I met my second husband when I was teaching an Extension course on writing at a local college. It was my first day teaching at night, and I was worried about walking back to my car alone in the dark. He offered to walk with me; it was only when we were on our way that I wondered if he was the campus rapist, and this was his modus operandi. He wasn’t. We went out for coffee, and saw each other every day thereafter. I felt as if he was looking into my soul as he stared into my blue eyes with his brown ones. We couldn’t stop talking. He had gone to the same high school in New York City as my ex-husband. We had both worked in ‘creative’ fields our entire adult lives. We were both divorced. We both had teen-age daughters, though I had two, and he only one. I had dated a little bit, but no one worth a second date. To fall in love again was totally unexpected, and kind of scary. It was also marvelous, exciting, and something I hadn’t even let myself think was possible for me. When he met me he was seeing several women, but knew if he asked me out he would have to give them all up. Still, he asked. As he told me months later: he was ready to be known.
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I slept with him more quickly than I had ever slept with anyone in my life, and worried the entire night that he would tell the woman who ran the Extension program and I would lose my job. He thought that was hilarious. Within six months we were talking about marriage, both of us shocked that we were using that word. One divorce had been plenty: why court danger? I suppose we were old-fashioned and both believed that if you felt the way we did, you made that life-long commitment. His daughter was delighted he had someone to fill his life, and told me he seemed happier and more content than he had in years. My daughters were both crazy about him – he attended all their soccer games – and were happy as well.
Our life together went swimmingly for over four years. Then I began to notice his behavior in the evenings, after he had had a drink or two, along with half a bottle or more of wine. In the beginning, I would hesitatingly tell him that he was drinking more, and he would cut back; over time he became annoyed when I said anything. He yelled at me more, and often reeked of booze when we went to bed. A friend of his suggested he might have a ‘drinking problem’. We saw a therapist who told me to go to Alanon, although she refused to let us discuss the drinking. The twelve-step program and the folks I met there saved my life. I worked very hard at setting boundaries; i.e., if you smell at night, I’ll sleep in the guest room. This was way harder to do than it may sound. We even tried a geographic, moving to a different state. It didn’t help.
When our new doctor in our new city told me that my blood pressure was through the roof, I told her what was going on. Instead of blood pressure medication, she put me on an anti-anxiety drug. The blood pressure became normal, though I clearly was not. I still loved him, though I often found his behavior despicable. I knew I could not continue to live this way. Though both my daughters were in college, they still needed me. If not for my own health, I realized I had to leave him for their sake. My friends were wonderfully supportive. They had found it harder and harder to spend time with us, since he became looped earlier and earlier. They hated seeing me so anxious, even with the pills. I rarely talked about anything else.
Looking back, I know that love is often not enough. That still makes me sad. But I had learned to love myself. My health mattered. How I spent my days mattered. Being present for my kids mattered. And so I left. It was the most difficult choice I’ve ever made. The grieving went on for over five years. But it lessened, and in time I began to feel a spark of happiness. These days life is good. Love has returned, but I have done a lot of personal work, so it is calmer, with a ‘you,’ a ‘me’ and an ‘us.’ I wish the lessons had come easier.
Nearly two weeks have passed and Malaysia’s First Lady Rosmah Mansor has not got into trouble in the alternative media yet. Fresh tales of her misdeeds and over-the-top lifestyle have slowed as her worst enemies soften their pace and stop leaking all her secrets to a curious press. No doubt, they will pick up their shot-guns when it is timely and pellet her again, but for now - all is quiet on the ‘Rosmah front’.
In the past month, the stories about her that regaled the nation included a gargantuan RM24.4 million diamond ring, her in-laws from Kazakhstan with dark links to the Mafia, a super-duper New York penthouse, and exorbitant trips overseas with large entourages all on public expense. In hindsight, it was an amazing month, but then July was a very busy month for the Najibs. Not only did they travel to Europe but their daughter got engaged to the scion of a very wealthy Kazakh family.
Obviously, their absence from the country provided a most opportune time for their enemies to lift the veil on how Malaysia’s first family lived and loved. And mind you, Prime Minister Najib Razak’s darkest enemies come not from the Pakatan Rakyat political opposition, but from within his own UMNO party.
Whether a truce has been called remains to be seen but the breathing space has allowed a pollster, whom some say is trying to ‘improve’ the first couple’s image after their recent bashing in the press, to postulate that Rosmah may not be a liability to her husband after all.
