Saturday, August 07, 2010

Living In Malaysia: Hiding Out

Traditional Malaysians drop in on each other when they feel like it. They don't call up in advance: a guest can never be inconvenient.

Of course, that was in the old days when everyone lived in the kampung (the countryside) and spent lots of time loafing about.

Nowadays many of the urban crowd are rushed off their feet, stressed out, and not terribly chuffed when six people decide to turn up without notice. Not that they'd ever dare say so however!

Now that Ramadan, Muslim fasting month, is coming up, everyone is gearing up to drop by on family and old friends. 

Officially everyone is supposed to really enjoy this, but as one of my mates says, "I really, really need some personal time.  The holiday weekend that's coming up will be ruined by visitors. And they always drop by at dinner time so I'm forced to cook when all I want to do is veg out in front of the TV. If they called first, I could make an excuse for them not to come. But I just can't tell them to call first because I don't want people to think I'm like some orang puteh (Malay for white person). You know, all stuck up."

(She says this to me with complete unconsciousness because she forgets I'm orang puteh - moreover, one who HATES people dropping by without phoning. But I digress.)

So instead of telling her relatives and friends she needs some space to relax, my friend decides to deal with the problem by going away on holiday. It's an expensive solution, and it involves lots of tedious traffic jams, and paying premium prices for rooms as it's holiday time, but she doesn't care.

She gets to do what she likes, and nobody could ever accuse her of being stuck up like an orang puteh.

16 comments:

The Chair Speaks said...

I, too, do not like the Malaysian way of popping in without telling as I could be scrubbing the toilet or half-way mopping the whole house or up the ladder trying to mend a crack in the wall!
Or worse, giving my cats their baths!

Brian said...

I think I would spend most of my time hiding under the bed!

Katnip Lounge said...

I'm with Brian...I hate unexpected company. Heck, I dread the ones I'm expecting...under the bed for me!

MomKat trish

Amy and The House of Cats said...

Wow I would hate it if people just showed up unannounced. Partly because it means I have to do a lot more work keeping stuff clean. I think I would try telling people that I was going away, but then I would stay home and relax.

Live Out Loud said...

Yikes. It's so interesting how different cultures are. I wouldn't dream of doing this to someone!

Whisppy said...

And please have the decency to call BEFORE making the trip. Not when you are outside my gate!

Inigo Flufflebum and d'Artagnan Rumblepurr said...

Rumblemum would just not answer the door or the phone... hee hee!

Hannah and Lucy said...

I don't mind friends calling unexpectedly if they are cat owners but if they aren't you can almost hear them thinking look at the floor it's all furry and covered with toys!!

Dennis the Vizsla said...

I was just thinking, that sounds like the perfect time to take a vacation.

Mishkat said...

We live in a place that used to be really rural, and it was the custom of local people here to drop by each others houses. A friend of mine who is from the area said she was really surprised that we never just dropped in - I had to tell her that I was taught it was really rude to do that (I grew up in the city and it makes a huge difference.)

Maybe customs will change there too - I hope so for your friend's sake. It doesn't sound like much fun - I think I'd go on vacation too!

Admiral Hestorb said...

I'm under the bed to..never coming out

Boom Nisanart said...

I prefer unexpected cats : )

Simba said...

My elderly dad and stepmom lived in Cape Town and had a full time maid, so they enjoyed it when a visitor would pop round at afternoon tea time, even if the person didn't phone beforehand, but people didn't ever come at other times. Of course their retired lives were pretty leisurely. I don't think younger folks there would be too relaxed about uninvited visitors. Here is the US I hate it - I am too conscious of what I have to do, clutter in the house, etc. So I am a stuck up Orang puteh too!

Simba's Mom

Më| §zë said...

well, when it's festive season, it's already expected that friends and relatives drop in anytime...
however, it's just manners to let the host know first... before me and my friends go visiting, we're sure to let the visited know that we're going to drop by.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Orang putih are generally more sensible than Asians. At least I've never met an orang putih who asks questions like: "Waaah so nice lah your house! How much you buy?" or "You what race ah? You mixed ah?" or "Aiyo, why you so fat already?".

On the plus side, though, Asians cook up a storm for guests and don't expect you to "bring a plate" to a party unless they specify it is a potluck!

An Imperfect Momma said...

LOL. I hate it when people come over too, but only because I have OCD and people are just too messy for me. Granted I do have a 9month old but still...he's my mess that I can accept ;o)