Male chauvinism and sexism

This is definitely a man's world we are living in and despite much progress women have made in this age and time, there are still total idiotic cavemen out there who thought women are merely there to produce children, cook and clean, nothing else, nothing more.

It is this cavemen thinking that is the root cause of violence against women such as rapes, sexual harassment and other sexual crimes. Many of the perpetrators thought nothing of women and therefore have no respect for women at all to commit such heinous crimes against women and children.

There is no one to blame except for society and the way they raise these beasts who eventually thought they have a right to commit any crime against women.

However, my recent encounter with such a caveman almost had me publicly assaulting a public figure. This chauvinistic poor excuse for a male specimen is actually a politician of high standing with sexist views and absolute chauvinistic mentality.

Recently, he publicly blamed women as the cause for sexual crimes against women.

"It is the way they dressed. Women nowadays are revealing too much in their skimpy attire, creating lusts in men who sees them," he said.

He went on to say that as a man himself, he too felt lustful after seeing a skimpily clothed woman in a shopping mall but 'fortunately, he is able to control his lust'.

When accused of being sexist by making such a remark, this idiot dared to deny that he was belittling women with his statement.

He went on to say that he has all the respect for women but only had objections to the current fashion fad of skimpy attire.

"I am not at all sexist," he claimed.

His righteous tone and firm believe that women's dressing is the root cause for sexual crimes is enough for me to commit violence against the idiot. He should be so glad that I am able to 'control' my feelings.

What is this world coming into if there are men like this holding high political positions? I also found out that this same man also sits in some counselling board or other. I just could not imagine how such a total buffoon could be a counsellor? What if a rape victim or sexual crime victim were to approach him for counselling and he started blaming the poor victim and telling her that she brought it onto herself?

He might as well blame jewelry stores that were robbed for displaying their wares. After all, the stores are submitting passersby to temptations of the glittery kind every day and there are bound to be those who can't control themselves. It weren't the robbers' fault at all!

Is there any logic in this at all? Sometimes I really wonder why men like this still exist.


TT Number Three!

This week, my entry is going to be Thirteen mundane things I do every morning...

1) Wake up at crack of dawn due to an internal clock which won't quit!

2) Brush teeth, wash face and check on baby to make sure he is still sleeping soundly

3) Tiptoe around the house so as not to wake both baby and hubby

4) Go for my morning exercise which involves 20 minutes of brisk walking, 15 minutes of climbing stairs and 20 minutes of floor exercises.

5) Wake hubby who never wakes up early on his own

6) Feed baby who is awake by now and toddling around the house, destroying everything in his path...(okay, it was more like strewing his toys all over the house and shredding bits of paper and tissue he can get his hands on)

7) Keep an eye on baby and keep him occupied while hubby sleepily prepares breakfast (we take turns to prepare breakfast but he often ended up doing it...)

8) Switch the cellphone on to check for any urgent SMS from the office

9) Eat breakfast while chasing baby who had managed to grab the cellphone and was running around the house with a cheeky glint in his eyes intending to throw the thing out the window

10) Frantically get ready for work

11) Get baby ready to drop him off at the babysitter's

12) Make sure everything is locked/switched off/kept in its proper place before leaving the house

13) Drop baby off at the babysitter's and drive like an F1 driver to reach the office on time

This is the boring routine of my life but next week, hopefully, I will have something more exciting to TT about!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

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Of rude FAT comments and insensitive people

