1st day done. I have too many resolutions that I’ve made this year and keen on doing. As usual I’m always with that question in my head; will I ever have the time to do everything that I want in this life? If anyone has find a way to bust time out of its tracks please tell me how. But I doubt we’ll ever defeat our nemesis in our mortal lives that is Time. Ramadhan this year came earlier (every year it gets 11 days earlier) and I’m still tryna get in the mood for it. So I have a very lukewarm fasting today, from the sahur food to the activities be it religious or normal day to day life, until the breaking fast. Heck I need a lot to adjust to Ramadhan this year. I’m currently looking for a productivity app/software for either phone or pc to help me prioritize this month for what it’s worth. And to generally improve on every loose ends which I have, a LOT. Until tomorrow world. To the next day of Ramadhan we go 😁
As I was reading this article I find myself revelling in my own sadness of losing my grandmother last year. It’d be one full year next month since her sudden passing.
The author wrote about Lola, a woman who has been at a servitude to three generations of his family through her life since 18 years old, without pay nor freedom. A life of a slave. To this I can’t relate to, with the life of my grandmother. But the fact that she took care of all of us at various points in our lives and also our cousins and extended family. To her everyone in the family is as important as the other one who came before them.
Reading the author description of the things Lola did for him when he was a kid. When I was young at about 9 I was having a really bad eczema throughout my body (it actually just stopped when I was about 21) It sucks but I lived with it. Whenever my mom would have her staying with us she’d taken to her responsibility to calm me and put on a traditional sea cucumber oil to affected areas and massage them. She’d read some prayers while patting me until I fell asleep. I used to dislike that for a while and I remembered feeling like wanting to push her away. I’d say I practically grew up avoiding physical contacts like too much hugging, kissing cheeks etc that in the contrary, my best friend had both her parents expressing love in front of everyone in the school bus every morning. And I used to feel gosh didn’t she felt uncomfortable showing that in front of our friends? I don’t think it’d be something that I’d do. Only when I’m an adult I felt like I’ve missed all the opportunities.
Among all of my 8 siblings, I was the only one that had to be sent the longest time to the kampung (village) to be taken care of by my grandmother and grandfather. All of us had spent some of our lives here some months together but I was the one that had to be left alone for a longer time. I even went for the kindergarten across the street of my grandma’s house. It was just me, them and the endless yard that spans towards a large Mango orchard behind the compound. Me and my cousins who would come by every month or so would play outside until dusk and grandma would yell at us to come inside fearing of ghosts that specifically kidnaps little kids who doesn’t listen to their grownups. Well at least that was what she said and I abode! At night she would always say her prayers to keep us asleep despite waking up frequently to some creaking noises in the old house. She’d be there in the kitchen first in the dark of morning to prepare breakfast and starting her chores all over again. Her cuisines, had been ours and extended family traditions. She created a sense of belonging and togetherness while we’re in the kitchen, where we’d shared the most time and be reminiscing about years later when we are adults. Her selflessness was something I have never seen in anyone else except my mom. This serves well in retrospect, of all the years observing her life, giving more than she received without asking for any returns. My mom, however, gave her allowances which she would take some and give back to us her children by slipping it into our palms each time we came by.
Then life happened. When you had to chase the good life everyone is going for, you know, have a good degree, take a good stable job, earn your money and proceeded to the next new experiences. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive myself for not going to see her more often, just 2 hours drive away from where I live. 2 hours seemed too long, too tedious for me. After work, I’ll be definitely arrive at night and I always find that as an excuse to not go for that week. And then the next. Then the other. As always I can picture her happiness when I called to inform that I’ll be coming by and how she’d cook my favorite dishes in abundance, later packing some for me to bring back. Right now I don’t know if I’ve ever shown her enough appreciation of who she was to me. I’ve written before that I’ve avoided some of her calls simply because I just don’t feel like talking. I don’t really take any phone calls anyway but to let my phone ring and the repeated beeps on her side of the phone, waiting just to ask about my day, was so thoughtless. That was the question I kept on asking myself since the moment my cousin called to told me in tears that she was gone. I didn’t know to cry or to slam the fucking phone. All I think was, did she knew that I loved her? That I appreciated her and I was sorry for not spending more time with her? I think she knew but I doubt it. She wouldn’t be upset or anything but walking back to years ago when I wasn’t independent and had my own car and a place to live, I was mad at myself for underappreciating her. There was so much more that I could’ve done better.
