I must and I’m not sorry Brunei. I’ve been trying to ignore this for a while, but today has just been too much. I’m not sure what it is with this country, but I’m starting to feel really exasperated with the way I have been treated whilst doing absolutely anything alone in public, which, needless to point out, includes the running. I usually just zone it out and keep my head down and focussed on my body and performance, but increasingly, it’s getting to be really difficult to ignore. I mean seriously, when the idiots are driving in circles around you in a car, honking and shouting at you, it can’t not be a challenge. I haven’t been able to do any trail runs the past week too because it’s been raining cats and dogs, and these cats and dogs have been busy bringing down whole chunks of land and flooding neighbouring villages. Affected areas, alas, include my usual haunts. One way this is being handled by the official authorities, of course, is to call for mass prayers. One cannot deny this a blessed country and God will surely help us in this time of hardship, to drain away the floodwater, despite lacking proper drainage, and to strengthen the roots of old trees holding masses together… You can read all about this phenomena in the awe-inspiring, beautifully written, government worshipping, local newspaper here.
So yes, I’ve been sticking to roads, and with great roads come great harassment.
What is it about this conservative country though that encourages these types of proud male harassers. Have they not seen a woman before? It’s not even that I wear revealing clothes! They just cannot handle the sight of a woman going about her business without the need to hoot, honk, point, follow… The worrying thing is that the offenders are predominantly Malays, although they are not just of one type, easy to spot and earmark. They range from little children probably aged about ten (clearly keen to show their papas and peers how grown up they are!) to oldies who should definitely know better. The cars they drive also span from the riches to the junk. I fucking hate them all equally.
How can this problem even be solved? Well, I have been meeting up to run with a male friend once each week and it magically never happens then. That done, I drove home from our run today though with a bus purposely keeping up beside me, filled to the brim with eighteen year old boys screaming at me through the windows and making obscene gestures with their hands. I think the bus driver found it really entertaining, which is why he kept up when I tried to speed away. I can say it is one of the most demoralising things. I don’t think many Malay men in this country recognise women as people, and that women, like men, deserve respect and courtesy. I hope they die horrible deaths.
End of rant.