A little about obedient Asian women and a lot of Anouk

Living in Denmark this Indonesian ex journalist, now engineer, wondered why on earth a number of her female compatriots in Copenhagen seemed to be so subservient to their western partners:

“I discovered that most of them (at least five out of six) gave me the same answer when I called / sent them sms / email asking when they could be available for a meet up downtown. The answer that (almost) all of them gave me was:

“I have to ask permission from my husband first and then I will let you know…….”

I can’t give an explanation for this kind of attitude. Or rather lack of attitude. I think however that by chance “the writer” -which is her blogger alias- did hit upon an almost improbable number of exceptions to the rule. No woman in her right mind – white, black or brown- should choose for obedience. No man either, for that matter. If it happens obedience turns you on, you should join the army in stead of entering into a marriage. Of course there are a few of these nasty pathetic men who sort of buy a subservient wife or mistress. A restricted number of suitable cases for treatment, if you ask me.

But Independent minds, that’s what we want, that’s the fashion. If in doubt, I strongly advise all wannebe emigrants to this hemisphere, to check on our national Queen of Rock ‘n Roll, Anouk. She is grrrrrl power in the flesh. And a terrific performer. That she is world famous in the Netherlands only, means shame on the rest of the world.

Now here are three version of her “Nobody’s Wife” – the first from 1997, the last one from 2008. No obedience or messing around, not in her lyrics, nor in the music. Great Rock ‘Roll, strong message.

Here’s the one from 1997, which is the “official”, artsy one:

Because the message is relevant en she is GOOD, one more time. This is in a total different, Reggae style. Recorded by the way, in the famous “Concertgebouw” in Amsterdam:

And last but not least and in order to never to forget her, a very recent live performance of this year – she may be ten years older, but still is our devastating rocking Queen:

Obedient women: gear for the struggle. And Amy Whinehouse: eat your heart out.

Oh, before I forget, this is where you can find the “official Anouk”. Including “modern world” which is a witty comment on what has been going on lately for women ( and men). The song on her new album with huge hit potential, I think.

19 thoughts on “A little about obedient Asian women and a lot of Anouk”

  1. I think I am that kind of girl now. It just happened. Nothing planned. But I do think that we as married women need to find our own identity.

    I blamed partly of my own obedience to my oriental upbringing. In my ancient-chinese culture, we girls are raised to be obedient to our parents and elders when we were young. When we got married, we need to be obedient too to our parents, elders PLUS husbands.

    Hmm .. I am quite torn on this subject.

  2. my mom also does the same. but then my dad too. when seeing it through outsider point of view, what my mom does probably is obedience, because she say it openly like ur friends, “i’ll ask papah first”. but my dad, doesnt do it that open. he’d rather say “i’ll discuss it with my wife” or if it’s to me, “go and ask ur mom” means for me it’s OK but it’s not OK if ur mom says not OK. or “i’ll think about it first” but then he will come to mom and ask.

    in my aunty case, for example, she doesnt always say so as she perhaps modern couple, busy busy. but then she will always end the day by talking with her hubby about what she had done the whole day and what will she does the next day and if it’s OK or not OK. the hubby does the same.

    i think it’s just about working as a team. that u dont do stuff without other’s knowing what u do. and also, my mom said, it’s about how we appreciate our partner. to always involve him/her in our decision making. though like the writer, i sometimes complain, especially if i know dady wont agree. hehe.

  3. @andie summerkiss: Being modest, being kind, being empathic and being caring of course are great characteristics which are partly genetic. Generally speaking women probably are better endowed with these kind of genes than men. The point is whether it means it is acceptable to make them to coercive social roles for women to the point of abusing them to create a hierarchy between men and women.

    I can’t but agree with you; in a relationship, in a partnership, in marriage both individuals should give room to the other to live according to his/her own talents, interests, preferences and identity.

    And what about Anouk?

    @mulia: “i think it’s just about working as a team”. Hear, hear. But team mates are not team mates all the time. As human beings we usually play quite a number of social roles and have different interests. In a good relationship, apart from mutual trust and open communication, there is room for that without a veto right for one of the team mates.

    And, by the way, your father seems to be a wise, empathic and caring men himself.

    And what about Anouk?

  4. there’s only two possibilities of these ladies asking for the permission from their husbands:
    1. They do really need permission as that particular evening there’s already another prior private engagement (such as cleaning up the house together, iron clothes together, if the couple have kids then tuck the kids to sleep together, wtf other possibilities of activities together) or…
    2. here comes the second possibility: the ladies not really in the mood to go out for whatever reason.and husband or wife’s permission come handy as an excuse not to go. so nothing to do with independent mind at all hehehe

    at least that’s my observation to those people that live together with their partner (doesn’t have to be necessary husband and wife thing). I don’t really into obedient as a virtue of marriage…I guess respect more to it than obedient hehehe coming from the woman that suppose to wash her husband’s feet in the wedding ceremony as the way to show obedient pwahhh

    why anouk come to picture? because she’s independent? well there’s more women that independent and success. even asian woman can be that as well…i will go with Erna Witoelar Walinono :) http://www.engagingcommunities2005.org/ewitoelar.html

  5. @bonnie: See, wow, that’s the spirit.

