Friday, October 24, 2008

The Rantings of Janda Baik

THERE is a world of difference between janda (divorcee) and balu (widow). A janda gets to be one when she is divorced; a balu earns the title when her man is dead.

The irony is that only when a man is dead and gone does society accord his wife some respect. If he is still alive but chooses to discard the wife for whatever reason, more often than not, the erstwhile spouse, now a janda, is the unwitting recipient of flax from that very same society.

When you are a janda and some horny bast*** harass you sexually, expect no sympathy. No one takes you seriously. People you turn to – family and friends included - are reluctant to believe you. Many think you got it coming.

The image of the pleasant, housewifely you that they have known all those years somehow goes down the drain the moment you turn janda. You have been conveniently transformed into a man-eater in the blink of an eye.

If you get sexually harassed, it's your fault. You must have initiated it. You must have given the SOB the eye. In other words, you asked for it. You are a janda after all; so it must be your own doing. The fault lies squarely at your doorstep. No two ways about it.

By anyone’s reckoning, a janda belongs to that vile specie of sexually starved vixens with tentacles out to trap any unsuspecting male (especially someone else’s husband) and milk him dry, in more ways than one. To all and sundry, a janda has nothing but sex on her mind and that all she wants in life is to get laid.

Well, I’ve got news for you. And I speak with the highest authority on Jandahood because once upon a time I too inhabited Jandaland; not a pretty place to be for sure, but to the likes of some of us, it was home (even if for a while).

Although I eventually took the late train out, I faced enough to make me want to kick the groin of every man I met. Read on and you’ll understand why I held men (in general) in poor regard.

Bear with me please, for I am not out to diss men. There are some good ones out there, I know (and I married one too, bless his heart), and I salute them all. My diatribe is targeted at the scumbags and they should know who they are.

Being a janda was no fun. Married women kept you at arm’s length; they had husbands to worry about. Single women didn’t want to be your friend either; they saw you as competitor, even though you couldn’t care less about a prick (you left one, remember?)

Men – married, single, available, whatever – saw you as easy meat. To their sick mind, you had been deprived of the pleasures of the flesh that you must be dying for a poke. And they thought they were such pokers extraordinaire that you simply must sample their ware.

They failed to see that you were sick to death of anything that spelt P; prick, poker, pecker, to name but a few. In fact, you would rather immerse yourself in ice than go anywhere near one.

In 1988, age 34 and a year into my jandahood, I received a phone call from someone pretty high up in a key government establishment, asking me to present myself at his 6th floor office in downtown Kuala Lumpur “for a story.”

Because I don’t want to get my knickers into a twist (I didn’t then and certainly don’t want now!), I shall abstain from revealing too much details, to protect the innocent family of the SOB (who, by the way, is still alive and kicking, and living in relative comfort). I hope he reads my blog because I want to say “up yours!”

Sensing a scoop (ever the reporter that I was), I hastened to his office. I had never met this man before but knew of him, of course. He was a familiar figure to the press corp.

I was ushered into his office by an assistant and made myself comfortable on a sofa while he attended to some stuff at his desk, after which he came around and sat next to me.

Lo and behold! He held my hands – this cretin who was a total stranger – and boldly said: “I have a good proposition to make to you. All you have to do is say yes and we shall both be very happy. Think about it and let me know of your decision.”

By then I realised it was no scoop I was getting. To get to the gist of it – he offered to install me in an apartment somewhere, pay for all my expenses, provide me with a car and “whatever you need”, all for the price of regular ‘service’. Simply put, I had just been asked to whore myself.

Suffice to say the blood drained from my face. Thoughts raced in my mind. I resolved not to upset him with harsh words because I was on foreign territory – his – and I didn’t know how he would react. Instead I played dumb. That probably saved me that day.

I told him to let me mull over it. He said he would send me back to my office in his official car. So he escorted me down, got into the back seat and held my hands all the way from his office to mine in Jalan Riong, Bangsar. I decided the best way to handle the situation was to be as calm as possible in his presence.

