Walking Dead Men

As a rule, I am usually reluctant to discuss polygamy in the presence of women. The last time I did this, three wanted to hang me from the nearest tree, two added that this should be done by my balls and one quietly slipped me her phone number. But I am getting reckless in my old age. So here goes…

Kadir, who is a regular teh tarik buddy, lives down the road. I see him maybe once or twice a month. The rest of the time he is probably in some far flung corner or the country. The reason? He’s a bus driver. Though he has not caused some major accident that has claimed a dozen lives, he maintains this is not his fault – there is still time yet for him to fulfil this time-honoured tradition of express bus drivers.

Kadir is candid – sometimes brutally so. He has no qualms expressing his non-performance issues. His job leaves him perpetually fatigued, his libido is as tame as a TV3 coverage of an UMNO convention and his appendage falls far short of the minimum female orgasm-inducing length of 8.5 cm (that’s centimeters, NOT inches). Though he has ages ago given up on finding a solution to the problem, friends still suggest all sorts of traditional (and less traditional) remedies every time we meet. In every instance, the story’s always the same: he’ll politely pretend to listen, shrug his shoulders and then quip, “That’s OK. But it sounds like too much hard work. I’ll give it a pass.”

It is unlikely that Kadir will be featured on TV’s ‘Bersama Mu’ anytime soon. Being an ordinary bus driver, however, he isn’t exactly a member of the Malay nouveau riche class either. We reckon he makes decent money. But none of us think it is enough to support his nine children. With four of them already in institutions of higher learning, we can only imagine the stress this puts on his finances. Whenever we ask how manages this feat, his stock answer is always a good natured, “What is enough for two will also be enough for three; what is enough for three will always be enough for four.” Some of us are still struggling to decipher the logic behind this statement. The rest of us just nod knowingly and pretend as if we have.

Everyone in our teh tarik session agree that Kadir is a breath of fresh air. The man never bitches about anything; never a bad word about anyone or anything. We have never heard him put down the Government nor the Opposition; complain about the economy and how the country is going to the dogs; or even lament the ever-increasing price of cigarettes. If anything ever comes out of his mouth, you can rest assured that it will be something nice. Yes, Kadir is annoying that way. And if he doesn’t have anything nice to say, he’ll just remain silent. But just let me say that Kadir is seldom (if ever) silent!

Over the past few months, we have come to accept and even enjoy Kadir’s almost naïve (but always sincere) view of things. We suspect that if we hang around him long enough, bitching about our lot in life will soon become as unfashionable as being a Donny Osmond fan. This is why we are ever so slightly sad when he has to go home early to his nine children and three wives – all of whom live under the same roof.

Yesterday, Ali couldn’t take it anymore. He came right out and asked Kadir, “How do you do it? How do you take on three wives and yet live peacefully under the same roof?”

“This is hardly fair! We have a hell of a time just trying to remain sane. And we have only one wife!” Hassan chipped in.

To this Haji Kassim added quite forcefully, “Yeah! And it’s not like you’re a stud or anything like that. We all know your pecker doesn’t quite measure up. And on the money front, you’re not exactly swimming in it either. What’s more, you’re almost as ugly as Bangkai there!”

Before I could smack the good Haji in the face for the last part of his statement, I felt Kadir’s hand on my shoulder, gently restraining me from doing what the gang was hoping that I was about to do. When he was certain that I was no longer a threat to anyone, Kadir took a sip of his teh tarik, smiled at Ali and Hassan, and calmly declared, “It’s easy, really – if you thought about it… ”

Everyone was all ears – even Haji Kassim.

“It’s not about the number of wives you have, my friends. Let’s face it. Is it certain that your marriage will be free from strife even if you have just one wife?” Kadir began.

“Then, what is it about, Kadir?”

Kadir lit his John Players. The rest of us were ready to fall off the edge of our seats. He took a drag from his cigarette, slowly exhaled and continued, “If you must take another wife, make sure it is someone who doesn’t think she is your equal.”

“Huh?”

“Yes, your problem is not the in the numbers. Your problem, my dear friends, is a wife who thinks she is your equal. And, God forbid, even worse is a wife who thinks she is better than you. She need not necessarily be better than you. But if she thinks she is, you’re a dead man.” Kadir explained.

