Am back in Malaysia after three years and I must say that I still appreciate its glamour, flavour and chutzpah. But, something else has not changed as well. Not sure if it is racism, or gender discrimination though I think it is mostly the latter. Be it the cab driver who asks why a girl travelling by herself needs to be dropped at a fancy hotel at midnight, or the guys who catcall on the road kerb - you don't even have to look to find them.
I sure didn't go looking when I entered a shiny new hair salon inside the Petronas Towers, fairly excited about sporting a new look. To my absolute surprise, I found a hairdresser who had been rather obnoxious to me three years back, in a positively different salon (yes, I have the memory for unwanted facts such as this and you can also ask me the names of the polar bears in the zoo in Germany) . What is the probability that amongst the eight people in the salon, this exact same one had to attend on me ? Well, the mathematical amongst you can say one by eighth, but I just found that as disappointing as finding brussel sprouts on my plate after ordering a slice of chocolate cake. Hoping that my memory was misplaced, I took my seat. Only to realise that his creepiness hadn't changed one bit. As he started talking, I watched in the mirror as he slowly morphed into a centipede and started crawling over my toes. I couldn't squash him, so I asked him to be more polite, in the politest way as possible as I could see that he was chopping away at my tresses and I really didn't want to end up with a mop on my head.
While paying my megabucks for being treated badly, instead of walking away, I told the lady at the counter that the guy, Sam as he calls himself was downright rude and that I was never coming back again. This woman, in fact surprisingly looked like she was waiting for exactly this opportunity, jumped into action by bringing out the owner and Sam. I looked at him level in the eye and told him something which I don't really remember , like the speeches you give on stage , mostly powered by adrenalin. Instead of applause at the end of the speech, however, he gives back a retort of how he wasn't paid for being nice - in other words the verbal equivalent of the middle finger. Raising my eyebrows triumphantly at the owner to prove that I had made my point, I walked away, as I heard arguments erupt behind me.
What is it that makes some men think they can get away with treating women however they want? I can start the answer by saying that it is because they almost always get away with it.