Selamat menyambut "Hari Raya Qurban"
"Tahun Baru 2009".
Semoga bertemu lagi
Kamaliah & Tarmizi.
Each time I come across stories about abused maids, I get very worked up. I am outraged that some employers see it fit to ill-treat their househelpers, either physically or emotionally, sometimes both.
Just days ago, one beast of an employer (who runs his own business) was sentenced to 32 years of prison and some 18 strokes of the rotan for mercilessly raping his teenage maid over a period of many months, aided by his wife who held her down. Just what kind of animals are we dealing with?
While not to the extreme as mentioned, I do have personal experiences of people I know (highly-educated ones too) calling their maids bodoh (stupid), bangang (dumb) and lembab (dimwit) to their faces. I cringe at such rudeness. What has happened to our sense of propriety and decency?
If they were so rich, clever and well-educated, they wouldn't have left their country for a faraway land just to earn a pittance by washing the bottom of someone's else's child, would they?
I don't know the statistics relating to maid abuse in this country, but I would like to think that Malaysians are generally kind-hearted and treat their maids well. I believe those who abuse their househelp are in the minority.
There is another breed of employers - the modern-day Scrooge; they keep an eagle eye on what the maid eats. They even keep track on what's in the fridge. Heaven helps the maid if a particular food item - a fruit or a piece of cake, for example - goes missing.
What irks me so is that the maid is good enough to clean, cook, wash and manage the nitty-gritty of the household, not to mention catering to the whims and fancies of the little masters and misses, but not good enough to share the family meal.
True, there are abusive maids at the other end of the scale. Almost everyone with maids have horror stories to tell. However, I am the absolute optimist; I always think if employers treat their maids kindly and with respect, the likelihood of such maids screwing them up is minimal (unless you really have the misfortune of hiring a witch).
My late grandmother, bless her soul, raised me to value and respect househelp. To her, our maid was family and accordingly, was treated as such. We had the same daily help for almost two decades; I grew up under her wings, shadowed by her kindness.
She actually started as a washerwoman and eventually 'progressed' to doing general housework including cooking and cleaning. Her husband was a fisherman who did odd jobs during the monsoon season.
The maid had a daughter my age named Hamidah and when I entered secondary school, my grandparents adopted Midah so she could live with us to keep me company. She was my best friend; we were like sisters, even sharing the same bed.
We were joined at the hips like the proverbial Siamese twins until we both finished secondary school. Midah went on to a teacher's college while I joined NST. Today she is nearing retirement; happily married and lives and teaches in Perlis.
Her eldest child, a daughter, recently graduated in medicine and has begun working in Kota Baru Hospital. I saw my friend last at my mom's funeral in May this year. She looked good. Her own mom passed on some time back. We hugged and shed a few tears.
My (former) sister-in-law Sofwanah, an angel of a woman if ever there is one, too has been having the same Indonesian maid for the last 18 years. While 'bibik' does all the housework, her husband takes care of the garden, the pool and whatever else that needs to be done outside the house.
Their only child, a daughter named Sahanaya, was born in Malaysia. She attends Bukit Bandaraya school and excels in her studies. She's raised like Kak Nah's own and is treated just like a kid sister by Kak Nah's grown children.
A brainy girl, that Naya. Her English is flawless. She loves reading and tops her class consistently. Imagine, the daughter of a barely literate Indonesian maidservant besting the brains of the uppercrust's offsprings!
Three years ago Kak Nah and her husband Abang Kamal legally adopted Naya, then 12, to ensure all her needs are properly and adequately taken care of. We are all proud of her and are rooting for her to succeed.
I believe in giving people a chance. Kindness usually begets kindness. There is no greater 'amal' than flourishing our own ummah.
1975, Soho. I can lay claim to having watched a striptease show. Just once. A real, professional striptease show, in a real, legal striptease joint. I came, I saw, I almost retched (hang on, you'll know why in due course) and I have not seen one since.
[No dear, it's alright. You go ahead and take those Malaysian guests and colleagues of yours. I know all of you are itching to see those Caucasian mounds of Venus. If you don't mind, I'll stay home and mind the baby, and perhaps have a chat with good old Mrs Wilkner].
We had been in London all of three months and were staying in Golders Green, in a bedsit owned by an extremely stingy Pakistani couple, who would switch off the central heating at 8.00 every evening, causing us to shiver by the coin-fed, two-bar heater before sleep hit us. (It didn't take us long to find alternative accommodation).
With the benefit of hindsight, I think that visit to a striptease joint was also meant to be an initiation of some kind for me, then 20 years old and still pretty naive. Needless to say, the other half, at 27, was worldly enough (not sure about wise, but definitely worldly), having spent a good many years of his schooling life abroad.
['You are all grown and in good old London, girl! But you haven't 'arrived' until you have seen and learned the time-honoured way of undressing yourself. Treat this as one of life's lessons. You'll enjoy it'. Yeah, right!].
We were in the company of some guests from home, hot-blooded young men who had just arrived in the UK and raring to have a good time. The only female in the group, I wasn't feeling too comfortable - the hick in me was rearing its bucolic head - but as the wife of the host I had to oblige.
