a thin voice issued from the cage, tell me, it hissed, which is better, madness or darkness? -lord ith-

the dark was a time filled with madmen,both in the church and among the mages. yet in a mad world, is not accepting the madness the only reasonable solution?
-arkol,argivian scholar-
-magic, the gathering [ice age cycle]-

One thing I just cannot stand about family gatherings is the big M question. It is all about how they totally corner you, in this case, me, with the question of marriage announcing every interest in seeing me settled down as soon as humanly possible. My family, being the kay pohs that they are make no attempt to buffer their questions or intentions. They seem to be proud to take it upon themselves to play match maker cum wedding planner.

They start the interrogation by asking if I have a boyfriend. The way I see it, if you are unfortunate enough to be hit by this question, you are already on the losing end. If you answer NO, they will start match-making you with just about everyone they know, neighbours, cousins, friends, colleagues and the list just goes on and on. Age is not an issue. To them, anyone who has hit puberty qualifies as a possible candidate. If you answer YES, they the will ask you everything and I do mean EVERYTHING about that person you are dating, what car he drives, his job, his college, his family etc.

And no matter which route you take, the boyfriend question will always lead to the six-million-dollar question: when are you getting married?

Oh, but we do not have to really worry about answering the question. No. We just need to stand there while everyone decides what colour your pelamin will be, who to invite for the occasion, where to find a good caterer, where to order nice flowers and everything.

Every year, my cousins and I would quietly excuse ourselves right after we load our plates with lemang and rendang, escape to the nearest TV and huddle together hoping not to be singularly called upon. Safety in numbers.

But whether we are there or not, the same annual topic takes place. This year, we chewed our roti jala quietly as we eavesdrop on their terrible plans.

This year’s agenda: mass wedding. Five cousins, one occasion.

My cousins and I just sighed.

I have a boyfriend whom I am truly fond of. So does another one of my cousins, I think. We know this about each other. But we do not talk about it. We just do not. Things like this; you cannot just barge up to a person and expect the whole story to be regurgitated out. Most of all, it is MY story and who are you to want to control it?

So what if you got married by 16?

So what if you already had three kids by the time you are my age?

So what if you know someone else my age whom is already married?

So what if you want grandchildren / grand-nieces / grand-nephews? If I get married, it is because I want to be eternally committed to my man, not so you can have babies to play with.

So what if you know this fellow whom you think would be totally perfect for me? Have you taken the time to get to know me? So what if he is a lawyer / engineer / doctor? Do I know him? Does he know me? Do YOU know me?

So what if I am a girl?

You really cannot blame me for having this allergy for arranged marriage. I see nothing good out of it. I really cannot take customs and traditions as a very relevant justification. I do not think I can accept family wishes as a very feasible excuse either. My family, and more importantly, my extended family, do not know me. They do not know who I am.

I really enjoy being in love. But if I was not, I do not think that simply having a man around would make me feel any more complete. I can change my own car tyres and I can screw my own light bulbs, thank you very much. He might be useful to carry heavy objects to high places. But that would not be love. I would keep him under the staircase with all my other unused appliances.

I would rather have a bloke that I could talk to at the same frequency to and feel some electricity with. I would want someone who loved me for me, not because some loud mouth aunt introduced me as the perfect bridal candidate.

If I marry, it will be for love. Because I really do not see any reason to if not for love.

If I marry. Because I do not see anything wrong with remaining single my whole life.

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