu usaha. Saya punya isteri dan anak banyak gembira. Saya dulu ada girlfriend. Dia kerja shampoo girl. Dia cantik oh. Saya banyak sayang sama dia. Tetapi dia main-main sahaja. Lagi pula dia ada banyak tattoo oh. Macam gangster. Ini isteri saya, mula-mula saya tidak sayang dia. Ini kawan punya mak yang kasi kenal sama saya. Orang putih cakap ‘arranged marriage’. Tetapi lama-lama, saya sangat sayang sama dia. Dia kerja office, pandai masak dan jaga anak. Nanti bila anak sudah besar sikit, saya bawa mereka pergi Kuching lah jumpa lu.”

As we age, our priorities shift. Our wants and our needs change. Not only that, our social contacts tend to decrease too. Due to that, many would rather move to the city for better opportunities. Or to live alone in a relatively new environment.

I moved to the Peninsula mainly for educational attainment, meeting my life expectancy, and securing median earnings. Along with that, I also crave for inspirations to write and enrich my intelligence.

Whenever I go home for a short break, people would ask me when am I moving back to Kuching for good. And I used to tell them, “I have no idea. I can’t see it now.”

They have many assumptions as to why I have not planned on moving back. Many assume I enjoy the nightlife, the social life, and the money. They thought I earn double their salaries and am having the best time of my life. Unfortunately, financially, that is not the case. In fact, I am losing more than what I make due to the cost of living and that I am responsible for all of my own bills.

Well, I am going to skip the impressive attributes of this very city. Despite the traffic congestion, I love it here. But I love it because I am happy living alone. I don’t actually live in the heart of the city but, I would not want to live any other way. Because to me, living alone is a collective achievement.

I am a compulsive thinker and I cherish individualism. On a prosaic level, I am self-centred. I prefer to make my own decision although, for certain occasions, I would consult my friends. Be that as it may, I do not like people telling me what to do or what they think I should do. Like roommates or a typical Chinese landlady who pretend she fucking care about my wellbeing.

When you live alone, you are free from the distractions and judgments of others. You can truly be yourself, 24/7, indulging wonderful habits like just being lazy and walk around the house naked.

And living alone is not necessarily an entirely solitary experience. Though many would say that an isolation like this is depressing and horrific. WRONG. Living alone encourages productivity and creativity. Trust me, I know this very well.

It is hard to write or compose something when people are arguing very loudly in the next room. But when you are alone, the calm is glorious and brilliance can strike just like that. You have the time and freedom to explore and work on your passions, to create your magnum opus. And it gives you the ultimate freedom to wind down and relax, helping you to recover from your busy and intense work days.

Yes, sometimes I do feel lonely. Back home I have my parents and four younger sisters. It’s a very noisy house and don’t get me wrong, I love being around my parents and sisters. We could be the next Kardashians if people were to film us. But half the time, I prefer to be by myself. I just value my privacy and solitude over traditional family and societal structures.

But anyways, it is not only being alone that make someone lonely. Many people I know who are not alone feels trapped by feelings of solitude. By lonely in my case, I mean when I am sick, there is no one to look out for me, make soup for me.

Yes, we do have a favourable male-to-female ratio here. But the chances of meeting a life partner or be in a steady relationship is very thin. Instead of being one of the best cities for dating, the big bustling Kuala Lumpur is just another place for hook-ups. Thank you, Tinder. You are one of the perks for urban dwellers and I am guilty of reaping the benefit for a few times.

Women living alone is a trend that is catching fire in our society. And this is spreading all throughout the world, even in Asia. Whether by choice or chance, the number of women living alone is increasing. I personally, find having roommates makes me feel less of an adult. And this leads me to talk about the notion of the ‘singularist’ and the right to have and make that choice.

In a society where marriage is common and has been held up as the ideal, married people misunderstand how singletons experience living alone. When they look at the singletons, they think that there is a sense of failure or that there is something wrong with them. That they are some kind of a loser. Or that maybe they are gay. And they will also tell you to your face that you are going to die a sad spinster.

FAILURE? LOSER? GAY? SPINSTER? Frankly speaking, that is just ridiculous.

