Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Only Child Syndrome

Have you ever had someone come up to you and ask you questions that you absolutely cannot relate to? And the disbelief on their faces when you expressed your inability to connect the dots. An example? When people find out that I'm the only child and go

'So how does it feel to be an only child?'

Part of me just smiles and laugh at what I think is a ridiculously stupid question, but another part just goes 'oh, not again'

It's basically asking how does it feel to be me. And really, I do not want to get into some philosophical, existential debate. Am I suppose to feel different? Am I supposed to fall into deep spiraling depression because I don't have someone barging into my room every 5 seconds wanting to borrow my iPod?

It's like going up to a congenitally blind person and asking if he ever gets tired of not seeing shit. Or better yet, asking a black person if how does it feel to not be white.

News alert, they wouldn't know! 

Why you ask? Well, for one, a blind person who's been blind since birth does not know a life of vision so living life in darkness is what they are used to. So no, I do not how it feels to not have siblings. Because out of my 22 years, there hasn't been a time when I had a sibling and they were forcibly taken away from me for me to actually miss them.

But this fascination with my siblingless status can get pretty annoying. I've probably heard it all. every ignorance infused comment and quip.

'Oh you must be so spoiled'

'My parents must really love you' (Cause you know, it's unnatural for a parent to love their child)

'Oh, you probably have a hard time making friends'

Well, I'm here to debunk some of these stereotypes because frankly, us only children are getting a whole lot of flack for no good reason. Is it our fault that our parents got it right the first time and decided not to have anymore? I kid. I kid. So here I go, for every oppressed only child sitting on their throne at home.

#1 Only children are spoiled rotten.

There is some truth to this. Well, if you take two doting parents and have them love a child with all their heart, a child is bound to be a little spoiled. And I'm not even talking materialistically. An only child could be spoiled with just love and affection from two parents who are fond of them without turning out to be a material hungry whoremonger. I didn't have much growing up. But I sure was hell happy cause I was constantly surrounded by a loving family. And another thing worthy of a mention is that, why do you care? Not every only child gets what they want, and if they do, what is it to you?

#2 Only children are selfish

This is a little tough to call. Of course an only child is selfish! What do they know about sharing when they don't have anyone else to share with. I personally do not like sharing. Surprise surprise eh? But I do like making other people happy, even if it means sharing. I'm getting a little better, I especially enjoy cooking and feeding those around me. I'll attach an excerpt from an article from a site called the Only Child Project which I think cements the fact that we, only children are perfectly functional human beings (maybe even... superior? I kid again)

One does not need a sibling to know how to share and care. A mother of an only child reports to have inculcated the habit of sharing in her daughter by daily offering a portion of food from her own plate to the child. And while doing so, the mother reinforced the fact that she was only sharing her food and not giving it all away. This practice allowed the child a glimpse into the act of sharing without having to be deprived of one’s rightful share.
There are other factors that also come into play. Consider this: Unlike in the multi-child family, the only child does not have to fight for toys, space and attention. He is more willing to share because: 1) he hasn’t had to fight for the things that are shared, and 2) he feels secure in sharing because he know it is all his in the end- to him, sharing does not mean giving away.

 #3 Only children are immature and self absorbed

I remember when I was a little younger, I had asked my mom for the last piece of chicken from her plate at KFC (Damn you finger licking good chicken!). I could see the slight flash of disappointment in her eyes before handing me the drumstick. Yeah yeah, mother's love and all that. But now come to think of it, I think she was just trying to keep me fat. But in all seriousness, would you trust an 8 year old to pick up on these things? New studies have suggested that only children mature faster than peers their age because well, they grow up with adults so staying a child wasn't really an option. And only children are burdened with the expectations of their parents and are under the glare of their scrutiny so this strives them to be the best they can be.

Yes, I do realize we're talking about other only children here. Not me

#4 Only children are lonely

Yes, I don't have a brother to watch football with. Or a sister to gossip about boys with. And no, I don't appreciate you rubbing it in my face. But you know what, I'll live. I have never dependent on someone for my happiness and I'm not gonna start now. I can be shop alone, go out alone and eat alone because the matter of the fact it, I'm okay with being alone. Hell, I enjoy it sometimes. Just because I'm alone doesn't mean I'm lonely. So yes, I'm okay. I'm good.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The 'Lelaki Melayu' Dilemma

I’m sure everyone knows that girl who goes around claiming they’re too ‘westernized’ or have different ‘mentality’ to date the Malaysian average Joe. They snigger at the very though of stooping that low on the social ladder, instead choosing to devote their time and attention to secure ‘mat salehs’ the ultimate jackpot of the local dating scene. The very thought of being with le whitey is still a hype that titillates our starry eyed local girls.  

Can our Malay boys stand a chance?

There’s obviously nothing glamorous about a date with Udin, or commonly known as Dean, at Pelita Nasi Kandar, where a perfect dinner consists of oversweetened ‘teh tarik’ and ‘mee goreng mamak pedas’ and ultimately, going dutch on the RM10.50 bill. 

Where as Richard will take you dancing and drink cocktails in some swanky Bangsar bar where you can wear your skimpiest black dress, fake an American accent but still manage to slip in a couple of ‘lahs’ and ‘ahs’ at the end of a sentence when emotions run a little high, or sobriety’s running a little low. You know what they say, you can take a girl out of Malaysia, but you can never take the Malaysia out of the girl.

