Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Lady in Red and Valiant Knight are both freelance writers. The Lady is from East Malaysia and the Knight is from the Peninsula. Their writings in this column will e based on the real facts of life in this society. They can be contacted at




In Malaysia, when you buy a house, it’s usually not furnished, but today, most developers make it attractive with a package, bedroom set, dining room set, kitchen set and even the toilet set.
Most men are not particular about the style and the quality of furnishing compared to women. Since we are still in the men’s world, women spend most of the time at home if they are housewives or at least a quarter of the 24 hours in the house if they are working.
Most houses have three bedrooms, a master room with attached bathroom, sitting area, dinning area and the kitchen.
Living Room Area
Most sitting areas have a big screen TV , a hi-fi system and sitting settee in this area with bright lights. When you get into the house, the sitting area will be the first you notice, so this is most important area where furnishing needs more attention. I found most sitting areas among the Malay community very well furnished with attractive settees. I believe they use to change settees very often especially during the festival seasons like Hari Raya. Unlike the Chinese, who seldom change their settees until they move house. A sitting set usually cost between RM 500 to RM 3,000 depending on the type and quality. It usually comes with one sofa, three singles and a table top.
Also among, western people who are my tourist friends, buy comfortable furniture of good quality that will last for a long time. I also noticed that most Asian do not display their books because most of them do not read except for newspapers. I have visited my expatriate friend’s homes; they keep a small library with good books in their sitting area.
Dinning Area
We spend three times eating a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. So furnishing in the dinning area also has to be dwelt with. One would need the most basic items like a table with either four or six chairs. In the olden areas, my grandmother used to have a big round table with stools where family believe in gathering to have a family reunion dinner which signifies the unity of a family. Some people are very particular of the quality and do not mind paying a price which can go up to RM 6,000 to RM 10,000. A basic dining set usually costs between RM 400 to RM 2,000 again depending on the quality.
Kitchen Area
This is the area most men would leave to the women to decide what they want. After all, this is the area the woman folks want to enjoy cooking and washing. My sister in Brunei told me that she is very possessive of her kitchen area where she would want to have build-in cabinets where she can store her kitchen stuff. She would be very particular about the oven, the fridge, the washing area and she wants a big kitchen where she can move around. Today, most houses have dry and wet kitchen areas. For me, I just want a small kitchen with the basic necessities where I can cook a simple meal that would not take so much of my time. Preparing and cooking a meal can take hours, eating a meal takes less than half an hour and washing up may be takes about 20 minutes, so I usually have two of dishes, meat or fish and a vegetable for a meal.
Bedroom Area
Again women are very particular about the choice of bedroom furnishing. A bedroom set usually comes with a bed, a wardrobe and a dressing table. I do agree with Valiant Knight that this is one of the most important furnishing that set a good mood for couples. It does work well with newly married couples with the setting of dim lights, sweet aroma of freshener, good quality mattress that does not squeak when you toss around. Well, after 10 or 20 years, all we need is a comfortable bed, mattress and pillows. Children are all grown up, there is no intention to have any babies anymore, romance seems out of track, so no matter how much you put into furnishing the bedroom, it does not arouse romantic moods for old couples anymore.
Toilet Area
I find this area the most sensitive area for western people; I am very impressed by carpeted toilets with everything in pink and with lots of toilet accessories. Asians are not very particular in trying to beautify the toilet area. As long as they are dry and clean, it’s OK.
These are all observations from my visits and travels as well as based on what how my house is furnished.


