“… ikut perintah suami”

That would be one of those things I would vow NOT to say ever. Every time I hear that (and nowadays it’s repeated on Suria due to coverage of the celebrity couple’s wedding), I cringe. It makes me sick in the stomach that someone as independent as the bride has internalised such patriarchal ideas about marriage without questioning it and just accepts it as ‘what Islam says’.

For some reason, since young I have always wondered why. Why, during family gatherings, when an idea is surfaced to go out or do something together on another date, or simply to leave at a later timing, my aunts would always say, “Wait, let me ask my husband first.” Why? Why can’t they just make the decision on their own, and then INFORM their husbands that this is what they would like to do? I have also always wondered why they and my mother would do things for their husbands (and my father) like take food and serve it for them when we are at family gatherings where the food is presented potluck-style. Nak cakap kasar, diorang takde tangan dan kaki sendiri ke nak ambil makanan sendiri? I have also always wondered, why, during kenduri doa selamat, it’s always the women who are busy working in the kitchen, yet every single time the prayers are over, it is always the men who get to eat first. Why?

Each and every human being is created to worship and serve and submit to God, alone. The ‘ikut perintah suami‘ mentality is almost like replacing  ‘serving and submitting to God’ with ‘serving and submitting to the husband’. Sounds like shirk to me. Think about it.

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Pabila Niat Murni Disalah Erti

Sejak kecil lagi, aku sudah memahami nilai wang. Sejak kecil lagi, aku sudah mengerti bahawa meskipun keluargaku tidak susah, namun kami bukanlah orang berada. Masih kuingat, semasa kami dibawa keluar membeli-belah, barangan yang harganya melampaui dua puluhan dolar dianggap terlalu mahal dan tidak akan mendapat kebenaran pembelian daripada kementerian kewangan (ibukulah itu).

Atas kesedaran itulah, aku bertekad, aku tidak mahu menjadi bebanan dari segi kewangan kepada ibu bapaku. Sudah banyak pengorbanan mereka untukku, lebih-lebih lagi dari segi kewangan kerana kelahiranku sebagai anak kelima melanggar dasar pemerintah waktu itu yang mahu rakyatnya berhenti melahirkan selepas mendapat dua orang anak, lantas orang tuaku dikenakan denda antaranya dalam bentuk saman, cuti bersalin tanpa gaji dan tiada sokongan bagi pendidikan anak yang ‘terlebih’ itu dalam bentuk dana Edusave bagi membiayai program tambahan sekolah.
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Equal Partnership

I was browsing through the work of a has-been-under-consideration wedding photographer on Facebook, when I saw the typical shot of the Malay bride sitting on the dais while her groom is seated cross-legged on the floor, about to go through the solemnisation rite.

And I suddenly got the chills. Suddenly, a sense of dread came over me. Suddenly, I realised the moment of my upcoming wedding that I would dread the most; being seated in precisely that position, behind my husband-to-be, and having paparazzi family, friends and the hired photographer taking photographs of me seated like that.

No, it’s not because I’m camera-shy (I’m totally far from it). It’s not because I’m afraid of blinding camera lights. It’s not because I fear appearing fat in photographs when taken from so many different angles.

It’s because the whole position smacks of inequality to me.

It’s becase I would rather be seated beside him, rather than behind him, as the proceedings take place.

Because I would be his equal partner in this life journey called marriage rather than him being the shepherd and I’m just the docile sheep. (No matter how the proceeding itself may smack of inequality, at the very least its contents are not photographed for ‘eternal’ memory.)

Because I made my own damn choice to get married, because it takes two damn hands to clap, one of which is mine, MINE, and I am an active party in this whole affair of getting married, so I deserve to be right there beside him as it is not only he who is marrying me; it is also I who is marrying him.

I expect a lot of people to disagree with me on this (but since when did I care about people?). Unfortunately, my old folks would also disagree.

The mister would just say, don’t shake things up, you know I won’t be the wife-beater obey-me husband, right? Since when do you ever listen to me so willingly without giving it a good fight? Since when do you ever listen to me, if at all? (I do dear, sometimes; I just take some time to tame that blind rebel in me. And it takes a smart, confident man like you to give an obstinate woman like me that time and space to come to her own decision which happens to coincide with what you prefer me to do.)

Should I just rebel anyway? Insist that I would like to be seated beside my husband-to-be as the proceedings take place? It is, after all, me myself and I who is getting married. Perhaps I could start dropping hints to the old folks, like what I did with my other ‘crazy’ ideas on how I’d like the wedding done (and have so far been relatively successful at getting my way)? Perhaps I could mention how I’d like to ‘pay tribute’ to my Acehnese (read: Indonesian) roots, confirm with my old folks that those distant relatives got married by sitting side by side and mention I’d like to be just like them?

Perhaps, perhaps…