Tuesday, July 28, 2009 0 comments

Rise of the 3S women By Cao Xiaofan
The STAR, Sunday 14 December 2008

- an good article I've been wanting to share with single ladies out there. Not sure about you, but indeed it suit nearly perfect to my current life affair.

BEIJING: Guo Xiao, a 34-year-old single woman working as a mid-level manager in a Beijing branch of a foreign bank, is philosophical about turning down dates.

Having passed the “best marriageable age” for city women, conventionally recognised as between 25 and 30 years old, Guo refuses to rush into marriage. “Marrying ‘Mr Wrong’ is even worse than being single,” she says.

Unwed women such as Guo are labelled in China today as “3S women”– single, 70s, and stuck. They were generally born in the 1970s, are well educated and have decent jobs.

In her early 20s, Guo was an accountant in a bank in Jiangsu province, focusing her whole time and energy on her career. “I barely stopped to see a movie, let alone get involved in a relationship,” says Guo.

Many women put relationships on the backburner while they develop their careers.

Sociologist Xu Anqi, of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, notices that against the backdrop of China’s progressing urbanisation, the growing single population is the result of more time spent on education and career.

Guo was a workaholic before one day, when she was 26, she fell head over heels in love with a middle-aged photographer.

“Talented, smart and wild – he had everything I admired,” Guo recalls.

The two-year romance ended in tears. “He couldn’t promise me marriage and had no intention of settling down,” says Guo. “I met the wrong person at the right time.”

To get over the heartbreak, Guo went to Australia to pursue her studies. When she earned her master’s degree on financial management from Sydney University in 2003, Guo returned to China and secured a position as a senior accountant in a British industrial designing company in Beijing.

Guo’s parents started to nag her about marriage and even resorted to matchmakers. But their efforts were in vain. “I wouldn’t compromise by marrying a guy I didn’t like,” she says.

The number of single women like Guo, who are well educated and in well-paid jobs, is on the rise. A nationwide survey conducted by Shanghai Municipal Statistics Bureau in 2007 suggested that more than 60% of the 500,000 single people aged 30 to 50 in Beijing are women. In Guangzhou, the proportion is 70%.

Many of Guo’s friends of her age are also unmarried career women.

Stressful work, an increasing divorce rate – there are many reasons leading career women to live on their own,” she says.

On top of that, Chinese men are reluctant to marry more mature women.

A survey conducted by Beijing Normal Uni­versity in 2006 showed about 65% of male respondents believed 25-year-old women were desirable for marriage, while only 12.5% said they could accept women over the age of 35 as wives. As a result, a huge number of that age group – many are “S3 women” – remain single.

Recently, the degrading term of “sheng nu”, which literally means “leftover women”, has been created to refer to the “3S women” as though there were something morally wrong with them.

We’re not that passive,” says Guo. “I admit being a single woman comes with its challenges, but it also offers an opportunity to develop personally and do things outside of the shackles of a relationship.”

Guo spends about three hours a week practising calligraphy. She also enjoys whole Sunday afternoons at a beauty salon.

I am no different to everyone else, except that I don’t have to wash men’s dirty socks and baby diapers,” she says.

In the past, China had a saying for women: To marry is to live. However, better education and jobs are giving career women better financial status.

With a monthly salary of about 16,000 yuan and a 60 sq metre well-decorated downtown apartment, Guo’s financial circumstances are secure.

“Marriage is no longer a necessity for me compared with women of my parents’ generation, unless Mr Right appears,” says Guo.

“The influence of material factors on marriage is diminishing among today’s Chinese career women,” Xu Anqi says. “Society is more tolerant of independent women.” - CHINAdaily.com.cn
Sunday, July 26, 2009 3 comments

Babies in the 50s, 60s & early 70s

The article below was written by Patrick Teoh in his blog "Niamah!!".