After deciding which house to buy, a newly married couple would want to decorate and equip the house to their taste and needs. However, two people would have some similar and opposing views and aspirations. Furnishing a house is not merely an exercise of putting things into the building; it is also an exercise where by the aesthetics of the house would be a result. Therefore, what they purchase is not only relevant for the needs of daily existence in that building they want to call home but also later on for the offspring that would follow.
The taste of a man would definitely differ from that of a woman. This is something that couples living together must understand. However, when it comes to buying furniture and putting up fixtures in a house, they tend to forget this fundamental difference. One would want to impose their likes and dislikes on the other.
Basically, as a practical man, I find this problem easy to solve. All new married couples need do is divide their requirements into three categories. What the man needs, what the woman needs and what they both need and when children come along later, a fourth category can be added – what the children need.
However, it is never easy to have clear cut demarcation lines between the categories and often there is not enough space to accommodate all the categories into a small house that initial couples would have purchased. Therefore, there are lots of compromises! Setting up home is really part of the long series of tests new couples get to see if their marriage is made in heaven or in hell!
BASIC NECESSITIES yet they can cause conflicts
In the Kitchen:
Yes, we need kitchen equipment so that food can be prepared and cooked. Many feel that this is the domain of the women and men should stay out of decision making here. However, very often the women who are suppose to make the kitchen into their second most frequent visited room is not savvy enough to understand the technical qualities of modern kitchen equipment? Therefore, when deciding on the type of stove you may need or whether a fridge should have the freezer compartment at the top or bottom and whether you need a hood or an extractor fan in the kitchen, there is a need for consultation between the man and the woman. Failure to do so will result in equipping a vital room in the house with white elephants and making it rather unpleasant to do the regular daily chaos of preparing food!
In the Bedroom:
We spend practically two thirds of our day in the bedroom! Shouldn’t this room which take up more than half our time at home be the most important room? How often we find young couples just throwing a mat on the floor and lying on it night after night? Wow, I wouldn’t want to share their experiences on it!
Having a comfortable bed, mattress and pillows (Dutch wives if necessary) is most important for a good night’s rest as well as other activities. Without them, many couples will wake up in a nasty mood and not be ready to start a new day properly. Since most couple share the same double bed, it is most vital that they decide together what sort of bed they want.
In the living room:
Here again is a common domain. They spend some time here to relax, to read or to watch and to listen to music. Men and women have different body shapes thus different type of chair would be needed. Friends and relatives (including the frightful mother-in-law) who may visit once in a while can do with lesser comfortable chairs. What is most important is the man and the woman of the house get a nook to rest their butts comfortably after a long day of work to enjoy watching their favourite TV program or listen to their selection of music or read the papers or a book.
Do not forget the lighting and an ambience of the room. After all, it is from here that the couple move up to the bedroom and if the mood is not set correctly, what may follow or may not follow in the bedroom will be affected. Whether we get offspring or not may be at stake!
So, this week, I have merely touched on certain rooms I feel need to be equipped with some sensitivity. My writing partner may tell you her views from a woman’s perspective. I tried this week to be more neutral (as if I can). Next week we talk about a huge headache – budgeting and finances!


Lady in Red and Valiant Knight are both freelance writers. The Lady is from East Malaysia and the Knight is from the Peninsula. Their writings in this column will e based on the real facts of life in this society. They can be contacted at


