Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
Today was the first day since I started this “new job” that I actually spent the whole day doing housewifey things. To begin with, I woke up early, made sure the house was clean, sorted out the laundry and ironing, did the groceries and after lunch, started cooking for hubby’s dinner! And in between all that, I even managed to squeeze in a manicure and pedicure :)
Without a doubt, close friends and hubby will be bound to raise an eyebrow or two at this over-achievement in domestication. So yes, I have to admit – I cheated…somewhat. Tiny little factor that I left out – my part-time magic wand, also known as “the maid”! She did the cleaning, laundry and ironing. I just instructed. However, I did do the groceries (with the maid pushing the cart and carrying the bags) and I did cook the dinner (with the maid chopping and cleaning). Hey, there’s no crime in having much-appreciated help!
So – is taitai-dom really for me? Well, only if according to the definition in my previous entry, with the essentials being:
1. the presence of a maid (to do all the nitty gritty chores – which taitai in her right mind would risk ruining her perfectly painted French manicure?), and of course,
2. a considerable amount of wealth (to maintain and service those oh-so-delicate nails, amongst other luxurious necessities!).
Seeing as I’ve only got one out of these two essentials, it looks like it’ll be some time more before I graduate to become a professional in this “career”! For now, I’ll be happy appreciating the once in a blue moon indulgences like today.
Having said that however, there is a part of me that fears the effects on one’s brain after too much inactivity and disconnection from the “real world”. I actually know a taitai that has so much time and money, that she has spent the past year renovating her new house. It’s still nowhere near completion, as she can’t decide how she’d like her house to be i.e. she’s changed interior decorators three times and painted the walls four different colours! As Ennius, the father of Roman poetry wrote, “the idle mind knows not what it wants”. Indecision is probably the least to be feared. Imagine what else could happen…
Another problem with taitai-dom as we know it, is that it contradicts one of the principles I’ve stuck to all these years – that in a relationship, no one person should be financially dependent on the other.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no women’s lib activist. I just believe that we should always be ready for the surprises that life throws our way and as we all know, they come in all sorts of unfathomable “shapes and sizes”.
In other words, I’d like the cake and eat it too. After all, what is the cake for if not to eat?! So now begins the quest to attain the nirvana of “financial freedom cum taitai-dom”…
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
It has been exactly a month and a half since I’ve taken time off real work and started my probationary “new job” of being a taitai. One of the “KPIs” I’ve set is to clear all old junk in anticipation of the “promotion” ahead i.e. baby and a “new” life called mummyhood. One of the sub-tasks involves deleting old emails no longer needed.
I’d like to share this email I wrote to some close friends back in my singleton days, a couple of years ago (yes, it’s amazing how far back my emails go!!) :
all these years of studying, keeping myself busy and trying to achieve so much hasn't really brought with it the satisfaction i thought it would. i guess what it really boils down to is me being embarrassed to say that at the end of the day, all i really want deep down is to have a hunk of a devoted husband, be a good wife, be a loving mother and just laze about all day - going shopping, taking up photography, travelling, reading etc. and doing all the so-called mundane stuff like pick up the dry-cleaning, do the groceries, take the kids to school etc.
some people call it a housewife, others prefer to call it 'woman of leisure'. the article below calls it tai tai.
you see, more than ever now, the struggle in this vicious rat race just doesn't appeal to me at all. so whatever you may call it, yes that's what i wanna be and though some may still say it's sad, i'm no longer embarrassed to say that!
...read on and i'm pretty sure some of you'll agree with me....sigh...
The last 100 years have been golden ones for the female sex really. During that span of time we got the vote, got the right to go to schools and added university degrees and Oxford PhDs to the list of 'Women Can Do' without slaughtering, maiming or killing anybody.
Well, okay ... maybe a bit of illegal protesting and bra burning. Lately, we've chalked up more milestones in the business world as Hewlett Packard became the first big name tech player to appoint a woman CEO and according to news reports, more than 27% of new businesses being launched are being headed by women.
The result of all this history is that women of today's generation have grown up with strong ideas about being career women. In secondary school canteens, we dreamt of careers as lawyers, accountants and engineers, earning pots of money and somewhere along the way, meeting the suitably qualified tertiary educated Prince Charming who drove a nice middle class car.
The thought of becoming a housewife was filed away under 'Stupid Harebrained Things Which Only Dumb Females Consider Doing'. Five years, a university degree and a couple of years working experience later, some of us are finding that gulp, we take it all back. Really...all we want is to be tai-tais...
The truth is that working is a drudgery. Having a boss is like having PMS except it's every working day of the week (and that's 5 days a week x 4 weeks a month x 12 months a year).
Nine to five hours are a miserable experience. Paperwork is asinine, endless and sometimes, verges on pointlessness. And oh yes, finding new ways to be idle without being caught probably should be national employee pastime No 1.
For gifts last year, we gave each other copies of Dilbert's The Joy of Work for laughs. Bringing home the bacon doesn't have a magical satisfying feel any more because you're too tired and brain dead to even contemplate frying it yourself.
You consider throwing yourself into your work and becoming one of those amazing females who makes the cover of Women @ Work but decide after taking into consideration the total loss of personal time, absolute lack of a social life and general all round hard work you need to do to achieve that goal, coupled with the glass ceiling factor, finding a good husband who will bring home not just bacon but the whole damned pig seems the easier and faster road to good times.
Longing for tai-taidom doesn't mean swapping the university parchment for the 'same drudgery, different context' of housework and brood-rearing. Tai-taidom is about having a maid tackle all those tiresome chores and going out to coffee, high tea and shopping with your schoolmates and girlfriends.
It's about gym workouts with a personal trainer, having facials and pamper sessions at the masseuse.
