Traditions and advantages of burqas

by - Thursday, August 04, 2011

currently: eating caaaaake. :D

Isn't cake lovely? I ate it too fast to take a picture. But I can assure you that cake+cream+mangoes is good :)

This week's issue of debate, issue 16 you can find my latest column. I'm quite liking writing a column. It does get me thinking about what to write more often. Cause I have to now haha. I'm not sure yet as to what my next column will be, I've got till Monday to write it. So if there are any cultural issues you'd like my opinion on, let me know.

Homegrown Banana #2
Let me pose a question to you. What is better to follow – the traditions of your people or the traditions of the country?
It’s fair to say that there will be a part of our heritage which is foreign to this country. Somewhere along the lines you’re bound to have a great, great, great grandparent that came to New Zealand on a boat, or plane, or some other sort of ocean crossing transportation. And with that ocean crossing transportation, they brought their own traditions to this land. Sometimes their cultural traditions contributed well to the country, but at times they can clash into one big controversial mess.

No doubt when you think of the country’s current cultural controversial conflicts (say that five times) the whole burqa argument comes to mind. Let’s face it; the black full body covering can bring so much attention onto the individual, it would be as obvious as seeing Batman walking up Queen Street in broad daylight. It is understandable though to why some New Zealanders don’t like the idea of burqas. Traditionally, Kiwis (and western countries in general) are used to seeing someone’s face. We like seeing smiles and nice teeth and cool haircuts. But the concept of covering one’s face is associated with someone who goes and robs the local dairy, someone who is protecting themselves from swine flu, or is someone that will make you feel that they are stalkish and suspicious, all of which is intimidating. Banks have a reason why they don’t allow caps, hoodies and sunglasses to be worn inside the building; because they want to identify your face.

But that’s the tradition in New Zealand. The reasoning behind wearing the burqa for some Islamic females is that they don’t become judged or tempt other men, which I think is a good reason. Imagine all the positives about wearing a burqa. For one, all women could suddenly have an even playing field and not be judged on whether they’re dressing like “sluts”. Make up and hair products wouldn’t take out such a large part of the living costs because you wouldn’t need foundation, conditioner, hair dye, or even concealer for pimple breakouts. Plus you’d probably never have to think about shaving your legs as often if no one other than you can tell how hairy they are becoming.

But despite all the positive reasoning I can think about burqas, traditionally it’s not something people of our country would ever decide to do. It’s just not easy to radically change the ideas set by tradition and the society most of us have grown up in. And I guess that’s where I sit in terms of the question I gave you. While some may believe when we live in New Zealand we easily follow the ideals and traditions that we’ve accepted as we grew up here, we cannot expect immigrants to instantly conform to our ideals of society. We should ultimately be thankful of the free choice we have as a country, along with being granted the rights and equality between the genders. So honour those who follow their traditions, whether they wear a burqa or not. Because either way you look at it, they’re allowed free choice in this country too.

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