Henna/ Inai and Some Cultural Ramblings7:06 PM
The Aidilfitri decorations have finally been taken down and replaced with bright swirly "Selamat Hari Deepavali!" banners. Little India is packed with people buying their new elaborate punjabi suits, or sparkly new bangles, or just stopping buy for a teh tarik and capati break before returning to their houses to make further preparations. Open house invitations have been starting to flood in, trying to keep track of them is a bit confusing. Without a doubt, the Deepavali spirit is in the air! And it's not just limited to the Indians that stay here in Malaysia.
On Saturday after picking my younger host sister up from Kokorikulum Day at her school, my host mom, her friend, my sister and I were driving through Ipoh and were confused about the jam-- until it hit us. Little India, duh!
My host mom's friend decided she wanted to get henna (my friends call it inai, I guess that's what it's called here?) done on her hands, and I also wanted to give it a try... so I did.
Pictures later, cultural notes first.
Although we got stared at, no one seemed to question or seem angry at the fact that a white girl and her clearly Malay family were in Little India. Malaysia is surprising like that. I've heard a lot of people talking about race issues, discrimination, etc, but I've found that all races have been equally welcoming to me, especially in sharing their culture. In coming here, I've not only learned about Islam and my own host family's customs, but also about the traditions of the Chinese and Indians here.
Malaysia is one of the few places with such a distinct culture of diversity. Each race manages to keep it own identity intact while still being a puzzle piece in the jigsaw that is Malaysia. You may be Indian, or Chinese, or Malay, but you're also Malaysian.
Yes, that sounds cliche, but where else can you stop for some dim sum after shopping for bangles while listening to the Call to Prayer winding up and down the streets?
To Malaysians- Take pride in the country you live in. Both the scenery and the culture are beautiful here. You're lucky to live in such a place. To Americans- Learn to value the diversity of your country as it is valued in Malaysia. America's a pretty awesome place too. To others- Again, just value the place you live. To a foreigner, it's bound to be amazing and unique.
Culture is what keeps generations connected, what defines a people. Be proud of your culture. It has helped to shape you to be the person you are.
To put it one more way.... A person without culture is like a meal in Malaysia without rice!
As for my Deepavali plans, I'll be spending the holiday with an Indian family somewhere in Perak. Really excited for it!
Also, I've been blogged about! Thanks to BlogSerius for writing a sweet article about me. Link here: http://blogserius.blogspot.com/2012/11/serius-cute-remaja-pertukaran-pelajar.html
|Peek a boo!|
|While the paste was still drying...|
|I'm fun at parties|