Kucing Gatal Speaks

Monday, July 18, 2005

The age-old issue of religion

An email from a troubled reader:

Dear kucing,

Last year i met this girl, S. i'm a senior in this one student's association and S was my junior, but previously we never met cos i was absent that whole semester. i only met S before this major conference and everything was fine back then. we had the usual 'platonic' relationship. possible only cos at that time i already swore off women haha. anyway, when semester reopened we hung out together even more.

at this point i realized S can make a very good best friend, and me vice versa. as time passed however, i got to know S better and i eventually fell for S. oh you've heard this many times i'm sure. i told myself at first it was just a crush and i'll get over it. partly due to pride, cos i've always said that best friends don't fall for each other (and prior to S, i've never fallen for my best friends).

as time passed i began to fall even deeper for S. oh, forgot to tell you. on the very 1st day our association had its meeting in this new semester, one of the other juniors, whom I'll call Z from here on noticed S and started to ask S out eventually. as semester came to an end, i realized that this time i'm falling for her for real and i was cursing myself for knowing S ahha. S liked the guy too. they always went out, and Z has stood her up on various occasions. and on these occasions, when i found out S was stood up i drove all the way to Uni just to take S out (well since she was all ready with nowhere to go and hungry). oh yeah, there was that one time Z didnt go out with her when he's supposed to cos he was playing DOTA (online game. i've never seen it myself) Z drives her crazy all the time with his irresponsible behaviour even when they were assigned to the same project. she always complained to me about this.

and yet she still likes him. oh, Z is the 1st ever guy to make a move on her in her entire life. and i'm the 1st guy she tells everything adn 1st guy to get her flowers (cos i found out she never got flowers before, so i went to a florist and surprised her during one of our outings)

time passed by and i fell deeper, while at the same time S started playing the 'penduulm act' swinging back and forth from liking Z, to not liking him. i knew she liked him so all the time i've been trying to set them up together, preparing myself for the day they'll be one :P

one day Z proposed to S. she said no cos she didn't like his behaviour. and afterwards the pendulum swing was more irregular. we're very best friends so she tells me everything in her life. i finally felt so down and called a good friend of her, B to pour out.

B said we won't have a chance cos you see kucing, i'm malay and she's chinese. it's another one of those racial issues. the girl said things'll be MUCH different if i was chinese cos she told me i am already what S wants in a guy T_T

our friends always asked us why aren't we an item yet. her reply: he'll never fall for me (and anything to that effect). my reply: cos i'm gay/i have too many gfs to take care of/i'm androgenous/she's not my type (i even do the *bleargh* face when i say this/no feelings for her maaaa

My own parents will kill me if i marry a non-malay, and her parents feel the same way too. but i've had some non-malay girls in my life, albeit secretly :P those were all monkey love. i guess kucing u probably know the difference already right?

i'm always there for her when she's down.when she was on a dating spree with Z, she kinda left me out, but i stil kept on being there for her. always. up to a point where she sent me this SMS:

"i've not been a fren to u these few days.. no WEEKS!only call u when i'm down.Sorry for tat! =)"

anyway, to make it short i DO love her kucing. i seriously want this one to end in marriage for us.

last night, she went out with him again (i just graduated) and she told me that she still harbors hopes of him proposing to her again. she said once, if Z ever asks again, she'll say yes this time.

right now i don't know anything. i know they'll probably be together sometime in the future. S doesnt know about my feelings of course :P S told me she doesn't expect it to last, but i told her it can last yada yada yada. oh you know, the rol of the guy who puts her before me.

I know she's happy with him, i don't know what she feels towards me, she told me once that i'm her very bst friend in Uni and i know it means we'll never get to a relationhip point. yknow?

as i write this even more, my mind becomes more muddled and my heart feels heavier. i've promised not to leave her side, cos "that's what friends do".

"I would hate for you to find somebody new
Who you really loved cause it would mean losing you
But am I a fool girl not to say
If I'm always scared, I'll lose you anyway"

this line from 98 degrees keeps on playing in my head.
am i a sucker for pain, kucing? do i enjoy being tormented so much that i have to overcome a barrier i was born with? why cant our parents see that this is not the 50s? i love her, i want to be with her and yet at the same time i don't have the courage to tell her cos she'll run away if i do. why can't everyone else see the world the way that i do? kucing, i'm jsut repeating myself but i seriously do love her. i want to grow old with her, together under the same roof.

