This is based on a true story. I truly hope that many women will open their eyes after reading this article to whoever is out there pouring his manly heart out to them. Sincerity is not something transparent, although sometimes we think it is. You will never know you have swallowed poison until it is officially flowing in your very veins!
I sincerely hope that after reading this article, many women take serious action in protecting themselves and those who they love and care, and also informing and alerting other women to be more aware of what is truly out there…
Men may say that marriage is a trap. But sometimes it is the woman who is trapped. NOOR AZURA AHMAD (writer for Her World) uncovers the emotional angst of a repressed wife.
heart in chains
Elisa*, 37, snuggles contentedly against Giovanni*, her husband of two months, and declares, “I SO love this man… NOW I understand what love is all about.” Looking up coyly at her husband, she admits to spritzing on perfume and dolling herself up just before he arrives home. “I’m smitten.” She manages to look sheepish while grinning from ear to ear. Giovanni laughs heartily, evidently pleased with her confession. Squeezing Elisa gently, Giovanni, or Khalid* as he is also known, gives her an affectionate peck before leaving us to this interview. Knowing that we would be delving into a painful period in her life, Elisa braces herself for the inevitable.
“It all began when I was studying in the UK. I met Pieter* through a pen pal programme organised by a student’s association. He was studying in the Netherlands, working on his doctorate. We actually wrote to each other the old fashioned way – using pen, paper and stamps.” Elisa always thought of him as a friend, but Pieter’s writing became increasingly personal. Friends pointed out that Pieter was definitely interested but Elisa played it cool.
Coming from a troubled family, Elisa did not witness much affection between her own parents. After they divorced, Elisa stayed with her mother but she understood her father better. Her mother opposed her relationship with Pieter but Elisa didn’t care. She had no interest in the rich boys her mother kept throwing her way.
Elisa and Pieter finally met in person when a friend dragged her along on a trip to Amsterdam. Pieter put them up in his apartment and accompanied them sightseeing. The very next day, he took Elisa to meet his parents. After that, they visited each other occasionally and kept in touch via telephone. Soon, both of them graduated and started working. Two years later, he asked her to marry him and she accepted.
“The truth is, I never really loved him. But he was there and it was the logical next step, so I said yes. Three days before the wedding, I left town. Somewhere deep inside, I didn’t want to marry him. But when I came back, he begged, and I relented. I think my father saw Pieter’s true nature. After the wedding, he specifically asked Pieter to take care of me.” His promise was just words, however.
Posted in Cultural diversity, East/West, Project Safety Net, Projects, Uncategorized, women
Tagged abroad, alert, awareness, Broken relationship, couple, domestic violence, Dutch, East/West, emotional abuse, emotional angst, Europe, family, frustration, immigration, inform, information, Lifestyle, love, man/woman, marriage, mixed couple, physical abuse, protect, protection, relationship, repressed, safety, Safety Net, trap, woman
A dying rose
I was in the city centre when I first met Mea Pia. She was actually a friend of a friend’s. By the look in her eyes, I could see that she was suffering intensely. I predicted it had everything to do with relationship but the subject was never brought up. My friend briefly introduced her to me, but most of my conversation were mostly engaged with my friend instead, until at one point she felt like talking.
“I found out you went through a painful divorce,” she said to me, trying to stir a conversation. All I did were raised my eyebrow and smirked. I didn’t feel like elaborating that topic so I kept silent. I guess because of my ‘cold shoulder’ she decided not to continue the conversation.
Suddenly, until, we met again in the city centre.
“Hi, remember me? Mea Pia…” she touched my shoulder and I quickly turned around. “Ahh.. yes! I remember you. How are you?”
“Not so good,” she sincerely told me. “I’m sorry but I need to talk to you about something. Do you think we could talk privately?”
Posted in Project Safety Net, Projects
Tagged abroad, couple, domestic violence, Dutch, East/West, family, immigration, man/woman, migration, mixed couple, relationship, safety, Safety Net, Thai, Thailand, the netherlands, woman, women
Many people are wondering about the progress of the Safety Net Project. Is it fully running? What are the steps the Foundation has taken to achieve its goals? Did we get any response at all? If so, how far?
As the Secretary of the Foundation, a huge part of my duty is networking. Yes, people! Networking. I have to say, these are one of the busiest times in my life – having to juggle my time and fulfill all my responsibilities, inside and outside the scope of Lingua Franca Foundation.
Posted in Project Safety Net, Projects
Tagged abroad, domestic violence, East/West, family, foundation, information, Malaysia, municipality, Net, project, relationship, safety, the netherlands, woman, women
On 17 December 1999, the United Nation General Assembly designated the 25 November as the Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Since 1981, women activists marked this day as a day against violence.
Based on country data available, up to 70 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime.
Posted in Project Safety Net, Projects
Tagged domestic violence, East/West, mixed couple, relationship, safety, Safety Net, UNIFEM, United Nations, woman, women
Dalilah waited some news from Maarten after he left to his homeland. They had had several contacts through emails and phone calls. Maarten reassured her that everything would be all right since he sensed some uncertainty from Dalilah’s voice whenever they talked. Not knowing what was happening on the other side of the world, Dalillah put all her trust onto Maarten. After all, he’s my husband now, she thought. What could go wrong?
