Sunday, 25 July 2010

To be or not to be a “tai-tai”

Simplistically defined, “tai-tai” means a married woman who does not need to work. Generally, the understanding is that most girls out there will want to be a “tai-tai”. Please note the word “generally”.

I have met girls who were originally career minded and do not wish to be a tai-tai, and then made a 180 degrees turn and wanted to become one. This usually happened after a few years in the modern slavery world. Of course, there are those who made tai-tai their lifelong ambition from the very start.

There is however, an elite group of girls are adamant that they will never be a tai-tai. And these are girls who have been working for a few years and they are of the opinion that they can never sit at home, just look after the kids, do the cooking or just pure doing nothing. Other reasons quoted include lack of fulfilment and boredom as there will be no one around to hang out with.

I think there is a gap in understanding what exactly a tai-tai is. Being a tai-tai is just not about “not working”, “looking after kids” or “does nothing”, it’s also about “living the life”.

Imagine if you can wake up everyday to prepared breakfast. Then maybe, you need to send your kids to school. Thereafter, you go for your manicure and pedicure. Then lunch with… now, this is important… lunch with fellow tai-tais. Then all of you head to a spa together for some relaxation.

Perhaps some days, it will be yoga or pilates. Or some days, it will be tennis or golf or some dancing lessons, depending on your preference. This will then usually followed by tea/coffee with fellow tai-tais before picking up your kids. You then return home to prepared dinner and plan your next Europe holiday.

Perhaps the days are not that generic but more or less the same. Remember, all these without the stress and frustration of work. Would being a tai-tai be bored and unfulfilling?

Indeed, one needs to have the right resource to be a tai-tai. The major ingredient is of course, money. But the other important ingredient, which many often overlook… is the presence of fellow tai-tais.

When you have the money, a lot of money (from the husband of course) and a bunch of tai-tais who are fun to hang out with, a tai-tai’s life may not be that boring and unfulfilling after all. I have witnessed a soul who said she is not able to live the tai-tai life until she was presented with the golden opportunity. How things have changed.

Not working, staying home to cook and look after the kids and do nothing else is not the life of a tai-tai. That is the life of a housewife. So when you say you can’t be a tai-tai, perhaps you meant you can’t be a housewife?


1 year ago…
Migration: Running towards something vs. Running from something

2 years ago…
Tahap yang mana?A candle epic

3 years ago…
A locker taleMore but less

50 comments:

Jun said...

why, are u wishing u led the life of a tai-tai now? :P

not exactly a tai-tai, not exactly a housewife said...

excuse me hor, there is no housewife such as ""look after the kids and do nothing else". wait until u have a kid and look/cook/feed/clean after him/her 24/7 and u can experience for yourself if you have any time left to do anything else.

and the tai-tais that you mentioned...come on, we all know they have maids, so they don't even have "to return home" to do the cooking/dishes/laundry/ cleaning/etc.

pavlova said...

all the spas, shopping, expensive lunches etc are not going to be enough somehow...
in life you still need a purpose... after a while all these things do become stale and all you do is keep comparing with each other what sort of bags you carry, what shoes you wear etc
many expat wives in Sg live lives like this... their husbands are most probably rich CEOs who earn 6 figure income in Sg... not forgetting their 6% tax only for expats in Sg ...
and in the end many, in my opinion, become so plastic...
all they care about are the latest bags, latest designer couture, latest cosmetic surgery..
i don't know about you, but i feel that a life like this is pretty empty...
if you don't want to work, yeah that's fine... but at least you have to have something to do on your free days at least.. indulge in a hobby.. in a cause perhaps... or perhaps learn something...
at least one has a sense of purpose..

pinsysu said...

tai-tai? rosmah it is! if she claim she's no. 2, nobody dares claim to be no. 1. first lady some more! LOL!

Huei said...

hahahahah i wana be a tai tai..i dun need fellow taitais...i just wana be with my baby

ok maybe i'll get bored after a month or so..but never rested so long in my life so i cant say for sure. need to try first maaaa =P but yeah..for now i wana be a taitai..i need rest..alot of rest..modern slavery has taken a toll on me n it's only been like 4-5 years...but cant afford!!

Fi-sha said...