“A lot of stuff is said about Rosmah. The mainstream media paint her as a very caring, concerned person, and she is being covered in the media on a frequent basis. But the media not aligned to the government paint her as a very negative person. It depends on what part of the news reaches the voters,” Malaysiakini reported Merdeka Centre director Ibrahim Suffian as saying.
A rollicking last laugh, and why not
But with all due respect, many Malaysians beg to differ. To her critics, even if the government-controlled media portrayed her as deserving of a wand and a pair of wings, most people would say a tail and two horns might be more fitting.
“If it was true that the newspapers can turn her into an angel beyond compare, then the crowds at the by-elections would mob her each time she comes into town. But it is quite well known that the people try to avoid her. Even the village women, they just look and smile nervouslyl. But one thing is true and this itself says a lot – everyone is afraid to step on her toes,” Eddie Wong, a Pakatan Rakyat stalwart and active party campaigner, told Malaysia Chronicle.
Nonetheless, according to Ibrahim, it is Rosmah who may well have the last laugh. And what a shrill one it would be, considering the amount of grief the opposition has heaped on her the past two years.
It would be an exaggeration to say Putrajaya would quake or the Straits of Malacca would boil over, but for sure the cacophony would drown out many a nearby conversation.
“It all depends on how well the media is engaged. But, at the end of the day, it could very well backfire for the opposition as well, if whatever they are saying is untrue. If this happens, this may strike a blow at the credibility of her detractors instead,” warned Ibrahim.
Airing your grievances with a loved one is normal and healthy, but remember the goal is reconciliation, not destruction of the relationship!
It is difficult to imagine a healthy relationship that doesn’t involve fights. Sometimes when things have been going smoothly for a while, you find yourself spoiling for a fight just to get the juices flowing! There is nothing wrong with that. In fact a survey by a leading American University concluded that a fight with your spouse keeps you healthy! After observing around 200 couples for 17 years, the experts concluded that people who keep a lid on their grievances are more likely to die early.
Fighting is a sign of a strong relationship where both sides trust each other enough to honestly declare what they don’t like. It clears the air and gives an indication to partners of what they are doing wrong.
So it’s ok to fight, but what is critical is that you fight right. A conflict between two loved ones should be healthy rather than damaging. Every fight need not be a fight to the finish, and certainly not those with people you hold dear! The idea is to help clear the air and enhance your relationship, not shake its very foundations. So rather than dumping your anger on a loved one and getting your catharsis, think through your emotions and rather than screaming and blaming your partner, try and have a mature conversation on what is wrong.
However some people know just one way of fighting – they will fight with all they have — a sudden, vicious battle that utilizes all weapons they have access to. It doesn’t matter whether they are fighting an enemy for their very survival, or arguing with a loved one over a small matter. They forget that the goal is not to destroy, but to understand from each other how to make their relationship better. Their only aim is to win every battle they have ever fought. The idea of losing is anathema to them and they will do anything to win.
Sneha, a chirpy, outspoken girl, couldn’t understand why her husband took so long to get back to normal after a fight! She would try to coax him out of his thunderous moods but to no avail. Slowly she realized that the best thing was to leave Rajan alone, allowing him to brood and fester till he decided to get back to normal. This however ended up frustrating her, resulting in sudden, uncontrollable outbursts which damaged the relationship more!
It seems that while Rajan didn’t say much, Sneha used every argument as an opportunity to let Rajan know all she considered wrong with him, ending up saying quite a few things she regretted, though not soon enough. She didn’t see the need to apologise, nor let Rajan know that she had no real intention of hurting him. No wonder the deeply wounded man was festering!
For it is the intention to wound that hurts far more than the words or action itself. Your calling another a fool, a liar, a loser or dishonest doesn’t bother a normal, self-confident person, but with no apology forthcoming, the one you dumped your feelings on is bound to think your sole intention was to hurt and that you don’t love him enough to care!
Sudden flashes of a white hot rage against someone you love deeply are quite normal, say experts, because the part of the brain responsible for feelings of romance is also the part that activates sudden rage. But one should be careful not to end up damaging rather than strengthening a relationship after each fight.