Comments from Readers


When we first got married, the first agenda on the list is to buy a house. In those days, houses cost as low as RM 35,000. I am not very particular about what type of house and the location as long as I have a home where I can have my privacy. Unlike most women, they are very particular about their type of houses they are buying, one of the reasons of course is to make a good impression on their relatives and friends that they can afford such a home.
I do agree with Valiant Knight that men are more realistic and practical; the first thing that comes in their mind is the location. Most people want to live in a place where shops or supermarkets are nearby so that we can get our groceries. Valiant Knight is stressing his point in west Malaysia where public transport is accessible. In Sarawak, public transport is poor, they only service in certain residential areas in Kuching or in Miri. And most people in Sarawak have their own cars and their only concern is the access roads to and from their work places and fetching their children from schools. Traffic jam is not a constraint to Sarawakians yet ,as parents, fetching their children only happens during peak hours and our roads in Sarawak are accessible to the schools. I know of a bachelor friend who buys a house where there is a bus stop right in front of his house. He didn’t have to worry about parking fees and after making a survey, he found that he had actually saved a lot on transport. Sometimes, he gets a free ride from colleagues.
In West Malaysia, people go to work, they start their journey as early as 7 am and only comes home around 8 pm or even later than that especially among the singles. In Sarawak, the people start their journey at around 7.30 am and get off from work at 5 pm, the latest 6 pm and they can go shopping, or go for a game and go straight home. For those who have children, they would be early to send their children to school and some can still go home to have their breakfast before they get to work.
Security and Neighbours
People in Sarawak are not very particular about their neighbours. When a new residential area was launched, most people (especially among the Chinese) would choose a good number for their house and be concerned about the “feng shui” of the house. Some are particular about their neighbours and would check out who are living next door to them. You will be lucky if you get good neighbours but sometimes you get inconsiderate neighbours and then it’s too late to withdraw because you have already committed to buy the house. This often happened because some owners buy a house to rent it out.
Most house owners are not worried about the security because “breaks-in” are not frequent in those days. Buying houses in areas of “High Class Residential” or “Low Cost Housing Area” makes no different nowadays because “robberies” or “break-ins” are common everywhere. I know of a huge mansion, surrounded with high stainless steel fencing, security system and security guards in a high class residential areas in Miri, this house was robbed and the victims were shocked and refused to stay in the lovely mansion. They moved into a condominium where security is better.
Most people don’t fix security system until their houses got broke into.
Finance and Insurance
I was lucky that I am not involved in contribute part of my salary when my husband first bought a house. I only feel the pain when I got my second house in Miri and I am still paying the loan, although I can easily just pay off the balance, but I am reluctant to let go because of the insurance terms that benefit my husband when I die. The people with the government agencies are lucky because they can get special housing loan with interest rates as low as 4 %. Those in the private sector usually get bank loans. I can see the trend of young people buying their own house, of course with strong backing from their parents. EPF have special withdrawals schemes to help buy houses. For a working couple, with an average income of RM 3,000 per month, they can afford a monthly payment between RM 800 – RM 1,000 for a 25 year long term, depending how much they borrow.
It is not the trend yet for singles to get their own home early yet. My niece hits 26 years old this year and still lives with her parents and some as old as 40 years old still do the same. Unlike in western cultures, once they are over 18 years, they want to stay on their own and most of them would consider to rent rather to buy a house.
House insurance often comes in a package when buying a house. Single premium depending on how much you service the loan will benefit your beneficiary when you die. One has to name someone to benefit from this, however will making is not popular yet in Sarawak.
I conclude by encouraging young couples to buy a house once they are financially stable, to set aside a certain sum of money to service their housing loan. Start young and get use to live a life moderately.


For a married couple to start home management, they need a home. Young couples normally start by renting a house but eventually given all the incentives by various institutions, they may decide to buy a house. We often hear of people speaking or a ‘dream house’. Most women tend to have this idea whereas men are more realistic and practical about a buying a house.
Basically, a man is more inclined towards the location of the house they intend to buy. Various factors will be considered, such as distance from place of work. This is a primary concern of the men and in many cases now of working women, too. To live in a place that is not too far and too difficult to get their place of work is a major concern. Some may even prefer to live in a place where they can easily use public transport, what with the rising cost of petrol and car maintenance.
When it comes to location, another important factor a man would look for would be facilities for his children and himself and wife, usually in that order. He wants to ensure that his pre-schooling child would have a baby crèche on the way to work, and his kindergarten child a suitable kindergarten to go to and if he has children going to primary or secondary schools, he wants to be sure that there are suitable schools nearby.
Then he wants to be sure that there are places he can hang out for a drink with friends and a gymnasium where he can work out, hopefully with his wife, too and a club they can join. Such facilities are important for his career and business opportunities, if he is in the business line.
Security is primary in a man’s mind. From ancient times, a man is always the protector of the family and in our modern society, although we have the law to protect us, it is not doing too good a job, or may I say, it is doing a very poor job. Therefore, a man has to rely on himself and his instinct to find a place safe for his family. He would be looking out for the type of security his neighbourhood offers him. He wants to know the neighbours, whether they are suitable people of a same class as he is. He has to look at a possible budget for installing and maintaining a burglar’s alarm system for his house.
Most men are very practical when it comes to buying a house. Although most men would have talked about a dream house with their girlfriends when courting, when it comes to buying a house, they would be most realistic. They would look at their finances and buy a house they can afford for the time being. Hire purchase and other forms of financing a house purchase has enabled many newly married couples to buy houses rather than rent them.
The couple must decide on the amount of money they can put aside each month to pay for the instalments for the loan repayment. In addition, there must be made available enough money to pay for annual payments such as assessment, quit rent, insurances, general maintenance, repairs, etc. It would indeed take up a large proportion of the couple’s total monthly income. They will have to sit down and plan a budget that is realistic and which they have to abide. This is usually the task of the man.
Most men will have to take care of all the legal aspects (with exceptions) and should be responsible for all the documentations when dealing with the developers, the banks, lawyers, etc. It is not a simple task and for those who do not take particular care to read the fine prints of documents, they may live to regret it later. Therefore, it is best, if both husband and wife are educated, that this should be done together.
Consultation and Agreement
Finally, I would advise young couples to be constantly in consultation when purchasing a house and come to mutual agreement on all aspects before they endeavour on such a major project. Buying a house is not like choosing a place to spend a vacation. It is something that they have to live with for a long, long duration of time unless they want to incur a major lost in finance.