Just the other day, I almost ended up with blood on my hands by pulling out the tongue and kicking the balls of an uncle for his discriminatory, insensitive remarks. The only thing that saved him was that the remarks were not said to my face but to a colleague of mine.
Of all the insensitive and rude remarks to make, the offending man actually told my colleague in a crowded elevator that, get this, she is fat.
This is how the conversation went:
"You are getting fatter by the day," the insensitive boor told my poor colleague.
Offended and hurt, she told him that considering she just had a baby, naturally she could not immediately bounce back to her former weight and size.
Being the insensitive jerk that he is, he pressed on and this time, dared to even mention me when I was not even in the darn elevator!
"Oh, you women always have some excuse or other about putting on weight. Just like my niece, she goes around with all that extra fat and claimed that she could not go on a diet just because she is breastfeeding. Utter nonsense is what I say. I don't see her losing any weight even after weaning off the baby. Women should take care of their bodies and lose all that ugly fat after having babies. But then, of course, it all depends on whether they have the will to lose the fat or not," he said in a self-righteous tone of voice while heavily implying that my colleague and me and all women in general who do not have supermodel figures obviously do not have any will to lose the extra inches.
At this juncture, my poor hurt colleague was about to scratch his eyes out and probably would have strangled him there and then except that there were too many witnesses around and him being a lot bigger and taller than her did not help matters.
This is not the first time this uncle of mine, whom I am not proud to be related to, have made such rude insensitive comments.
He had called me fat numerous times, even when I was pregnant.
A few months after I had my son, he actually came up to me and told me to my face that I am fat. When I replied huffily that I am not fat, it only served to make him affirm his statement by going on and on about my size.
"What do you mean you are not fat? Look at you! Look in the mirror, woman!"
Of course, I did not do anything at that time because this uncle of mine have the tendency to open his big insensitive mouth in public places where vengeful women like me could not do the necessary to silence him. What with plenty of witnesses hanging around, the situation is painful and embarrassing enough without me contributing a gory bloody crime scene to it.
This is one uncle I do not acknowledge and up till now, I have avoided him as best I could. He may be my father's brother but he is a downright pain in the neck and I do not want to end up a murderer.
The irony of it all is that my aunt, the woman married to him, is not supermodel thin. In fact, she is double my size and if I am fat, I do not know what she is in his view. I honestly felt sorry for her (to have such a boorish husband) and hoped that he does not mouth off at her over her weight every day. Since he is still alive today and they are still married, I can only assume that he dared not say anything about her weight to her for fear of her poisoning him or smothering him in his sleep!
My uncle is not the only insensitive, rude jerk who discriminates against people who are not reed thin.
I have come across many such people, including total strangers, who have the audacity to tell me to lose weight or that I should lay off the dessert.
I think it is extremely rude and in bad taste to comment about someone's weight and size. Just because they are on the underweight side does not mean they have the right to look down on those who wear double-digit sizes. Nor does it give them the right to tell us to lose weight or to cut down on our food or to make horridly discriminatory fat jokes and thought that it was okay and for our good.
People like these naturally assumed that we, the bigger and better group, have no self-control, that we are a lazy bunch who just eat, eat, eat and eat to get to the size we are and that we needed to be told that we should to do something to become the over-rated single-digit size of stick figures.
Staying in a country where most people are of single-digit sizes and double digits are considered obese, it is very difficult for me to go anywhere to shop for clothes. Often, I get disdainful stares from skinny promoters when I asked for bigger sizes of clothes. Always, I get directed to the 'big size women' boutique just because my size do not fit in with the norms of this country. At times, I do feel like an outcast from this size discriminatory treatment.
Despite all this, I have decided 'to hell with it all!' and continue to live life the way I want and who cares if all those stick figures out there continue to cast disdainful looks at me? As long as my husband do not care about the extra comfy padding for him to hug, as long as I am still as healthy as ever and is able to continue breastfeeding my son, the bony specimens of rude people out there can say whatever they want and it won't bother me at all!


My second Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Chocolate

Being a diehard chocoholic, the thought of popping a delicious morsel of chocolate into my mouth and letting it melt and slide down my throat is never far from mind. So in honour of chocolate, this week I am going to list down 13 reasons I have for indulging in chocolate!

1) The TASTE - just the thought of toe-curling, skin-tingling, mouth-watering, tongue-bursting, ecstacy-filled, mind-numbing taste of rich, sweet, creamy, smooth chocolate melting in my mouth is enough to get me hooked! Need I say more?

2) It's the time of the month - we all know we crave sugar just days before the time of the month when we bleed out so what better reason than to get the sugar craving fulfilled with a bar of chocolate! PMS is a time when I go a bit crazy and practically rip anyone in my way apart so
the only way to appease me is with a nice bar of plain dark chocolate.