    (Btw: in spite of the ceremonial washing of the feet, i didn’t exactly have you in mind writing about obedient women. Though i will always remember these great moments … )

    As for Anouk: Yeah, she’s independent. She is not the only one of course – every women in her right mind is. But only a few (or should I say: no one?) are able to rock like she does. Don’t you agree?

  6. Colson, ur advice is well digested :) .
    about my dad, he is.
    about Anouk, wah, wah wah. i wonder why she or at least her song is not so popular here in norway. hahaha.

    if it’s translated into indo language, perhaps some people will start to do demonstration in CD stores. haha.but i can imagine it would be a nice little present for some of my European female friends :)

  7. Amazing voice! You’re absolutely right – Amy Winehouse’s got nothing compared to this rockin chickadeleeta!

    She sounds even as amazing live as she does on record!

  8. hmm… as you might already see, i am quite dominant. when i need to go somewhere, i dont ask permission from husband, he doesnt own me, but i do let him know where im going and ask him if he would like to join me.

    but the funny thing is, when he wants to go out with his friends, he asks my permission, although I always tell him, “why do you need my permission? if you want to go out, go ahead, i know you need time to hang out with your friends too”

    i’m lucky, my husband is too sweet..

  9. Ah, I see that you’ve been discussing my previous post.

    Honestly, I don’t know what’s wrong with these women and it’s not reluctance that makes them give me that permission excuse first because they’re dying to go out with me as they recently moved here thus had no friends at all and would like to make some kind acquaintances with people from home, so it’s basically “fear” (I put that in quote) that their (newly-married) husbands wouldn’t let them go anywhere.

    ….and yes Colson, I would answer blatantly, that I had been (my own fault) asking these questions to those women who were obviously married for service purposes (the obedient village women) – well what can I do? Most women (not all) who are married to Danes here seem to have that kind of appearance (shoot me for stereotyping them but that’s how it is) so, perhaps that explains the whole discussion

  10. @ therry: I knew we would agree!! Yesterday I read some Belgium journalist describing her music as ‘angry vagina rock’. I disapprove of such labeling. It’s just plain powerful rock.
    @ rimafauzi: You are about the last one I would suspect of being subservient. By your writings I already got the idea of a (very) strong women.
    As for your man, I think you may make a mistake. I don’t doubt he is sweet and can see he has an exquisite taste. But if a man says “Goed dat ik vanavond op stap ga?” it usually is not a question at all. It is a polite announcement.
    @ writer: I don’t doubt the accuracy of your observation. And it is a rather sad and worrying one. It may be more widespread than I supposed. Because male Danes are not worse than their Dutch counterparts, I maybe should pay a closer look at those “mixed” couples I know of.

    In spite of the outstanding Minang culture, of course the phenomenon of the combination of female obedience and male dominance is not unknown in Indonesia either… That probably is the reason why these women are ‘recruited’ in South East Asia in the first place.

  11. @colson:

    Wow… so the other rock musicians who happen to be males can be called “angry penis rock”? Actually that sounds kinda kinky.

    Anouk is gorgeous – and she’s definitely not a good girl, but you know what they say; good girls never made histories lol

  12. @therry: As far as I know she is not “bad” either – she is a mother of three and with her lifestyle she will grow old, eventually 90.

  13. @Finally Woken: I envy your husband ( except for the “lol”) – just imagine, my wife asking permission first before even thinking of starting to talk….

    But, eh, what about Anouk?

  14. Those obedient Asian women who always ask their husbands for permission to do almost anything make the husbands start thinking that ALL ASIAN WOMEN are like their wives. When the husbands meet assertive Asian women, they are in shock…

    Anouk is full of contradiction. She is a good singer all right! She’s been thru a lot. Now she is a mother of three (yes, unbelievable a rock chick with 3 kids!!!) and an estranged wife. I think she will be stronger after dealing with her divorce. Yes, she’s a Nobody’s Wife.

  15. @Lorraine: I tend to agree: “When the husbands meet assertive Asian women, they are in shock…”. Only the very stupid ones, of course. A state of shock is the least what they deserve. We only can hope the shock may cure them from one or two prejudices ultimately.

  16. I’ve to say, most Asian women ARE like that. Even in the modern world, as assertive as we’ve grown to be, we’re still aware of, and take a good care of, the good ol’ “male ego”. My mum is a med doctor, so she’s used to making her own decisions, but as a wife, she still serves at the dining table (when she’s not at work). Now that I’m a legit adult, I’ve got to assume that role too.

  17. @ Anna Elissa: Right. Eh.. Okay, a woman who is financially independent and/or does not allow her husband/partner to bluntly veto her own choices, is independent to my mind. So women like your mother are shining examples of Grrrrlpower – whether or not they serve at the dining table.

    As patronizing as it may seem I just have to say about you assuming to take a certain role: I think there is nothing you have to take for granted. Do so if you want to, don’t in case you do not feel comfortable in that role.

    But another issue: did you like Anouk?

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