In Singapore – Week 2


I am nearly at the end of my second week in Singapore…..and probably at the end of my life as well.

Have you seen the PSI (Pollutants Standard Index) for Singapore? It is now at a record 371 (and anything above 100 is unhealthy and above 300 is hazardous) !!!

All this is due to the burning of vegetation in Sumatra to clear land cheaply. Imagine what the situation would be like in Indonesia and Malaysia now!

Malaysia has already shut down schools, and SG has recommended that people stay indoors, drink plenty of water, cut outdoor activity and immediately go to a hospital if anyone feels unwell.

And my friends tell me this is a yearly occurrence in Singapore, but never has the haze been so bad. In fact, last year it never crossed 100!

Just my luck to be here this year to witness an epoch-making event 😦

Tea in Singapore


Now that I’ve been in this Island City for a week, I already know what I really want from back home – a decent cup of Tea!!

The hotel where I am put up has the most outrageous (well, outrageous to a tea-addict like me!!) teabags in the room – Earl Grey, English Breakfast and Peppermint Tea!!!  Of these, English Breakfast is tolerable if I add a minimum of 3 teabags in a cup.

And for breakfast, they have Lipton Yellow Label teabags – again, tolerable with at least 2 teabags. But they never have hot milk and water….it’s almost always lukewarm (probably ‘coz its too close the aircon) and I gag nearly everytime I try to drink the tea I make. Imagine drinking cold milky tea! Bleh!

Thank God for the Teh-Tarik centre near my office….atleast they have a fairly decent cup of tea – Teh-Halia being my favourite (that’s ginger tea for my non-Malaysian speaking readers). The tea in office is another story – they have this huge vending machine – a Hot and Cold Cup Machine – which lets you decide how much sugar, milk and concentration you want, but even after setting it all to the highest setting, all I got was a sugar-water syrup.

Coffee and Milo seem to the beverages of preference here in Singapore – being available in all shape, colour and size. And I detest coffee. Milo is okay, but how many times a day can one drink chocolate?

Is it just me who is facing this problem in Xing? Does anyone know where I can get a good cup of tea (sans me making it)?

 

Girls and Their Right to a Career

Spicy Saturday Pick

Cover of "Daughter"

Spicy Saturday Pick

 

Post selected as a Spicy Saturday Pick in BlogAdda for 10-Dec-2011

Featured at Symptoms of Disempowerment on 22-Dec-2011.

Featured at Global Voices Online on 17-Dec-2011

Here is my 100th post on Merry Musings – and I wanted to take this time to write of a girl I know, who has been banned from having a career or joining a college course of her wish.

Ananya is a 17-year-old – a bright and wonderful girl. She is now in the 12th form at a Girls’ School. She lives with her Dad, Mom and a little brother.

Just like any girl about to embark into College has some ideas about the course she wants to pursue, Ananya too has some desires. She is extremely talented with her hands – stitching, fabric painting, glass painting, doll making – these are all crafts she excels at – as well as having great grades at school. Her ambition is to become an Interior Designer or Fashion Designer and would like to get into such a College course which will prep her for such a career.

However, her dad has different ideas. In spite of living in the 21st century, his mindset is still stuck in the 1900s. He thinks that girls are only good for being married off. His intentions about his daughter’s studies – to get her into the college next-door and enrol her in a useless course which will definitely not aid her in any way to get a job or become financially independent. And as soon as the course is complete, to get her married off! Convenient, isn’t it?

She is desperate – her Mom is sympathetic, but has no voice where her husband says that his Will is the Law in that house. Her dad is acting like a tyrant – even tries to get rid of her skin products like cleanser and moisturiser – just to make sure that his daughter does not fall into any traps and shame the family name by eloping or getting married outside the community. In fact that seems to be his only concern over his daughter.

Several have tried to change his mind, including his eldest sister who said, “A girl should be equipped to take a job if necessary. If not, she will be a slave in her husband’s home.” But all to no avail. So far, no one has managed to change his mind. Ananya dreads the day she completes her final exams in 12th grade. Then the countdown begins to the day of her marriage – along with the death of a talented girls desires and ambitions.

What do you think of a father who is only concerned about getting his daughter married off? Has he thought of how she will react if her husband turns out be as oppressive as her dad is?Or what if she is married and her husband dies – what will her Dad do then? Or if she is married to a guy who seemed to be perfect but turned out to be a nightmare? I know girls who have been in both situations and the only thing that saved them was that they had a job.

She is a rather modern girl, with a mind of her own. However, her wings are being clipped right now, to make sure that she has no chances of maligning the family name. I imagine it is a case of ‘Prevention is better than Cure.” I wonder why he bothered to teach her or even goad her on to get good grades in school. If he only wanted her to be stuck in a strange family’s kitchen, then he should just have let her stay at her mother’s side and learned the “domestic arts”.

Today she is crying and her pleas for help are falling on sympathetic ears who are helpless to change her dad’s mind. I can imagine what will slowly happen to this girl – either she will just succumb to her Dad’s pressure and agree to get married at the earliest possible opportunity, burying all her fond hopes of a career. Or when she starts college (at least that is definite – dad certainly wants his daughter to have a degree in hand, else her value in the marriage market will fall), she will have friends who will be sympathetic to her problems and offer advice, which in all probability may be the wrong ones, and may take some wrong turns in life. Or she may break free from the golden cage and follow her heart’s desire.

Fathers such as these are extremely myopic. They are only concerned about their duty to their daughters, namely to get them married off, and then it is all out of focus for them. They don’t even take view of the fact that their darling daughter will be the one to suffer because of their archaic thinking.

Dear readers, what do you think Ananya can do other than to submit to the will of the father?

Status Symbols in Today’s World


In the corporate world today, cellphones are more of a status symbol than a device to be used in case of necessity.

Listen to what a Mumbai-ite has to say about this development and how it is affecting his work-life.
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Is Arranged Marriage a Good Thing?


Tangy Tuesday PickThis post has been selected as a Tangy Tuesday Pick on BlogAdda for Apr 12 2011

I first met her five long years ago and we became part of the same group before long. We used to have such fun teasing her on her accent and the way she couldn’t pronounce certain words. In Malayalam , the word for rain is mazha. However, she always said it as “Mala” which meant mountain 🙂 And we would tease her saying that she came from a district without the letter zha. She was one of the chirpiest girls I knew – quick to be roused and quick to calm down.

She had an older brother and a sister, and being the youngest of her family, I expected her to be the pampered pet. But that wasn’t the case. She was a well-grounded individual with strong likes and dislikes. Her home was around 12 hours away from where we worked and she loved going home. Yet her father always forbade it. Continue reading