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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Misyar Marriage...Misyar Not!!

Yeah, yeah, we’ll get back to my wonderful, amazing trip to Bali in a moment. For now I want to talk about a certain subject that has had me fuming these last couple of days. You may have read about it in the newspapers; I’m talking about “misyar” marriages.

Definition of Misyar marriage - a matrimonial pact where the man need not give his wife any material support – like money or clothing – except provide for her sexual needs.

Ok. So the ball is pretty much still in the air about whether this ruling is legal according to Syariah Law. But let’s put legal or non-legal issues aside first.

First of all, according to Islam, when a man and woman get married, the man is financially, emotionally and spiritually responsible for his wife’s wellbeing. Misyar gives the man leeway on the matter, simply because now he no longer needs to cater to the wife’s financial needs; but just needs to pop in (literally!) once in a while, whenever he feels like it, to give *ahem* sexual favors.

Holy crap Batman!! Tell me dear readers, just how is this different than trying to legalize prostitution? Seriously, when you take away the fact a ceremony was held at the beginning of their relationship (I wonder who paid for that, must have been the woman!!), the “relationship” is just like A Regular Joe visiting his weekly/monthly mistress at his favorite brothel.

Some snippets taken from The Star:

Dr Mahmud, of the university’s Islamic Studies Academy, said allowing such marriages could go a long way towards reducing incidents of vice in the country.

So you’re saying the reason for vice in this country is because a lot of women are unmarried and looking for someone to scratch their itch?! Coz seriously Dr., you need to do a whole lot more research in that area.

Kelantan State Minister Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who supported the idea, said such a marriage was allowed in Islam on the condition that consent is obtained from the woman who is willing to enter into this matrimonial pact.

Ok, a show of hands among the women who would rather get involved in a Misyar marriage than become an old maid? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Ok, maybe I can’t say much about being an old maid, because I’m not one. I was fortunately to meet hubby and get married at a relatively young age (Is 25 young?). But I think, as a woman, I can shed a few rays of sunshine on the subject. WOMEN DO NOT LIKE TO SHARE THEIR MEN. Polygamy? Yeah, if I were a widow with 5 kids and some kind married man wanted to take me as his second wife, sure, I would be open to the possibility. With condition, the 1st wife knew and approved. And also, with the assurance that my kids would be taken care off. I can live with that, if I had to.

But getting into a marriage where my man doesn’t give me any money, doesn’t provide me with clothes, or a house or a freaking car to drive around; that just doesn’t make sense. On top of that, I’m supposed to serve him with sex!!! So you see, I just don’t see how this is misyar marriage is a win-win situation for the women. You have to sleep with a loser who can’t afford to provide you with the basic necessities in life. Boohoo!

Furthermore, as I hope most of you would agree, one of the main reasons for getting married is to have children, to provide a downline of your species; we need more women like Along in this world!! Tell me how getting involved in a misyar marriage would obtain this? To me, misyar marriages destroy the fundamentals of marriage in the first place. The man is not made responsible for his wife’s economical wellbeing, or that of her children. If they divorce (with I’ve read, most likely happens in misyar marriages, shocking, I know) the wife cannot claim a single cent from the ex. What is become of the children? During the marriage, the man is not required to be there often as it is stated that the man may visit the wife for conjugal relations as and when he pleases. So what kind of relationship can the children hope to have with their so-called father if he is never around?

In the same column, Mingguan Malaysia quoted Single Mothers Association of Malaysia president Maimunah Omar as saying that if misyar marriages could help to resolve the problem of women looking for life partners, there should not be any objection to it.

She said that while the problem was not acute, it would be increasingly difficult in future for Muslim women to get married because their population were increasing while more and more men were getting addicted to drugs, becoming jobless and being further out of reach for various other reasons.

“If we look at marriage as a shared responsibility, we can resolve a lot of problems faced by unmarried women,” she said. She added that many successful and accomplished women wanted a man to protect and care for her and to have children with.

Maimunah said that from the male viewpoint, many were also holding back marriage plans because of the lack of steady jobs and the rising costs of marriage.