Dearest Zewt

Even if youre not a tai-tai, I envy you now that youre in the Little Red Dot ;)

I had a brush with an opportunity to be a tai-tai last week - to be introduced to one Dato whose wife passed away a few month ago. Sitting on the BOD of our company, they all (they told me I could influence on decision of our bonuses - OMG) think I should consider seriously. They said I could 'goyang kaki', spending money.


Since Ive had that kind of opportunity before, it was soon enough for me to say, Thanks but no thanks. Genetically, we humans will eventually yearn for something more than material. It's love for another that keeps us going. Well, google the word love and you'd find out love isn't an easy thing. It's challenging yet meaningful enough to give meaning to whatever we have.

Tai-tai, bye bye...

Terra Shield said...

No, la... I don't think I could handle being a tai-tai... I'd most probably throw my cappuccino on the other tai-tais for being so irritating.

Must admit that I'll have a lot more time to blog and write stories if I were one, LOL.

Faisal Admar said...

haha i knew this word since i was 20 but didn't know the meaning. we called a boy... daniel tai tai... and now, i know the meaning!!

imp said...

actually no leh, if tai-tai means socialite, then the activities listed aren't exactly tai-tai-ish. but yes, i sorta get what you mean. there're alot of us who wouldn't mind being a lady of leisure, but not a socialite or attend glamorous fund raisers. we prefer to do it the other way and utilize our education and brains to do something for the community and environment. so while our mothers might be socialites, we won't be so and we refuse to be so. it isn't simplistically a matter of staying at home to look after the kids. there're nannies and maids to do that. it's the entire concept of being a socialite that doesn't sit well with us.

then I present you the concept of old money versus the crass-ness of the nouveau riche or not too cultured women marrying into money, who haven't grown up with money and don't quite know what to do with newfound 'wealth' besides making their dreams come true.

Elizebeth D.L. said...

You got it all right! "tai-tai" does not have to be boring, for me it should be "living a quality life, away from work stress and work bitches, enjoying quality time with those activities you like or with people you like".

I am almost there. Haha... I am tai-tai for more than 6 months now, and am still loving it!

Bee Ean said...

have to flight the mistresses also

sinlady said...

i enjoy not working for pay, but you say tai tai a la idle and bored wives of rich men,i cringe. i can't think of a more meaningless way to live. and for the most part, they are not even friends to each other!

Tsu Lin + + said...

Zewt, you're assuming the kids are born to be of school-going age, whereby in REALITY, the first 3 years are really the testing years (coming from an "experienced" pseudo-housewife).

But i'm not here to moan how boring my life is or that it is unfulfilling, quite the contrary! I'm sure you don't mind being a MAN-TAI if you can, eh. Bring out the whip! (Whip the kids, I mean)

CiNDi said...

*blink* I used to think like that, but then after that gave that notion up. I'm too "adventurous" to stay at home doing mundane things like mani-pedi or coffee breaks with others. Too boyish for that LOL

saucer said...

being a tai tai is good what, too bad I dont have enough money to live as tai tai

Pinknpurplelizard said...

Look on the good side of having a large community of Tai tais. Tai tais are essential in keeping the economy stimulated and going...

I never wanted to be one. Just wanted to earn easy money to live my desired life.

Pauline Yap said...

love to be tai tai one day. I'll get to choose what I like to do everyday and do it. Yeah, tai tai, not housewife.

I tried being housewife during maternity leave, and boy, it doesn't really suits me. That time, I couldn't wait to return to work.
But then again, I really love if I can spend more time with my little angel.

I'll see how it goes for me in the years to come, but as of now, I will love what I'm doing to do it everyday.

Thanks, I wish there's this LIKE button. I'll click on it.

InjusticeSistem said...

Perhaps in ur post u shud throw in "young tai tai with da time n $$$ to go St Tropez spraying/bathing in Cristal Champagne in da company of Paris Hilton n Mr Jho"....maybe u will get a different response...
;)

MKL said...

I want my wife to be lao po, not tai tai ;)

secret agent woman said...

What a worthless existence. I have no respect for women (or men) who think the world owes them a life of luxury.