3) Variety - as they say, variety is the spice of life and mmmm, mmmm, there are so many variety of chocolates out there from those filled with nuts, liquer, fruit creme, dark, milk, rich, sugar-free, low fat to those quirky weird ginseng and herbal kinds. What better excuse than 'Hmmm, I've not tried this cherry-filled, almond covered, sugar-free chocolate so might as well buy one and try it!' I am determined to try as many types of chocolate as I possibly could even if some tasted so horrible it almost (but did not succeed) turn me off chocolate.

4) No disease / virus - what with the bird flu, mad cow disease and sea pollution, it is difficult to eat anything from chicken to fish without worrying about the diseases and contamination that seems to have infiltrated into every delicious food EXCEPT chocolate! So, if you are worried
about catching the bird flu from chicken or mad cow disease from steaks, forget about those. Have a bar of chocolate instead!

5) Great companion - whenever I am bored and alone at home (which is very seldom but it happens!), nothing beats having some chocolate over for company. They are great listeners, they don't talk back to us, they don't comment on the size of my hips nor frown down on my tattered 'at-home' look and most importantly, they don't ask awkward personal questions like when I plan to have another baby or when I last shave my legs. Oh, of course, they expect to be eaten slowly so that I can have a really wonderful time!

6) Wonderful de-stress food - oh, we all have those dark stormy days of stress, depression and more stress. So I always grab a bar of chocolate, any chocolate, to rid me of all that tension and stress knotting up my shoulders, neck and brain. Nothing beats the sugar rush and almost orgasmic feeling after a bite into scrumptiously rich, creamy chocolate.

7) Gives me warm and fuzzy feelings - The one main thing which really won me over to the Harry Potter books is the part where those who came face to face with Dementors had to consume chocolate to get the warmth back and fully recover afterwards.Well, I may not have seen any Dementors around but hey we never know right? It is better to keep one by our side, just to be on the safe side. LOL.

8) Cures colds - okay, so it does not really do that but some sinfully, saliva-inducing Belgium chocolate never failed to make me forget about the puffy eyes, blocked nose and general lousy feelings associated with colds.

9) Available everywhere - whenever I go on vacation anywhere, be it a paradise island or some God-forsaken unknown jungle, chocolates can be found. So if the local foods of the place seemed suspiciously deep-fried-insect-looking, I don't have to worry about starving to death because no matter where, the airport always have a store selling chocolates. Worse comes to worse, purchase from the ridiculously expensive inflight airline store.

10) Universal - I am not a linguist and could not speak hundreds of different languages but I do know one thing though. Most of the people I met in foreign countries understand the word chocolate so I can often find the local chocolate store without any problems!

11) No cooking required - there are days when I am too cook or bake or slave away in the kitchen so chocolate is what I reach for to fill the growling stomach. Just tear off the wrapper, put in mouth and let it melt. Simple.

12) Versatile - there are also days when I am extremely hardworking (ahem!) so it is simply amazing the things we could cook, make and bake using chocolate from chocolate pies to cookies to ice cream to shakes. It is desserts galore!

13) Good for health - Aha! Finally, the scientists have discovered "preliminary evidence that cocoa and other chocolates may keep high blood pressure down, your blood flowing and your heart healthy". What more can we ask for?

Disclaimer: The chocoholic blogger is not a qualified scientist so these reasons are merely her own observations and she is not liable for any sugar/chocolate overload among readers after reading this post.

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Thursday 13

This is my first time participating in TT so here goes:

A list of 13 things I will not regret or try not to regret doing:

1) Slacking off at work to blog / write down my story ideas. Since trying to type even a sentence after work while at home with a toddler without the said two-footer trying to add in his own words is next to impossible, I reserved some of my office time to blogging and writing my own manuscripts. I just had to be careful to quickly click on my email page or other office works in progress whenever someone walks past my desk.

