Thursday, 29 October 2009

A Malaysian Guide For Unhappily Married Couples

People these days never tire of sending messages through mobile phones; I received a joke yesterday and it went like this:

A man visited a friend after many years and noticed a pleasant change in his host’s attitude towards his wife. Every time he addressed his wife, he used endearing terms such as dear, honey, love, sweetheart, pumpkin etc. As the wife went off to the kitchen to prepare tea for the gents, the guest—unable to contain himself—finally asked the host, “What brought about THIS change?”

“You see, only five years ago, I forgot my wife’s name, and having been married for fifty years to this (expletive deleted), I’m too scared to ask her name”.

Now back to the real world.

Malaysia is a progressive Islamic state—at least that is what I gathered from my numerous short visits to Kuala Lumpur in the past twenty-five years. One of its thirteen states is now offering something unique to married couples who are considering achieving Nirvana by filing for divorce: a free second honeymoon.

The state expects that such romantic excursions (Islam does allow man and womankind plain old- fashioned fun) will help rekindle their marriages if nothing else. The grand scheme will allow feuding couples to spend three days and two nights on one of the tropical islands off Terengganu state. So many nights and days stuck on an island surrounded by sharks is overkill, since what husbands require in offices are frequent coffee breaks (or prayer breaks for the religiously inclined), and what the wives desire is to stay away from cooking stoves that explode—as they do in India—to kill brides who bring in no dowry.

The chairman of the Malaysian state’s welfare, community development and women affairs committee claims, “Newly-wed couples are facing numerous problems. Among them are financial issues and problems related to their in-laws”.

Since I will be totally misunderstood, allow me to state that marriages these days have turned into two-way streets in which both partners must work to make ends meet, due to the unnatural demands of modern education for children and the burning desire to live inside a shopping mall—you may call such a place, Dubai. As for the in-laws, having them was a problem but living in a joint family system is—as the Arabs will say—a far bigger ‘broblem that cannot be bushed under the carbet’. With the forever-rising cost of those simple naked necessities of life, married girls who are surrounded by in-laws will have the same ancient choice of either putting up or shutting up.

“Before marriage, all was good. But after marriage, some are unable to cope with the new challenges,” the official revealed. Ending my column on a happier note, I could not agree more—although I am happily meeting the ‘challenge’ head-on every day and night without having to live in Malaysia.

The chairman explains, “I want to strengthen family ties. If a marriage breaks down, it will hurt the children and it will have serious implications on society.” That is true; a prime example being the abusive readers at this very website who come from families with broken jawbones or who belong to homes that are about to become re-possessed houses.

Malaysian couples will be required to apply in writing and then undergo an interview before being accepted for the package, which is worth an estimated 1,500 Ringgit ($440). Many Malaysians, I suspect, will falsely declare that they need this government-sponsored break. What fruits the scheme will bear is yet to be seen but suffice to say that the intentions of the Islamic state are good.

If I had power over the affairs of our unruly men, I too would launch not a Ghori missile towards India but a grand nationwide scheme: males-only honeymoon with a one-way ticket to San Francisco. It would benefit those who are bent upon giving Islam a bad name in Wana, Waziristan, Swat, or wherever they have not been able to lay their eyes on their peaceful wives.

The real Jihad begins at home.
Read other ARTICLES and BLOGS by the author to find out why he is frequently banned on Chowq

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