After some legal arrangement in the Netherlands, Maarten told Dalilah to start preparing for her journey to a new home. During that time, Maarten persistently urged Dalilah to sell her business and her property – reassuring her that a new beginning awaited her there with full hope. It wasn’t easy to find a buyer to take over her business, nor to sell her property in a very short period of time. Dalilah didn’t understand either why she needed to sell her property – after all she would like to retire one day in Malaysia with Maarten by her side. Maarten did mention about that idea too over and over again – telling her that Malaysia would be the most ideal retirement place for him. She believed him because she knew there was a lot of truth in it. No doubt about that. Maarten had showed Dalilah that he truly enjoyed his life in Malaysia.
The pressure of wanting to be with her husband and simultaneously needed to sell everything she had made Dalilah very confounded. Some friends couldn’t comprehend her reactions because they detected something wasn’t right with the big move. Especially when she needed to ‘get rid’ of her ‘stuff’ in Malaysia in order to be with her husband. If the husband was understanding enough, this topic shouldn’t even worth thinking of. After all, it was her property, her belonging. Not his. Others took advantage by dragging her down to almost bankruptcy. They offered such ludicrous amount of money that she almost fainted! All in the game of ‘good business’. Dalilah was desperate. Yet again.
Eventually, after all the troublesome and heartache of having to sell her business, Dalilah decided to keep her house and sold her car – for a ridiculously low price! She wanted to cry since she couldn’t bare to see the amount of loss she accumulated. How could this be possible? Nonetheless, everything she did was out of love. Perhaps this was the sacrifice people were talking about, she thought. Being single is one thing, being married is another, she thought even more.
Posted in Dalilah's Diary, Project Safety Net, Projects
Tagged abroad, children, couple, Dutch, East/West, family, fly, husband, immigration, love, Malaysia, man, migration, mixed couple, move, new beginning, pressure, property, relationship, retirement, sacrifice, the netherlands, travel, wife, woman
It was now a matter of confusion. Or rather a matter of insecurity. Almost everybody Dalilah knew settled down after a serious relationship. At least most of them. She didn’t understand what it was so difficult to have a commitment with Maarten. She wanted it, but Maarten seemed to hesitate a lot, especially earlier in their relationship. She didn’t dare to ask nor to mention the word. She was afraid that might drove Maarten away. Far away. Maarten reminded Dalilah over and over about his failures in the past and that gave her the impression that he might not want to settle down for good.
Maarten had had so many relationships in the past. Few were serious but mostly one-night stands. Maarten only targeted women from the same nationality – Malaysians. He found them sexy and alluring. Their tiny body attracted him so much. Maarten’s too many unsteady relationships gave Dalilah the ugliest impression about himself. Nevertheless, she still wanted to continue being with him. Perhaps the fact that she desperately wanted to be loved so much by a man, the slightest attention from Maarten brought her to another world. Despite the fact Maarten wasn’t really the best man for her, Dalilah thought she could settled for second best. Dalilah didn’t want to spend the rest of her life alone.
Living the life in Asia, Maarten had had it all. He had the idea that Asian women were easier to maintain – on monetary wise, that is. He strongly believed that Asian women were so easy to please and very obedient. He saw how easy it was for him to get free love. Especially being a white man – it was rather convenient to him, as he thought.
Dalilah, on the other hand, who was brought up in such a religious background, didn’t believe in getting or receiving free love. She was constantly haunted and muddled by Maarten’s mixed behaviour. Nonetheless, surprisingly Dalilah got so many positive reactions from her friends and her children that made her wanted to stay with Maarten. His charms wooed her many times over, especially when her children were so fond of him and kept telling Dalilah that ‘he’ is the ‘one’.
At a certain point in their relationship, Maarten decided to seal their rocky turmoil journey by asking Dalilah’s hand in marriage. Shocked, yet excited she immediately replied – ‘yes’. Maarten took Dalilah to choose an engagement ring to tie her down.
Posted in Dalilah's Diary, Project Safety Net, Projects
Tagged abroad, Asian woman, commitment, Dutch, family, foundation, love, Malaysia, man/woman, mixed couple, relationship, the netherlands, wedding, wedding ring, woman
Dalilah was rather lonely. She looked around and to her amazement, she saw love everywhere. Everywhere else but unfortunately love never stayed long in her life. Envious with all her girlfriends’ love fortune, she promised herself that she would not end up alone in the desert island. She wanted the same. She wanted to be loved and to give love.
Being such a hard headed woman, Dalilah was not the type to flaunt her body. She valued her self worth, although sometimes that didn’t help her much getting into the dating game. She felt more lost and isolated. Most of her girlfriends spent most of their nights partying out – enjoying their youth. Whilst Dalilah, being rather conservative, she decided that true love would come crawling at her feet one day. The honourable way.
Looking at her life and constantly comparing it with her close mates, she felt more and more desperate. After her first divorce, she only had two serious relationships, which tragically to say, ended up in total disaster. At one point, she concluded that she was destined not to experience love, nor to give love – until she met Maarten.
Dalilah got acquainted with Maarten many years back – but only as friends. She wasn’t ready to open up to him – or to any man for that matter – especially to someone who differs entirely from her background. Maarten was there mostly for work. His employer sent him to the East to promote their company. To Maarten, the East is not some strange remote place anymore since he was almost awarded as the ‘frequent flyer’ from the Dutch Airlines! Maarten wanted to blend in – including having relationships with the local women. He tried his best and unfortunately failed many times over. Somehow he didn’t seem to learn from his mistakes. Maarten was also hard headed. Just like Dalilah.
After 7 years of friendship, somehow fate brought them together. Dalilah was ecstatic. She dreamed of the prince charming on the white horse. The red carpet treatment.