Lady in Red and Valiant Knight are both freelance writers. The Lady is from East Malaysia and the Knight is from the Peninsula. Their writings in this column will be based on the real facts of life in this society. They can be contacted at


Being a parent is one of the most important, rewarding and toughest jobs. Every day we have to make choices on how to bring up our children. It is these experiences that help us become better parents.
From the very beginning as a result of the fall of man, God said to the woman, “Because of you that caused man to sin, I will greatly increase your pains in child bearing; with pain you will give birth to children.” That is the pain of love every mother experienced.
And Baby Makes Three
After being married for a year or two, pressure would come from in-laws and your own parents to start a family. Now, when you're a parent, how will your day-to-day life become changed? What do you expect? The result of sleep deprivation can make a person very irritable and turns tasks like household chores and errands into ordeals because one has less energy and can’t concentrate on what one is supposed to do.
All mothers have their own challenges to confront. The pregnancy temporarily robs them of their body shape and they would put on a couple of extra pounds, have dark circles around the eyes from late-night feedings and all these can make a woman feel self-conscious and less attractive to her partner. Some mothers may find it difficult to reconcile the image of a mother with that of a sexual woman, so they may become less interested in intimacy.
The sight of a baby may stir up surprising feelings of jealousy. Sometimes a new father gets jealous because the baby takes up too much of the mother’s time. A father may feel like a third wheel and the mother will have to adjust her time to cater for the needs of the father, too, otherwise the father may go astray.
When I first became a mother at the age of 22, I had to deal with the numerous and varied issues a child will encounter between birth, the growing up and eventually when the child leaves home. This is a great challenge.
After carrying a full term and experiencing the child birth which lasted about 6 hours, a long labour pain, I do not know who I want to blame. I said to myself I am not going to have another baby. But when the baby finally makes her way out from my womb, I change my feeling and said to myself, “It’s worth the pain” seeing a beautiful life coming out from you.
Forty days of confinement, I am not allowed to take bath or wash my hair, I have to eat the food cooked in wine and ginger and I cannot even enjoy air-conditioning or fan. All the restrictions are supposed to be for the good of the mother.
Being a young mother, I also learned to take responsibility to teach my daughter the good values and when the child grew older, it became a harder task to handle when she an adolescent

Having gone through this experience, I can conclude it is not easy being a parent. . Whether you are good parents or not will be shown by how your children appreciate you. It is like the story of the ‘Sower and the Seed’. The Sower took care of the seeds, watered them, gave them fertilizer, watched them grow and they grew and started to bear fruits. After my daughter graduated, she wrote this:-
“Today I have high self-esteem, confidence and found my ability in what I’m good at. It took me a very long time to look for what I love and good at doing, but ever since I found it, nothing can stop me from reaching my destination. I’m putting all my effort to achieve my dream and I know I’ll get there. It’s only a matter of time, and from this, I owe it to both of you. You always tell me that you are proud to have a daughter like me. I tell you…you should be proud of yourselves to be such excellent parents. Thanks.”
No Father’s Day or Mother’s Day can replace this statement from my daughter that can verify that I passed the test of being a parent.


