Saturday, January 28, 2012

A city DIL’s CNY dilemma

Day 1

It’s Chinese New Year’s Eve and I’ve just survived a day at the kampung.


I’m in Kedah in this little village (he calls it town but I call it village) called Padang Serai. As my colleague (who once served there before) animatedly describes it, it certainly is a road with a couple of traffic lights in between. It’s 22:30.. I can hear firecrackers and small-time fireworks thundering the air space just outside the house. The ruckus proves to be more frightening than reassuring. The afternoon heat was INSANE and the humidity does not make it any easier. My Cotton On jumpsuit clings to my sweat-sticky skin and even though it was only 5pm then but already I had wilted. I was agitated and snappy. Perhaps not the best way to start the new year. Guy had to put up with my groans and grumps behind closed doors. I could not help it. I was bored, lonely and most of all I was F*CKING HOT. All I could think of was that I wished I was home in my air-conditioned living room with my 3 best friends: the internet, E! and McD!  What was even more of a chore was having to smile throughout every social call all the while feeling icky all over. Someone get a dagger and pierce it through my guts already.

I'm an angpow dispenser. Password: Gong Xi Gong Xi.

All I could think of when I saw this was Gorillas in The Mist. We drove through the clouds. Literally.

And you’d think I could find solace in a good ole shower. I miss my treated water and dry toilet. I’m reminded of the water-quality in Jatinangor where the shower water reeks of rust (or issit pipe?). The only things missing are worms. 

Our trunk and passenger seats were filled with CNY goodies. I have no idea how people can fit their children AND stuff back there when I'm struggling with just stuff!

This year Guy decided we should sleep over at his parents’ place. For 3 whole nights *silent sigh*. The mattress measures less than my thumb in thickness.. a far cry from my  Westin 10-layer Heavenly Bed. Then there’s the kelambu. I feel like I’m being engulfed by a purple freakin’ mosquito net. Perhaps this is how little shrimps feel when they’re being ingested by jellyfish. 

We brought the kids princess tents as gifts.

Everyone had a blast with them. Note to self: the children are outgrowing all these juvenile gifts. Time to get stationery and books.

Of course there are afew highlights today. We went rubber seed picking at my FIL’s mini rubber plantation. They’re for *bisou* bonbon’s ‘someday’ use (Like you didn’t know I’m a hoarder..). He has mega green fingers. Sometimes I wish I could communicate better with him but he’s abit of a grouch I can’t help but get outta his way. The sisters and their children try to be welcoming.. just that I’m rubbish when it comes to Hokkien or Mandarin making communication a feat. Regrettably I hardly have things in common with them hence have nothing much to say on my part at least. Sigh. I'm hopeless at this.

Prepping my legs before invading mosquito paradise. N.B. Yup, didn't get bitten at all!

Workers from the neighbouring farm was amused with a foreign girl picking rubber seeds and taking pictures of trees and started wolf-whistling.

Whoah Guy's a real expert in rubber seed searching. He goes, "There. There. There. At your foot. On your right." I can't see sh*t!

Keep your eyes peeled.

Whoah it stretches like a rubber band! Yeah I'm such a dork.

We followed FIL home. The place is a maze. All in a day's work.

1 down, 3 more to go..

It was Guy's niece's birthday. We got her a cake from the local bakery and they brought it over to celebrate with us.

Point to the cicak.

Guy's family is traditional. This is the midnight prayer. We help lay ole-school sweets and candies.  

The mid joss-stick reveals a 4-d number (for those interested in buying the lottery) about an hour into burning.

Day 2

I sleep alot here. I’m not sure if it’s the heat or the boredom that’s making me hibernate like crazy. I struggled to wake up at 0900 this morning and then I struggled to keep my lids open at 1400 post lunch and I think due to the lack of plans, I’m gonna resume ZZZ at 2200! This place is turning me into a lemur!

We went to pray in the local temple on the first day of CNY.

Guy left me at his house. Our mission to find me some internet failed ‘cos the only wifi available was at the new mamak place in town and it was broken. F*ck. He was gonna go yum-cha with his mates. I asked him if I could tag along if his friend at wifi.. I mean I wasn’t gonna be a bother. All I needed was a plug point and some freakin’ internet. He thought that was inappropriate that I was gonna be working while he yabbered with his friends. I see nothing wrong with that scenario. Turn the tables around I wouldn’t mind at all if he were to tap on the laptop as I caught up with the girls. Maybe it’s a male ego thing. He mildly hinted that I should get independent. It’s not as if I do not want to get independent. Find me a freaking Pappa Rich or whatnot with freaking wifi then I’ll get inde-bloody-pendent!