We trooped, self-consciously, into a decent-sized hall with a T-shaped catwalk smack in the middle. Tables and chairs were arranged alongside the elongated stage. We were booked at a premier spot, right at the head of the stage, "to capture the full essence of the show" said the host convincingly.
The lights dimmed, the music played and the show began. Out they came one by one - women with incredibly voluptuous bodies and even more incredible humongous breasts - sashaying down the catwalk in various states of undress.
The guys looked shell-shocked; eyes popping out of their sockets, mouths agape, tongues licking their lips, salivating, and these hotties had not even yanked off their panties yet!
I remember feeling thoughtful, cupping my chin, Rodin-like. Actually I was thinking of those boobs. God help me, they were enormous! They needed to be properly anchored so as not to topple their owners. And they could easily suffocate a man. Then again, any guy who perished due to breast suffocation would probably die happy.
As I sat there, mind racing, the girls came and went in quick succession. All seemed to be overdressed at the top but remained in teeny weeny patch masquerading as panties at the bottom. And of course they flung bits and pieces of clothing as they whirled and swayed to the music.
In due time, down the catwalk sashayed a dancer in "Arabian Night" outfit (you know the belly-dancing kind, with billowing pants and fitting top and that harem-like face cover). Discarding each piece of clothing as she swayed down the catwalk, she slipped off her panties as soon as she reached our group. Suddenly, she put her leg up on my shoulder and there it rested for a good one minute!
I had a good lesson in anatomy that day. That spring day in London I learned two things; one - an anatomical part so coveted by the male specie could look hideous and unsightly (from any angle!) and two - some things are better left hidden from public view to increase their mystique. It was terribly hard to live down the experience. What else can you say when you have looked at 'it' in the 'eye'? The mind boggles. No word is ever adequate enough to describe both the sight and the experience.....
I love all things bovine, cows twice as much as bulls. I adore them, dote on them, take delight in them, have a soft spot for them. I would have made a good cowherd's wife or a cowboy's delightful companion.
Now, if for some reason someone swears at me by saying "you mean stupid old cow!", I'll consider it a compliment (taking offence only at the word 'mean' because I am not) and shall thank the person profusely for calling me old (I love my age). Old cow? Oh.. thank you once again, you are soo kind!
I'll even let pass the word 'stupid' because 'cow' is mentioned in the same breath and these lumbering bovines, as we all know, definitely aren't the brightest creatures on earth.
If you live in the East Coast, you will know exactly what I mean. Lembu Pantai Timur have the tendency to park themselves in the middle of the road, with nary a care about on-going traffic.
They won't budge even if you honk. Instead, they will look at you balefully while chewing their cud, making you feel like a halfwit for honking.
While cows are beautiful to look at, cowdung are not, although they (the dung, not the cows) are useful as manure and cooking fuel. To my mind, a cow is like a beautiful but brainless woman; nice to look at, but don't expect too much out of both.
I am mesmerised by cows. They have the most gorgeous eyes and when they flutter their lashes, I am transported to Cow Heaven. Their moo, low and seductive, is moosic to my ears.
And the rump of a cow is simply provocative. There is no other word to describe it - just sexy. When a cow ambles (cows don't walk, they amble sensuously), their rump sway this way and that, leaving me spellbound.
If ever I have a cow, I shall name it Daisy. Daisy is the perfect cow name. Once upon a time,I did consider keeping a cow instead of buying a lawn-mover. Then I thought about the dung...
Anyway, my youngest daughter Nawwar, is known within the family as Mak's Moo. That is the highest compliment ever bestowed upon any woman by Ma Cow. She's a lucky one, that Moo!
PS : We have a bull in the house (that's because we don't own a china shop!) We call him Pak Abu (Ma Cow thinks, all things considered, Abu The Bull is sexy too. I am fishing for compliment, Bu(ll). ("Ma, dicowlah ratu hati ku" would definitely make my day)
Here are some cow jokes to brighten up your day:-
1. Why does a milking stool have only three legs?
Because the cow has the udder.
2. A lady from the city and her traveling companion were riding the train through Vermont when she noticed some cows.
"What a cute bunch of cows!" she remarked.
"Not a bunch, herd", her friend replied.
"Heard of what?"
"Herd of cows."
"Of course I've heard of cows."
"No, a cow herd."
"What do I care what a cow heard. I have no secrets to keep from a cow!"
3. What kind of milk comes from a forgetful cow?
Milk of Amnesia
4. Where do cows go when they want a night out?
To the moo-vies!
5. What was the bull doing in the pasture with his eyes closed?
6. What did the bored cow say when she got up in the morning?
"It's just an udder day"
7. How does a farmer count a herd of cows?
With a Cowculator
8. Why don't cows have any money?
Because farmers milk them dry
9. Where do Russians get their milk?
10. What's a cow's favorite moosical note?
11. What do cows wear in Hawaii?
12. What do call a cow that has just had a calf?
13. Did you hear that NASA recently launched a bunch of Holsteins into low Earth orbit? They called it the Herd Shot 'Round The World!
Have a 'Cow'abunga Day!