"maemee" said...

those who openly say they don't wanna be a tai-tai or that they will be bored being one is obviously clueless as to realllll meaning of being one. n thanks to you zewt for highlighting the definition of a tai-tai... as for me... i definitely do not mind being one... heck, i wld spare no thoughts in sacrificing my career if i can be one... call me shallow whatever, to me... THIS... is living life to the fullest! fcuk office politics, promotions, increments and all... and hello spas, high teas and more! :)

fufu said...

so drama!!! i mean tai-tais will always have a lot of gossips!!

erm well i will be visiting spore next year once i am back home, why?

zewtreader said...

InjusticeSystem,

please~~~....pleazzzzzz~~~....please~~~~..please consider starting your blog..love to read your great comments!! love the way you expressed your views!! your comments rocks!!!

Jerine said...

Are you writing about me???

Angel Eyes said...

well, it's all up to the individuals. They choose what they wanna be at the end of the day.

If you ask me, it will be a big NO.

M.E. said...

Zewt,

U forget tai-tais are like a corporation with politics and power play too. :P

"Spending money is easy, it's keeping the vultures away that's taxing." - new philosophy

zewt said...

Jun - you wanna rear me?

not exactly a tai-tai, not exactly a housewife - for a start, i think you failed to get the message. and secondly, i think you're a housewife, no?

pavlova - i know where you're coming from. unfortunately, there are many females out there who doesnt think the same. plenty here i can tell u.

pinsyu - that one not tai tai already... that one whole new level haha

huei - the tai tai life, once in, you'll never wanna get out... haha

fi-sha - good to know that you choose the other way. well, if you do find a man with substance who can give you a tai tai life, why not? but it has to be a man with substance...

zewt said...

Terra Shield - hahaha... well, there are some who can and long to be one.

faisal admar - hahahaha... i think that guy will have the time of his life trying to fend off teasing.

imp - well, not quite the socialite bit... more like absolutely indulge in pleasure. like all the fine dining and all the travels, sounds familiar? :P... but i dont think you're one.

Elizebeth DL - wooaaah... your husband super rich eh?

Bee Ean - if you are tai tai, find your own man :P

sinlady - not working for pay? not entirely accurate, tai tai works in a different manner :P

zewt said...

Tsu Lin - well, do u think a true tai tai needs to worry about a newborn baby? she probably have a full time nurse to handle it... right? what's man tai?

CiNDi - haha... you can do boyish things... do alllll the boyish things and dont have to worry about pay... how about that?

saucer - the art of being a tai tai is not about you having the money, it's about someone else giving money to you.

pinknpurplelizard - hahaha... now, that is a true economist in the making.

Pauline Yap - yup, in order to spend more time without having to worry about anything... you need to be a tai tai ... basically, your husband have to be able to provide.

InjusticeSistem - you wanna be like him? go to the right school... so easy hor?

MKL - hahahaha... can be both.

zewt said...

secret agent woman - plenty of them in the states? no? those marrying celebrities.

maemee - exactly... you got exactly what i wanted to deliver to the readers.

fufu - we can go for a drink haha.

zewtreader - i couldnt agree more.

Jerine - eh, you terasa ah?

Angel Eyes - long time no see... and yes, i remember you once said no.

M.E. - hahaha... when you have so much money, why worry about vultures?

not exactly a tai-tai, not exactly a housewife said... said...

maybe yes, perhaps i really don't get your message because your opinions about "tai tai" or "housewife" is a case of "black or white" when it doesn't necessarily apply to every single woman.

well, as i said, i'm "not exactly a tai-tai, not exactly a housewife", so there's no need for you to assume that i'm strictly a "housewife" that fits your skewed description when you know nothing about me. we are m'sian expats living overseas in ascott serviced apartment and my kid attends international school. we have cleaners (from the serviced apt) and driver, but i cook and wash dishes, do the grocery, laundry and wipe the poo plus pee. i do go for spa and "tai-tai gathering/breakfast/lunch/tea" with other expat ladies when i'm free. my husb earns USD and SGD but at the same time i'm a freelancer and full-time currency trader who earns my own pocket money.

of course one can choose to be a true blue tai-tai and dump all the child-rearing responsibilities to the nanny, it's a matter how much one's conscience can take, despite the amount of money that your husband is bringing home. i think what i myself (and Tsu Lin) are trying to tell you basically is that it's "easier" to be a true tai-tai when you're childless or when your kids are a bit older. faham? :p

on a side note...yes, "go to the right school" konon...and worst still, lim guan eng said smthg stupid like "they have a tremendous ability to succeed when given the necessary opportunities". of coz la mr CM! if jholow's parents were rubber tappers u think he'll be "given the necessary opportunities" or not??