Mother’s Day and Father’s Day just went by and the whole world was crazy spending hard earned money of gifts that most of the time mothers and fathers do not appreciate or need. I leave my Lady in Red to write about the mothers’ point of view and I shall obviously handle the fathers’ point of view.
How one becomes a father:
Some of us became fathers by choice but others without even realizing it until they are told that the women they have made loved to are bearing their children. Whatever the circumstances one becomes a father, the fact remains that that person has a responsibility to at least an offspring! The moment the child is conceived in the woman’s womb, fatherhood begins, not only when the child is born.
What is entailed when you become a father?
The moment you are told or know you are a father, the first thing people around you expect, most of all your wife, is that you should be happy. Is there a lot to be happy about when you are about to carry such a heavy responsibility. Yes, fatherhood is a serious responsibility. You have committed yourself to many years of bringing up a child with your partner. There are many sacrifices to be made but there are also many moments of joy to experience which may last a significant number of years or forever!
In the initial pregnancy period, you have to tolerate your wife’s fancies and idiosyncrasies and ensure that your baby is carried to full term. You pay her special attention, you provide her with the much needed rest, you pamper her all for the sake of the child or hopefully because you treasure and love her as well and that she is going to give you the gift of your life!
When it comes to the time for the baby to come out, your role is minimal, you only have to ensure that your wife is sent to hospital in time or else you run the possibility of experiencing a very traumatic time if she has to deliver before arriving at the hospital. Some men are brave enough to accompany their wives during birth. If you are not, you then pace the floor outside the maternity ward wondering if it is going to be a boy or girl (nowadays ultra sounding would eliminate this anxiety for most fathers) and whether he or she would be normal and your wife safe.
Most fathers are happiest to see the doctor or midwife/nurse coming out to announce the birth of their child. (He won’t be so happy when he sees the bill and pays it.) Then, he takes a peek at the baby at the nursery through the glass window or is lucky enough to go to his wife’s bedside to see them both. This will be the time when you wonder whether the child looks like you or your wife.
Then begins your sleepless nights, anxiety moments when the child cries for unknown reasons and need for extra money to buy expensive food for both child and wife. You go to office half-asleep and your mind is always thinking of the mother and child. You have to distribute red eggs and roast meat if you are a Chinese after a month and you may even want to throw a big dinner.
These are merely the initial responsibilities. The main one will be a long financial strain you have to bear. Some fathers need to come out with half a million Ringgit to finance a child through school right up to university depending on the course your child is taking. Others will have to spend less. However, bringing up a child is not only about providing food, shelter and education. There are other costs like clothing him and buying him toys and giving him pocket money to spend. In pre Independence days, it was cheaper on a father to provide for these things but today with all the branded goods, sophisticated toys and special food and the things your children spend on for entertainment; it would simply cost you a fortune to support one child let alone many!
Finally, the responsibility of bringing up a child then is well-mannered and civic-minded. Here many fathers fail miserably. They tend to leave this to the mothers. Some fathers only play the role of disciplinarian or the final arbitrator in mother-child disputes. However, there is a crying need for fathers to be actively involved in bringing up a child let it be a boy or a girl. More so if it is a boy, because he has to learn manly things and if it is a girl, she needs the warmth of a father to show her what a man’s love is life in her future selection of a spouse.
So friends out there, the next time you feel the urge, remember, you may become a FATHER!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Lady in Red and Valiant Knight are both freelance writers. The Lady is from East Malaysia and the Knight is from the Peninsula. Their writings in this column will be based on the real facts of life in this society. They can be contacted at