Whenever you feel you are fighting a battle that will not achieve as much as it seems to be damaging, it’s time to back off. Avoid making a conflict personal by throwing around insults and hurting feelings. Never bring in points of high sensitivity, such as suspect intelligence, performance in boardroom or bedroom or matters of personal hygiene. Try to resolve issues rather than criticize and write off. Instead of saying, “Why did I have to marry a lazy, good-for-nothing!” it would have a far greater positive impact if you were to put it like this, “Hey, I understand you are tired, but I would really appreciate some help in the kitchen, if you don’t mind….”
Why try to prove yourself right at the cost of the other? Let both parties decide that neither is right, nor wrong, so there will be no blame game. That would put you both on an equal footing and help lighten the atmosphere since neither will have to accept the blame.
Humour always helps a situation and being able to laugh or tease each other during an argument can be a great mood lifter. It would help if you made it a point to hear the other person out as well, rather than just voicing your complaints. Walking out when someone is trying to make a point is the worst thing you could do, for you are rejecting your partner and his feelings and insulting by showing that you do not care what upset him.
A sure sign that your conflicts are healthy is if you are able to bounce back to normal soon after the explosion. However if you end up brooding , angry and silent, unable to get back to a normal footing with your partner, then you have certainly had an unhealthy implosion!
“Few things are as annoying as the pot calling the kettle black.
THIS QUOTE IS APT
AND THE COMPLAINANTS
I read some many years ago on how an eastern European community punished a town rapist*. After ravaging the teen orphan he killed her. The town council kept the body of the victim in the morgue until the rapist was apprehended. He was after a week. He was strapped to a pole in a nearby forest. The ravaged victim was tied to him face to face. He died raving mad probably when decomposition set in and his cries jarred the still nights for two weeks. When the night cries ceased, the village elders went to the scene they found the murdered rape victim still in her funeral clothes curiously unblemished and no signs of decomposition. They buried her but left the rapist still tied to the pole. Months later the village elders went to the execution site but found no signs of skeletal parts except pieces of clothing. Months later some town folks found skeletal parts scattered over a vast area of the forest….probably the work of night scavenging carrions. Never again did a rape occur in that township. Lessons unlearned are lessons repeated. Lessons can be learned, yah?
The most recent act by UMNO to try and kill off Anwar with a lowly sex video moved me to write this article.
Because it increasingly feels like we are living in a country run by GANGSTERS.
What characterizes gangsters?
Is there any difference between what GANGSTERS do and what UMNO is doing?
Use of force, fear, bribes, threats, violence, deceit, unchallengeable positions, indulgence, and parasitic existence and not worrying about appearances would be a reasonable answer to the first question.
To answer the second question “Is there any difference?”
I will examine how UMNO performs in many of these dimensions to answer that question.
- Force –The Police, the Attorney General’s office, the Courts (I will call them the Unholy Trio from now on) are the instruments of force of UMNO.
You see them figuring prominently in all occasions where UMNO’s lawlessness are questioned.
Being involved with Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, I can tell you that, without batting an eyelid– our people are constantly threatened with detention under ISA, or with charges of sedition, or are charged with being involved in an illegal organization after UMNO unconstitutionally and unlawfully outlawed Hindraf.
The form of force used and the way it is administered may vary in specifics between the gangsters and UMNO but in essence they are the same – UMNO and the gangsters equally resort to force because that is the sole source of their power.
UMNO has lost its moral legitimacy in its claim for power and hangs on to power only because of the control of the instruments of force – the Unholy Trio being the prime instruments.
The gangsters never had moral or legitimate basis for claims to power, their claim to power hinges only on one thing – the use of raw and brutal force.
- Fear – UMNO so readily instills fear just like the local gangsters.
UMNO uses the Unholy Trio along with the Media, and when necessary the underworld members to achieve this. The Police have a special unit the Special Branch just for this – the Malaysian Gestapo.
Every so often we see battalions of the Light Strike Force or the Federal Reserve Units to disallow, to disrupt, to frighten off citizen’s gatherings.
You should have seen the hundreds at the anti –Interlok forums throughout the country and the thousands at KLCC for Hindraf’s Solidarity March against UMNO’s racism.
This is exactly what the local gang boss. Putting in the fear of god they say.What the gang boss does is what UMNO is doing.
- Threats – The laws enacted by UMNO – ISA, Publishing and Printing Presses Act, Official Secrets Act, Seditions Act, Police Act and even the MACC are all actually devices crafted by UMNO that threaten all those that dare cross the line.
This is the primary purpose of these acts and organizations, though more noble intentions are proffered to legitimize them. But the true intentions of these are to act as a sword over the heads of any that dare.