B's words kept ringing in my mind "it's not a matter of him being the better man. it's just the world getting in your way. if you were chinese, things would seriously be much different".

what can i do kucing? is letting her go and just wish for them to be happy the only thing i can do? i dont want that.

yours, mine or whomever's,
the smiling man

Kucing Gatal says:

Dear Smiling Man,

I sympathise with you, unrequited love is painful. Loving someone from afar and seeing her in love with another man is indeed torture for the heart.

Let's deal with this one issue at a time. S obviously trusts you to be able to confide in you. You're basically her shoulder to cry on and she may have taken your friendship for granted, knowing you'll always be there when she needs you.

Now, does she have any inkling about your feelings for her? Have you ever let it be known that you love her? Even if you haven't, girls have a built-in sensor, and can usually tell when someone is harbouring a secret crush/love for them. Put it this way: if a guy is always there for me, and has no girlfriend/boyfriend, I would imagine that his feelings for me are more than pure friendship. So I'm sure she kind of knows how you feel, but maybe refuses to entertain the notion. But sometimes girls keep guys like you on the side, ever ready to drop everything and come to their rescue. It's not nice, but it happens.

Giving S the benefit of the doubt, let's say that she has absolutely no idea you love her. She's in love with Z, and based on your description of him, can't see him for the loser that he really is. Girls like bad guys for some stupid reason, that's why she puts up with his behaviour. There may be something special about Z that S is attracted to, or maybe she's just responding to him cos he's the first guy to make a move on her, like you said. I really cannot pass judgment since I don't have the full picture.

Let's say you are Chinese. Are you 100% sure that S would then fall for you? To me, race is not a big issue. Chinese-Indian, Malay-Chinese, Indian-Caucasian, doesn't matter what the combo is, love has no boundaries. But to many people, such as your parents, it is. I think it has less to do with race than religion. Let's face it, non-Muslims think 10 times before marrying a Muslim in Malaysia because of the compulsory conversion. Is S willing to take this huge step, which must be considered if she wants a long-term relationship with you? That could be what's stopping her. And if it is, then my friend, you've got to face facts. She will have to go against her parents' wishes, you will have to go against yours, she will have to convert, and you will have to keep her happy for your entire life or else, when you fight, she will bring up this issue: "You so ungrateful, I married you, converted for you, and now you are shouting at me, how can!!"

The next issue is age. If I read your mail correctly, you're both uni students. Yet Z proposed to S. Now in my opinion, uni students (unless you're postgrad or something) are way too young to think about marriage. And Z really does not sound like the responsible sort - he seems to be terrible boyfriend material, what more husband material! And if you're the same age, you should also not be thinking of marriage so early. A relationship is one thing, marriage is another.

I would say however, that the biggest hurdle in this is the religion issue. Putting aside age, and her feelings for Z, and assuming that she falls in love with you, you must both be mature enough to realise the difficulties involved, i.e. the different religions. When you're young and idealistic, any problem can be overcome. It's easy to say, "We will elope, doesn't matter what our parents think, we're madly in love and want to be together!" But when you're older and wiser, you realise that there is more to it than meets the eye. Your family is important to you, her family is important to her. Are you both willing to risk losing your respective families over this relationship? For you, the decision will be easier since you have less to lose. S is the one who will have to convert, she will be the one who has to make the ultimate decision.

My advice to you is based on the assumption that the only reason S is not in love with you is because of the religion issue. In that case, if you know for certain that S will love you if you're Chinese, then you may want to snoop around and find out how she feels about inter-racial marriages. Gauge her feelings before you make any move. You can drop subtle hints, and watch Sepet with her, and other similarly-themed movies, and see her reaction. If she says there is no way she would marry a non-Chinese, and no way she would convert to Islam, then sorry my friend, you're in for heartbreak. If she reacts positively, and if she is not really in love with Z, then you may want to tell her how you feel - IF you are willing to risk losing her as a friend.

If she is really in love with Z, then you will have no choice but to stand back and let her be happy with him. Maybe Z will turn over a new leaf and be a responsible adult, or maybe he will ditch her when he finds someone new, who can say what the future holds? If you're strong, then remain in her life as a good friend, catch her when she falls, but never tell her your feelings for her unless you're very sure she can reciprocate. If you can't handle being just a friend, then the best thing to do would be to cut off all ties.

In an idealistic world, religion would not be a barrier in relationships. But it is a harsh, narrow-minded world we live in, where race and religion are used as a tool to keep lovers apart. That is a tragedy. If everyone can look beyond colour and religion, the world would be a happier place. I'm sorry to hear of your pain, and hope that everything works out for the best. But do remember that the pain of heartbreak is part of growing up, and almost everyone goes through it, so you are not alone.