It's being able to go on a vacation at the drop of a hat without having to apply for leave, wait for it to be approved and then have your boss whine about how it's a bad time to be taking time off.
Tai-taidom doesn't have to be dull either.
After all, as a lady of leisure, you will have time to undertake all the hobbies, interests and skill improvements that you always wanted to do but never had the time or money to. Read all those books you meant to read all those years ago but never found the time. Travel and see the world. Learn how to sing, play a musical instrument - write a sex and shopping novel.
Tai-taidom is the chance to discover and exploit your hidden talents and well, find self-improvement. Take typing classes.
Wait a second – weren't these the sort of exploits of gentile young ladies of the Elizabethan 18th Century? The play a musical instrument and learn how to sing is almost straight out of the pages of Jane Austen's books isn't it?
Tai-taidom is a step backwards for women surely? (Elizabeth Candy Staunton would be rolling in a grave over this one, you think?)
Yes and no.
Modern tai-tais have probably got it much better since corsets were condemned and well, Elizabeth Bennett would certainly have appreciated having the vote and being given the chance to go to university and as well as marry Mr Darcy and be lady of leisure at some large house with sprawling grounds.
Modern tai-tais aren't tai-tais by virtue of their gender or because they can't be anything else - they're tai-tais by choice.
And being a tai-tai doesn't mean all the equality we fought for and the right to sit at the table and express your views while pounding the table with your immaculately manicured nails just vanishes overnight.
Rather, it's having the best of both types of worlds that women have experienced.
Which brings us of course to the one fly in the whole becoming a tai-tai ointment. Alas, achieving tai-taidom is somewhat a more tenuous uphill task.
If you thought winning the vote was a toughie, wait till you get to finding a decent good husband who makes enough money for you to live the life of a tai-tai. Need we repeat again how good men are hard to find? Even the cads and bounders are hard to come by these days. Tai-taidom is an elusive fairy tale ending that like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, is the exception rather than the rule.
The moral of the story at the end of the day? Screw the knight in shining armour or liberated sensitive new age man - just gimme a husband who can afford to keep me in the style and manner in which I would like to be accustomed to...and I will cook all his meals and let him put up his feet when he comes home...
Tai-taidom, here I come!
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Year after year, my birthday usually leaves me quite depressed, as most people (including me) are usually back at work after extended leave and freshly broke from Christmas and New Year celebrations. So two weeks ago, when Zain asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, I told him I’d leave it to him to plan something.
My choices are limited. Now, we actually have to think of “responsible” ways to celebrate! This is most definitely a sign of getting old.
Gone are those simple days when the only option we had was to get drunk and dance the night away (well, I’m sure we had other options – our young age just made us oblivious to them!). The only thing that came close to a dilemma was “Where?”…and even then, it usually ended up being the new spot in town…because back then, there only used to be one place (or if we were lucky, two) that was the so-called in place to be seen. Not like nowadays – there are so many choices that you can even go club hopping without even getting into the car. This must be nature’s ironic sense of humour…as the options for clubs and bars increase, my options decrease.
Apart from the obvious smoke pollution to the lil one’s lungs, can you imagine a heavily pregnant gal dancing the night away? Exactly…I rest my case.
So two days ago, Zain announced that we’ll be doing a simple bbq at our place. According to him, I didn’t have to do anything cos he’d handle it.
Guess what I did on Thursday and most of Friday? Groceries, cooking (laksa Johor – Zain’s choice, Italian lamb stew with salad and potato salad – my choice), baking (brownies – Zain’s choice, prune pudding – my choice), coordinating with my bro/mum (to bring over the grill, plates, water cooler etc), prepared handmade personalised bookmarks for each guest. What a hero!
What did Zain do? Fetch the maid, played XBox360, marinate the chicken and steaks (both marinate and meats bought by me, though he did play the driver role!), played XBox360, shopping (for my pressie). What a hero!
When the first guests arrived, a part of me thought the night was destined to be disastrous – to begin with, there was no ice and it started raining. Thankfully, hubby’s “exceptionally excellent party planning” skills eventually came together and it did turn out to be an enjoyable night…surprisingly! (Touché hubby dearest!)
So this year’s birthday didn’t turn out as depressing as many of the others. Tiring (!) but not depressing. Many thanks, hugs and kisses to everyone for helping out, turning up and for all the lovely presents.
Kudos to Zain and Happy Birthday to me...
Monday, January 01, 2007
These days, we find so many things “expressed” for our convenience e.g. 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, 3-in-1 coffee etc. Ironically, 2006 ended with a 2-in-1 of its own – Hari Raya Haji and New Year countdown in the same day!
So on the morning of 31 December 2006, we gathered at Tok’s house for our ritual makan-makan, all dressed in traditional baju melayu and baju kurung, like the angels we all are.
Then at night, the devils came out to play! Well, kinda…
You see, one of the signs of getting old is when you decide to group together at a friend's place to celebrate new year’s with their family. Just to warn you by the way, that you’ll probably come across more signs of getting old in my future blogs. Yes, I am at that crossroad in my life when most of the choices I make seem to spur up a surprise reaction from deep within…”My god, I’m getting old!”
Yes – going to town, strugling with traffic, paying exorbitant prices and squeezing through crowds for dear life, just seems like too much hassle for one night. Plus of course, we have our own bed to go home to, so no need for an excuse to sneak around like we did during our dating days :p
I don't know whether I speak for all, but for me, it's comforting to know that the year ended with family, friends who are ok with being silly in front of one another (yes, this year ended with a home-karaoke session - like all other gatherings at Jacq's place - with our version of Bohemian Rhapsody and also the baptism of "Fiddy Zain"), people I love and people I enjoy being with. It gives me that feel-good, warm feeling inside...like drinking hot choc with marshmallow in winter!
Here’s to great friendships and cheers to the promises of 2007…