Since the last decade, people have been opting if not, happily living the single life, realising that the marriage or partnerships they formed are failing. And today, not only just based on statistics, but based on my observation, a large number of women – career women, specifically – has made the single life a much more attractive option than matrimony with an unsatisfactory partner.

This is not a failure. This is the right thing to do. There is a limit to making sacrifices and trying to work things out. Even being married or in a relationship, you get lonely too. And loneliness is not tied to relationship status. Because emotional intimacy takes work. To assume that marriage or cohabitation is the solution is illogical. If your relationship is on the rocks, you are likely to be less happy than people who are unmarried or divorced.

My best friends since my college days are married. In fact, two are mums now. And one has other priorities she needs to look into for now. They and other people are married are happy in their own terms. What happiness is to them is different than was it is to the singletons. And in my opinion, happiness is subjective because it comes differently for everyone. There are things in life that can make you happy that are subjective. A bottle of Coke, for example, makes me happy while my best friend’s husband prefers Pepsi.

Everyone seeks happiness in their own way. And we all long for meaningful relationships and social connections. Being single and living alone is a form of emotional armour. Being single, one does not have to deal with the anxiety associated with relationships.

But whatever the decision one made – whether to be single or married, to live alone or have roommates, none of us has the right to judge and tell them what is best for them. The ultimate thing to do as human beings is to be happy.

Despite having a bad track record in the man-woman relationship department, as much as I put myself out there, I also stood many people up. I never feel bad about it although it would be nice to have different people to have a cup of coffee with. My love affair with my friends has formed the cornerstone of my life. They matter more to me after my parents and sisters.

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I will not actually bail on domestic life and I do not have a disinclination to settle down. It is just not now to live in and it is not healthy to believe in marriage as the ultimate turnpike to happiness.

At the moment, I am happy living alone without the pairing colour to my monochrome.

Free Love And How We Conversate

Meaningful interactions we have today with others are subtly being destroyed by the Internet and mobile technologies. We are being disconnected from the world around us, and subconsciously are leading to an inescapable sense of isolation we call our private space.

10 years ago, the only social media platform I was on was Blogger for the most obvious reason. And my only form of communication besides face-to-face communication was the Short Message Service (SMS). I rarely make phone calls and the only phone calls I would receive would be from my then boyfriend. When we were in a long-distance relationship, there was Yahoo Messenger.

Today, I start my day by checking messages on WhatsApp and Skype, email, skimming the latest headlines on Huffington Post or Buzzfeed, posting random photos with a kickass caption on Instagram, posting something ambiguous on Facebook and once in a while, swiping left and right on Tinder. And for some people, for the rest of the day, they are constantly on their mobile devices for both personal or professional use.

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With the internet and mobile devices, we have the ability to connect with people instantly at our fingertips regardless of our whereabouts. Yet, ironically, by being connected, we’re also disconnected. Our social behaviours have changed since we decided to place a screen in the middle of our interactions.

Thank you, inventors, for your brilliance and inventions. But to be honest, I’m really tired of it – of the sense of disconnection – though I do agree that at the same time, it makes life a lot easier. Yes, we benefit from it. I mean through a social networking site like Facebook, for instance, it is amazing how we can find a long-lost friend, enabling us to reconnect.

But that as it may, although we conveniently turn to mobile devices for our social needs, we primally yearn for physical interaction. I know I do – not so much lust, but warmth. But the problem is, like our devices, we now expect our relationships to be just as fast and brief. And this diminishes the quality of human interaction.

A hook-up application like Tinder makes it easier for those who wants just that – a brief and fast, no string attached sexual relationship. Although many of us are trying to break the stigma of it being just a hook-up application, we are secretly glad that it exist for what it is. The main reason being – there is no need for emotional obligations and expectations. We love the ‘free love’ so much that we just don’t value or cherish actual relationships anymore.

However, this technological detachment affects not only social relationships but family ties as well.

Often when I’m out at a restaurant by myself or with my friends, I get emotional looking at a mother and child laughing and bonding together, father and son discussing yesterday’s football match and grandchildren listening to grandparents talking about their past. It would remind me of my family back home and the time that I missed spending with them, being away on the other side of the country.

