pretty ethnic clothing: the saree

the first of a 3-part series of narcissistic posts on ethnic clothing, starting with the saree, which i wore to work yesterday (see pictures in previous post!)

i bought this cotton linen one from colombo, sri lanka. it is dyed a rich deep purple colour which fades to a light violet, with a rainbow for the over-the-shoulder sash.

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my akka brought me to her tailor at tekka market, little india, to make the choli (cropped blouse) and transform the untameable bale of cloth into an ‘instant saree’. i am quite obviously incapable of draping it safely, and having an instant sari where all i need to do is velcro and hook the sari at the waist is essential to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions and accidental flashing.

apparently i bought what people term a ‘temple saree’ – plain, without the flashy glass beads and costume jewels, with the art of the dye being its only adornment. akka recommended puff sleeves and an intricate back to make it more youthful. i like how it turned out, and i received compliments from indians and chinese alike.

the first (and only) time i wore it to work, i was pulled aside by a middle-aged indian lady with whom i make small talk every now and then. she helped me adjust the sari so that it draped nicely over my chest, and pulled it taut enough to accentuate my curves without any muffin-tops. a colleague supplied me with a pretty purple bindi.

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not sure when I’ll have the opportunity to wear this again, but it was good fun, even if it made climbing stairs near impossible!

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racial harmony day 2014

we were invited to dress [up] in ethnic wear in celebration of racial harmony.

(not sure how long i can keep these photos up, depending on how open my colleagues are to online privacy)

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some of my closest friends for the past decade in my life are from the minority races, and every now and then, i get the sense that i seem to be the minority for that.

racial harmony day hardly scrapes the surface of the issue. while i think racial prejudice will continue to exist in some minor form or another, true racial harmony should imply more than just the absence of racially-driven conflict.

how can we become as colourblind as, say, the brazilians? can we do without the “race: chinese/malay/indian/other” option on forms? will it actually matter, if we take race out of the identity card (and replace it with something more useful like the blood type?) can we begin to take colour out of public speech, beginning with parliamentary concerns and non-colour/community-divided national day rallies? of course, all that is easier said than done, given that different communities have varying concerns that require different policies and solutions.

still, something to look forward to. (ok, given the way our youth are becoming effectively monolingual in English anyway, perhaps the rallies in non-english official languages will be scrapped soon enough. and that is another issue for another post)