“This is NOT my town!”
... Bill Rancic, The Bill and Giuliana  Show ...

There are no upscale kopitiams, no malls, no Starbucks, no taxis, no Guardian / Watsons and no bloody cable on the tele. I have no family, no friends, no one I can have a decent conversation with and most of all I don’t have anything to do but sit around and dispense red packets. Thank goodness it’s the holidays or I would’ve spontaneously combust already.

F*ck 2 more days to go.

Day 3

Guy's nieces and nephew (from sister no.4) put on their Bali souvenirs on the second day of CNY. They look awfully cute!

The kids just left the room. All their jumping around has pulled out the kelambu. The nail has unearthed from the cement wall and my FIL’s probably pissed that I allowed the kids to play in the room when he specifically instructed otherwise. Oh well. I just wanted the kids to have some fun. I mean this is indeed a freakin’ mundane home. Still, that’s nothing in comparison to comments passed on myself for being unable to cook. I overheard them while I was taking a shower. I believe we cannot please everybody so I’m just counting down the hours ‘till I can go home. I know now why I’m only back once a year. Yah yah I should be more accommodating and wife-like etc etc. Well then I could turn the tables around and say they could be more accommodating and stop expecting me to be like some village chu-chiak-poh ‘cos I’m NOT! That was not how I was raised nor how I would ever lead my life. So what if I can’t f*cking cook Chinese home cooking.. I studied 6 grueling years in med school, I’m a doctor, I’m an entrepreneur, blogger and most of all I believe I’m fab! I don’t need to be able to cook 5-spice chicken to prove I’m the son’s great wife. I will have children and just ‘cos I have none at the mo’ does not make me any less amazing! 

It's their family ritual to come over FIL's place on the second day of CNY and have steamboat.

I told Guy last night we are to leave early tomorrow morning. He’s accommodating, bless him. Perhaps he could see it in my eyes that I was on the verge of going mental. I don’t mean to be difficult. In fact I try HARD to NOT be difficult. I’m silent, I try to say yes to everything and I do offer my services in the chores department. Is it possible that they would want me to insist very harshly and snatch the sponge from them? Sorry-lah, to me a polite no is a polite no. I find it ridiculous to fight over house chores. I hate doing them anyways.

4d3n is my threshold.

Another of Guy's nieces turning a year older. Her mum bought the cake from the best cake shop in Kulim. This bakery supposedly made our wedding cake (local ceremony).

It’s close to 2200 and we just got home from Sungai Petani. Guy took me out for a spin in the late evening. The mission was to hunt for some internet but in the spur of the moment we figured we’d go to SP so I could get some buns for the journey home tomorrow. He realized I haven’t been out of the house the entire day. Finally I could catch a breather.

I went to some dodgy mall and bought myself truckloadsa Watson Invigorating Wet Tissues in Lavender, Rose, Pomegranate and Grapefruit ‘cos there was a special offer on them. I could feel the pressure slowly seeping out. I told Guy the solution to retain my sanity is to stay in that crappy motel (we used to stay in) the next time I come over. At least hotel breaks would give me the time to have some privacy as well as freedom to do my own thing without judging eyes on my every move and I wouldn’t have to behave like I’ve got a stick up my ass too.

Sometimes I wonder how did this die-hard KL girl marry this kampung boy? I basically subjected myself to rural living at least once a year. Perhaps it is, as Guy believes, divine intervention ‘cos I doubt he’d ever imagined subjecting himself to sophistication, glamour and bizarre city activities (like mall-crawling). Funny huh?

Look at FIL's mint plant! It's so freakin' subur. We brought a couple of sprigs home. 

When we arrived at the house, FIL took a hammer and nailed the kelambu back into shape. But I thought he said no knocking during CNY? Anyhooters, I ain’t gonna ask him why he fixed it when earlier on he made a hoo-ha about NO hammering in the new year. I’m just glad the freakin’ net is up. It could be he’s the Scrooge-like figure that is actually a nice man beneath all the layers of hostility. Fine then. Or maybe I’m just a sensitive b*tch. 

I mean look at the Sparrow Flower plant (or shall I say stalk because it literally was just a stalk) I bought him 2 years ago.  It's a freaking bush now! And cute as ever  :)

Still super glad we’re going home first thing tomorrow morning! Glee!

And that wraps up the chronicles of Chinese New Year this year.


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