Firstly I asked him how he got to know about me. He said someone from MY office (his regular contact and my own colleague as it turned out to be, that despicable scrap of humanity!) alerted him that there was a recently divorced lady reporter worth trying his luck on.

Sadly enough, a lot of men out there think women journalists are easy pickings, just because they run around so much, meeting people and chasing after stories. Well, listen to me and listen hard. They aren’t. So keep your pecker where it belongs. We have no use for it.

Anyway, the moment I reached Balai Berita, I rushed into the office of K. C. Boey, my editor, plonked myself in front of him and cried. He was pretty pissed too and asked whether I wanted to make a case out of it.

Since it was very much a "her-word-against-his" situation, with nary a witness, we decided not to. We were sure the SOB's assistant and chauffeur would not upset the status quo, given the circumstances.

Boey said he would devise a way to protect me from this man, and he did. The plan involved my fellow colleagues in the Malay Mail who took turns screening all my calls.

The SOB tried to get through to me a couple of times but was intercepted by my colleagues. In the end he wised up to the game and gave up.

It was a painful episode in my life, to be thought of in such a humiliating way. To be so brazenly approached, with a proposal to become someone's perempuan simpanan (kept woman), was the ultimate insult to my janda dignity. That harrowing incident, in no small way, contributed to my decision to lay off men and marriage.

38 comments:

Kak Teh said...

Puteri, I can feel and share the anger. Yes, unfortunately, there are many like that roaming the earth and cyberspace.
re: the randy sod - i dont know whether we had the unfortunate experience of meeting the same person. He openly told me that I needed a politician as a boyfriend, that - after he told me that his wife had gone back to Kelantan! My witness is Shidah Dahan - we were on his campaign trail. then he started calling the office - Pak Cik Dahari stopped me from going to his assignments. Unfortunately we met again on foreign shores - still as randy! Yesterday ,met up with Dt Shafie lawyer - he was the dashing DPP and I was the young journalist - and we recalled all those randy judges who used to summon young journalists and lawyers to their chambers...Gawd, I used to hide in the office and toilets.
OK this is too much info. But its good to rant here.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Kak Teh - the SOB who stalked me was not a politician, tapi perangai sama la they all..While I never had to hide in toilets while covering the courts, I used to be terrified of a couple of lawyers who came on so strongly that I would make sure I pack up and go as soon as court sessions habis. takut kena peluk and cium unsuspectingly. sheesh again..

Kak Teh said...

another rant - like you i was summoned to a military camp - hantar drebar lagi sebab katanya ada court marshall - it was a scoop for me. Si bodoh ni pun pergi lah. What court marshal is carried out in his own private mess? I escaped and told a cetain J Teoh, who you wld know - and he said - whats wrong - you can get story whaaat! I could have kicked him in the face.
Between you and me - we can write a book abt randy sods . Those days no protection whatsoever for journalists.

GUiKP said...

Unfortunately we the male yuppies (or spring chickens) in their early 20s also had to put up with sexual harassment at work in KL in the mid 1980s. Now, don't let me get started on this.
(aka aMiR)

Pi Bani said...

The SOB deserves a kick in his you know where!

bergen said...

I read your entry and think of Aunt.

mamasita said...

First of all,you must have been still so beautiful at 34.Even with children in tow,a very rich man still 'drool' at you!Not bad lah!
But being a very independent woman with lots of self-dignity and pride,you hated and loathe him!You are so lucky you had a choice!
Tapi nowadays,ramai janda will take up the offer kalau life is difficult.Buncit or tua or muka macam tempe pun,kalau boleh dapat easy money,memang the deal is on!Nasib baik you can afford to 'up yours' dia!Dia ingat semua janda desperado kan?Peegi dah!!

D said...

This is a piece that I can totally relate to. Somehow, I have NEVER understood why people (be it men or women) look down upon jandas. Of course, there are exceptional cases, but people should never generalise.

Now, I am a balu (a year now) yet I am beginning to feel the heat. Why do men seem to think that we are damsels in distress, awaiting with open arms for a 'hero' (they believe they are) to help us get back on our feet?