2) Missing out on sleep to work on my story ideas / manuscripts. Again, I have to put both baby and husband to sleep first before I get some free time of my own to write, write and write so that I can finish that manuscript! Dark circles under my eyes? Hah, even pandas would envy the lovely pair of beauties surrounding my eyes from lack of sleep.

3) Writing romance stories even if they never get published. I started jotting short romance stories when I was a teenager and though I have dabbled in a few other genres such as horror and fantasy, I still find I love writing romance stories with the happy ever after endings. I am now working towards completing my first full length novel and sending queries out to publishers.

4) Indulging in chocolates and ice cream. As a die-hard chocoholic, I would probably die without my daily dose of chocolate. I could survive solely on a diet of chocolate so throw me on a deserted island with endless supplies of chocolate and I will live!

5) Spending more time with my family. In my hectic working world, it is very difficult to balance my roles as a sister, daughter, mother, wife, journalist, blogger, closet romance writer, chocoholic, bookworm but I'll do whatever it takes to finagle some time out of my clogged schedule to spend more time with my darling husband, Steve and hyperactive son, Ray.

6) Reading all kinds of books including erotic romance books. I am a bookworm very much like my mother so I buy all sorts of books and when I have stolen free moments, I would let myself be transported into the different worlds created by authors from around the world.

7) Yo-yo dieting. I have never been blessed with the 'thin' genes so I always have to go on a diet to lose extra baggage around the hips and butt whenever I overindulge in no. 4. But I can never stick to a diet for too long because frankly, lettuce leaves vs prizes for guessing which one won the fight!

8) Starting this blog. When I initially started blogging, I was very apprehensive and unsure of what to write. Now, I am glad I started as it gave me an avenue to sharpen my writing skills and air my opinions and also rant and rave!

9) Not becoming a millionaire by not choosing a 'safer' or 'stable' career. Money and materialism have not always been the main goals in my life. A simple person at heart, I don't mind living in a small apartment, driving an old car which could break down at any time of the day for no simple reason and not being able to afford luxurious things like a diamond-studded toilet seat. As long as I can live comfortably with my family, I am happy with my not-so-profitable career choice.

10) Buying skimpy, smaller sized clothes which I may not be able to fit into in this lifetime. Hey, every girl is allowed to buy clothes they wished they could somehow squeeze into someday. It's the only motivation to lay off the chocolate for like two whole minutes!

11) Learning to cook and bake. When I was younger, I have been known to burn everything I tried to cook but after meeting my gourmet husband, I have improved my skills and now, can whip up a simple meal for 20 if need to.

12) Having my son, Ray. At times I may feel like pulling out my hair in frustration over his cheeky shenanigans but all in all, he is a good kid who never fails to cheer up my days. I don't even mind the stretch marks and extra bulges I ended up with for having him.

13) Not conforming to any particular group of people. Though I am a news journalist and is supposed to be all serious, all no-nonsense and very sociable, I am far from that. I have a skewed sense of humour and tend to burst out laughing (real deep loud HAHAHAs and not those ladylike polite 'heeheehee's) at anything remotely funny to me even when in the middle of a press conference which could be very awkward. That said, I also hate attending any social events and avoided it like the plague and the only way I could be induced to attend one 'voluntarily' is by orders from the boss at work for work-related functions.

There, it wasn't so hard after all.