For the love of God!! OK, I have quite a number of girlfriends who are still unmarried, who would be totally offended by what this maniac woman has to say. It’s just like in High School; girls being told not to be so smart coz then the guys would feel intimidated and not like them. Well, who needs boys like that anyway? All this bullshit about women holding high office positions and not being able to find a compatible companion; maybe it’s not the women that need to be dumbed down, but the men need to step up and realize that women were not created to stroke their intensively big ego in the first place. If you can’t afford to get married now, do something about it. Get off you lazy ass and get a real job. My suggestion would be something that doesn’t include sticking a filthy needle in your arm.

Plus, when on earth did Malaysian women become so desperate to be married all of a sudden? It’s like there’s a ticking bomb somewhere, if women are not married by a certain age, the bomb will go off and the entire human species will be wiped from the face of the earth. Frankly speaking, I would rather remain unmarried than be married to a loser. If the guy I loved couldn’t afford me a big house, a small apartment would do. If we couldn’t afford going out for dinner every weekend, takeaway from McDonalds sounds grand too. If you can’t afford to take me to theatre shows or to the movies, watching astro at the local mamak stand is sufficient.

Let’s say for argument sake, I am 35 and still not married. I hold a high office position and I own a nice house and a nice car. Financially I’m doing very well on my own. I have friends I hang out with on weekends and because I’m single I can visit my family quite often. I have the occasional boyfriends but nothing serious. Suddenly I’m hit with the sound of my biological clock; it’s ticking..LOUD. What is a successful, intelligent, kind megababe to do? Do I

a) Marry one of my loser boyfriends who couldn’t handle the idea of dating a higher ranking woman like myself, much less be married to one and relinquish all financial rights as a wife?
b) Adopt a child that desperately needs love and take some hormones so maybe I can lactate and provide breast milk so that the baby will become my breastfed child?

Seriously, does it take a genius to figure out which option is much better? Yeah, so there may be some of you who’ll be saying it’s not the same, women need men companionship to survive, to feel whole, to belong. The whole idea is companionship. Tell me where it states a woman gets that in a misyar marriage.

In conclusion, women are tolerant but not to the point of being labeled stupid. We’re ready to sacrifice a few perks in life if it means being with the man we love and sharing the responsibility together. The key word here is SHARING. Being together; going through thick and thin together, going through good and bad times together, being poor and being rich together. Being married yet still living free and independent lives from each other doesn’t count as a marriage in my book.

And it shouldn’t in yours.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bali Trip – Day 2

Where were we? Oh yeah, 1st day in Bali. Everything nice and dandy, until we found out we were actually broke and had no money to do anything or go anywhere. What a way to start our holiday.

The next morning, having slept quite early the night before, we both woke up early for Subuh prayers. Since breakfast wasn’t ready until 8am, hubby decided to take a quick bath and head out to the nearby Circle K convenient store (similar to 7-11 over here) to try and see if he could withdraw any money. I decided to sleep a little while longer, still not being in a very cheery mood.

After about 20 minutes, hubby came back up to our room. I waited with anticipation for the news; successful or not. With a sly smile, hubby took out his wallet and showed me the money. Glorious, magnificent money!! We were broke, no longer!! We had cash!! Our holiday plans were back on track!! It’s slightly shameful how having no money turned me into a sobbing, blubbering fool while having money transformed me into a lustful, ecstatic, grinning from ear to ear idiot. Just slightly shameful.

After breakfast, we headed down to the lobby. After negotiating with the Inn people, we hired one of their drivers aka supir, to take us sightseeing.
We decided to head to Tanah Lot first, seeing it was the nearest place to visit.
One of Bali's most important sea temples, Tanah Lot temple is built atop a huge rock, surrounded by the sea. Build in the 16th century, Tanah Lot's rituals include paying of homage to the guardian spirits of the sea. Poisonous sea snakes found in the little caves at the base of the rocky island are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. The best time to view the place is during sunset coz the sun sets right behind the temple, giving it an illuminated glow. Since we arrived at Tanah Lot around 10am, we had to forgo the sunset view and be content with viewing the temple in daylight. Entrance fee is Rp10,000 per person (locals get a different rate), so we took our time and toured the entire area. It was beautiful, but as the weather got hotter, we decided to head back to the car after ½ hour.


