A Sloppy Arrangement

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A Sloppy Arrangement

A thinly veiled glimpse into Arranged Marriages

Written by Grandpa Dinosaur

 

My sister-in-law is not the perfect Cambodian Lady.

They said she was, her parents said she was–trying to pitch her to my brother.

Said she could cook, clean, sew… Her photograph looked photoshop-ed, over-glamourized. She was meticulously presented with care and attention as all Asian women are when they are presented for marriage.

My brother asked me then, “should I marry this girl?”

I was eighteen at the time, struggling to pass high school and enter college. My future look grim, how was I going to go and pay for school? Why was he getting married? Why the hell was my brother going to the SAME SCHOOL at the SAME TIME as me… Oh wait… My brother is psychotic, her can’t stand that I’m graduating high school when he doesn’t even have a Grade Nine education. Even when he didn’t care about my graduating from college, he had to act like he wanted to go so he could ruin my day. He couldn’t stand I was getting a good job interview that he crashed his car to steal my thunder.

Well… He had nothing to lose really, everything to gain. His wife was just another person working for him, a living pay check. I don’t doubt my brother thinks I’m a living pay check too. Actually I know he thinks I’m a living pay check, he steals my money, threatens me when I don’t give it to him. If he knew my roommate had a dime, he would TAKE IT. This guy had his needs cared for. Cars bought and paid for. Mini-bikes, one for him and his friend. He didn’t have to worry if his wife didn’t work out. He could divorce and everyone would win…

I really hated my brother then… And even though I tried not to, I would later grow and hate my sister-in-law as well.

My brother and sister-in-law where married during the Tsunami. THE Tsunami.

They were fine, but I have reason to believe their wedding caused a disturbance in the force.

Why?

My sister-in-law is the worst cook I have ever seen. When she arrived, she couldn’t even make rice. “I’ve never made rice before,” she said to me. She still burns her eggs today. She at least stopped “test-tasting” raw meat. She buys a large amount of food and only eats half of it. She’ll buy a bowl of noodles and only drink the soup and throw the rest away. Every day she eats instant noodles because she is either still really hungry, too lazy to cook or wasted half the food in the first two days of the week and now there is no more food left over.

She has no sense of saving money, how to spend money. She can’t hold a grocery bag or walk a long distance to the grocery store. She doesn’t know how to care for a household.

Oh and she is also afraid of black people. LOL My roommate is black and I think my roommate is the only black person she likes, besides that she is extremely racist and without tact when around other cultures other than Chinese and Cambodian. She is vindictive and mean, lying about me to my own father, taking credit for my housework, whilst claiming her own housework is flawless.

She is a woman from hell. My brother is a man from hell.

It was a marriage made during a Tsunami.

Arranged marriage is not for everyone, but my brother has found his Eve… Or Lillith. So Yeah… You want to get an arranged marriage, it may be good for you.

For me, and how I see it. NO THANK YOU! Although my parents have been having to trouble of getting suitors for me. My father deflected most of them, but still a few trickled in.

My first proposal came at the tender age of fourteen, I was borrowing a cup of sugar to bake a cake from my nearest Cambodian neighbour. The father of the household asked if I wanted to marry his nephew. I quickly declined, though he pressed on once more, adamant and serious about this proposal. When I declined the second time, he asked his daughter if SHE wanted to marry her cousin.

This is how arranged marriages work in Cambodian cultures for guys: The eldest, most respectable female representative of family approaches the Mother first, father second, with the proposal to join families. Then presents a package of photographs of the girl (photoshop-ed) and they talk, call in the son, blah blah blah.

For proposing to girls, the representative approaches… Who am I kidding! ANYTHING GOES!

I know no OTHER Cambodian girl in Ontario gets more marriage proposals than I do. Why? I don’t know…. But I’ve been told I am the Traditional Cambodian Lady! I have a GREAT education, I am mostly well behaved (never leave the house), can cook, clean and sew to the point where it is WELL-KNOWN.