Tsu Lin + + said...

Man-tai is a man tai-tai.

zewt said...

not exactly a tai-tai, not exactly a housewife - which part in my blog did i say that it's black and white... and my last sentence did have the saving grace word, i.e. "perhaps".

anyway, i think there is a need to define tai-tai. i think you have defined it as one who is totally distant from the motherly responsibilities. to me, that is not entirely true. to me, a tai-tai is one who is no longer trapped in the monetary limitations of this world (within bounderies of course). yeah, you trade forex and freelance and have your own pocket money. but if say you failed to make any money for a year, will you be shitting in your pants worrying for your baby whom you so proudly wipe his shite or are you still being able to live comfortably knowing your husband can provide for you? i am sure you already know the answer.

but most importantly, the main message of this blog post is not to stereotype married women... it is to make a point to women who said "they can't be a tai-tai" but will turn into one when money starts flowing. i have seen many such. faham?

but i do particularly like your last sentence, "opportunity to succeed", it's something i have been wanting to blog about for a long time but never seem to be able to put all my thoughts in a concise page. often ended up too long. so you're tsu lin's friend...

tsu lin - still faham lah... aiyooo

zewtreader said...

zewt,

please blog about "opportunity to succeed". nevermind if the page ends up too long, there are ardent readers like me who are always looking forward to reading your blog. cheers~~

InjusticeSistem said...

All da fuss.......ehehehe
I thk being tai tai is a great career choice, it is equivalent to "life's second chance of going to da right skool to mix with da right crowd aka Jho Low at dat skool apa nama harrow ke harrods"

Imagine da $$$ a tai tai can make from:-
1. trading stocks from insider news,courtesy of other tai tais whose hubby are CEO of Fortune 500 companies
2. snapping up real estate/properties from developer before launch (at discounted price), courtesy of other tai tais' husband who are big time developers
3. being da 1st to set up companies offering goods/services wanted by Fortune 500 companies, courtesy of other tai tais' husband who are CEO of F500 comp.

Not to mention tai tais are the 1st 'ordinary' ppl who get news of govt grants,loans,investment opportunities,licenses... im sure u all get da picture...
Besides tat, being a tai tai also hv heavy responsibility,a tai tai need to be on da good books of richer tai tais in order to help hubby's bisnis advance
So no shame being a tai tai aint it?
These are the things they dont teach you at Harvards/Wharton, but i can bet my last ridiculous useless Ringgit that some of these tai tais make more $$$ than some General Managers who works at half bake companies...HECK...i bet most of these tai tais mk more $$$ than ZEWT!
LONG LIVE TAI TAIS!

not exactly a tai-tai, not exactly a housewife said...

i don't know what type of tai-tai that you know or had met, but the "real tai-tais" that i know have cook who cooks for the family, hsekeeper who does all the chores, and nanny who sleeps with the baby + looks after the kids while the mom is out whole day long for tennis/shopping/yoga/etc (and the mom even asked the nanny "do you think i'm a good mother?")

so in my experience, yes, a "true tai-tai" with young kids are women who are very distant from their motherly responsibilities. however, when all the kids are older and start going to school from 7.30am - 3.30pm, that is when the "guilt-free" life of a tai-tai that you described about can begin.

to answer your question of "if say you failed to make any money for a year, will you be shitting in your pants worrying for your baby whom you so proudly wipe his shite or are you still being able to live comfortably knowing your husband can provide for you?" i had gone through enough to realize that nothing in this world is certain or permanent. at the end of the day, my husband is just an employee at the mercy of his boss, just like the husbands of most of the tai-tais i know. the riches that we have today might not be here tomorrow, so it's really foolish to assume that everything will remain smooth-going forever, although we can only hope and pray for the best. that is why i believe in taking destiny in our own hands and i found my channel in forex.

