With information technology and Facebook right in people’s faces, one would inadvertently assume that information would be floating about and easily available for one’s asking. Yet the choicest bits of information rest latent behind the latched doors and peeling gates, where eyes that have seen too much, ears that have heard aplenty and skins that have known too little ultraviolet light, lay await. In the shadows these ladies lay staring and collecting knowledge without a squeak, and my god, do they know.

One would be most disappointed, if the former paragraph has led them to believe that these ladies in question are fashioned on the lines of Mata Hari. They could be, but for the most part they are not. They are none other than the self-same long-suffering personages that one classifies under the heading of Attacks When Riled with sub-headings listing mothers, sisters, aunts and relatives who keep the house and our lives pristine and morally upright. It is purported that there is a dwindling in the number of these housewives around the world but in Myanmar, they still run rampant and wield considerable muscle.

They might not know of the so-and-so who is looming large in Wall Street, but in their streets, no one can walk past without them doing Sherlock Holmes business in their heads. Everything occasions a remark and is noteworthy of noticing. They are the very devils to watch out for when one is skipping class or wooing another pretty lass or doing anything that these ladies deem unsavory for public consumption (which is much). Such information, once garnered will by no means be kept to the confines of the household, it must be shared most delicately and in a timely fashion to administer maximum damage upon the perpetrator. If the knowledge contains elements of a more pressing nature, it will  be directly delivered to the concerned party with the right admixture of shyness, concern and authority of a seminary priest.

A destroyer of peace of mind, they leak with the milk of human kindness, and any appeal to be less helpful will only be met with a raking-up of old sores and a grand parade of family skeletons. Knowledge is indeed power when they have a collection of one’s personal mishaps that they no doubt keep in their storage boxes for timely injury later. Nominally, the breadwinners, aka the men of the houses, stand as the masters of the house and are as such entitled to exercise the Presidential Veto but in practice the hysterics of these ladies are always law.

They can make every meal, keep the house clean, extoll the very virtues of their children and still not be lax with their spying duties. Had it not been for a widespread affliction of valetudinary habits, they would be able to gainfully contribute to MI5 or the Mossad. These aforementioned habits range from the usual complaints of headaches, to the queerest of sicknesses. The alarming thing is that there will always be known cases of fatality for any illnesses that they are experiencing. They are so vocal about such ailments that one cannot help but develop a correlation that silence would exacerbate sicknesses.  Any pretensions to be a parfait gentil knight by asking the obligatory how-are-you would be akin to prodding a hornet’s nest, for a deluge of buzzing would ensue. However, should one be feeling poorly, they will have constructive suggestions aplenty to impart. Although the soundness of their medical advice might differ by experience and sometimes be at variance with the spirit of modern progress, there is no denying their genuine concern for one’s wellbeing.

The lack of contact with the outside world notwithstanding, the repetitive requirement of household chores coupled with the expectations raised by the Korean dramas they devour, is sure to strain many a nerve.

These ladies might know of the footsteps of the neighbours and their snoring habits before they know of their names, but of personal contact there is little. It is as though they enjoy the anonymity of their seats as spectators, rather than bathe in the glory of recognition on stage. This is true of the housewife with a ruddy complexion and an unhealthy attachment to her headaches (much given to gossiping as well). She rejoices in the fortune of living a few floors down from a celebrated figure and is known to quote time, dates and visitors. Yet when the opportunity for personal contact arises, she visibly shrinks away as though she is conscious of that feeling of frustration which comes to those who have failed to make friends and influence people. Instead, she sends her all too eager son up to communicate the information.

For-January

Although their prying habits rile up feelings of a less than positive bent, it cannot be denied that the drudgery of running a household  leads to such unpalatable habits. The lack of contact with the outside world notwithstanding, the repetitive requirement of household chores coupled with the expectations raised by the Korean dramas they devour, is sure to strain many a nerve. An inquisitive nature is a very natural outcome of the lifestyle they lead and it has to be forgiven.

However, the perennial inability to offer concrete directions is a little more difficult to forgive. The affliction might not be as far ranging but these ladies are known to provide directions that are as clear to them as they are not to the persons they are directing. It would range from the building beside a big green tree, to there are two streets, take the one without lights. This might also account for their spying ambitions not bearing fruit as a career.

On their list of besetting sins, a wish to bargain without a care for place and time rank distressingly high, along with the need to embarrass any progeny of embarrass-able age. It helps little that they hold such a wealth of information that they can dredge up at will. However, any attempt at rapprochement would be met with such ferocity of retaliation that perhaps it is better to be on the safe side and not risk the displeasure of these ladies with such good memories.

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