CHANGES! There will be lots of changes in the new lifestyle after a divorce takes place. I am not in the position to comment about what Life after divorce is like but I do shared the pains and their anxieties of divorcees out there willing to tell me their stories. Tina, a teacher after two years separation, finally got her divorce finalized after all the hassle. With all the hurt and disruption caused, Tina wondered whether there is life after divorce. How can she pick up the pieces and start all over again? It certainly takes time to make adjustment on house management, having to do everything and having to get use to being without a man in the house.
Mary, a divorcee had a different mindset. She felt that there is life after divorce. It is like an experience of a new life after being detained and she has to believe in herself and have faith that things would work out in order to survive.
There are several factors that affect a divorcee in society and in her lifestyle. These are some of the challengers she has to face in society and it is like “being born again.”
A threat – Divorcees are often seen as “dangerous and available” to married men and their spouses are not comfortable with them socializing with divorcees. Mary once told me that she had to be careful when socializing with men to avoid being branded as “Desperate Women looking for a fling or sex.”
Loss – Speaking from the Lady’s point, some of these women still grief on their loss of their husbands to the other women and it would certainly take time to overcome this loss. Bitterness and anger are still with them and their chances of socializing are out, what hope can these divorcees expect if not for their children? The few friends who used to hang out with them slowly disappeared as they felt uncomfortable in their presence. Therefore, finding new friends are their only options that can lead them to new experiences and a renewed sense of purpose and enjoyment.
Unsecure – Married life gives stability and security to the women but divorce would pull them apart. This would tear the fundamental sense of security and many plans will come crashing down and explanations had to be given gently to the children. It’s no longer a “mummy and daddy affair” anymore. Often this can lead to panic and worry but the fact that if these women are trying hard to stand on their own feet and create new routines and build a new stability, it will be the first step to win the battle.
Change of roles in Parenting – When divorce disrupts the whole family unit, the whole house system change, most often mothers may have less quality time with the kids if they have the custody, they have to adjust to the level of support, especially sending and fetching the children to and from school. Managing a family after divorce is flexible and adaptable if it is being planned properly. For example, most of the older kids have to learn to be in dependable and help out in taking an adult role to supervise the younger kids and doing house chores. Mary said “surprisingly my kids can adapt quite well and succeed in the new “non-traditional” family. I have to be strong and lead by example during the transition and show them that life has to go on in a new environment”. However, there are some mothers who are emotionally affected that may result in their kids ending in the wrong path because of depression at home.
Financial - Divorce is costly and divorced families are often more expensive to maintain. Working mothers will have to adjust their financial planning as the husbands financial support may not be consistent. These usually resulted in most mothers getting involved in direct sales or second job to provide for the family. For the non-working wives who are less adventurous, they will often end up a situation where they may compromise their morals. But I can see most women do not belong to those of YESTERDAY. Survival is a challenge to them and I see some successful women like Pauline who is a divorcee who started her home business making cakes and gradually makes her way to raise all her children by herself. She now owns her bakery shop and her three children graduated in different careers and Pauline has become a role model for the “single mothers.” Helen Reed is one single mother who has survived the storm from Sewing Buttons to owing 12 Boutiques in Kuala Lumpur.
Divorce is an opportunity for new careers, pursuing self studies and pushing their current lifestyle forward. It is a choice to accept what is right now, what one can do and know what it’s best to do and look for whatever opportunities that comes along the way to make things better and to get through the storm.
Divorce is a process with a beginning or an ending to a life is all up to what choices we make.


