Sunday, June 1, 2014
Sex kittens Jessica, Wati and their regulars, Chow Kah and Hussein, yakety-yak about mothers-in-law from hell
[Pixs of models for illustration purpose only]
“Yesterday, I went to my mother-in-law’s house in Kampung Haji Abdullah Hukum – my wife asked me to deliver something to her,” says Hussein. “When I got out of the car in front of her house, I saw her quarreling with three women. Then they started to beat her, pulled her hair and kicked her. I stood and watched. The next door neighbour -- he was in the front yard -- he shouted why I didn’t help. I said with a smile that three women beating her are enough.”
“You’re a horrible son-in-law, Hussein,” Wati (pix above) says, slapping her left hand on his shoulder. “But I think the old lady deserves it. She must be a mother-in-law from hell.” She leans back on the sofa, her skirt rides up slightly, and she takes a gulp of Bir Bintang from the bottle in her hand.
“You’re right, darling.” Hussein slides closer to Wati. “My mother-in-law’s a manipulative witch. Always teaching her daughter -– my wife -- how to control me, how to check my whereabouts, how to check my expenditure and this and that.”
The door is knocked from the outside; it opens and a waiter, clad in a big red bow-tie and a starched vest, comes in with a platter of balitong, fried in curry spices. The spicy aroma fills the karaoke room.
“Ah… balitong, one of my favourites,” I enthuse. “I haven't eaten it for a while. Anyone knows what they’re called in English?”
“Who cares? Let’s eat,” says Jessica (pix below), leaning on the bar to pluck some tissues from a Kleenex box.
“I remember my honeymoon with my wife,” says Chow Kah, picking up a balitong with his thumb and forefinger. “My mother-in-law was waiting for us at KLIA. When she came towards us, dragging her suitcase, my wife quipped, ‘Oh, I forgot to tell you, darling, my Mama’s coming along!” He shakes his head as if agonized by the memory. “I had to immediately call the hotels in Taipei and Kaohsiung to book an additional room.” He starts to suck one end of the balitong.
“Being married to a Mama’s Big Boy can also be a living hell,” I say. “The mother-in-law-daughter-in-law relationship is more complicated than a mother-in-law-son-in-law relationship.” I unlace my shoes, slip them off and wriggle my toes. It feels good after wearing shoes for eight hours in the office.
Jessica (pix below) pushes stray strands of hair from her face using her neatly manicured fingers. “Some mothers-in-laws are like steamrollers. She barks orders to her daughter-in-law when visiting her son. Do this, do that, don’t do this.” She starts to suck hard at a balitong, then takes a breather. “Others are snobbish crones treating their daughters-in-laws like not they’re good enough for their sons. Some may openly criticize their daughters-in-law. Others will deliver covert messages by giving the poor girls hair-removal cream, weight-loss pills, books on social etiquette and other crap.” She turns the balitong around, sucks hard at the other end -- the balitong slips out, and she starts to munch the snail-like creature. “Still others are manipulators, just like what Hussein mentioned just now. The pretty harmless M-I-Ls but pain-in-the-ass are the dodgy grannies who don’t want to have anything to do with the grandchildren. ”
“My mother in Seremban was a dodgy granny,” says Chow Kah, grinning. “Hoping to cut down baby-sitting expenses, I asked her to look after my baby son. That was about fifteen years ago. She said she can’t do babysit my son as she’s too old. But she could play mahjong every afternoon and every night.”
The curry spices of the balitong burn my tongue and I take a sip of water melon juice. “A steamroller mother-in-law is not that bad. I read that a seventy-year-old grandmother in Florida hired a hit-man to kill her daughter-in-law. She’s now in prison. Her name’s Diana Reaves Costarakis, and you can check out the story on the Internet. There was another similar homicide case in Zimbabwe. This time, a son-in-law set fire to his mother-in-law’s house, killing her.”
“When I have a boyfriend, I’d like to meet his mother first before committing myself,” Jessica says. “See what the initial chemistry is. If the relationship is like a barb wire, I won’t expect it to improve. Meaning to say, if she doesn’t like me, she will not like me even after I’m married to her son. In that case, he and I've to split."
“Jessica, would you like to meet my Mama?” asks Chow Kah. “She’s a sweet old lady. I guarantee she will treat you nicely.”
“Please…please cut the bull, darling.” Jessica’s voice is laced with the sweetness of honey. “You just bitched about her just now. How can she be a S-O-L? You’re good at dishing out sugar-coated shit, eh?” She smiles and playfully tugs at Chow Kah’s left ear.
Chow Kah’s face turns red.
"Jeez...i feel like burping." She stands up, patters to the wall at the far end the room and leans against it. "Excuse me, Chow Kah. I'll be back in a jiffy. Must be the pizza with garlic I ate for dinner."
Wati sits upright. “What's the big deal about a mother-in-law? A daughter-in-law is not required to love her mother-in-law. Her only obligation is only to be civil and polite. The daughter-in-law has the right to say no to her, to disagree with her, and to set limits with her husband on the time she spends with the old lady.”
“True! True!” exclaims Hussein. “That’s what I like about you, Wati. So modern in outlook, so independent and so...er Lara Croftish. In any case, my mother has passed away. So no mother-in-law to worry about for my new wife-to-be.”
“But my mother is very fierce, Hussein. She –- ”
A rap sounds on the door and Mummy Lulu enters. “Everybody having a good time?” She grins, revealing nicotine-stained teeth. “I thought I heard kissing noises from the outside.” She looks down at the platter of balitong on the table. “Oh, I see, eating balitong.” She nods, leaves the karaoke room and closes the door behind her. Jessica starts to patter back to her spot beside Chow Kah.
“Come, get back to our topic of discussion,” says Jessica, tucking one foot under her buttocks and raising a sexy leg on the sofa. “According to my sister -- she’s married -- there’re several ways to deal with a difficult mother-in-law.” She takes a sip of babycham. “Smile and nod no matter what your mother-in law is insinuating to you. If that doesn’t work, just hear her out but don’t listen. You know, let her yakking enter one ear and escape through the other.” She attacks another balitong.
Wati cuts in, “Another tactic is to find an ally. Does the old crone get along with her own daughter? If not, the girl should cultivate the sister-in-law as an ally. During family get-togethers, it will be easier to handle the old cow.”
Chow Kah wipes his fingers with a piece of Kleenex tissue paper. “A last resort is to give her presents. You know -- something like bribery. That reminds me. Two years back, I bought my mother-in-law a cemetery plot in Nirwana Memorial Park as a birthday present. Last year, I didn’t give her anything. So the old lady asked me why I didn’t give her any present. I told her straight in the face, ‘Because you still haven’t used the previous year’s birthday present yet.’ ”
MY LATEST NOVEL
ISBN (Paperback): 978-981-4423-84-4
ISBN (ebook): 978-981-4423-85-4
Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Monsoon Books, Singapore
Available in Malaysia and Singapore from Popular Bookstore, Kinokuniya, MPH (both store and online) and Select Books Singapore (selectbooks.com.sg).
The book is also sold in Europe and Australia at the following e-retailers:
--bol.com (The Netherlands)
ebook version will be available soon.