But today, we don’t often see all these anymore. Half the people at the restaurant would either be so engrossed in an online conversation on their mobile phones or play games on other devices.

We are now spending more time with technology than we are with our loved ones. Even when having our breakfast or dinner at home, most of us would hunch over our phones or tablets as we take one bite after another of our food. I myself am guilty of this crime sometimes, but I avoid doing it at home.

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It is very common nowadays to see parents using these mobile devices to keep their children occupied before they become distracted or loud. Once at Sushi Zanmai, while the parents were enjoying each sushi after another, the son – age between 4 to 7 – was so engrossed watching cartoons on YouTube.

By doing this rather than bonding with them, many of these children grow up not even bothering to hang out with the family even on their free time. They think it’s okay to not bond with their family members anymore. In fact, even special family occasions are now infiltrated by mobile technologies.

We are overusing the technology and it is declining our face-to-face communication and family time. What will happen 10 years down the road?

We were once invaded by human with weaponry who killed millions, we should not be invaded by hazardous humanoids. Before they invade us and takes over our human duties and human rights, we should not place too much importance on technology.

Uninstall Outlook on your mobile phone for a start. Nobody will fire you for not checking your emails at 12 midnight on a Saturday. And if you do get fired, shove a broom up that sender’s ass.

And even if you still have it on your phone, you have a choice not to check your emails at hours where you should be spooning your loved one, if not having sex or dozing off.

Time and the Ambitious Project

No, I’m not talking about my music and poems.

I’ve experienced the convulsion of dealing with my unspoken love for someone and a few doomed love stories but I’ve never experienced a dark adventure of a thrilling ride into the world of terrorism nor fighting for my life in a tsunami attack.

I’ve lost friends (and cut contact with them) due to the different path of lives we all chose to take but I’ve never experienced losing and witnessing the loss of my loved ones to tragic death.

I often go through extreme sadness that would lead me to shut myself from the world for a period of time but I never suffered from multiple personality disorder that will take me over that leads to hurting someone I never meant to.

One’s life to some other people may look interesting and stocked with a riot of laughter. But the truth for some of us is that the life that we live can be eye-grabbing and terrifying at times.

We don’t know what the people around us go through. No surprise that we may not even know what’s going on in the life of someone who is close to us.

When I look at the people around me and get to know them better, I find each and every one of them very interesting. For some, I sympathise, and for the rest, I draw my inspirations from them – mainly for my poems.

Sometimes when I want things to change for the better, I’d hope to get a call from someone who’d help me sort things out. Like telling me what to do, step by step till I achieve something. This rather sounds like a mental delusion, though.

And sometimes when I feel like my life is falling apart and I want to start over, I’d imagine myself living in the era of civilisation that dates back to maybe 2600 BC. No idea why but it somehow calms me down.

Sometimes I’d hope so badly that this is just a movie I’m in based on a novel for some good reasons. And I’m just brought on board to replace someone else who was supposed to be essaying this prominent role of mine.

To many, good things are being delayed for all sorts of reasons. And of course, after having to go through one hurdle after another, we’d all hope that happiness will eventually see the light of day sometime soon.

Whoever that is directing this movie I’m in, we truly have a lot of creative differences.

But life was never meant to be easy for some people. In fact, some of us are meant to deal with the constant worrying nexus between what’s wrong and what’s right in life every now and then.

And people often tell me that God will only give the toughest test to His toughest soldier.

If it was up to me, this movie will come with a template that boasts flamboyant colours – because as important as ‘sadness’, ‘annoyed’ and ‘anger’ is to us as human beings, ‘happy’ needs to come for a visit quite often.

Finding happiness is everyone’s ambitious project. Feel-good quotient in movies is either contrived or excessive. In reality, one need to strike the right note. And to do this, it is very important to surround ourselves with positive people who carry with them positive vibes and who cares about you.

Some of us don’t have much time to live. One’s vivacity and positive outlook in life are very important. To the readers, a person who doesn’t care about you is not as a matter of course a bad person. It’s just that they are not attached to you like you are to them and that’s something we cannot force.

Investing in your time is investing in your life. Do not invest in those who does not care enough about you to invest in you. A person who cares about you will take time for you and he/she will not make you feel bad for taking up said time.