It is not an overstatement to say that I’m literally melting like ice-cream left out of the fridge for too long in the extreme heat that has taken over Hanoi. It has been 39, 40 degrees C aka 98, 99 F, no lie, for 4 days straight. Never have I wished so much for the wind to blow west, just so it can take Lao’s heatwave and spread it around Thailand rather than our already humidity-stricken eastern coast, no offense to the Thai people. My aunt went to Bangkok the other day and said you guys have it breezy and nice there, so you can understand my bitterness after a week of heat/humidity attack. It rained once yesterday bringing the temperature down to 34 C but it has shot up again today and is aiming once again for 40 C tomorrow…and it’s only June. I must say I never was a fan for warm climates, I complained daily every Massachusetts winter of my college days but this is still by far the more unbearable of the two.
Yesterday news-reading brought back memories of a project I did from first year…so long ago, and yet the hijab/burka controversy has been one to last decades in France. Don’t get me wrong, I love the country, the culture, and can’t wait to visit again but I can’t help but rethink the statement about France being xenophobic. France here perhaps being the administration in general, especially Mr.Sarkozy there creating some commission to invent a set of laws to prevent as much as possible the wearing of a hijab. He has gone so far as to say that wearing a hijab, I quote, “reduces the dignity of a Muslim woman”. I mean, seriously, what does a French white man of his status know about a Muslim woman’s “dignity”? because from interviews with these women, many have said to have their hijabs taken away would be the loss of dignity. Those who have chosen not to wear the hijab have their choice and have voiced their support for the freedom to choose. Is hijab-wearing truly religious or it is cultural? either one way or the other, shouldn’t one be able express one’s religion just in the way a Christian wears a cross or a Jewish wears a kippah and in the case of culture, shouldn’t it also be able to transcend borders as long as it’s not imposing? Why all this talk of a woman’s right coming out of male politicians instead of just saying outright how France’s history of State/Church separation hates this kind of free expression, how despite France’s highest Muslim population in Western Europe, France will still always be French. The ban on hijab-wearing in state schools is already enough, why continue to push it so far?