To All those Born in the 50's , 60's & early '70s...
First, we survived with mothers who had no maids. They cooked /cleaned while taking care of us at the same time.
They took aspirin, candies floss ,fizzy drinks, shaved ice with syrups and diabetes were rare. Salt added to Pepsi or Coke was remedy for fever.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets.
As children, we would ride with our parents on bicycles/ motorcycles for 2 or 3. Richer ones in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a private taxi was a special treat.
We drank water from the tap and NOT from a bottle.
We would spend hours on the fields under bright sunlight flying our kites, without worrying about the UV ray which never seem to affect us.
We go to jungle to catch spiders without worries of Aedes mosquitoes.
With mere 5 pebbles (stones) would be an endless game. With a ball (tennis ball best) we boys would ran like crazy for hours.
We catch guppy in drains / canals and when it rain we swim there.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually worry about being unhygienic.
We ate salty, very sweet & oily food, candies, bread and real butter and drank very sweet soft sweet coffee/ tea, ice kacang, but we weren't overweight because...... WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, till streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. AND WE DONT HAVE HANDPHONES TO BUG US. And we were O.K. AND WE ARE SAFE.
We would spend hours repairing our old bicycles and wooden scooters out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, X-boxes, Nintendo's, multiple channels on cable TV, DVD movies, no surround sound, no phones, no personal computers, no Internet. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and we still continued the stunts.
We never had birthdays parties till we are 21.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and just yelled for them!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
Yet this generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!
The past 40 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

I, among babies born in those years, had joyful childhood. No fear of playing outside, running freely on the road in our neighbourhood playing games such as ‘rounders’ and ‘tuju selipar’. Played ‘konda-kondi” next to the house, play ‘Pondok-Pondok” pretending leaves and ‘fried’ ground as food and having some acted as family members such as father, mother or playing congkak which was either hols dug o nthe ground next to or under the house or made from wood (we had one last time) without parents worrying about us getting sick.

Me and friends also played games such as Teng-Teng, Batu Seremban, Galah Panjang, tudung botol, riding on pelepah pinang and few more games which I couldn’t recall the names (these traditional games can be found in Warisan Budaya Malaysia website http://malaysiana.pnm.my/03/0310konda_kondi.htm and http://www.maribelajar.blogspot.com/2008/09/konda-kondi.html )

Those days when I wanted to play dolls, I would make it from paper (even its clothes were from paper!). As for TV programs, only TV1 and TV2 were available, TV3 only first made available at our area when I was about 12 years old (if not mistaken). I first learnt to use computer when I was 13-years-old (end of 80s), reading books on the mango trees infront of the house were among my favourite moments, went up the roof by climbing rambutan trees were normal stuff for me – watching our neighbourhood or plucked rambutans that were not easily reachable (of course my mom scolded me whenever she discovered that I was on the roof as that's considered not a lady-like character), walking back from school which about 2km away from home (school located in town) but never diverted to somewhere else other than straight to home.

Riding bikes with friends, fell and bled my knee was something I had to endure myself and my mom didn’t even rushed me to clinic for further check up in case I broke a bone, but instead just asked me to put ointment on it. There were once I climbed a tree behind our old house before (when I was not yet 8 years old) and fell with my face up and my back hit something (can't remember whether it's a rock or a wood), but definitely something hard. Though it hurt so much, I quietly went into the house not telling my parents what had happened as firstly I surely will be scolded for climbing the tree before they checked if I had badly hurt myself. However, no doubt that's a lesson to me not to do it again (or be extra careful next time not to step on fragile branch - climbing trees was a norm to me). Guess an angel was there looking after me as I am fine till today, alhamdulillah.

Even parents nowadays have all the facilities they wish for to give to their children and do their best (sometimes to the extreme) to be good parents, I believe they are having much bigger challenge in raising their kids compared to parents those years.

Despite technology limitation and far from today's modern life, kids those days were blessed to know the real meaning of childhood – I know I am.

Saturday, July 11, 2009 3 comments


Florence loved boxes. She would try her best to fit into a box, though smaller than her :)

Whenever I sat on the sofa watching tv, she would also sat next to me waited patiently until late night, and even she's sleepy she quickly opened her eyes when I turned to her.

Always tried her best to fit her body on the chair..

She liked to lie on the bed just like all of us, human.. Placing her head on the pillow..

I adopted her from an Australian family 14 years ago. She was 3 years old then. They put her up for adoption because they're going back to Australia. She's a local cat, short hair. I was staying with my sister, Andak and her family at that time. It took her a year to accept us as her new family. From the first day we brought her home, she moved in the house avoiding us as much as she can, sneaked here and there to ensure we were no where near her.