To all SOBs, may you all rot in hell!
(sorry, got a little emotional here!)

Kak Teh said...

D, tumpang lalu tuanrumah, you are allowed to be emotional. I echo your sentiments.

Kak Teh said...

sheesh, did i actually type court marshall?? i mean court martial. Dah emotional typing pun tunggang langgang.

Ms B said...

I think due to my geographical location, I have limited encounters of such men. However, much can be said each time I go back for hols. Regardless how much I achieved, it seems pointless in their eyes. I couldnt care less. I am proud to be where I am and I know my conscious is clear that whatever I do, is for the benefit of my daughter.

Plus, I have GREATER satisfaction to be able to buy LV/GUCCI/whatever on my own than to get them from SOBs (and since when they think that having an SOB will make it better!!!).

What makes it more pathetic is that the "damsel in distress" theory is common among malay men. I get more respects from my male colleagues upon knowing I'm a single parent as they know it aint easy to enter into this profession, let alone being good at it.

talqin said...

Hi Ma,, sorry been away for few days.. just wanna convey my adik's salam to you.. i'm at her house now, we are going back to Jelebu tonite.. i had a gud laugh juz now gossiping about u..(ampon..) i asked my sis if she still remember u, she said 'ooo your friend yang Datin tu?' and i was like, 'Datin mana la pulak ni?'..then i showed her your photos here.. she ingat u a Datin..hehe but she said u baik.. awwus.. got to go.. will be back next week ( tak sempat nak baca ur blog).. have a great day. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I was a janda and am a balu now. Yes, I agreed with you,somehow our society sympathise a balu and look down upon a janda. Strange, isn't it?Life has to go on whatever happens,I Thank God for giving me strength and protection.

Pp said...

puteri kama :-)

the title suggested an entry about some twigs in the sacred estuary of 'janda baik' as in the place on the way to genting highland.
i read with abated breath of what unfolded before me.
Ramai ka lelaki jenis macam tu?
isk isk....
Buat malu kaum lelaki saja!!

There maybe those amongst them who genuinely want to help but could have been misread by the intended reciepients? Do you think?

kay_leeda said...

Kak Puteri,

Serves him right you gave him the "up yours"!! Sad isn't it, there are just so many of these "things" running around. I would have kicked him in the beep, beep. But I do agree with your actions of keeping the anger and emotions at bay.

bergen said...

I believe you don't get it easy from women either. It's very seldom for women to come into defense of a single mother - especially if she is pretty. In most cases, it's the women (those married) are the ones who usually give single mothers a hard time. If you are a single mother, you lose either way, and you gotta do you fighting alone. Until today, I will never know what Aunt had to go through. I only know what men said about her to my face. Being a kid, I didn't understand much...

Anonymous said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

Lelaki yg jahat memang sentiasa ada di mana-mana, kata kucing ray yg merana. Semoga Allah sahaja lah yg membalas segala kejahatan dgn balasan yg setimpal, kata Pak Malim sambil memeluk jurukimpal. Eh Pak Malim ni kucing gay ke apa, semua orang dia nak peluk. (Kelihatan Pak Malim sedang memeluk beruk di tepi teluk).

bangkai said...

The attitude towards 'jandas' you described may be prevalent, but on the personal front, I have never subscribed to such thinking. Shame on those who do!

Why should a 'janda' be any looser (no pun intended) than the next female?

(That didn't come out right, did it?)