Valiant Knight says...
Life goes on after a divorce. But what sort of life? For a man, his social life is not much affected unless he divorced because his wife left him for another man or his wife cheated on him. Then he may feel rather ashamed among his men friends. However, the main difference would be at home.
When he is at home, the moment he returns from work, he would notice that the house is in a mess and he has to clean up if he is the tidy type. If not he would leave it as it is and tomorrow, he will return to a greater mess! If he wants to clean up, he would not know where to start and he would not know where the gadgets are. He may find the vacuum cleaner but he may not get all the parts fitted together for it to be most efficient. If the bag is full, he doesn’t know where the spares are or even how to change it.
Should he manage to get the dust and rubbish into a bag, he may not know when he has to take out the garbage for collection. If he leaves it outside on a non-collection day, the dogs will drag all his rubbish around the neighbourhood. A couple of used condoms may be strewn across his old spinster neighbour’s house!
Then he looks into his fridge and low and behold can you imagine what he will or will not find in it? He may not even find a bottle of water to drink but he may find lots of beer or lots of stale and mouldy leftovers! He may find a foul odour but he may not know where it is coming from. The food he bought yesterday were hard frozen and he has to defrost it first before he can even heat it up or cook it, if he knows how to cook, that is.
He may resort to eating bread, biscuits, instant mee, even that is beyond him at times. His best alternative would be to go out for dinner or if he is sick of the polluted air of the city, buy home something already prepared to eat. He has to eat it all alone out of the package as he is unable to find any clean crockery and cutlery as he had used all of them and did not wash any.
Next he deals with the laundry. He has spewed all his used clothes all over his bedroom, drabbed on chair backs, on his bed, on the floor, all the hooks in the room and bathroom, some under his bed even. He opens his cupboard and could not find a clear t-shirt or a pair of clean briefs. How does the washing machine operate (if he still has one, after all, the ex-wife is entitled to half of everything and this may be part of his ex-wife’s half). Where and how much detergent to put in? Too little and there is no suds and too much the machine will be overflowing with foam! He will soon have to go out and buy new items which might very well include disposable briefs!
Coming home to a quiet house may be a blessing for most people, but to a recently divorced man who is used to his ex-wife’s nagging and his children screaming, it would be very strange indeed. The silence may shock him and he turns on the TV and the CD players just to get some noise. The loneliness sets in. To avoid it, he calls a few friends, but they may not be in or busy with their own thing. “No, not tonight, dear!” may very well be the answer to all his phone calls for a date. He sits alone in the living room watching a stupid programme on TV.
This is a realistic situation immediately after a divorce. Of course, we adapt after some time. We become better organized as a ‘bachelor’ again. We may even enjoy life as it is. However, it takes time to adapt. Most men would look forward to taking their children (if any) out for an exciting outing and send them home again. It would be fun without the unnecessary encumbrances. However, there will also be the agonising questions children toss at you, “Dad, when are you coming home to us?” How do you answer that? “I’m never coming home to you and your mother again!” would that be what you will say? Most likely you will say, “Soon, dear, soon”.
Many men remarry fast unlike women. Why? Men cannot live without a woman if he can find one that is foolish enough to have him! So men, enjoy your marriage while you have it, and when you don’t, try to get into one as quickly as you can!


Lady in Red and Valiant Knight are both freelance writers. The Lady is from East Malaysia and the Knight is from the Peninsula. Their writings in this column will be based on the real facts of life in this society. They can be contacted at


Lady in red says….
Yes, divorce is like a fashion trend in to-day’s society. I did a random survey and surprisingly, I found out the rates of divorce is quite high among old couples who opts to stay out of their marriage that sucks. Mrs. Lim, 65 says, “Life is too short, if my husband wants to keep Amy, let him. I don’t have to slave myself to take care of him.”
In the earlier topics why men or women cheat, a fling for pleasure is not to be taken lightly as it will definitely develop into a relationship and once the fire is lighted, emotional feelings cannot be control and this leads to divorce. Sally, 50 told me when she found out that her husband cheated on her, she said, “What’s the point to keep the marriage and pretend that nothing happens!”
I do agree with Valiant Knight that Lack of communication is one of the key factors that cause a divorce. Ann said, “I do not know what is happening to our marriage. Every time there is a conflict, he just switched me off.” Expectations were not clear and discussion about their feelings was not carried out. Sometimes I do experience that myself, how my husband expects me to read his mind when he is angry with me. Generally, if husbands and wives do not communicate, there will be bound to have a lot of hidden skeletons that will shock each other. Lack of communication can get worse if this is not being sorted out.
Sex is an essential aspect of marriage. For older couples, sexual dysfunction or being disinterested may begin and if the couple is unable to resolve this, it may become a reason for divorce. Valiant Knight had mentioned about that and men can easily seek sexual needs with any women and of course they have to pay a price. So ladies out there especially those who had reached menopause, it’s still part of the deal to provide sexual needs to your husband if you want to keep him.
The other reason could be Financial Issues – Money can be a possible cause of disagreement between couples. Particularly housewives not getting enough to manage the household, so they source for other income like direct sales. And when the wives get too involved in top selling programs that may take them away for outstation trips, that’s where trouble starts when they meet other men and get involved in relationships.
Various forms of Abuse usually allow the wives to take the bold steps by starting their own business with a Woman Support Group to help them to be independent. Abuse can come in the form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Drug, alcohol and excessive gambling can become detrimental to the marriage. With more women awareness program, these women can make a choice to stay or get out of an abusive marriage.
Having affairs of course is the main reason most wives want to get out from their marriages. Lucy, 45 said to me, “its better that I let him go because at the back of my mind, his heart is no longer with me. So what’s the point of keeping him?”
Incompatibility – I do agree with Valiant Knight about his view on some couples not able to keep to a standard of a high profile lifestyle. For an example, Lydia, a lawyer felt out of place with her husband, a mechanic on official functions. Due to frequent official functions, they were not able to find a common ground intellectually and emotionally resulting in stressful situations which lead on to a feeling of jealousy on the part of the husband.
Divorce is ugly but what’s the point in keeping the marriage just to “save face” when things just don’t work out anymore? Husbands have to sacrifice the hot meals, the laundry and the daily needs unless he finds another replacement that has a price tag attached. Although divorce women are still a threat to the society, most women are quite happy without men in their lives and if they have, they want to keep them as “soul mates” only!


