The first 2 months of living here, I mostly observe and try to settle in and adjust my lifestyle from a career woman to a stay home mom (and other roles). But for the past 3 months I have found living here uneasy. I am living multiple different lives here, life as me, life as a spouse of an Indonesian diplomat, life as a mother and wife, life as a professional, etc. This is beyond multitasking that I am so used to as a professional where you have tasks and deadlines happening at the same time. A friend used to tell me that people who multitask too much sooner or later will have a brain damage. I laughed at the thought of having a brain damage at the time, though I began feeling like having a brain damage then. If multitasking is a sign of having a brain damage, how about having multiple different lives? Perhaps a mental or psychological damage is what people with multiple different lives will have…God forbid.
So, this is why I think I’m having a mental or psychological damage…… I may not have the stresses I had when I was working in Jakarta. Living in Yangon is pretty simple, it’s basic and I learn not to take things for granted. Though traffic here is almost like Jakarta and the drivers are actually worst than Indonesian drivers, but because I don’t go anywhere that much I don’t have to face traffic every day. I go to work every morning when I feel like working from the office. Coach my young team, meet some clients and help them with their HR stuff. So, I’m loving the new career as a freelancer. When I come home, I hang out with my two girls, watch TV, go out from time to time with the whole family, cook on every other weekend, painting hunting or have a midnight dates with my hubby at a local coffee shop. There you go, my domestic live is better now and I’m loving it. Despite loving my two ‘lives’, my third life is like a drama here and it’s causing my mood to swing from one end to the other, I feel like I’m having a menopause. Why is that? This is why: I don’t mind obeying any rules, as long as they are agreed, for a greater good and not only to please certain people. What I don’t understand is conformity for a rule that was born out of someone’s habit or certain ways of doing things. If I could always question this type of ‘rule’ before, every time I’m at a post I seem not to be allowed to question or offer a better way of doing things. Here is even worst than the last post. Here I always hear “biasanya (usually)…..” followed by a justification of why it’s ‘biasanya’ without questioning why or evaluating a far better way than the ‘kebiasaan’ (habit).
Most obvious example of this is preparing unnecessary amount of snacks for our guests (that range from director generals to the president). I questioned this once, not that I’m against it but I’m against over-doing it because these snacks should be provided for them in the reception room at the VIP lounge, the car that will transport them from one point to another (in some cases the distance is pretty short and only took less than 30 minutes) and the hotel room as well. So we’re feeding our guests with snacks everywhere that consist of sweet cookies and cakes, savory cookies and cakes, peanuts, potato chips, canned drinks and sometimes fruits, at the VIP lounge, the car and the room which in my opinion is a little bit too much. If snack is necessary for them, then why on earth 90% of the times these snack were not even touched, more so got eaten. When we prepare snacks for the reception room at the VIP lounge, we occupy the only pantry available there, and almost all the time we – the so called members of DWP who are supposed to be partners not subordinates and definitely not maids – function like MAIDS and this was allowed! I am not saying that a maid is a less dignified position, not at all, but what happens to the saying that we’re partners? I for once told the ladies here not to be subordinated by anyone but I guess not everyone understands this concept. Choose who you want to be but don’t accept to be treated less than who you are, but that’s exactly how I feel I’m treated here and how the rest of the ladies are treated here. It is frustrating how we seem to be appreciated for being good at doing domestic related work but when you step a little further, i.e. doing good more than just at a domestic front, you’re not accepted or not allowed to show your capability.
It is a sad reality, but I think this should change if only we want to change. While we are praised for the delicious food we and our maids cook for others, but a brand ‘retarded’ may have been stamped on our forehead for the fact that we just can’t seem to learn from experience that most dignitaries don’t have a habit of snacking, hence the untouched snacks . Come on ladies…you are better than that, because I always believe everyone has a potential beyond the ‘brand’ people stamp upon us. Look around you, there are a lot of examples where you can be good at both worlds: the domestic world and the world beyond the domestic front. The only thing you have to do is to show this world around us that we are really ‘partners’.