Scanning faces around the table, I saw a few walking dead men.

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43 thoughts on “Walking Dead Men

    • SPD

      It may not be a very popular or politically-correct point of view. But I have to say it makes a lot of sense – especially in a society like ours. Good luck, son!

    • Lily

      Let’s see this from another perspective. Should we only feel inferior to someone who’s 8.5 inches or more? Would it be OK in this instance?

  1. Oh,so that’s how you should do it~! A very helpful tip indeed. 😀
    “What’s more, you’re almost as ugly as Bangkai there!” Hahaha, this will be an unforgettable line…

  2. Hi Tomodachi-san!Shibaraku desu nei!(Hi friend!It`s been some time!)

    I will steer away from commenting on the pecker stuff.Enuff said from the comments received.

    That startling piece of wisdom from this simple guy-Kadir.Now, that really is the crux of the whole thing, right, Mat-B?Being “Equals” definitely mean an open invitation for a clash of egoes, and that can only mean 1-thing…big trouble!

    One comment here then equates Kadir`s brilliant advice as leaving the field of matrimonial partners (the female part)open only to bimbos.

    To her, I wish to say..Islam is a great religion.It takes into account that should the married man wander, then he must take responsibility for it, and the religion provides for this so that his wives and kids are all legally entitled to whatever he has, should anything happen to him or them, even in the event that he leaves them later.Jus look those keeping mistresses on the sly etc.Seriously, do those women ever get the due recognition under the law?And the kids ensuing from such a realtionship…worse.I wish the commentator will pause for a brief second and ponder over this.Once again, the ego is the one that prevents most women from accepting this divine provision and to appreciate the supreme logic and reasoning behind it.If only they bother to read the Koran properly.Nothing is mentioned in it about having to be romantically linked or being in love in order to be, and stay, married.It`s all about responsibility and good behaviour towards each other, and to close ranks'(merapatkan saf) amongst us all, including hubby and wifey(or wifeys),all the time, always!(And I am not in a polygamous relationship, btw, and I try all the time to be a good Muslim, practising good Islamic ways, which generally translates into being a good person).

    Entah ler, my friend.BTW, take care ok?In the meantime, I can discern a slight change in your current approach to the ordinary and seemingly mundane going-ons in life,which you brilliantly romanticise in your writings before.Hope life`s been kind to you so far.

    Cheers, my tomodachi!

    • Higashi-san

      Yet another pearl of wisdom from you, my friend. I like your take on what marriage really is: responsibility and good behaviour towards each other. A lot of people, I am no exception, regularly miss this point. In the end, responsibility and its two closest companions, respect and compassion are more precious than romantic love. Contrary to what Hollywood and Bollywood would let us believe, romantic love doesn’t belong at the top of the food chain. Responsibility does. Romantic love springs from attraction; responsibility springs from the good that exist in the hearts of men (I use men here generically to refer to BOTH men and women). Romantic love is about entertainment; responsibility is about true love.

      So there it is.

      And yes, life has been good to me so far – far better than before, alhamdulillah.

    • Teh

      Glad you enjoyed this piece. It just boils down to the old-fashioned adage, “There can only one captain in a ship” Yes, it’s old-fashioned, smacks of sexism and at first blush, sounds thoroughly unfair. But would you want to live in a country with TWO prime ministers who wielded the same amount of clout? The fact that the country needs TWO equally powerful prime ministers in the first place would scare the sh*t out of me. Wouldn’t it do the same to you?

      • But would you want to live in a country with TWO prime ministers who wielded the same amount of clout? The fact that the country needs TWO equally powerful prime ministers in the first place would scare the sh*t out of me.

        then if rumours were to be believed, wrt to HOW MANY CAPTAINS the ship MSIA has at the moment, you must be sh*t-scared and thinking leaving port, yah? ;D

        • mekyam

          Good to hear from you again, ma’am

          No truth in the rumours, ma’am. M’sia has but ONE real prime minister. But rumour has it – malicious, of course -that it’s a she 🙂

  3. ROTFLOL!

    Oh dear, how I missed your writings and now this…

    A gem like usual though I don’t necessarily agree the words from that friend of yours. Let me tell you a secret, marriage is fairly easy if you digest this: perempuan lebih rela suaminya mati di langgar lori/todak/insert whatever you like dari mendengar suaminya kahwin lain.