I am a strong believer in fate, and if it is meant to happen, it will. Keep your spirits up, Smiling Man!

Hope this helps,
Kucing Gatal

I hope my advice makes sense, it may be a bit muddled because I'm doing this in between work deadlines, sorry bout that!

Till next time, this is Kucing Gatal signing out with a stressed out Meow.


  • hey dude, grow some balls and tell her dat u wanna touch her boobs. no seriously, tell her your exact feelings.. so at least the truth is now out in the open. dont bother la to listen what her dengki friends is sayin', i mean if u want it that bad.. hell mutherfucker, fight tooth and nail for it.

    By Anonymous tareh, at July 18, 2005 3:13 PM  

  • yeah i agree with tareh. baby steps. boobs first. then feelings.

    By Blogger Pantani's 2nd Cousin, at July 18, 2005 5:07 PM  

  • Eh guys, tolong lah.... put your little friend back in your pants, and empathise with Smiling Man. Kesian him ok, he is in a dilemma. If he tells, she will run away, if he doesn't tell, he may lose the best thing to ever happen to him. Not an easy situation to be in!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 18, 2005 9:28 PM  

  • first and foremost, the dude is bein used like a ragdoll + the gal is playin heartstring games wif him. and this affects him teribbly (read: balls hilang), so id say.. enuff wif the runnin around, the droppin everythin at a second's notice and so call "best-thing" to evr happen to him.

    just tell her, u useless excuse for a man!! take that shrinkwrap off yer penis and grow back some balls, i say!!

    at least, have peace with yourself. i know dude, ive been in this situation before. didnt took my chances & off she went,3 years later after she was married- i jokingly asked her whther she had feelins for me & yes she did, even when after she was married.

    now after ive grew some extralarge melon size balls, ive got a hot gf. hehe.

    By Anonymous tareh, at July 19, 2005 9:11 AM  

  • damn....messy, messy, messy!! and indeed an age old problem. i agree with tareh although i wont be as harsh la. ;) u certainly have a point tareh. but i also understand wat smiling man is worried abt.

    put it this way - if u dont tell her, u're gonna lose her. if u tell her, u MIGHT lose her. what do u think your chances are n wat kinda risk are u willing to take? i say, tell her so that u'll have peace of mind n then let HER have a headached n follow by a bad hair beCAUSE of the headache n then who knows, she's finally realise that u're the panadol n keep you by her side always? :) just tell her la....good luck!!

    By Blogger mistyeiz, at July 19, 2005 9:50 AM  

  • dude..u better tell her that u like her more than just a friend...
    let me tell u something..sometimes guys minds are soooooo hard to read...come laaa....mayb she's giving u hints that "MAKE A MOVE U DAMNIT..BE4 I DECIDE 2 MARRY THAT OTHER GUY!"...that's explained why S sis playing the 'penduulm act'

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 19, 2005 5:25 PM  

  • Salam,

    i can't accept the race issue, but i do accept the faith issue.

    i'm half malay and half american. so when someone says that he/she can't be with so-and-so because he/she is of a different race is just nonsense.

    but when it comes to faith and your belief system, the two of you MUST have the same basic belief if not the exact same belief.

    how are you supposed to live together for the rest of your life if you can't even cook dinner because one spouse can't eat pork and the other can?

    one important note: no one should revert to Islam just for marriage. that person should revert because he/she wants to be closer to God. my mom reverted not because of my father but because Islam was what she had been looking for.

    with that said, you should just tell her. you've got nothing to lose because you've already lost. if you do not tell her, she will be with the other guy. if you tell and she says "no", then you have to respect her decision and move on.

    but what if she says "yes"?...

    Islamically, it is wrong to be a racist. Islam also states that you should follow your parents' advice except when it goes against the teachings of Islam. in this case, your parents are acting against the teachings of Islam.

    you should always love your parents no matter what they do. but you have to differentiate between loving them and being their slave. however, i do have to admit that this is not an easy issue to solve.

    you're an adult. make a decision and live with the consequences.

    By Anonymous shah andrew, at July 20, 2005 10:17 AM  

  • wow. good advise it was.


    By Blogger Kaki Cucuk Langit, at July 21, 2005 7:00 PM  

  • My respect for you has grown exponentially, Kucing Gatal. The advice that you dispensed was a very good read.

    By Blogger xaph, at July 28, 2005 2:37 PM  

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