The Media for its part carries statements from time to time from the Ministers, from the IGP, from the Attorney General,from UMNO stalwarts, from Right wing Perkasa or carries images and reports of the Police overpowering any attempts to challenge them or of right wing demonstrations threatening the rest.
But the purpose is one – to pre-empt potential trouble makers.
The gang bosses just use outright threats, they do not need these more sophisticated devices.
As the saying goes, cut the throat of one chicken in front of all the monkeys so the monkeys will behave themselves. In that sense the devices of threatening may be different but both UMNO and Gangsters use threats to remain in power.
- Violence – What happened in Kampung Medan in 2005 is a clear example of the workings of the Unholy Trio, the Media and the underworld in the meting out violence whenever they see a need.
A little further back we had the May 13th riots and May 13th is still a keyword for violence . Hundreds of police killing and maiming continue till today in UMNO’s Police Stations.
The Police in the fore and the Armed Forces at the back are nothing more than UMNO’s killing machines.
The threat of violence that UMNO can unleash, should it decide to, is what holds much of the opposition back. Violence is the bread and butter of gangsters and it is the bread and butter of UMNO.
UMNO and the gangsters understand this very well.
- Bribes – When expediency requires and it is wiser, then UMNO bribes to clear their way of trouble makers.
They buy up leaders of groups outside their circle of influence. They make “mafia offers”. They use skeletons in cupboards to assist them, as we see regularly happening in buying up of the opposition members of the legislature. Other forms of bribe, we see at election times.
There is a free flow of gifts, goodies and promises. These are tidbits used to corrupt and remove obstacles or create perceptions while UMNO walks away with the loot – to UMNO these bribes are nothing more than the cost of doing business.
Gangsters for their part use bribes to share their bounty when attempting to get at very large bounties. It is a cost of doing business for them too.
- Unchallengeable positions – UMNO’s positions on issues are unchallengeable, just like it is with the local gangster. You challenge at the risk of losing everything.
When you challenge they fight tooth and nail so you do not get what you seek, on the contrary they make you lose further with intense vindictiveness. Case in point is the Interlok novel. The book remains in the curriculum and the rest who voiced dissatisfaction get beaten up and charged in courts for speaking up, but the book remains in the curriculum.
Another clear case in point is what UMNO is doing to Anwar Ibrahim. He gets all kinds of s*** thrown at him and with increasing frequency just because he dares to challenge the UMNOPutras.
Challenge at great personal risk – they will ruin you if they can. Their position must not be challenged. This is very clearly the ways of gangsters too.
The hallmark of a gangleader is one who has overcome all those who have challenged him and anyone who challenges the leader must lose or the leader loses his basis to continue as a leader. Exactly the case with Najib –ala UMNO and UMNO ala the people.
- Deceit – “Biji setelor, rio sekampung” as the Malay proverb goes. UMNO throws a tid bit here, a tidbit there and the media steps in and creates perceptions of a totally benevolent and caring UMNO.
UMNO holds the reins of the media tight. UMNO is able to manufacture perceptions in people that are so far removed from the truth that the lies are more real the reality itself. You speak the truth and no one listens to you, for they think you distort, for personal advantage.
UMNO has established monopoly over their minds and UMNO will do with it what they want. They deceive the people and leave the rest of us biting the mud.
UMNO caught between getting the non-Malay votes and increasing their appeal to the Malays use their outsource vehicle,
Perkasa to create a perception of the Malays losing out to the non-Malays because the Malays are split.
The reality is both the Malay And non-Malay people are losing out to the UMNO leaders and their Non-Malay elite accomplices as they use this perception to delude the people and walk off with the loot. No one really listens to this truth, they think it is distorted for personal use. This is a very refined deceit-making machine that we are up against.
On this count UMNO has improved over the gangsters, recognizing they have to operate within a community of nations and have to be seen to be in accord with norms of civilization. They worry about how they will be perceived, they need to legitimize their position, the gangster does not have to.
So, except for this last point there is really not much difference between gangsters running this country and UMNO running this country.
UMNO is nothing short of being dignified gangsters. This truth may look far- fetched, but you think about what I have said, deeply. Just think about it.
If you agree, then do not be the person UMNO, the gangster wants you to be, the meek and powerless person. Look at what is happening in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.
