It was just an innocent catching-up conversation between two relatives about their common kampung friends. A very innocent ‘did-you-know-that-so-and-so-is-married’ chat that turned out to be my wake-up call.
I now re-realize that I am back in this Malaysian society and very much belong to it. As much as I think I am ‘outside’… as I do think outside this proverbial box, I am deep in it. And so, although what I heard should not have bothered me, it surely has woken me up.
“Eh, si Mat tu dah kawin kan? Tapi tak ada jemput pun.”
“Sebab dia kawin dengan janda.”
“Laa… iye ke? Kenapa lah tak cari yang bujang.”
“Janda tu dengarnya tua daripada dia, anak dua ke tiga, entah.”
“Ishhh! Si Mat tu muda daripada kita. Baru start kerja.”
“Anak dara bersepah, nak jugak kawin dengan janda. Beranak pulak tu.”
“Cari lah yang sebaya. Kot nak janda pun, biar lah yang tak ada anak.”
“Ah kalau janda tu tak melayan, tak jadi jugak.”
I woke up right there and then, determined to find my people’s cultural definition of jodoh and bodoh.