Valiant Knight says ……..
Divorce – the legal dissolution of a marriage is such a common thing nowadays compared to what it was in the past. When we were young, our parents would not even use this word when they talk about so and so having broken up with his or her spouse. It is a taboo word. Nowadays, young people flaunt the word like a branded name. “I’m a divorcee,” they would proclaim as if telling people they are wearing a Rolex watch! It is in fashion! Let us examine the consequences of such an action.
Many people still have the opinion that it is the man that is the initiator of a divorce. Wrong! As I have pointed out in earlier articles, the women have to bear a big part of the onus, too. Most man would have their flings outside marriage but the idea of divorcing their spouses if far from their minds. However, it is the women who when they find out that their man has been committing adultery who would want a divorce.
Why is this so? A man wants to have his cake and eat it! Most of the time when he is out having a good time with a lady companion, he is out for a good time for a moment. [Of course there are some who find the situation more inviting than that at home. We will discuss this below.] He hides the flings from his spouse if possible and should the good wife finds out from a busybody friend, hell breaks loose and usually the man would deny it ever happened or make excuses and try to play it down all for the sake of trying to save his flimsy marriage. Surprisingly, most women fall for the lame excuses because in their hearts they do not want to lose the husband for various reasons. It may be because of financial insecurity, it may be real true love for the husband, it may be for the sake of the children, it may be to save face and so on. However, will she forget or forgive him even if there is no immediate divorce? The answer is usually, no. This becomes the catalyst for and ultimate showdown that would lead to a divorce at a later stage.
Most men would be at a lost if their wives divorce them. Men being men are practically poor home managers and can do very little for themselves if left alone, so a divorced man is left in solitude and rather incompetent to look after his own daily needs! [There are exceptions.] Also, a man who is divorced sort of feels he is useless and it is a morale deflation! His fellow men would look at him and say he is a failure. Many men would not admit to this. Worst still, if it is the wife who had an affair and divorce him for another man! Most men would be devastated, his world would crumple and he will be a pathetic sight to behold! Many run whimpering to another woman to seek solace and repeat the vicious cycle of failed marriages!
When a man can no longer tolerate his wife for various reasons, he would usually find a standby first and until and unless he knows that he prefers this spare tyre, he would not make the move to divorce his wife. Reasons such as young children would be foremost in his mind. But should he find the new relationship more ideal and there is sufficient pressure put on him by this other woman to divorce his wife, he is most likely to do so.
The main reason why a man cannot tolerate his present wife is usually related to adultery. This is the number one reason men divorce their wives. Secondly, it is usually when the wife cannot satisfy him (in his usual selfish way of making love). Even for this second reason, he may not divorce his wife if he can satisfy his lust outside. Third, a man divorces his wife because his wife is unable to live up to his social level. Imagine a Managing Director of a company having a wife that looks like a house maid! Some women neglect themselves so much after marriage that they become so different in looks and behaviour before marriage. Don’t they deserve to be chucked out? Finally, complete breakdown of communications between the couple is the final straw. If two persons cannot bring up things in a sensible manner of conversation, what is there left? Sign language or body language only?