We had initially planned to head straight to Ubud and spend the night there but our supir suggested we head up north to Kintamani.
Promised on almost every tour available there, we figured we would make a day trip up to see the active volcano, have lunch at one of their famous restaurants and then head down to Ubud. The trip up north was wonderful; we saw many paddy fields and other beautiful sceneries. We even got to see a funeral at one of the houses we passed by. Our supir mentioned that the funerals like that were for the rich citizens, who could afford spending up to Rp2.5 million for the ceremony.

Once we reached Kintamani, we headed straight for the restaurant. Both of us were hungry, having only dry toast and fruits for breakfast.
We dined at one of the restaurants at the village of Penolakan, which gave us a beautiful view of Mount Batur (the volcano) and the Batur Lake. The caldera of Batur is impressive: 7 miles in diameter and 60 feet deep. We saw houses situated at the bottom of the volcano, just meters away from the blacken soil. The food wasn’t great (fortunately, everything was halal), but the view made up for everything.



Finally, after spending one hour, taking pictures and enjoying the view, we headed back down the valley. We arrived in Ubud around 3pm, and checked into the Merthayasa Inn. A rate for a double room was Rp80,000, so it fit right into our budget (we had money!!!). We made plans with our supir to start sightseeing again the next day at 9am. After a whole day of traveling, we were poofed. A late afternoon nap felt much in need.

After napping, we headed out to check out Ubud town. Unfortunately for us, most of the shops closed early, leaving us with not much choice but to do window shopping. We found out that a Kecak and Fire dance was being performed at 7pm at a nearby hall. We purchased tickets (Rp50,00 per person) and headed out again after dinner.


The Kechak Dance was very interesting. Unlike other dances, there is no gamelan orchestra accompanying it. Instead, a troupe of over 150 bare-chested men serve as the chorus, making a wondrous cacophony of synchronized "chak-achak-achak" clicking sounds while swaying their bodies and waving their hands. The men not only provide the rhythm for this dance but also act as the various monkey armies that are featured in the story and as the undulating snake in one of the scenes.

The storyline is pretty simple. The dance depicts a sub-plot from the Hindu epic the Ramayana.
In the story the wife of Rama, Sita, is kidnapped by Rama's arch-enemy, the king of Lanka, and taken to his palace of Alengka. In his search for Sita, Rama enlists the aid of the red monkey king Sugriwa. Together they select Hanoman, a white monkey with magical powers, to find Alengka and seek out Sita. Rama gives Hanoman his ring so that he can prove his identity to Sita when he finds her. Hanoman finds Sita, gives her the ring, and receives a flower to be taken back to Rama. The great general returns with his army of monkey warriors, portrayed by the choir. The bad guys are defeated. Sita is reunited with Rama. The end.

The Kechak dance lasted for 45 minutes but it didn’t feel long. We were then entertained by a dance by two enchanting girls. I forgot what that dance was called. Apparently during the dance, the girls were under a trance and danced with their eyes closed, but in perfect rhythm together. After that, they showcased something like the Kuda Kepang dance but the guy danced on burning coconut husks. It was a bit freaky. When it was all over, everyone gave a thunderous applause. If you go to Bali, seeing the Kechak dance is a cultural experience you just have to have. The chant “kechak, kechak, kechak” stayed in our head for days!! Hahaha.

The Kechak dance ended around 8.30pm so after that, hubby and I walked slowly back to our room. Most of the shops had closed, so we did a little more window shopping on the way. All that traveling had really worn us out, so we were asleep by 9.30pm.

A much better day than Day 1.

Bali Trip – Day 3 coming soon.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bali Trip - Day 1

I figured I had better start my posts soon before I forget most of the details. I have much to tell here, most of the memories are good..some, well, you read about them soon enough.

Having slept the night before at my parents’ house, hubby and I headed to the airport around 8.30am. Our flight was at 10.50am, so we had loads of time to kill by the time we arrived at the airport. Thanks to my Pakngah who drove us there.

Once we had check in our bag (thanks to Reza, who lent us his backpack), we decided to check out the duty free shops. Hubby thought of changing a few RM into Rupiah, so we would have some money to pay for the cab ride to our motel in Kuta. We changed about RM100, which got us around Rp230,000.

The flight to Bali was uneventful. It lased about three hours, but as always I felt antsy on the flight. I took a few pictures of Bali as we were descending to land. Even from the plane, the place looked beautiful, with the beaches so white and the water so blue.