Ramadhan will arrive next week and at the end of the month, the Eid celebration. We’ve had the last one without her. It wasn’t nearly sad as I imagined. In the Eid morning we cook and prepare the traditional Eid food like usual and my mom knew all the recipes at the back of her hand. It wasn’t something that we couldn’t do without her. I didn’t really told myself that she was gone forever. I still think that she is just, there, even if I can’t see her anymore. It’s her house, her bed, her kitchen. It was like she just left for a while. I couldn’t hug nor does the routine asking for forgiveness and take a picture together in the Eid morning. It didn’t struck me as hard. After all I’m used to only coming to see her sometimes 4-5 months apart. Sometimes the ignorance is numbing. It’s an ability to actually shelf out everything to the back of your mind where you’ll not easily found it again. I find myself reaching to it when I think of her, to feel the sadness and longing of not having her here.
This reduced sensitivity that I have is alarming. But I become to understand it the more I live. It brought me to my second thought after reading this amazing article; I should embalm her memories and what she meant to me in a form that I can see and touch. So that I could come back to it. Keeping physical memorias is something I just decided on…something I never done. I’ve never kept a family member’s picture around me, even when I missed them badly when I was in boarding school and first year of work. Some of my most depressed years. A loved one, to me is best kept in my mind. The conversations I’ve had, the life event involving them, the scenes where we parted ways or meet. I have all these things playing out in my head when I’m missing someone. But I am blessed to not losing any one more of my immediate family and friends, and I still have the time to physically be with them and to show that I do love and appreciate them. For my grandma, that time has long passed. I need to honor her memories for all the years she had lived so full of selfless love and her passing that has caused so much loss that couldn’t be replaced in mine and the lives of everyone else who knew her.
So I went for a nice dinner with nice old friends and back home I logged to my computer surfing for nothing. I don’t wanna do my drawings and I’m too tired for gaming. I decided to plug my 10 years old portable hard drive that I still kept in a dusty miscellaneous box. And wow the things inside were the stuff that I loved but moved on from. Listening to the music that I was obsessed with 10 years ago is an eargasmic session. The way it opens up to you like it was the first time you heard it. To relive the first time things came into your mind is wonderful.
This is quite a jump from my usual posts ( I don’t even post so much anyway lool) but it has been something I wanted to read and research on, and had done it quite extensively this recent week.
What exactly is the situation in this modern world?
Of course it’d be my dream to be able to talk and ask an actual person from a different race/culture/country about this and what they really think but since I don’t have a social life both real life and online, I can only scour the net as my endless resource lol
I’m using interracial and interfaith interchangeably (lool too much ‘inter’ words) because a person can be Muslim and not be classically identify as Muslims (eg Arabs. There are actually a lot of Arabs that are of other religions). Also a person may not wear hijab but is a Muslim. People would say that Islam isn’t a race (it isn’t but it’s too often to find people over the net judging a certain race to have it as their religion) and would exclude people of a rather different race (eg white Muslims who wear hijab) from the subject. So yeah if I use interracial only it wouldn’t be accurate to what I’m trying to write.
I recounted the stares I get when we were on that vacation in Samui where foreigners (westerners) kept on looking like they haven’t seen one and it’s uncomfortable. It was weird. I mean it’s not like there are no Muslims who frequented Thailand. It borders with a Muslim country and even have regions that has many Muslims.
It’s the first time that I was ever been in that kind of attention. I have never been to a western country to compare though. The farthest I’ve been overseas is Korea, where people look too, but is understandable since their country is homogeneous.
Unlike in the west. Lots of cultures in one place (at least in the city) and chances are they have seen one before.
So I am quite recently very interested in the subject of interracial relationship mainly because I’m one of those that has an open mind on interracial relationship (and finds them really inspiring), has a mild preference to date someone outside of my race if given the chance (not out of spite though) I would’ve explain better partially why (because I don’t think that I’ve figured it out 100%) in later post maybe but,
I would probably do it but to think of the many many barriers that exist in the realms of making and sustaining a relationship.
Specifically of a westerners view of a girl who wears a hijab (since it’s my situation). I’ve already understood the situation in my country, sort of. Main barrier is we have a law that dictates no marriages between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. People have done it but they’d eventually migrate somewhere else where their union won’t be disturbed.
