Before I get onto my beer news, I’ll talk a bit about something else.
We new going in that sexism existed in Malaysia, but not really to what extent. Not to say it’s bad, it seems fairly benign. Benign sexism? Is that even possible? Well, I guess it depends who you talk to. Is it like mild racism? I mean, can you be only a little bit racist?
Anyway, the sexism we’ve experienced so far is in the form of: the husband is expected to be the working party, and the wife is expected to stay at home. Now, the wife can work — it’s not that women are stricken from the workplace — but it’s the husband staying at home that people are thrown by. This, of course, is the situation I’m in.
This distinction has been played out to us a few times so far. Here are two benign examples:
- When we were shopping for cars, we stopped at a Suzuki dealer (for those curious folk, we were interested in a Swift). After looking at a couple of models, the salesman went to fetch some brochures for us. When he returned, I happened to have wandered off a ways, but Kelly was there to receive the brochures. However, even with an outstretched hand, he walked right by Kelly and toward me. It seemed, that a woman could not possibly be the decision maker and handle the taking of the brochures.
- We’ve signed up for AAM (Automotive Association of Malaysia) for both cars. It’s the RACV equivalent in Australia. They help with breakdowns, basically. Anyway, as Kelly is the working party, all the forms are signed with her name and work details. On friday we received our AAM membership cards:
Notice anything unusual?
Yes, it seems the owner of
anyour cars, must be male, and the secondary card holder must be female. Unless of course, Kelly’s secretly fostered an appreciation of Formula One racing that I (but not the AAM) know nothing about, while I like to express myself with pink and orange organic, flowing plant forms[1. I am a graphic designer, but c’mon…]. My card has the text “your no.1 motoring friend” beneath the AAM logo. A male obviously doesn’t want anything to do with “friends”, hence no tagline beneath Kelly’s logo. Friends? Pfft, friends are for girls. And the word ‘SHAPE’? Please explain…
So yeah, is this benign? I’m personally not offended, but I the male. If the (heeled) shoe was on the other foot I might see it differently. I think it’s kinda cute and funny. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with this cultural norm, but I don’t feel we should be making too big a stand against it. I mean, it’s their country and culture we’re living in, so I’m rolling with it. Kelly feels differently, but not violently differently.
When in Rome…?
So I have a contact whom we shall call ‘Beer Man’ (primarily because I don’t know his actual name). Beer Man™ (I feel the trademark symbol is entirely appropriate here) is a guy you call when you want some beer. Beer Man™ is a good contact to have, because he apparently has a good selection of beer, to buy only by the slab, and much cheaper than the stores. He speaks very limited english, and only delivers. He is address-less. I’ve been told when I call, the conversation will go something like this:
Me – Hello?
Beer Man™ – Hello?
– Is that the Beer Man™?
– Um, I would like some beer delivered please.
– Which beer, which one?
– (assuming I somehow know what beers he carries) Asahi. Can I have one case of Asahi?
– *gives address in a broken English/semi-tryhard-Malay accent …a couple times probably*
– Ok. 20 minute.
– Excuse me? Sorry?
– 20 minute. Be in 20 minute.
– Oh, ok. How much will tha…
– *hangs up*
I’ll keep you posted.