    • Elviza

      Good to hear from you again, ma’am

      We get the women ‘lebih rela suaminya mati dilanggar lori/todak’ part. On this there is no confusion. But we also know that smoking is bad, scratching our balls in public is rude and buying a RM89K motorcycle on a RM24K per annum income is madness.

      But we do it anyway. Right, guys?

      • Boe, it always amazes me how guys like u (I don’t want to use ‘us’ coz I don’t have that literacy charm/talent like yours to wriggle out of this..kekeke) that pisses the opposite sex off & yet they keep coming back for more. You seem to have what they call the lovable rogue, smiling assassin sort of demeanour that attracts the women, not openly but deep within them. Guys like u somehow fascinate them for one reason or another…..kekeke. You r every blokes’ hero lah!!! 🙂

        n.b. – Please be cautioned that ‘scratching your balls in public’ when women r around, could be deemed as sexual harassment. But it’s perfectly alright if you rub your eyes in public or adjust your boobs.

        • Tommy

          Lovable rogue? Smiling assassin? Demeanour that attracts women?

          Surely Tommy this cannot be true. Just ask any of my ex-wives…

          If you do, you’ll likely hear descriptions along the lines of useless bum, heartless bast*rd, silly bugger, bungling idiot, etc. Need I go on? 🙂

  4. Let say my age is 32. Good career. Good money in bank accounts. Got B&W to ride about town if I’m bored at weekends. Have one rumah sewa (having one rumah sendiri is in progress).

    Of course I’d choose a damsel a lot younger than me to be my missus. Aged 23, maybe? Educated. Pretty. Soft-spoken. SOMEWHAT (I don’t like orthodox one) religious that I don’t have to tell her a hundred times to pray five times a day.

    And I don’t think I need more than her.

    I’d die happy.

    • SPD

      Let’s say u are 32, with tons of money, a BMW, probably several houses to your name etc…

      Why would you need to mess it up by getting a girl into the picture? kahkahkah!

    • Rovitah

      Seriously? Here goes…

      On the surface, we will regale his wonderful exploits – put him on a pedestal, even. But remember, men generally compartmentalise very well: here we compartmentalise the outward appearance of polygamy. So, things are as if the polygamous guy owns the world.

      But when we go to the other compartment – the compartment where we go into the essence of things – a different picture will emerge. We will secretly feel sorry for they guy. Deep down we know things CANNOT be easy for him. It takes more than just money to create some semblance of peace in a polygamous marriage. Hey, things are already hard enough in a a monogamous situation, aren’t they?

      So, all the back-slapping and congratulatory high-fives are really meant to provide comfort and courage to the polygamous guy. I wonder if this makes sense to a woman…

      Having said all this, I still maintain that polygamy isn’t wrong – it is just horrendously difficult.

      • I guess we need to give some moral support to a fellow man. (Woman, too, when necessary, not the mercenary type though) Especially so to one who has already made his bed. I likened a man taking a second, third or fourth wives to us parents having children.

        They become a responsibility. They are not like books that you can keep, give away or sell to the secondhand shop once you are done reading. I only have two children though initially I thought four would make a nice number. I thank the Almighty that my husband only wanted two. But with the four of us, four different personalities, likes and dislikes and not to forget that there are days where we don’t even want to breathe the same air…

        Truth be told, I only have respect and admiration for a man with several wives and dozen or more children and can live together in harmony.

        Polygamy is not wrong. It just is not for every man or woman. In your golden years (I don’t mean you, you here. Still years away, eh?) wouldn’t it be nice to just fill out the years romancing your spouse?

        • Rovitah

          Ah! But some would argue, “Why fill the years by romancing just one? Why can’t I romance two, three, or maybe even four?”

          (Just playing the Devil’s Advocate here)

  5. Sofian

    I was going to protest no! .. not walking dead but the happier and wiser men! ..

    But you have replied @ Rovitah… Yes, that’s really why most of us have stayed since and being not quite the stallions we might have been, will probably remain strictly monogamous. Taking it like you have said ever so seriously, we can truly be contented with just one.