My brother had been to Bali before, so we went there with full knowledge of where we were going to stay and what we were going to do. Bro had advised us to walk a bit from the airport and take a taxi there (for cheaper rates) but the weather was so hot that we decided to negotiate with an airport taxi.

We got a fair deal and after 20 minutes, we had arrived at our motel, the Tunjung Bali Inn. The place was decent enough; after all we had planned to do a lot of sightseeing so basically all we needed was a place to pray and sleep in. Rp70,000 (RM30) got us a double bed, with hot water and breakfast the next morning. There was no aircon but as we found out that night, a fan was enough as the weather cooled down considerably during the night.


After checking in and resting for a while, we decided to head out to the beach. Kuta Beach was just a 10 minutes walk but it took us much longer as we decided to stop and take pictures at the Memorial of the 1st Bali bombing. We read the names of all the people who had died in that bombing and thanked god that nothing like that ever happened in Malaysia. We then proceeded to walk along Kuta Square where we watched a religious ceremony happening by the side of the road. We also stopped at a money changer to change more RM. The best place to change your money at Kuta would be the PT. Dirgahayu Valuta Prima, along Jalan Legion. The rates were much higher than the other places we looked at plus they didn’t charge any commission fee.

Once we reached Kuta Beach, we found it full of surfers and sunbathers. Beach peddlers were everywhere, selling handmade jewelry, to temporary tattoos, to surfing lessons. One piece of advice;
if you’re not planning on buying any of these items, try to as far away from the peddlers as you can. It’s pretty tough coz they usually come up to you and ask you whether you’re interested in their items. Some peddlers can be very pushy, so it’s best to stand your ground and just say no. Walk away if you have to, and don’t make any eye contact. If you do find the items to your liking, always negotiate at least half of the asking price or more. Bali is a tourist place, so prices on souvenir items are jacked up all the way. I bought a bracelet made of seashells, negotiated from Rp30,000 (RM12.60) to Rp10,000 (4.20). I probably could have gotten three bracelets for that price if I wanted to, but not being someone who even likes wearing jewelry, I figured I’ll buy only one.

After a few hours at the beach and getting a bite from McDonalds, hubby and I decided to go to Jimbaran for some dinner and to view the sunset. We took a taxi (only take Bluebird Taxies and make sure they use the meter) and after 30 minutes (and Rp50,000 later) we found ourselves at Jimbaran Bay Café. Jimbaran is famous for its seafood so hubby ordered some Barramundi fish and some King River Prawns. The meal was served with hot, steamy rice and Pepsi drinks. We ate for about an hour, enjoying the beautiful sunset and the antics of the waiters with the other customers. We found out that most of the waiters could speak several languages, which made sense since most of the customers were tourists from Japan, India, Australia and USA. After having our fill, we asked for the bill. Hubby suddenly became very quiet after seeing the total amount, RP433,000 (RM181).

“How much money did you bring?” hubby asked me.

“RM300. Why? How much did you bring?”

“I exchanged all my money at the airport already.”

“All your money? You mean, that RM100 we changed in KL?”

“Err…yes.”

“You mean to say, we’ve come to Bali for a 4-day trip with only RM400?” I was starting to panic at this point, just realizing the dire state we were in.

“Well, we’re staying in motels costing us Rm30 per night. I figured RM400 would be more than enough for our entire trip.”

At this point, I was starring at hubby as if he had suddenly grown horns on top of his head. Unbelievable. I did some quick calculations in my head. RM400 got us Rp952,000. The motel costs us Rp70,000 per night so that was Rp210,000 already. Dinner had cost us RM433,000, leaving us with another Rp309,000. With all the sightseeing we had planned out, there was hardly enough money to hire a driver and go anywhere. Great!! Here we were, on our first night of our long-anticipated honeymoon, and theoretically totally broke.

Luckily for us, we were able to swipe our credit card to pay for dinner. At least, Rp433,000 cash saved there. Unfortunately, the taxi drive was highly expensive because we had asked for the driver to wait for us while we had our dinner. Eventhough we had asked whether there would be extra costs for him waiting for us (and he said no), the meter was kept running, so we ended up paying Rp120,000 for the taxi ride to and from Jimbaran. Talk about getting mini heart attacks everytime I saw the meter fare going up.

