Saturday, May 05, 2007

Victims of Good Intentions

Sim being the second youngest in the family led a pampered and protected life. Her chores were the easiest and she always gets the best bits of food and clothing. Though she does not realise it, her every move and all the joy and pain that she felt is reflected deeply in her parents. She will never know this as the Malay society of the time dictates that the gap between parent and child will keep such deep feelings hidden. Her parents concerns thus translated to Sim as suffocating and undue controlling which causes her to rebel and seek any opportunities to reaffirm her freedom and independence. The Malay Peninsula after all has just gained independence. Why shouldn't she ?

She just loves going to those free propaganda movies screened in the middle of the village field or dancing away at weddings to simple folk music. The kind provided by an accordion, traditional drums and gongs. Cak Kun Cak, they call it. She enjoyed herself tremendously at these events. If her father forbids it, the more she will want to go. She will rope in her sisters or her friends and climb out the windows after pretending that she is turning in early. And that was the extent of her crime, nothing more. No drugs, no alcohol and definitely no sex.

As she blooms into womanhood, the tide changes for she is unlucky in love. Though the other parts of her existence is always of no bother or concern to her, in matters of the hearts she began to know what pain and deprivation is all about. Her first love was taken by her best friend. It took more than two decades for her to come to terms with this and resume her friendship. Then she fell for a cousin, of course the whole clan is against this. It is not acceptable at all for first cousins to be betrothed. Again she is heartbroken.

All this pain that she is going through is not lost on her parents. It was so intense on them that they decided that enough is enough, they decided to take control. They do not want Sim to feel pain again. Thus they selected among her brother's friend a man whom they judge as hard working, pious and able to provide for Sim. Sim objected, she is not ready to be married off to someone she hardly knows and that she is not yet ready to forgo her freedom. Her sisters convinced her that what their parents did was perhaps for the best and it was also her luck that her future husband is such a quiet and undemanding man. The pressure was so great that she finally relented and consoled herself that this could be a way for her to escape from her luckless and painful love life.

Things went well at first. As in any arranged marriage, they had fun discovering each other. Sadly as the monotony of married life sets in, Sim felt short changed. Her husband is a hardworking man of few words. So hardworking in fact, that they never seem to do what other young families do. Family trips were too few and far in between as her husband are working hard to reach his objective of providing a better house and car for his young family. Sim released her frustration by doing the only thing she knows. She became verbally abusive and a constant nagger. She never neglects her wifely duties though. The house is clean, food is always on the table and the bed is made. Being a man of few words and more involved in his work than in his family, her husband endured Sim's behaviour and worked even harder. This goes on until their daughter reaches adulthood.

It was at this point perhaps that her husband also reaches his tolerance point as far as Sim's behaviour is concerned. He starts to drift away. He starts not coming home for a few nights on the pretext of working out of state. But he still provides for the family, materially at least. At first everyone thought that he is keeping another woman or having an affair. Investigations and fact finding missions turn up nothing. He is in fact working. Sim laments the fact that her husband is a good for nothing man who only cares for money and make it a point to voice this out at every opportunity. Her husband on the other hand has had enough of her nagging and just ignored her verbal assault. Now they just go through the rhythm of life as it occurs. Sharing a roof but not exactly a life. Each resigned to their fate, each secretly blaming the other for their predicament.

What started out as good intentions turn two people into victims with no way out in sight. So, the next time you think you are doing well for others by deciding their fate, think again. We live by the choices we make and their consequences, let the individual make their own choice. Give advice if you have to but never, ever make the choices for them.


Yang bernama Siti said...

This is very sad. Instead of telling everybody her grievances, Sim should told her husband. And the husband should talk to her. How I wish they could do it before it is too late and I hope they could still enjoy a loving relationship.

Mat Salo said...

I like this story Cap'n.. and the message within. The tone, the choice fo words - ngam. Keep at it, I think you are good observer of the human condition, foibles and all.

Hey, been doing a lot of introspection lately, huh?

Apandi said...

Siti, thanks.

MS, ha ha, since Doc is observing eagles... Introspection ? Nah, just sharing what I see and observe. Funny thing is, sometines its difficult for me to follow my own advice.