A tribute to my mom

Not one inclined to pink, frilly stuff or swooning spells, I could say my mom is as tough as a bull terrier. I will always remember my mom's 'butter won't melt in my mouth' demeanor when faced with a difficult situation or her open-minded attitude to everything in life.
My mom had three main passions and those were books, pets and jewellery.
A bookworm through and through, my mom must have a book in hand whenever she goes to the toilet or before bedtime. She was such a voracious reader that she reads almost anything and everything she could get her hands on, from memoirs to thrillers to romance.
It is her influence that has me addicted to books and it is her relentless support in my budding interest in writing during my teenage years that has spurred me on to never give up my dream of becoming a full-time writer.
Then of course there are her pets. Oh my mom is an animal lover through and through who believed in saving as many strays as she could. In all of my life, my mom always had a pet or three staying with her, be it cats or dogs or even white pet rats! Just before she passed away, she had a total of 15 cats and four dogs with her, all rescued from starvation and abandonement. Fortunately, her husband, my stepfather, shared her passion too and loved each and every animal under their care.
I remember visiting them years ago and was treated to this wonderful touching scene of cats and dogs squeezing themselves into bed together with my mom and stepdad at night. It was a picture perfect moment. Priceless actually considering the dogs and cats get along with each other like one big happy family. Even the grouchy, high-pitched, noisy chihuahua which barks and growls at everyone and every moving thing other than my mom does not mind squeezing with other cats and dogs.
Even after all these years, when I think of my mom, it is this very image that comes to mind. She and her loving husband and their menagerie of pets.
It has been two years now since my mom's passing and I still misses her every day. Often I would absentmindedly compose an email to send her and then realised that she is no longer there to make my stepdad print out the email for her because she wouldn't touch the new fangled electronic thing called a computer with a barge pole. Regrets for words unspoken will always be there as I was never given a chance to say goodbye, to see her for the last time, to tell her that I loved her. She never even get to meet her first grandchild as she passed away when I was nine months pregnant.
Barely a year after her passing, my dear sweet stepdad joined her in the afterlife. My stepdad's grief over her passing was so deep that he never recovered from it and I honestly believe that he died of a broken heart.
I would like to think that they are finally reunited now after the brief separation.
So for this Mothers' Day, I would like to tell all daughters and sons out there to at least tell their mothers that they love them before it was too late. I never did get a chance to say these three simple words to my mom before she died and I am certain she is probably keeping an eye on me and my family from wherever she is now.
My mom, she will always be the queen in my heart. It is also in honour of her memory that I am using her name, Nani, as part of my pseudonym in my writing life.

My secret love for cartoons

I spent most of my childhood reading especially when the telly is off-limits, so I missed out on a lot of the daytime cartoons that my friends talked about in school. It is during school holidays that I catch up on my cartoon knowledge, after all, I don't want to again pretend to have watched a certain cartoon and totally embarrassed myself by mistaking care bears for gummi bears and transformers for voltron, mickey for donald, Little Mermaid for Sleeping Beauty, Bambi for Goofy, etc.
So, after all those years of deprivation, I now watched cartoon channels most of the time.
Well, after work at least. Partly because my toddler would not allow the telly to play anything else except for the worlds of Barney, Spongebob, Stitch, Bananas in Pyjamas, Sesame Street, Mickey and Donald, Roadrunner, Tom and Jerry, the list just goes on and on. I know some parents would probably frown at me for allowing a toddler to watch TV at such a young age but hey, you try cooking dinner with a toddler trying to climb up your leg while attempting to grab whatever he can see on the kitchen counter! The TV is the best way to distract him for a full five minutes!
Back to cartoon world, I never knew there were so many cartoons to watch! Boy oh boy, imagine how much I have missed. My favourites are the girly ones of Totally Spies, Kim Possible, Powerpuff Girls and I also like Dexter's Lab, Fairly Godparents, The emperor's new groove, good old Mickey Mouse, Lilo & Stitch, Tom and Jerry, Spongebob Squarepants, Rugrats, All Grown Up, American Dragon...again, the lists goes on.
Naturally, I kept this a secret from my grown up friends (save for my husband who never failed to raise his eyebrows at me whenever I snatched the remote from him to tune in to the Disney channel because my Lilo & Stitch is coming on in five minutes!).
The secret accidentally slipped out one day in a very adult conversation with a fellow colleague.
"You know, I was watching Spongebob the other day and...errr...I mean, I was watching Superman," I had immediately tried to correct myself but it was too late.
"You watch Spongebob?" he was incredulous with raised eyebrows. (In a cartoon his eyes would probably go boiiinnnggg and fall out of the sockets before rolling under the table)
"Oh, because your son is watching it right? Hmmpphh, the sacrifices we parents have to make huh?" he came into this conclusion and gave me a 'I am a parent so I understand you' nudge, nod and wink.
To save my 'serious journalist' reputation, I merely nodded in agreement. I dared not tell him that every morning when I browse through the newspapers, I often zoom past the murders/rapes/tragedies/politics and head to the comics section. It is the most interesting section of the whole paper.(pssstt....don't tell anyone, I avoid reading the gory sad news whenever I can help it despite the fact that it is part of my job to scour the newspapers everyday to keep myself updated with the latest news)
But I seriously wonder why it is such a 'huge crime' for an overage adult to watch cartoons or read comics? Are cartoons somehow rated 'CG-B18' (children's guidance only - for those below 18) without us knowing about it?
One of the many reasons I love watching cartoons is that it never failed to make me laugh. It is not complicated and does not have issues it wants to 'preach' between the lines. It adds cheer and lotsa fun in my otherwise stressful working day.

