To college in a saree… and… culturally based preferences

In this post – My Apologies to Readers – For My Lost of Passion… –  I said that I was running out of passion on blogging. I suppose the main reason is that there are so many competing interests besides blogging.

Now, I think that to increase my passion in blogging, I will write a post about a poem. This poem is written by Nikesh Murali with the title – To college in a traditional sari. This poem was posted in the AuthorsDen.com site.

In discussing this poem I will also discuss about culturally based preferences. Culturaly base preferences are preferences that arise because of the culture of that person. That have been discussed in previous posts such as:

Preferences and Culture (1) – An Introduction

Preferences and Culture (2) – What do mean by that?

Preferences and Culture (3) – Some Notes

However, I would like to expand on the issue which I highlighted in this post – Preferences and Culture – Can you choose your culture and ethnicity?

Adimiring Women Who Wear Sarees
Now, I know quite a few people who admire women who wear sarees. Interestingly is not necessary that these saree admirers are Indians. Many are not. For the Indians, they can proudly say that the saree is a beautiful part of their cultural expression and identity. For the non-Indians, well…

Australia – Individual Choice 
In Australia, with the underlying desire to promote multi-culturalism, it is perferctly fine for let say an Anglo-Saxon to admire women wearing sarees. Or for that matter it is all right and it is even encouraged for everybody (non-Indians) to admire the saree

In Malaysia – Choice (or at least the expression of it) is Culturally and Ethnically Bounded 
But in Malaysia, in the current situation, things are tricky. Now, for the Chinese, it is OK for them to say that the saree is a beautiful dress and that they admire those that wear them. But for the Malays… well… there is a problem. If a Malay says that he or she likes the saree, then it is likely that their fellow Malays will look upon them in disbelief. There is something about the Malays that I think is quite strange and peculiar. Now, I won’t elaborate more on this as to do so will go beyond the main idea of this topic. But I may do so in the future. So keep an eye to this blog.

Anyway, I found these interesting pictures of Navneet Kaur from Ragalahari that gels with the saree poem…. so what I’ll do is that I will present the pictures first. The poem will come at the end of this post.

Now, I won’t post the whole poem. If readers want to read the whole poem, then they can go here – To college in a traditional sari @ AuthorsDen.com

We begin with Navneet Kaur:

navneetka1.jpg
Picture Credits: Navneet Kaur @ Ragalahari

navneetkaura2.jpg
Picture Credits: Navneet Kaur @ Ragalahari

navneetka.jpg
Picture Credits: Navneet Kaur @ Ragalahari

navneetkb.jpg
Picture Credits: Navneet Kaur @ Ragalahari

navneetkc.jpg
Picture Credits: Navneet Kaur @ Ragalahari

navneetkd.jpg
Picture Credits: Navneet Kaur @ Ragalahari

navneetke.jpg
Picture Credits: Navneet Kaur @ Ragalahari

navneetkf.jpg
Picture Credits: Navneet Kaur @ Ragalahari

navneetkg.jpg
Picture Credits: Navneet Kaur @ Ragalahari

And now… the poem (or part of it): 

To college in a traditional sari

….
In a traditional sari
You enter the realm of dreamy, jilted liars.
You alone, shining like the graceful moon,
Sans the shady ditches;
Its fibrous, creamy arms hugging your dizzying form.
I dream of it,
Of creating a wall of cloth,
So soft, it melts
As sunrays titter
And be the robe that sleeps on your balmy skin.

I wish I were the folds in your sari, …

To college in a traditional sari
by Nikesh Murali
Sunday, May 25, 2003

AuthorsDen.com

Ok, I suppose some readers may notice that I deliberately highlighted (bolded) and underlined these items:
Australia – Individual Choice
In Malaysia – Choice (or at least the expression of it) is Culturally and Ethnically Bounded

Anyway, just to write a bit more about these issues. It is noticeable that in Malaysia, what one prefer and does not prefer are determined more by culture and ethnicity in almost the same as individual choice.

An Example – Food Choice and Preferences
For example, ceteris paribus, the ethnic Malays would choose Halal food over non-Halal food. This is because such a choice is implored upon them by religious decrees (or religious requirements). If the ethnic Malay chooses a non-Halal food, and if such a choice is known to his or her peers of the same ethnic (or ethnie) group, then that Malay will likely get a lecture (or chiding) on what is right or wrong…

Now surprisingly, this moral based choiced appears to be applicable more to the Malays. At least in the food sector, the Chinese and the Indians seems less bounded by religious and cultural requirement. Of course these non-Malays do have their own religious or cultural decrees on what to eat and not to eat; but ultimately the choice is left more to the individual, with the public (or peers) playing less of a role.

 And what about the phenomenon that are described in this entry – Preferences and Culture – Can you choose your culture and ethnicity?

This issue goes beyond the “food-choices” example. Of course, this should not be surprising if we generalise “choice” to be anything that involves the “act of choosing”. 

I suppose these items need more elaboration. (Not to mention that the example used above is rather extreme). Well, I hope readers can please be patient. I am getting tired of blogging at this moment. I will blog more about these issues when my passion for blogging returns…

Until then…

All the best…

And to since tomorrow is election day, I can only give this message to all readers who will be voting in Malaysian General Elections tomorrow- vote wisely!

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All picture credits to Ragalahari. Picture Credits: Navneet Kaur @ Ragalahari

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