This post was originally published in the Goethe Institut CityScapes Blog. I’m one of the KL writers.
The CityScapes Blog is an initiative by German cultural institution Goethe-Institut. It aims to make visible what unites us and what may divide us, to create an awareness for the necessity to act locally in response to global issues. It endeavours to research the human condition of the young urban dweller in the 21st century. The CityScapes Blog is coordinated and moderated by: Goethe-Institut Australia and you can check out the updates HERE.
It was late afternoon when we ran out of the rain into a quaint café. Shortly after, our coffee and brownies arrived. By ‘we’, I meant my girlfriends Cecilia Cheng, an entrepreneur in her mid 30s; the ‘baby’ of the group, a 25-year old sales officer in a bank named Anita Ali and myself; a 39-year old management consultant.
As she took a bite from her brownie, Anita let out a long sigh, “Lovely – better than sex!” Cecilia was quick to give Anita a little push, “Wah! Since when have you had enough sex to know that, young lady?” Anita looked around, shushing us while we chortled with giggles. “What? I’m just saying,” she defended herself. “So, what’s his name?” I asked. “Derek,” said Anita, accompanied by a blush spreading across her face. “But you’ve got to keep quiet about this, ok? If other friends were to know, they’d surely report me to the religious department,” she implored. Cecilia pounced with her next question, “Where did you guys meet? The gym?” Anita nodded. Of course. Other than pubs, many now are meeting new people at house parties, events planned on social media platforms and at fitness clubs. “Not hanging about in the parks, are you?” I asked. “No way!” Cecilia jumped in before Anita could reply. “Remember the recent Valentine’s Day ‘massacre’?” she continued. Anita rolled her eyes.
How could we forget? This year’s 14th February religious crackdown saw nearly 100 Muslims arrested for being in close proximity i.e. being alone with someone of the opposite sex other than their spouses. The media had been publishing and broadcasting religious authorities’ warnings against ‘immoral acts’ weeks before Valentine’s Day. To promote a sin-free lifestyle, they had said.
“Please!” Said Anita in an indignant tone. “Budget hotels and public parks are for teenagers,” before sipping her coffee. I asked her, “Aren’t you afraid of getting caught?” only realizing after the fact how naïve I must have sounded (me, the oldest among us!) Anita shook her head. “No. How long do the so-called authorities want to impose their morals on us? We are both not married to other people and we enjoy each other. Does that make us immoral? Besides, Derek and I have rules,” she continued. Responding to our raised eyebrows, she explained, “We take things one step at a time, we have fun experimenting and we care about each other’s feelings.” We waited for her to go on. “I mean, if either of us begins to have deeper feelings and wants to move our relationship to the next level, he or I will speak up and if the other doesn’t feel the same, we’d go our separate ways. We may get hurt, but that’s better than continuing a friendship based on half-truths,” Anita concluded.
Sensing that I was about to pick up her comment about ‘experimenting’, Anita attempted an escape from the spotlight by asking us, “So, are you girls getting any?” Cecilia and I traded rueful glances with each other. “Sex are like money nowadays – tonnes of it about, but we’re not getting any!” Cecilia answered, followed by hoots of laughter from Anita and me. Outside, the lights of Petronas Towers winked at us.
There is indeed sex in my city. But really – there must be better ways than religious crackdowns to advocate ‘sin-free lifestyle’. Don’t you think so?
You can read the comments to my post by clicking here. Enjoy.