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Last week, I attended my first MANZA meeting. MANZA stands for Malaysian Australian New Zealand Association, and is a group of about 200 people living in Malaysia, or Kuala Lumpur, that organise events and other social get togethers. From the MANZA website:

MANZA prides itself on being open to all nationalities and currently has members from more than 25 different countries around the World. We welcome singles, couples and families into our association and aim to provide ’something for everyone’

We’ve decided to become members of the group to meet people who are in similar situation to us — living temporarily in KL — and to make a few friends close by that we can go out with now and then.

Seeing as I don’t really go to work anymore, it was my job to go along to the ‘newcomers meeting’ which is set up, as the name suggests, to welcome new members and people thinking of joining. It was at MANZA house (the HQ) and was a bit out of my way in Bangsar. Bangsar is a popular residential destination for westerners working in KL, and in fact, was one of the areas we thought about settling into, so it makes complete sense that MANZA HQ is there.

There was a handful of people at this mid-morning meet, as well as coffee/tea, sandwiches and lamingtons{{1}} :) To be 100 precent honest (and some of the members might be reading this) I was expecting ‘older’ folk. I was pleasantly surprised, relieved even, to find some 20- and 30-somethings at the meet. I was told that June/July is a quiet time in KL for members, many going back to their home country for summer holidays, and that next, and subsequent meets, would be more populous.

The newcomers meet is set up to answer any questions about life in KL, the MANZA group, and just to socialise for a couple hours. There, I met a young woman named Megan, who is in KL with her husband who’s here for work. We went out for some lunch in nearby Bangsar Village after the morning meet.

We had food, and juice, and talked about life in KL. She had been living here full-time for about three months (like us) but had been visiting regularly for the last four years. It was great conversation actually, and it went for a few hours, but I began to feel a little uncomfortable. I felt a subtle anxiousness that lunch was going for too long, as if I needed to be somewhere else, and that Megan and I should part ways to allow me to leave and get to my appointment. It was then that the realisation struck: there was no appointment. I had nothing urgent to do, and I could’ve sat for another few hours had I felt like doing so.

As it turned out, Megan received a call that a delivery of water had arrived and had to leave, so we said goodbye. But on my drive home I found myself pondering two things:

Firstly: is this my life now? Can I spend my time doing pretty much anything I want, without client deadlines? Wow. This is a massive change for me, because I like to work, to keep busy. I think I get bored easily. Luckily I have a backlog of design projects and experiments to keep me busy for a while, but once they’re complete, what then? This new life, albeit temporary, is going to take some getting used to, but I think I’ll be happy to put in the effort :P

Secondly: are there other couples in MANZA where the man doesn’t go to work?{{2}}

[[1]]’Lamingtons’ doesn’t come up in spell checker. WTF?[[1]]

[[2]]During the lunch, I was invited to join a coffee morning the group put on in a local café. I was warned told that it would be all women, but that I would be welcome. I thought, sounds ok, but what if they’re used to talking about women-only stuff, and my presence makes them feel like they can’t? Or worse, what if, despite me being there, they do talk women-only stuff? I guess I could give the male perspective to their discussions? *shrug*[[2]]

  • chantelle
    chantelle chantelle

    love your style bart… Maybe this is the modern age man-equivalent of sex in the city, or even better the stepford wives…i will keep reading to find out

  • bart
    bart bart

    Stepford wives eh? I don’t know that, but I hope it was (is?) better than Sex in the city.