on the contrary, i do not know tsu lin at all except from her comment, because i can relate to it. i may proudly wipe the shite of one baby but i think one baby's shite is all that i'm going to wipe for the rest of my life. years ago, i had worked in office for 18hours straight but i can guarantee you that the "stress and frustration of work" is nothing compared to the stress and frustration of raising a child hands-on 24/7. if you have money to spare, yes, you can always hire help to take over all the responsibilities, but...............................

well, there are many ppl who came from nothing eventually build something big in their lives. for an averae joe and jane, the "opportunity to succeed" is something that you can create for yourself... but for the "non-average jho", i think it's stupidly obvious that he already had the "right platform" since birth by the virtue of his parents' wealth, so it's silly for LGE to champion him like he's a slumdog millionaire. if i had attended sekolah kebangsaan st john or sekolah jenis kebangsaan kuan ching, you think i have a shot at inviting leonardo (dicaprio) to the world cup or not?! niamah.

not exactly a tai-tai, not exactly a housewife said...

InjusticeSistem, that is not a tai-tai la, that's an "entrepreneur".

Anonymous said...

Girls who wanna b taitai is no different from a whore

zewt said...

InjusticeSistem - sigh... poor me... i wish i am a tai tai .... lol!

not exactly a tai-tai, not exactly a housewife but to me, definitely a tai tai - firstly, you didnt quite answer the question. you just diverted my question to a different perspective. ceterus perebus (dunno the spelling), will you be shitting in your pants or feel comfortable? come on... anyway, came from nothing and build on something big? well, i sure know what you mean. oh, i am not referring about me.

anon @ 2/8 3.36pm - haha... not that extreme la.

ot exactly a tai-tai, not exactly a housewife said...

my husb lost a job and an a beemer before in a merger acquisition, so do you think i was shitting in my pants or feeling comfortable if i didn't have a channel of income independent from him? from the beginning i said, what i earn is just a "pocket money", not "lifestyle/household money"...yet. if he can continue earning as much til he retires, then of course i'll be comfortable, but what i was trying to say is that...never ever feel too complacent or even arrogant in your employment.

came from nothing and build something big...i'm not sure if you know what i mean, but i was thinking warren buffet/bill gates/kiyosaki/lim goh tong [all fr regular family b/ground]. as long you're still an employee kissing your bosses' ass, sorry i don't consider it "something big".

zewt said...

N E a tai-tai, N E a housewife - i dont consider kiyosaki big, he leveraged on others, and that;s bad. by my definition, no one can be considered big in this capitalistic world, but that is another argument altogether.

Sue-Ann said...

well said!!! now i also want to be a tai-tai!!!

zewt said...

Sue-Ann - haha... with your baby, you can have a try...

me said...

haiyoh, who doesn't want to be a tai tai! joking meh? nothing to do but shake legs. but can remove the pedicure and manicure part or not? if want me to sit still there for few hours - every few days!, like zombie, i think is worse torture than being bbq alive loh. and also can remove the lunch with felllow tai tai or not? u think tai tai are a bunch of nice gentle fun-loving sweet people ah? tsk tsk tsk. i won't go into description of their personalities. so, eating / tea-ing with them is fate worse than the above manicure/pedicure torture. otherwise, i wouldn't mind being a tai tai. *victory sign* however, you have a very shallow rosy picture of the life of a tai tai. life is never that simple, or good.

zewt said...

me - well, if tai-tai truly lives to her name, things can be simple. if you are refering to the tai-tai ATM getting a mistress, well, a tai tai can get her own "toy".

Anonymous said...

Great post! Enjoyed reading it! :)

I'm so blessed to be a TaiTai. I take it that God bless me with such wonderful life. Life is short, and it gives me plenty of opportunities to how I want to enjoy my life and pick up lots of hobbies without having to think about $$$. There's never one moment that I find it boring or feel lesser than those ladies who have jobs. This is my life and I chose how I want to enjoy it because my spouse can afford it.

I'm impressed with your reader "Maemee"'s comment :) Have a nice day!

Thank you for such lovely post.

-A blessed Tai Tai-.

Anonymous said...

and Welcome to Singapore! Work hard and smart to make Mrs Zewt a blissful Taitai soon, ya.:)

Good luck and all the best to you.

-A blessed Tai Tai-.

zewt said...

A blessed Tai Tai - that's a really honest comment, good for you. i guess maemee was being honest too. as for mrs zewt, i am not that successful yet to make her a tai tai :)

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