Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Malaysian Lawyers' Egroup posting I: In Defence of the Single Professional Woman - Part I

I know I haven't been writing anything much in this space for a while. I'm just drained out and hopefully I can take the whole of next week off. Some months ago our lawyers' informal Yahoo group was disbanded. I won't go into the whys etc. I posted some things there in response to other members' postings and I decided I will post them all here without the other members' postings as I don't have their permission to do so but you can basically get the gist of the whole thing.

I spotted this letter (below) in the NST on Friday 17 March 2006. I wonder if this is the same DA who posted that email in this E-group on 9 March 2006 which sparked off the "What a load of crap" emails?

If it is the same person, then it seems that our DA has taken his crusade against professional women beyond this E-group onto a national level. Those who read his email (Majid, surely you must remember it..) will recall his lamentations on the plight of his emasculated fellow Malaysian men.

Quote (from his email): "Sperm banks and casual sex will become a norm and men will inadvertently become the subservient sex...Malaysian women have proven that they only need men to provide the sperm and the initials and ofcourse if he is rich, their agenda will be to suck him dry and make him regret of ever being born in the first place."

Now in his letter to NST (if it is the same person), he says "the Malaysian
professional woman is, I think, a lonely, frustrated individual who only sees her rights as being supreme".

Just out of curiousity DA (if you are reading this), I would like to know - Who rained on your parade? Who dumped you recently to provoke such bitter tirades against professional women who prefer to remain single? Perhaps you have handled one too many divorce cases and the acrimony you witnessed has left an indelible bitter taste in your mouth.

In your letter to the NST (by now I am convinced you are the same person
who wrote the email) you said that in your experience as a divorce lawyer, a number of women initiated the divorce because "they just can't stand having a poor husband or an intellectually inferior one". This comment does not make much sense. If this is an important criteria for getting married, surely these women would be able to gauge the man's financial status (conduct a due diligence exercise!) and his intellectual capacity before embarking into a marriage with him?

I wonder if you were just repeating the estranged husbands' interpretation on why the marriage broke down. Perhaps, being a male lawyer, the women you represented (if any) were not candid enough to share with you the real reasons for the marital breakdown. A common complaint amongst my married friends (women) on why they are dissatisfied with their marriage is not that the husband is poor or intellectually inferior but his poor or inferior performance in the boudoir. Women are more discerning these days - though I'm sure you would use the word "demanding" instead. Successful professional women are financially independent and know that they have choices in life. They will not put up with shoddy treatment nor shoddy anything else. Gone are the days when the husband sits in front of the telly watching football expecting his wife to "kupas mango" for him.

My single professional female friends are a happy and confident lot who don't sit around whingeing about how lonely and frustrated they are, waiting for someone to come along to make them happy. It is my married
friends (some, not all) who complain that they are lonely and frustrated -
living lives of quiet desperation, trapped in a dull marriage but staying
on for various reasons. Being married to someone does not guarantee
happiness or even the end of loneliness. Any woman who has such
expectations that marriage, a husband and a bunch of kids will make her a complete person and give her a sense of identity and she will live happily ever after has, I'm afraid, grown up chomping through a steady diet of Barbara Cartland and Mills & Boons. Books for the consumption of teenage girls should be rewritten to alleviate future disappointment when they discover that marriage is hard work. Both parties must make the effort to ensure the marriage works.

Marriage provides an opportunity for these individuals to grow. Unfortunately they forget that they are individuals and lose their identity in a marriage. They should learn to "stand together yet not too near together:..for..the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow" (Kahlil Gibran "The Prophet"). If the marriage does not allow them to grow spiritually then they must know when to let go. There are many reasons couples divorce - infidelity, breach of trust, domestic violence, lack of communication and respect or they have simply fallen out of love with each other. If these professional women are leaving their husbands because of their lack of money or intelligence then perhaps these husbands are not adding value to the marriage in other aspects. The breakdown of the marriage cannot solely be due to his lack of money or intelligence.

However, I must admit there are exceptions. A very dear male friend of
mine (a lawyer) was dumped by his girlfriend due to the lack of fine dining in the course of their relationship. Anyway, he is now happily married to a gorgeous MTV VJ.

I have friends who are highly successful in their careers, extremely
wealthy and intelligent who waited for the right man and married at the
age of 40. These men are nowhere near as wealthy, successful or (arguably) intelligent as these friends are but they are very kind, loving and respectful husbands. We, single professional women are not the
embittered, lonely, frustrated spinsters you portray us to be. Each of us have different preferences and criteria for the "right man". Should a man
possessing impeccable manners, who does not make promises he cannot keep, come crashing through my office window whilst bungee jumping from the rooftop of our office building (preferably whilst reading Pride &
Prejudice) and lands on my lap, then I may consider marrying him.
Otherwise, I am quite happy to remain single.

There, have I succeeded in "corrupting the others who believe in the
institution of marriage"? These views are my personal views and not
reflective of the views of other professional women, single or married.

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