Tried to change her name - well 'Florence' is not a common cat's name for us in Malaysia. But, she had her own mind and only responded to Florence. And she won :)

When I first stayed on my own (rented a room in a house), I didn't bring her along as there were other tenants in the house. Never thought she would reacted badly to my decision. She 'ran away' long after I moved out from sister's house, and I went to look for her immediately after my sister couldn't find her. She came back one day, while I was at my sister's house looking ofr her, skinny and looked like someone had locked her up (there's mark around her neck). Since then, both of us never separated.

She was my best friend forever (BFF). Always there for me, waited for me. She would push my arm slowly with her head if I didn't wake up in the morning despite the alarm screaming. Once I was off from the bed, she would take my place there, placed head on the pillow and watched me getting ready.

I called her Lady-of-Leisure as she won't lie down on floor unless it's covered, didn't be friend to cat (we used to say that perhaps she didn't think that she's a cat), always clean and never fell sick.

On that fateful weekend, I left her at home as I was a volunteer for a motivation week organised for few orphanage homes by my friend. I left home on that Friday, 18 March 2007 and came home on Sunday, 20th. My nephew, Joe looked after her that weekend. Of all the time, she chosed to fall sick for first time that weekend, when I wasn't around. She looked weak and reserved when I came home. My nephew said she vomited few times that weekend and was not so responsive when he called for her.

Sent sent her to clinic next day and was diagnosed with fever. That night noticed that her skin was yellowish, rushed her to clinic again next day and she was then diagnosed with jaundice. She was dripped. We immediately bought goat milk for her from a Malay family in Ulu Langat (though the clinic said it's not really a cure for jaundice, but no harm trying). However, the milk was so 'cair' and no effect after nearly a week. Perhap the seller cheated us. She didn't urinate since she fell sick and that made us more worried. My sister then bought another goat milk from an elderly Chinese lady in Setapak whom she used to buy before. After she was fed with that goat milk, she kept urinate and each time a lot - thick yellow urine. But by then she's also getting weaker, not moving most of the time, didn't eat her biscuit (we had to manually fed her with wet food instead) and hardly drink. Her movement was extremely slow. She was under my sister care since the day she fell sick, as I was working. My daily routine was rushed to my sister house after office, went home only late night or before Subuh.

As her condition deteriorated (she urinate wherever she was, not at her 'toilet' - it's like she didn't realise that she urinate), I had no send to a nearby vet for further care - blood test, ultra-sound etc. Her medical report showed that her jaundice was improving, red blood cell also improving but there's stone in her kidney. Due to her weak condition, they couldn't operate her to take the stone out. We visited her daily.

On Friday, 6 April 2007 we received call that our grandfather was seriously ill and warded. We visited Florence at the vet before we left for kampung. That night we slept at kampung and came back to KL on Sunday, 8 April. Before we reached the vet, I saw a stall selling rattans and stopped to buy a 'baby-crib' for Florence. When we reached the vet, she greeted us - her voice so weak and we were so touched that she recognised us still. We were advised that yesterday not long after we left her, they lost her. She was found lying on her side, not moving and no heart beat. Thank God they managed to bring her back (or else I didn't know how I would have reacted). I was so angry because they didn't call us when it happened and discharged her immediately, despite the vet protest. I rather she's with me, her family, if that happened again. We placed her in the crib, brought her back to my sister's house, fed her and then she took a nap.

After 2 hours she woke up, time to feed her again before she took her medicine. And that was when she took her last breath. She was in her crib during her last 3 breaths - exactly like us, human (never in my life I witness such moment, not even when my father passed away in August 2006). That was the most heart-breaking moment for me. At that moment, I lost my best friend, my baby, my housemate. Felt like half of me gone, a big hole was left in my heart, my life felt so empty. My brother-in-law quietly went to the back of the block and made preparation for the burial. My sister followed suit, and I was left alone with her to say my goodbye. Not until I was ready to let her go, she was placed in her 'persemadian' forever before Maghrib. We planted a jackfruit tree on her grave, as her tombstone. She was 12 years old, and had been with me for 9 years. We used to say that she was little sister to my niece, Esha and big sister to Qis because when we adopted her - she was 3 years old whereas Esha was 4 and Qis was 2.

During the burial, my sister's neighbour came to bury their baby boy's 'uri', born that afternoon. There's a saying that every soul that left us, a new one is born. Perhaps it's true, even for Florence.

Until this very moment, I still shed tears whenever her memory cross my mind.

Florence, Tam love you so much and will always miss you.

P.S. My grandfather passed away on 28 April 2007, 3 weeks after we buried Florence.