I used to be one of those girls. Well, not the douchey Sarong Party Girl type, just the general ‘avoid them Malay boys like the bubonic plague’ kind. There were countless times my friends and I would decide a guy wasn’t good enough just because he was ‘too Malay’. Oh, being too ‘Malay’ in my school was a slap in the face. It was probably because you couldn’t pronounce your words without having the thickest accent drawled throughout your sentence. Or having grammar so terrible that it could incite world war 3. Those were the rather trivial deal breakers. It was a rather elitist school, I have to say. It was common knowledge that Malay men would were a bunch of  MCPs (male chauvinist… pigeons) and sexists. The Malay man would tie down his high flyer wife just because he can, despite her pleas and protests. The Malay man would buy a Mercedes first than sending his children to good schools. The Malay man would accessorize himself with expensive watches and clothes while still living in a low cost flat. The horror stories were endless.

But wait a minute, all these terrible things that the enigmatic ‘Malay man’ does; isn’t that just people in general?  Don’t these bad traits exist in every society, from people of every walks of life? Just recently I read about an American teacher (sorry, I meant pedophile) abandoning his wife and three children to be with an 18-year-old girl (sorry, did I say girl? I meant slut) from his class, the same class his 17 year old son attends. Or what about the Austrian man who kept his daughter in captivity in his basement, raping her and fathering 4 of her children, while keeping the whole incestuous relationship a secret from his wife by reporting his daughter missing? Basically, there are bad men, selfish men out there. And these bad, selfish men are not exclusive to the Malay race. 

So instead of nitpicking the flaws our men have, do know that these imperfections are everywhere, and not just in our highly misunderstood men. Sure, the average Malay man is not the type to whisper sweet nothings into your ear or come barging through your door with a flowers and suit of armour but surely there’s something commendable about them. I have seen some pretty laudable behaviour in some of the Malaysian guys here in Egypt, having proven themselves as responsible leaders and adequate caregivers. Don't believe in all the notoriety of 'Malay men'. 

They’re not perfect. And that’s okay.

So yeah, give them a break. Remember that we’ve come this far as a nation, thanks to the efforts of a few good Malay men. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

No, I'm Not Making Excuses Why I'm Such a B*tch

Let me tell you something about me. Well a couple of things really. Growing up wasn't really easy. I was shy, painfully most times. I mumbled through conversations, hardly mingled with anyone, sat behind during classes (well, that's mainly because of my early growth spurt, I was a whopping 5'5 at 13).

I can honestly say I did not have many friends until I was about 10. I remember cause that was the year I discovered I was good in science and everyone was at awe at how out of nowhere, I was topping the class in something. And in something worthwhile at that. It was also the year that I realized that I'm probably never gonna win a beauty contest anytime soon (well, not in this life at least. Not that I believe in reincarnation... before anyone starts throwing rocks to my head) I was gonna win people through brains and personality. Then I discovered I had a knack for writing and I could express myself best when I had a pen and paper and some quiet alone time. 
Some things still have not changed, as you can see.

As for having a personality, well, years of having not-so-nice things being said to you, you tend develop a defense mechanism. And humor is a defense mechanism. 
Damn, I should've learned kung fu instead.

I'm 21 now, (begrudgingly) turning 22 this August and even after I left those awkward, approval seeking adolescent years, I can't help but sometimes feel like I'm thrusted back to those days of horrid bitching, backstabbing and distrust that plagued me. To say that I came out unscathed would be untrue, I still have the self esteem of a leper. But hey, that's basically the life story of anyone who's been through high school.

But what still leaves me swimming in disbelief is how even after I thought I've seen everything, every terrible trait a person could possibly have, I'm blown away with yet another undiscovered rancid human attribute. I thought the universe worked in two ways; good begets good while bad gets the living crap kicked out of them. So basically, I was taught that if you were nice to people, helped them out in a time of need, you'll live and die happy. Oh boy, how screwed up was that life lesson.

No actually. Good does not begets more good. What it does is basically brand you with a smoldering mark that says;

Please come take advantage of me. 
I have a head you can walk on, a back you can stab and a face you can spit on. 

The couple few with some shred of compassion won't abide to this sign and would actually reciprocate any kind gestures you might show. They're called 'friends' or 'people whom you would skip in case of a killing spree' However there are those marginally few people, who even despite you've dutifully showed a world of kindness to, will take a gun and shoot your faith in humanity point blank, leaving it to die. 

At 21 (going on 22, god damn it) I'm not exactly a person you would picture on a rocking chair on a porch, moaning about the good old days and giving words of advice to passing children. But if I may, I want to say this: 

Learn to say no. Remember when to put your foot down. And the two best words you'll ever learn are 'f*ck off' 

Nothing good can come from being 'too' anything. Too much sugar, diabetes. Too much salt, hypertension. Too much cocaine, overdose (well, a little cocaine is bad as well. Just scratch that cocaine bit) 

We just have to accept that there are people out there will only be around when it's convenient for them and when you actually need help, they're nowhere to be found. We call them 'fair weather friends'. Well, they call it that, I much prefer the terse and sweet term 'assholes' Some even might suffer extreme amnesia, forgetting all the things you've done for them, the moment the opportunity for their own happiness comes around. Which makes sense if you ask me, why give a shit when you don't have to?

I know people like that. They're everywhere. Some closer than others. 

So we can either be the bigger person and let it slide, letting them have the satisfaction of being petty. Or we can let it affect us, allowing them to drag us down, so that they can won't feel so lonely in the bottom pile. 

Or you could just resort to violence.

I guess I can 'accidentally' knock someone over with a car, 'accidentally' back up 3-4 times and 'accidentally' making sure their faces are absolutely unrecognizable. 
Yes, that sounds like a plan.

*A shout out to the girl on Facebook who sent me a lovely email telling me she loves reading my blog. Honestly, I forgot how much I loved writing. So thank you for giving the push. This one is dedicated to you :)*