    Life’s no bed ever to enjoy if we must always be on top, isn’t it?

  6. I so enjoyed reading this witty and fluent essay at 3 in the morning, after struggling to make sense of a dry and not-so-original PhD proposal riddled with “a variable that will influent company performance”, “different types of ownership structure influent …”, “… influent the economy”. Alas, Pak Kadir is not here to flog me tenderly with a warm lettuce and restrain me from bitching about the quality of PhD theses.

    • sorry to digress, but GUIP sir, how on earth did they get accepted into a phd prog in the first place? wasn’t the criteria rigorous enough?

      • Salam mekyam, as long as there are supervisors who are willing to supervise, anything goes really. and pity the reviewers/gatekeepers of phd proposals who have to straighten out the messy wrinkles. but what if they are equally cincai? and the examiners too? and these lucky phd holders later supervise unlucky phd candidates. if the authorities do not monitor this closely, one day the standard of our phds will be like the standard of english in primary and secondary schools. tell me mekyam dear, am i a scaremonger?

      • by your leave again, boe…

        @ GUiKP, sorry for the late response, doc wan. and thank you for your explanation. no, i don’t think you’re being a scaremonger at all. in fact from your account, i’d say the standard has already been compromised. what a sad situation…

  7. ..this is the umpteenth time I was here..:) I thought I’ll let all the comments in and try to get the general consensus..I, too detect a slight shift in your approach..I do not know..maybe as a header towards something different..had to agree with Elviza, tho..baik suami dilanggar todak/humvee pada kahwin lain..which brings it to my pet contention..that it is ok for them to marry others’ husband..just don’t marry my husband..other than that, yes, it is about responsibility, commitment and devotion..and accommodation..but mainly, it is about giving the polygamous husband a chance ..which is rarely given, a chance to carry out the responsibility, commitdment and devotion..instead of active resistance all the way..with spanners and jacks ready to be thrown in the works..add to that a bit of voodoo, shaman and bomoh…well, you get the picture..other than that, yes..polygamy can be bliss..cheers

    • Pakmat

      In a world full of women who ‘lebih rela suami dilanggar lori/todak’, how can the polygamous husband expect to be given a chance to discharge his duties? The wives will all be hell-bent on making his life a misery that the poor sod might as well go stand in front of a lorry (or a todak as the case may be).

      Of course, exceptions do exist. This is why Kadir advocates going for these extraordinary women – women who don’t subscribe to the ‘dilanggar lori/todak’ mentality or have a pathological need to be an equal. In this case polygamy, as you say, can be bliss.

      Cheers, Pakmat

      • .nope..no exception..such women have yet to be born..:) and they will keep on marrying others husbands by the droves..and when they do, they will resist others from marrying theirs..polygamy is not something you can discuss with logic, for logic deserts them..or the laws of religion..for religion is waysided and blotted out..and nothing will satisfy them..not all the gold or diamonds..nor all the piety shown by the husband..they rather have him wallowing in sin then do what is right..to me, it is but one of God’s test..and who are we to tell Him to test us with riches and longevity, instead of with polygamy?..

        • Pakmat

          I will have to re-think things now. Yes, who are we to say that polygamy isn’t a test? It’s probably the most heart-breaking kind.

  8. Like Pakmat,Mat-B, I am drawn to re-visit this “Comments”column.I fully agree with Pakmat`s last comment…that bit about “they`d rather have him wallowing in sin than do what`s right”.What can I say, my friend?Even the very rational and highly educated, urbane Moleskine Ma`am vociferously defends that such selfishness is OK with her.

    If only they care to really and objectively analyse why He made polygamy legal.Only then will the true breadth and depth of God`s omniscience be at least a little clear.Granted, some amongst us have chosen to abuse the privelege, but does that give anyone the right to paint all of us with the same brush?

    I rest my case, my friend.

    Cheers!

    • Higashi-san

      No, sir. No one has the right to paint us with the same brush. But when self-interest enters the scene, right is often thrown out the window.

  9. welcome back! *lompatsukaria*

    che kadir is a wise man indeed 🙂 what is right can’t be wrong and vice versa i believe. its up to the individual to have the courage to balance and even it out to survive. with dignity. i hope. and a lil bit of loving didn’t hurt nobody.

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