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Kak Teh - hehehe, I remember J Teoh. Amboi! He said that? memang betul those days lady reporters were very much on their own, kena fend for themselves against such sods. takder backing langsung.

guikp - i would love to know how you were harrassed, and by whom..hehehe

Pi - kalau ada kesempatan, memang nak bagi seketul kat teloq..muahahahaha! (ala-ala kak teh!)

mamasita - what can I say.. some women cari jalan senang to get out of their problems. to me, saya tak sanggup gadai maruah just to hidup senang. susah takpa asalkan harga diri tak tercemar.

d - this kind of guys always read the likes of us wrong, kan? we are pretty capable of managing our own affairs. and you are more than welcome to be emotional here..:)

ms b - salut! here's three cheers to yet another independent-minded lady!

talqin - balik dari jelebu we hv dinner togeder2 ok?

anon - indeed life goes on.. to Him we put our faith in.

pp - i agree there are men with good intentions tapi berapa keratlah sangat. at this time and age, the ones yg nak ambik kesempatan lagi ramai.

kay - to be able to land one kick in the 'beep beep' would have made my day. hehehe..

bergen - i can relagte to what you say. my late aunt dulu pun just like yours. widowed with 3 small kids.. ada male neighbours yg imbau2 tanya " tak sunyiker tidur malam sorang2?"

Pak malim kucing ray yg alim
memang benar apa yg ray kata
men yg jahat ada dimana2
dah tu pandai main silap mata
pi mai pi mai kita jugak yg merana

(ish, jangan dok peluk beruk, nampak teramatlah buruk..)

Typhoon Sue said...

gawd! what a bastard! why is it that men seem to think that when they have money and power, they can treat women like crap? they think that they can buy women ? assholes!! the lot of 'em.

I'm sorry to hear what u had to go through.

The difference bw janda and balu, aside from the technical definition, is in the way we pronounce the word. When we say balu, the word comes out smoothly, nicely. When we say janda, the letter "j" requires us to purse our lips a wee bit, thus the look of menjuihkan mulut, which is the look of distaste, disdain, repugnance and the like. Thus, the immediate stigma when the word is uttered.

A balu may be a more respectable position to be in than a janda, but it ain't that much different. My mom is a balu. She became one at age 35. Even with 5 kids in tow, many men were interested in her but she never gave them a chance. While the men weren't a problem, the womenfolk were. One woman in particular was so paranoid she spread lies about my mum being with her husband. I may not understand much of what was going on as i was still a kid then, but i did know that she went thru hell to clear her name fr that fitnah. It helped that she had really good friends, including one janda (whose ex-husband was the scum of the earth) who stood up for her every single time the issue was brought up by the people in the community. Justice prevailed though. My mum cleared her name and that bitchy woman was given a talak tiga by her hubby. *Clap clap clap*

Kama At-Tarawis said...

MUAHAHAHAHA ... BANGKAI!

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Sue - Woh! i have nothing but the utmost respect for a 35 yr old widow with 5 kids, who stood her ground despite kena fitnah. at the end of the day, sue, justice prevails..

ArahMan7 said...

What can I say? Been there done that thing? Yeah, I guess I was.

In my case, I was looked down on with disdain when I tried to befriended a lovely lady (she's still living and kicking) when she found out who I was. She spat on the ground when I told her my intention.

I guess I don't have any good proposition to make to her. In fact I can't even looked after myself, let alone to install her in an apartment somewhere, pay for all her expenses, provid her with a car and whatever she need!

But that didn't stop me from trying again. Even after I told her my grand scheme of things she wouldn't want to give me the chance to change.

I could still hear her words (menci beno dia), "Kalau dah anjing, anjing jugak. Kok tak dimakannya, dihidunya jugak!

I remember feeling different - not quite human - and I couldn't stand it. I stayed in my natural state - LOADED.

Oops! Sorry about that.

Anyway, I guess we are neighbour (you're from Kuale Kangsor and all). Ingatkan wareh den, orghang Nogori. Kok camtu, dah biasala pekena laksa Kuala yg femes tu, lol!

Apa2pun, it's nice to know you.

Greetings and lots of love from a Nogorian living in Kuale Kangsor.

~ ArahMan7

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Arahman - I am sorry to hear of the woman's unbecoming conduct in turning down your marriage proposal. if it is of any comfort, always remember - good behaviour reflects good breeding - and you would want a good woman (in more ways than one) for a wife, because a well-brought up person will dfinitely pass the same values to her children.

Kak Enon @ CN hehehehe.. said...