My sister-in-law once admitted she couldn’t compete with my traditional Cambodian upbringing, THAT came out of nowhere but it would explain a lot.

My sister-in-law is what me and Davita Cuttita call a Cambodian Princess.

She never had to cook, clean, go grocery shopping in Cambodia. She was waited on hand and foot by her entire family. (I shit you not.) She may be a Cambodian Princess, but she is no Cambodian Lady. She likes to have fun a lot, is disrespectful to her father-in-law (my father) and do everything, but be the domestic housewife, even to her own detriment. Not that I care, but they said she could cook and they lied and I’ll always be mad about that.

I don’t care if someone is incompetent, unless it affects me. Now I have to cook FOR THE BOTH OF THEM! My brother and his wife. *huffs*

So back to proposals, APPARENTLY a man moved into a house nearby and was watching my house WAITING TO PROPOSE but I NEVER LEFT THE HOUSE (LOL) being the HUGE NERD I AM, that proved to him that I was the MOST STUDIOUS (LOL!) and perfect wife and he actually came to my father begging to marry him.

NEEDLESS to say, he ended up ordering a bride from Cambodia because there was no chance in HELL that I was marrying HIM.

Plus my dad wanted to choose my husband…. yeah, that’s not happening ANY time soon… Or at all.

My dad was pretty tense when he told me that guy was TOTALLY STALKING ME, he told me about a day before Cambodian New Years.

He had every right to be–ESPECIALLY The marriage proposals WERE SO BOLD on Cambodian New Year! LOL

“Do you want to marry my nephew?”
“Do you want to marry my son?”
“Do you want to marry grandson?”

I couldn’t respond though, I had stomach flu–Which scared off half the suitors. Hell, I could SEE people. I wanted to die. I looked like I was going to die too! Then news broke out I was returning to school to complete my college education. They stopped.

I was glad… Until Pchum Ben occurred.

“Would you like some sushi? Oh by the way, my nephew would still like to marry you?”
(By the way, the sushi was really bad. Think canned tuna, cold, not sushi rice and nasty cucumbers. I wasn’t marry the person who came with THAT dish!)

Marriage has become something that means nothing for me now. It’s just a change of status for the man who wants to marry me to flee Cambodia and become a Canadian Citizen or gain enough standing, in order to leave me and marry his lover. It’s happened before.

Who wants to marry a man who wants to have a wife that sounds good and works hard, until he can divorce her and bring over his one and true love? Not me.

I’ve seen it happen. More heard that sad tale of the disgraced woman who sawed off her head after he husband was stolen away from her by her sister. Her sister who wanted her own elder sister’s husband but couldn’t marry until her older sister married. Then the mother-in-law berated her for “ruining her son” until the poor woman snapped and cut off her own head.

It shook me to the core of my soul because I emphasized with her so much.

A woman who is approached for a marriage and agrees becomes a tool. To have children, to make money, to obey her husband, to be treated like trash… There are no illusions of love, because money has changed hands so many times.

My parents paid a large sum of money for my sister-in-law…

Traditions such as these don’t change with ease.

And I am scared to suffer that fate.

I still am scared.

It’s not the future I want for myself, but many demand that I live.

My sister-in-law tells me she loves my mother, her mother-in-law so much. My own mother treats me like crap, but what can I do.

I see my own mother detachment towards me.

I can see her thoughts: “She will marry into another family.”

After my brother got an arranged marriage, a number of people started to get arranged marriages for themselves: ALL guys. My brother and his wife are now the poster-child of a happy arranged marriages, even if their marriage is so flawed… Even if a number of those men who got into copy-cat arranged marriages are now divorced. I’m not stupid to see that the marriage is not happy for those women… Being married to man-children.

Davita Cuttita asked me recently if my sister-in-law loves my brother.

I say I don’t know, and then joke: “Maybe it’s Stockholm’s Syndrome.”

Maybe.

I laugh…

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~ by l on March 13, 2008.

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