Thursday, November 4, 2010

My VIP Access Card

Everyone loves little children here in the land of the desert. I mean seriously, you get special treatment if you have a little kid. From my personal experience I've gotten in the fast track line at the immigrations and quickly passed through customs without so much as them batting an eyelid (even though we arrived with LOADS of luggage). I just put Lyssa in front of me like a VIP card ;-)

And here, every shopping mall you go to will have a playland for kids. Rides and video games and all that stuff. Just the bigger the mall the bigger the playland. From little kiddie games to bigger roller coasters. Just name it, its all there. Cuma tuu lah, if you don't actually have the time to bring your little kiddo there, kenalah pandai2 mengelak ;-p

Oh, and lets not start on helium balloons. Every mall has this everywhere too. A guy walking around with a bunch of helium ballons with all sorts of shapes and sizes and cartoon characters on them. Small ones for about SAR10 and big ones for SAR15... and when I say big, I mean huge! (And those kiddie cars yang boleh naik and tolak2 dalam mall tuu, some even have small screens showing Barney/Thomas on them!)

Outdoor playgrounds are abundant too. Usually strategically located by the beach. People here will lay out their rugs (not tikar okay... carpet!) and have a picnic on the green grass while their children play in the playgrounds nearby with their nannies.

I've gotten random strangers (both male and fully covered arab females) pinching Lyssa's cheeks, stop to give her sweets, ask her her name, even got a hug and a kiss from a total stranger once. The one that I can't forget is while we were in Mekkah there were these two ladies who kept stroking her hair and saying "Masyaallah... Masyaallah...". And it's not just my child, my friends kids get the same treatment too. They treat children really well here.

(Which brings me to a whole other story about the time we were in KL, and I was holding Lyssa's hand trying to step onto the the escalator and this guy just menyelit celah Lyssa tak menyempat nak turun dulu... nasib tak terkena and jatuh ker apa... couldn't even wait for a few measly seconds for my kid to safely turun.)

So anyway, there's another point to this entry. From a whole other spectrum. While the facilities for children are tip top and adoration of stranger's children are aplenty, I have to say that parents here tend to lepas tangan a whole lot on their own children. Which scares me, who was taught to ALWAYS keep my eye on my child.

It's not a strange sight here if you see a toddler walking alone and their mom a few feet ahead of them only looking back once in a while calling for them. (Itu kalau takde maid lah... kalau ada maid, mmg mak gi shopping, maid jalan dengan anak).

The other day at the park, ada this one toddler much, much younger than Lyssa was climbing the playground by himself. Tau tau jer lah tempat mainan yang ada gelongsor and palang-palang nih, tinggi jugak and banyak gaps, boleh terjatuh. Kita yang seriau menengoknya. The parents or caretaker was nowhere to be seen, and the little kid was about to jump down from a pretty high ledge. Takde jugak mak/maid datang berkejar ker apa...memang dibiar jer agaknya.

I really can't do the same. Sebab kalau kat KL biar macam tuu, apa-apa boleh jadi. I guess people here tend to feel a whole lot safer because of the way even total strangers love and respect children.

I don't even allow Lyssa to eat the sweets given to her by strangers!


mast@work said...

same here in japan.. lagi best kalau bawa ke kedai sure dapat hadiah free.. hehe

aizuraawang said...

Mast... Seronok kan orang layan budak macamtuu... ada anak kawan tuu siap pak arab kasi duit lagi...

mast@work said...

mak aih.. pak arab udah le kaya.. hulur duit tu tak tahan.. hihihi

FAM said...

we used to having those moments masa kita kecik2 dlu kan. jln sorg2 pun takde hal. now? hell nooooo!!