Saturday, September 04, 2010

Living In Malaysia: That Family Feeling

4 years ago our friend Bob decided we should have a charity football sweeps-take in the pub.  We hooked up with one of the local orphanages, and a bunch of us have continued to support them ever since.  

What I find interesting are that many kids in Malaysian orphanages are not orphans. 

In most cases mum was abandoned by the father.  So the kid is packed off to the orphanage, the mum works, and when the kid becomes a teen, he or she moves back in with mummy and becomes a latch-key kid.  There are a handful of widowers who are in that same position. 


Other kids come from a broken home where one parent has disappeared and the other has remarried to a new partner can't be bothered with the "baggage" from a previous marriage. 

Then there are kids who are dumped because they are "unlucky".  They may be born on their mum's birthday, dad's birthday, or some other superstitious thing.  Kids can also be "unlucky" if they have a birthmark, a squint etc. 

Kids around the world are dumped for odd reasons.  But seeing what I do, I can't stand people who wax lyrical about how wonderfully strong Asian family values are compared to our supposedly wicked Western ways. 

I find myself getting all hot and bothered, and before I can bite my tongue, I snap: "Been to your local orphanage recently?" 

14 comments:

The Chair Speaks said...

Think those who said that have never visited the orphanages. The situation may worsen with recent more teen pregnancies.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Thought provoking post...it's good to get all sides of a story. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

BeadedTail said...

That's sad that kids are put in orphanages for those reasons. It's wonderful you are helping to support the orphanages and those kids.

Katnip Lounge said...

Holy Cow. That's awful! I laud you and your friends' efforts.

Inigo Flufflebum and d'Artagnan Rumblepurr said...

Thanks for your insight into a different culture!

Gattina said...

And I have always heard that they have not the same relationship to their children like western mothers. They care less. Probably there are good and bad parents everywhere.

Cat said...

Wow, that's an eye opener. Humans are really sad animals aren't they? It's not surprising that they can be so unkind to animals when they are also unkind to other humans. I have never been to an orphanage and can't even begin to imagine what one would be like though I hear stories and see pictures and it is just sad, sad, sad. Apparently until recently, here in the Czech Republic the bed-cages still existed in some orphanages. What a frightful thing!!

Hannah and Lucy said...

I didn't realise that children anywhere could go into an orphanage if there were living relatives. Are there no foster families in Malaysia for shorter term care?

Simba said...

How sad it is that living parents put their children in orphanages. Are the children adoptable by western parents, or not?

Admiral Hestorb said...

I didn't know that about those orphanages where you are but I do now. I never had rosy lenses in my glasses regarding them and I am well aware from having traveled so much that each Land has its particular culture AND that children world wide never enjoy the fruits of civility many times. Not there, not here..anywhere. If they do, it is a more recent thing i.e last 100 yrs. Remember too that here in this Country we had child labor in factories and fields. I know the economical rationale that was employed at the time regardless of the result..oh I am getting up on MY soapbox..sorry.

Mishkat said...

That is truly sad. In the states, that sometimes happens too (except for the "unlucky" part!), but the kids go into foster care, which has its own set of problems.

I do understand about the real problems that single working mothers have - if no child care is available, it sounds like this might be their only option (also very sad.)

Many thanks to you and your friends for helping out these kids!

boo_licious said...

That is so sad to abandon a child for those reasons. Sigh, I admit I've not been to an orphanage though so maybe I shld to get first hand experience.

GrammyMouseTails said...

I agree this is a perverse look at children and then make comments & snub noses for our western ways... I have heard of some of the ways some of these babes are brought into an orphanage, sad.. and what is sadder it that many of these countries will not grant adoption for these children for strange reasons too.. let them grow up malnourished of food as well as in human comfort. the world is a big and strange place in both human and animal kingdoms. All one has to do is look for it. Good thing our kitties and other furry babes do not have to worry about such trivial things... just to be sure their human feeds and gives them enough lap time is good enough for them.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

That's what I keep telling people, that we shouldn't call them "orphans" because they are not! They are needy children living under the care of a children's shelter. What Asian values? Have you been to your local govt/temple-run old folks' home recently? There's a long list of people waiting to dump their parents into one of those horrible underfunded facilities!