I really wanna know what do they think of us when they see us? And the question: are we repulsive or attractive?
From what I gathered over random blogs, articles, message boards and forums including Reddit, this is it:
1) More often than not, they are attracted, but due to the no-go situation that presents itself they won’t pursue it. Some say prolly try it if the girl is reallyyy attractive and he can’t stop thinking about her but most say they would never ever tread that direction.
– that situation means when a girl in hijab is presumed to be very religious apart from their non hijabi counterparts. It’s easy to tell which is off limits and which aren’t – if they’re wearing a hijab. I’m saying this from the guys’ perspective that won’t mind dating a Muslim girl at all but she must not wear the hijab.
– the different culture and religion would be too much of a baggage to overcome in a long term relationship
– they mentioned about difficult family backgrounds where the family have a big say over her life decisions and it’s something off putting
– also it is assumed that the religion itself isn’t something they could’ve get along with because of the nature of it (words used eg backwards, cult, stoned age, oppressed etc) so a girl following this way of life must have qualities/personalities that they don’t want in a girlfriend
– too much incompatibilities in other specific areas
– thinking right off the bat that a hijabi girl won’t consider them as potential partners as they would’ve prefered someone from their own religion (and is religious) so why start in the first place?
– these people seemed to think that they’re actually being polite and respectful by not approaching her
– they view hijab as a huge barrier in forming a relationship. They would’ve like to, but wouldn’t because of that thing on her head (ikr lol)
2) In the middle ground, they are not attracted to nor repulsed. It’s just not their type and doesn’t flick anything on their minds.
– same like before these people doesn’t think that there’d be any possible chances anyway but they in the first place isn’t open to it. Might as well score a girl with similar attributes than foreign ones.
3) A group of them are definitely repulsed by it and by no means are open nor attracted.
– personal preferences to see hair and more physical features to be attracted to a girl no matter the religion.
– they simply dislike people who are religious regardless of religion
– they dislike the Muslim faith in the first place
– they disagree with the idea of hijab. Some say it’s a disadvantage to a woman’s beauty. Why would you hide your hair?
4) The weird ones. These guys could be trying to approach her simply because she is off limits by his standards. They have a certain picture of hijabi girls and would do it out of personal reasons that aren’t so…pure. It’d be just for fun because they knew it’ll not materialize.
Worthy of mentions:
– one out of 650+ messages has a good understanding of what is hijab and why muslim women wear it and is not repulsed by it for the correct reason. It is very rare to find this type of person.
– one guy said that he was always having these attractions for girls in hijab but never ever told anyone in real life because he knew he’d scare them. lmao
– a few did say that it just purely because they have different beliefs. Not a negative, not a positive. Just a fact that couldn’t be thrown away.
– one admitted to trying out his luck with a hijabi girl simply for fun because he knew the girl doesn’t even consider him anyway.
– one had an actual relationship (it didn’t work out I assumed) with a hijabi girl from a different country and he had only good memories out of it. He said the experience was the same like every other he had with girls of his own country and race. His words were interesting : ‘It is attractive to the open mind.’
– about 5 shared how they would’ve hit it off if the girl actually made an effort to flirt/show clearly that she does considered him as a potential partner and they’d definitely go with it. Crazy isn’t it?
– a few suggested that hijabi girl should take the hijab off if she wants some male attraction and sending the right signals for dating. holy crap!
I must point out that what I’ve collected as a conclusion would be incomplete and probably just a tear off a duct since I haven’t spoke to anyone of my subject interest in real life and was processed through my own mind while having no experience in interracial relationship whatsoever but,
I can see a pattern of men not seeing the hijab itself as a barrier per se but more because of the reason behind it. It signifies loudly that that girl is following a belief system religiously and is simply put off by what it means as per their own understanding. This is the case if the guy doesn’t mind the religion. For some people that dislike/hate Islam in the first place it’s more revolting to even consider them as attractive.
To rephrase, a girl who wears a hijab is generally off limits in a westerners’ dating pool. They can be attracted but won’t ever act on it for a multitude of reasons. But as in every other interracial relationships between other religions and cultures, one thing remains the same – it’s not for everyone.
* The author apologize beforehand if anything written offended a reader and welcome any comments/discussion/sharing about the topic. *