Back at the motel, hubby and I complemented on what we should do. At last we decided the only thing to do, is to use our credit cards to take out some cash advance. Of course, I didn’t know my pin number and hubby thought he knew his. Great!! Hubby suggested we turn in for the night and he would try the atm machine first thing the next morning.

Safe to say, our first day in Bali didn’t turn out the way we expected it too. I had my share of tears, shed in panic while hubby had his share of trying to console me. Sigh, if we wanted to have this much drama, we could have stayed at home with the girls.

Ps: If you notice the picture of us at Jimbaran, that was taken before I knew about our situation and after hubby had seen the bill. Our faces tell it all. Me – happy, hubby – doing quick calculations in his head and getting weary. Hmm..

Bali Trip – Day 2 coming soon.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Happy Birthday....

It’s my birthday today. 30 years old. The big 3-0. 3 decades.

My MIL called me this morning to sing me Happy Birthday. You read it right, sing. Hehehe. My mom smsed me birthday wishes. Friends and colleagues wished me all the best, may I live long to celebrate many more birthdays.

30 years old.

WOW.

I’m freaking old.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Back From Bali...

Yep, we're back!! Bali was...memorable, for so many reasons. It was lovely being able to spend some time alone with hubby. We met so many interesting people and saw many fasinating places. Dedicated posts and pictures to come.

Insyallah, hubby and I are planning another trip to Bandung and maybe Jakarta. Maybe end of the year.

Until then, it's back to work tomorrow. Sigh....

Sunday, May 07, 2006

My Parents' New House

I won’t be posting any entries next week coz hubby and I are off to Bali for our honeymoon. Hahahaha…4 days of sex, sun and sand. The kids and Nisa are being exported to my mom’s house. A part of me can’t wait for this trip but being away from the kids always makes me feel sad.

I haven’t posted for so long because work has been horrendous. Another reason for this trip. Sometimes I feel like I’m on my way to a nervous breakdown. Sometimes I just spend several minutes starring at my computer screen, willing it to blow up so I can give a valid excuse to go home early.

I promised a post about my parents’ new house. Believe it or not, work is still being done. My mom has lost all patience, when people ask her when the moving day is, she turns green and starts breathing heavily. Smoke starts coming out her ears, and her eyes start rolling back into their sockets. It’s a brilliant performance!!

Anyway, here are some pictures of the house.

Here’s the dining hall. Now it’s full of boxes, but just imagine the dining table there with a huge mirror on the wall


The dining hall opens up to the gazebo. A wonderful place to spend the entire day (which I have done) coz it’s windy and even at night, it’s well lit, thanks to the nearby toll house.
Here’s the dry and wet kitchen. The cabinets are nearly done. It’s big but unfortunately not big enough to put in an island, which I wanted.
Here’s the guest room. Here’s where my family will be sleeping when we come to visit. No more sleeping in the hall!!
Here’s the TV room upstairs. See that green sofa? I bought that for mom. Don’t tell me it’s hideous, I didn’t choose the color.
This is my 1st brother’s room. He hates his bed. He wanted a day bed but mom said no. He wanted blue curtains but mom bought maroon ones. Hahahaha…he should learn to buy his own stuff.
This is my 2nd brother’s room. It’s pink but he won’t admit it. He says the color is SALMON. Whatever!!!
This is my 3rd brother’s room. It’s apple green, Dania’s favorite color. In fact, she has declared this room as hers.
This is the master bedroom, my parents’ lair. It’s humongous, so mom had a walk-in wardrobe built-in.
One of the many chandeliers in the house. Last time I counted there were 5.
This is the view from the front door. The porch can fit 4 cars easily, especially if they’re Kancils.
This is the side of the house. The lawn gives the kids plenty of room to run around and roll over like rabid dogs. Did I just compare my kids to rabid dogs? Scratch that… more like monkeys on crack.
Oh, and this is the indoor fish pond. Dad bought 10 koi fishes and they've all died. Poor dad.

I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I need to tie up a few loose ends at work, then its fun in the sun at Bali for the rest of the week. Hahahaha…don’t hate me if you have to work. I’ll be back at “prison” before you know it.