Akak..tell you what.
1. I ada sorang kawan (you know who)dah dua kali BALU..tapi still..orang dok panggil dia JANDA..
2. I think kan.. nasib jandas ni sama dgn nasib pompuan yang tak kawen kawen lagi (you know who)..bezanya mungkin, jandas ni dahi depa licin, andartu ni dahi depa jendul... awwwuusss (sure talqin terrrrasssaaa ni..HAHAHAHAHA)..
3. hidup ni bestkan.. macam-macam ada...balus,jandas,andartus,dudas,SOB..colorful gitu

psstt..dok cari dlm kamus dewan..pasai apa lelaki yang kematian isteri dan bercerai, dua-dua diberi gelaran yang sama.. "duda"?? awat tak dak word DALU? (utk lelaki yang kematian isteri)
tapi bila mai hat pompuan, ada "balu" dan "janda"..
MASYARAKAT MELAYU KITA NI..MEMANG DARI DULU..BIAS EH?? TAK MACAM ORANG PUTIH....

Kama At-Tarawis said...

kak enon - indeed! you actually set me thinking abt that "masyarakat melayu bias" comment. for men there's only duda. kenapa?

Mior Azhar said...

salam Kak Puteri,
I don't know whether you remembered me but after reading this entry I was left speechless... sapa le the despicable colleague yang buat dajal tu.
Many years ago my then recently divorced aunt also kena quite a similar experience like yours. She went to an immigration dept to renew her passport and wanted to do it fast - zaman passport lambat siap dulu. She asked around and because she looks pretty decent, she was ushered into one of the stupid pengarah's room. Luckily she played dumb too otherwise tak tau le apa akan jadik...

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Wsalam Mior - tq for visiting. Kak Puteri ingat2 lupa, tapi if my memory has not failed me, you were in the press before, kan? anyway, the so-calle colleague yg kurang asem tu not from malay mail tapi from an english daily under the group - you know lah which one :) I confronted him after the episode, jawabnya selamba aja "I was joking onlylah". i was so naik angin I nearly tampar the guy.

JLKM Page said...

Kak Enon @ CN hehehehe.
One is duda. The other one is dadu.
hehehehe

Mat Cendana said...

Say, maybe you should pursue what Kak Teh had mentioned here - write a book about this one; plus other unsavoury things that women journalists have to put up with.

Can't name names, obviously enough. But make them "close enough to" - THAT should add some extra heartbeats to them!

And I'll bet the book will sell very well too. Both you and Kak Teh definitely know how the technical aspects of producing good stories; and it's something that people would want to read about.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Mat C - I think kalau kak teh and I tulis buku about the expewriences of women journalists with randy sods they had to deal with, a lot of pegawai tinggi yg dah pencen would squirm in their pants.. the pants they couldnt wait to londeh those days...

MrsNordin said...

Why is it kalau orang lelaki yang kematian isteri or bercerai, in other words, he's a widower or divorced, he becomes such a prized asset?

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Mrs N - HAH..tu yg I taktau nak jawab! anyone can rationalise? My ex dulu tak sampai setahun dah ganti baru, not exactly the latest model tapi muda lah sikit..lol

Mat Salo said...

I love this post Kak Puteri... thanks for writing so eloquently about this rather dark subject on the Malay Male Species... because I'm one.

It is to your credit that you willingly endure the 'janda tag' for the sake of a better life.

What is it with these men? I cannot imagine ever doing this to anybody. Makes you wonder how they were brought up? Really makes my blood boil lah. At home agaknya they are the epitome of the masjid-hopping suami mithali... Do these monsters still exist?

KC Boey? Isn't he in OZ now.. or was that Leeps? PC Shivadas lived on the same street as my mother's. BC Battarcharjee's boy and I used to hang out. This was ages ago of course.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Mat Salo - amboi! so long menghilang! Nice to hear from you again :)
Indeed Boey now lives in OZ, Leeps I am not sure hilang kemana, Shiv remains one of my favourite fellas in NST those days. Soft-spoken, gracious.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

x

awais khan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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