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The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Is Anyone Out There?

This blog has been abandoned for far too long, don't you think?

Did I hear anyone cough "understatement"? It would be amazing if there are people at all who would be reading this post; it would be cast into cyberspace like the philosophical tree that falls in the forest, not making a sound if there's no one to hear.

Serves me right for not updating.

So I'll make up for lost time, in the vain hope that someone (my sisters at least, heh) would leave some thing in the comment box. (Make it Not Nasty)

Let's see, let's see, let's see. The biggest thing that's happening to me right now, and which everyone is probably sick of hearing about, is my Big Move to Jakarta. Ya dong, gue pindahan ke seberang. My husband is now permanent fixture at PT Peremba Nusantara, just like its furniture. (And just as useful. Furniture is useful, no?)

Initially, we thought that we'd endure a trans-strait relationship, with the kids and I staying put in Malaysian suburban heaven, while Saiffuddin can camp out in Jakarta, work like mad, and come home every fortnight. Curiously, every woman, no matter the age, would vehemently advise me against this.

"Eeeeeh, nanti Cik Abang awak tu pasang Ibu lagi sorang kat Jakarta tuuuu..! Have you any idea what Indonesian girls look like?".

Yes, yes, if they all look like Dian Sastro, there is no hope. Frankly I found it rather unsettling that they thought gorgeous Indonesian girls would be that easy, (of course, they are not) or my boring husband would be that attractive (or disloyal). It all depends on who you're married to, lor. I know of friends who pasang Ibu lagi sorang, while they're on a short trip to Sabah.

Nevertheless, several factors made us rethink our inter-strait plan. First, I got spooked that one of my friends, whose husband was working in Jakarta, and who had a marriage subsisting on said fortnightly rotation, came to a wedding with a debonair boyfriend in tow.

"I'm getting a divorce", she whispered, smiling. "If Saiffuddin is moving to Jakarta, my advice to you, Elida, is to move with him". Like most divorces, it is less about infidelity, than about a breakdown in the relationship. One day, you realise that your in absentia spouse is just not part of your life any more. Even after just two months, I have to admit that I am beginning to get used to Saiffuddin not being around. Not that I like it much. Not yet.

The whole upheaval of coming and going was also taking a toll : I'd go over to visit or he'd come home for while, and the tearful goodbyes and the frenzied sex is just too much drama to bear. I'm getting old, I want some kind of constant. (I can't expect to get that at the place I work) Besides, Saiffuddin is one of those old, dear husbands who can't survive on their own for long. He gets sick, he gets bored, he moans about going home.

Also, I actually love Jakarta. Despite its clogged roads and arbitrary urban planning, I can see myself living in this wondrously huge city. Jakarta people are polite and civilised (unless they're driving) and they have a deep appreciation of life and art. You can have a meaningful conversation with a random youth in Jakarta, or you can discuss democracy with a cab driver. I love the Indonesian language, I love their inventiveness with words, like pede, for confidence, which I guess is short for Percaya Diri.

On top of that, and this is important, in Jakarta there is Mangga Dua and places like Mangga Dua, where you can buy a very, very good fake Hermes in aubergine for much less than a real MNG. Or you can buy a real Armani suit for three hundred ringgit, at a factory outlet in Bandung. Or you can buy a gracious six bedroom mansion with a curving staircase and a pool in the backyard for less than a million bucks. Jakarta, and the greater Indonesia, is shopping heaven -- and I'm the patron saint of belanja.


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