So what's wrong with starting the day with some funnies be it on the telly or the comics section in the newspaper?

Romance is dead?

I have vowed to myself to not discuss current affairs in my blog but this is just too interesting to ignore! I read that a recent survey by a condom company has revealed that my countrymen are dissatisfied with their sex lives, stating the lack of romance as the main cause.

I couldnt' agree more! I mean, nowadays, romance is 'totally outmoded' and is seen as corny, mushy and a total waste of time.

To prove my point, here's several conversation I had with some of acquiantances at different points of time.

"So, what did you and your husband do for Valentine's?" I asked, not really interested to know but just finding something to talk about on a boring work day.

"What do you mean what did we do? We are no longer dating and naturally, there's no need for flowers and candies which costs a bomb during this time of the year," my acquiantance replied. Let's call her Valen for convenience.

"But you are still in love with each other aren't you?Isn't it all about celebrating your love on Valentine's day?"

Valen gave me a 'what century are you from, grandma?' look.
"Don't be such a hopeless romantic! We have better things to do such as clearing out the garage, watching football on telly and I have yoga sessions to attend," she said.

"You mean, you didn't even spend the day or evening together, do something as a couple?"

"Why? We see each other practically every day and we sleep on the same bed every night. We both need our own personal time too, you know. Besides, Valentine is overated and cheesy and too commercialised," she retorted and immediately changed the subject before I could probe further.

Another even more romantic-less conversation:

"We saw this really darling little house in the suburbs and its just so perfect. We are thinking of buying it and, oh, by the way, we have decided to get married after all," this friend, Gina, announced after talking non-stop about her job, her annoying sister, her even more annoying mother and her current boyfriend turned fiance.

Normally, the rest of us would have immediately asked her the main question 'How did he propose?' but I must have been way out of the field to realise that this question is now 'outdated'.

"So, have you booked the location for your wedding yet?" one the other girls asked.

Gina shrugged and said they are still considering a few places but it all depends on their budget.

Then of course silly outdated me have to open my big mouth.

"So how did he propose?"

Immediately, six pairs of amazed 'which planet are you from, grandma?' looks were aimed at me.

"What? It's not like I asked how many times you two had sex each week...heh heh" I tried some humour.

"Nyla, how cheesy can you get? Propose? That is so last century! Nobody proposes anymore. Those getting on one knee with flowers and ring acts are much too corny. Personally, I'd prefer we sit down as adults and discuss our future together like adults, no need for all those cheesiness. Besides, I'd prefer choosing my own ring, thank you very much." says Gina.

"But it sounds so businesslike. Whatever happened to romance?" I protested.

"Romance is overated and a waste of time dear. What use is romance if he somehow got a ring which I don't like?" she replied and gave me a 'enough of this romance nonsense and come back to reality' glare.

I have had more similar conversations with men and women (all in the above 30 age group) scoffing at the need for romance. A romantic at heart and definitely of that same age group, I am heartbroken by this growing number of 'romance sceptics'. Whatever happened to roses and candies? Candlelight dinners and dancing in the moonlight? Or just spending time with our loved ones, cuddling on the sofa, sipping hot cocoa and holding hands while watching some corny romance movie on telly?

No wonder so many men and women are dissatisfied with their sex lives.