Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Islamic Fashion?

In Canada, in my experience, every girl I knew who wore a veil ALWAYS wore a veil and was NEVER seen without one. Muslim girls who didn't wear a veil NEVER wore one and I don't remember seeing any of them ever wearing one. In Indonesia, the role of the veil is quite different. Some girls choose to wear their veil on Fridays only. Others wear it on days that they forget to do their hair or are running late. Most Indonesian muslim girls have at least one Facebook profile pic wearing a veil. Another interesting phenomenon is the wardrobe on Islamic holy days, such as the various Eids. Soap operas suddenly become a lot less revealing as all the gorgeous actresses suddenly get veils and as all the handsome actors look a lot more pious as they suddenly dawn kufi's and sarungs. You also see some very fashionable girls strutting their stuff veil and all, incorporating the jilbab (as hijab is called here) into their look. Its quite different from Iran, where the girls wear the veil only defiantly and bending every regulation they can, showing as much hair as they can. Here, it is not obligatory, and so girls who do wear it are mostly those who choose to. Also, some shops don't allow their staff to wear the veil. So, you see a girl walk into work veiled, do her shift unveiled, and put it right back on as soon as work is out. Another interesting phenomenon is the mother with full veil walking through the mall with her teenage or twenty-something daughter wearing a mini skirt, tight top and heels. Here, it seems the veil has a lot to do with a stage of life, representing motherhood.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Di Mana Ya?!

"Di mana ya?" You will very often here this phrase in Jakarta. The city is an absolute maze without any urban planning going into the sprawl of this city. Consequently, the citizens of this metropolis very often get lost. About 60% of the journeys I've been on with native Jakartans involved either getting totally lost, or going around in circles for hours.  And that is a conservative estimate. I remember the first outing I went to here was to the Wall Street Halloween party. It was spread out over two locations, a pre-party for the underaged students who can't drink yet (and also for the majority of Indonesians who think going out after 11pm makes you a criminal, no matter what you're doing) and an after party at another nightclub. I was offered a ride from the first location to the second. I was happy to accept. What I didn't know was that it would take us about 40 minutes to get to a place that was less than a 10 minute walk away, due to the driver getting totally lost. So, if you hear your driver, friend, guide or host say "Di mana ya?" meaning "Where is it, huh?" don't be alarmed, just sit back, enjoy the scenery and be thankful you're not driving.