Notebook

The need for familiar

Have you ever wonder why it's so succesfull to have foreign cuisines on different spots in all countries? Is it really just that locals want to try something else? Or is it so that those who travel want to eat what they know? Sure, the conservativness of some nations is very obvious even here from this perspective. Why can you get full English breakfast almost everywhere or a croissant or even spaghetti? But there is a new twist to it which I have realised and I admit I am most probably not the first one. It's not just locals and spoiled tourists, even those brave adventurous characters might feel the need for something, they know, something familiar, homely and expectable. Not only posh locals will come to have a coffee in that shiny expensive French cafe on the corner of a provintial town somewhere far far away from France. But actually and most likely tourists and travelers will be driven there too, to have something they like, know and will surely enjoy and are wiling to pay the absolutely unreasonable price for some normally totaly simple and common food and drinks. I mean, not that they will go there all the time, but I am sure, at least once in maybe even a long while, they might not resirst and enter that door and order piece of home.

Here is a small elaboration about Malay society, 

...especially the female part of it from what I've learned.I only know a little, but I would like to share it with you anyway. And I'm sure that you can get a more thorough summary elsewhere. I didn't study the subject, this is just what I learnt and observed in recent months.
Meet my friend Bea. She is a Muslim lady in her sixties. Bea lives alone in a 3 bedroom house just outside Kuala Lumpur. Her father arranged her marriage when she was young, and in love with a foreigner, non-Muslim. If she decided to go with the guy she loved, she would lose her family for ever. So she stayed and got married to whom her father picked. Although there has been no affection or intimate contact between them for the last 25 years and they have been separated for more than a decade, her husband comes to her house daily. Muslim men have the right to marry 4 women! Bea's husband married his second wife 15 years ago and lives with her nearby. Muslim women are dependent, unless they work for the government, here is no pension scheme in Malaysia and that makes elderly people dependent on their relatives. It is normal that children give an allowance to their parents and it's very often all they have unless they generate other income. Bea's husband didn't want to divorce her and this has two consequences, if he had she could have found another man, she was still young, but she would lose her share of the property and his support. By keeping the marriage, he says that he cares for her and that's also why he comes every evening for a visit and gives her a small amount of money so she has something to live on. So even though there was never any real love, they care and they do what ever they can within tight social boundaries to live happily and not harm others. They have one daughter, she is in her forties, has a good income and married only a few years ago. But her husband has a big influence on her, as any husband does,  he also doesn't have a job, so she supports him instead of her mother. How can Bea earn money to live on? She can rent a room in her house, but it would be viewed badly in the neighbourhood if she rents it to a man and there is little chance to find a female tenant, hence the daily visits of her husband. She can sell the house and get her share then live with her relatives, males in this culture should care for their sisters. Yes there are some options, but very limited. Muslim ladies are humble, as are Hindu women, the traditional family arrangements keep them dependent and give them little power. I have some admiration for this way of living but it's beyond my imagination. Traditions are strong here. The younger generation is different and many young ladies are kicking as hard as they can, I think they have a little bit more of a chance than their mothers and grandmothers did.