While we were still sleeping in our hotel room in Kuala Lumpur, back home the world was welcoming...
Jan 14, 2008
at 6:06 am
Mara Murphy & Chuck Mortimore
Boy what a busy day we had today. It is best summarized in bullet points for easier digestion:
*I saw only her eyes. The rest of her was shrouded in a veil of black, giving the illusion that she was somehow floating through the air like a ghost. The sharp contrast between this black shroud of a woman against the overindulgent and capitalistic backdrop of the Bintang Walk in KL’s ultrahip shopping district was a reminder of the stark contrasts within the human experience. I was enthralled. But could I look at her? Should we look away? Patrick too has noticed her and reacted by turning away, not sure of the appropriate behavior.
Moments later we saw her walking again, in the mall of super indulgence and this time I observed the shiny Dolce&Gabbana slung over her shoulder. Again, a sign of the times. But my questions still remained – had he chosen this, what did she look like? My Western mind could only see suppression of the feminine but is our Western addiction with physical beauty, plastic surgery and clothing any less constricting and suppressive to women? Because I could not “see” her, it was as if I could not find the way to relate to her as a woman – only her eyes, and I did not want to divert my gaze.
The next day on the bus, Patrick and talked about the woman in black and wondered about her life, her desires, her wishes, her choices, her religion. Being in a Muslim country, women in head scarf and traditional clothes are ever present, and the colors and varying styles suggest that choice is available and women’s preferences and personalities are expressed through their choice of color, style and pattern. We want to learn and wonder whom we might be able to ask.