When all the people get together, the empire crumbles, because the true sovereign is the people united. We have to move out and into the light, to a future based on competence, not on force.
The people have to get out from the grips of gangsters.
It’s an age-old question, pondered by both moody adolescents and adults in the throes of midlife crises: Am I normal?
THIS IS ANOTHER BIG JOKE OF THE CENTURY. THESE CLOWNS DO NOT FEAR GOD SO WHY WOULD THEY FEAR TAKING AN OATH IN THE MOSQUE?
After all, all their adult life they have spent insulting Islam by doing all the despicable things that they have been and are still doing. So I don’t think anyone really gives a damn that just because you take an oath at the mosque, it means you are telling the truth.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today that everybody has the right to perform a sumpah laknat oath but the government will not interfere by encouraging or deterring the act.
The prime minister was referring to the sumpah laknat oath taken by Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah today by swearing in God’s name that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is the man featured in a sex video that was recently shown to journalists.
Najib (picture), who is also the Umno president, stressed that individuals and political parties should take the same approach as the government.
He added that it would not matter if Shazryl or Anwar wants to perform the oath because in the end the public will evaluate the sincerity of the individuals.
“This is a personal issue and the matter does not concern Umno or the government. Whoever feels that they want to sumpah laknat then that is up to them. We don’t encourage and we won’t stop them.
“I think everybody must have the same attitude. Political parties should take attitude that this is a personal matter,” he told reporters after chairing Umno supreme council meeting here.
Shazryl, together with former Malacca Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik and Perkasa treasurer-general Datuk Shuib Lazim, arrived at Masjid Amru Al-As earlier today amid heavy security.
The three appeared to be wearing bullet-proof vests beneath their traditional baju Melayu.
Shazryl took the oath on behalf of “Datuk T”, the nickname the trio behind the latest sex scandal had adopted.
“I swear today that I and Anwar Ibrahim were in the video on February 21, 2011 and Anwar is the actor (in the video).
“If what I said today is false, then may Allah curse me,” he said to a witnessing imam while holding the Quran.
Najib also criticised PKR supporters that tried to sabotage the oath-taking for disrespecting the sanctity of the mosque.
“We must safeguard the sanctity of the mosque. In the mosque, nobody can threaten anybody as long as the mosque management allows it,” he said.
There is a book called ‘100 DALIL MENGAPA NAJIB TAK BOLEH JADI PM’ (100 reasons why Najib cannot be PM) that Malaysia Today has received from an anonymous source. Of course, the party that gave us this book wants Malaysia Today to publish it, maybe a dalil a day for 100 days. We are still studying the contents of this book to assess whether the 100 dalils are mere innuendoes and insinuations or are really points of substance. No, contrary to what the government says, Malaysia Today does not publish innuendoes and insinuations.
Those close to the Deputy Prime Minister are not being spared either. Malaysia Today was given the name of the ex-Minister who has been accused of molesting the cigar girl in the Havana Club in a five-start hotel in KL Sentral. Malaysia Today’s initial investigation points to a smearing campaign aimed at bringing down all those close to the Deputy Prime Minister and it seems the incident has been denied by the girl concerned.
On Sunday, Najib sealed a secret pact with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Yes, Najib has thrown his forces behind Abdullah and has sworn to sink or swim with his boss. This has riled the Team B forces and they now want Najib and his boys brought down as fast as possible so that Abdullah can be isolated and brought down as well in due time. And this is probably the reason for the smear campaign that suddenly intensified the last few days.
Hmm, I am wondering if the postponement of the Altantuya’s case has anything to do with Najib’s sealed secret pact with Abdullah? Since everyone’s spinning, I may as well spin along? Is the Altantuya’s controversy one of the 100 reasons why Najib cannot be PM?
The postponement is to drag Najib further through the mud. If Najib is to be given a smooth transition of power, wouldn’t he be cleared completely of the case? And to be cleared completely of the case, it means that we will by now have a verdict, wouldn’t we? A verdict that would be completely ‘pleasant’ to Najib, whose directly and professionally related to the three accused in the case.
Well, questions and more questions only. But Malaysia-Today, I wouldn’t mind reading one dalil per day. Beats the blues. And while waiting for the Altantuya’s trial to resume (its been postponed again till May), her dad can also kill sometime relishing the ‘inuendoes and insinuations’ purported in the book.
Najib after all has Altantuya’s ’blood’ on his hands, whether figuratively or metaphorically.