Apparently, I have just received an ‘interesting’ email. I actually received it a few days ago, but since I blocked the email address of this person, the messaged did not appear on my inbox. I checked my spam folder this evening, and I found out he already sent me two emails. The first one, which I posted in my Instagram story, was this:
I know, it is ‘mind-blowing’. Take a deep breath, peeps. And the second one is this:
I do not think he is truly sincere though, and he is already offended me in the first place, so I have a zero respect for him. Well, before I tell you my response and my opinion regarding this email, I bet you wonder how I know or met this person, and whether he is my friend.
He is not my friend. We met on the bus, and he started the small talk. He said he was a teacher, but he had already retired. But now he has some kind of tutoring job. He said He has 30-40 years experience in teaching. At that time, I was interested to know about his experience in teaching. Although I’m not an education student, I currently have a volunteering job which is tutoring primary school. I taught primary school in Indonesia, I thought I have ‘enough’ experience, but teaching my current student is really challenging. So, I thought knowing him was such an advantage because I might learn something from him.
Yet, even though he was a teacher, I don’t know whether he updated the current issue about education or linguistics because he kept mentioning about how ugly and stupid broad accent is. Australia has three kinds of accents that is broad, general, and cultivated. I read about World Englishes from my readings, and I learn that accent is just the way people speak. You couldn’t and shouldn’t tell how educated a person is only based on the way they talk. Well, what kind of person who mocked his own variety of accent of Australian English?
He gave me all of his details in a paper, and I gave him my email only. At first, I thought he was genuine and a really nice teacher. But I began to suspicious since he dropped me a lot of emails and really insisted that we should meet and I would enjoy this kind of experience.
I told this to Kak Didi. She is my blogger friend who lives in Australia (you can check her blog here), so I thought Kak Didi must know how to react to this. She suggested some things and bringing a friend instead of going alone. So, I did.
Short story, the dinner went beyond horrible. By the time we sat at the table reserved, I had started swearing (in my head). He nagged about women who wear burqa and hijab. He fancies Pauline Hanson* and claimed that the majority of Australia agreed with her. He boasted about his Iran girlfriend who showed her boobs in public. My friend and I could not even defend ourselves. I obviously could not tell something from Quran or just explain that wearing hijab is God’s command. And when my friend tried to explain, he would just interrupt. My friend and I stared at each other like, ‘what the
fuck is this?’. I literally want to laugh so hard right now.
Now let’s talk about the email!
“Sorry for commenting on your attire but we Australians have a problem with how some Muslim dress and you turned up in that manner of dress.”
First of all, I have been here in Melbourne for a year, and no one ever gives such a negative comment on how I dress. Well, except when I was in Sunshine Coast, I got the racist comment, the word ‘F’, but that’s all. I mean the majority of Australians are nice and friendly. But the way he wrote ‘we Australians have a problem’ is an exaggeration and implies that all of Australians are like him.
No, it’s not.
“How some Muslim dress and you turned up in that manner of dress.”
Well, I’m not following the current fashion thing, but I believe I dress nicer than him. I personally think I have good taste in fashion. If only you came to that dinner with me, you would agree with me, because he dressed horribly. #sorrynotsorry.
“I have thoroughly checked the Qur’an and all it says is that women should dress modestly and I thought that Indonesian Muslims were moderate.”
He mentioned that Moslems in Arab were radical, extremist, and fanatic; and that Moslems in Indonesia are moderate since most of us not wearing long hijab. I could not believe he said it! He also said that I’m moderate. Well, I am an extremist, in a way that I will try to do my best to follow what the Quran and Hadists told me to do. I love being a Moslem, whether it is moderate or an extremist, whatever.
I also won’t buy it when he said he checked the whole Quran, because he won’t ask me why I wear the hijab in the first place.
“To us the way you were dressed is inappropriate for this country and we see it as sexist because Muslim men don’t need to cover up at all”
Firstly, he should put a comma after the word ‘us’ but he didn’t. Secondly, ‘to us’, who is ‘us’ anyway?. Thirdly, how could it be inappropriate?
Sexist is prejudice and discrimination against women, and he is the one who is sexist. I would like to quote Hira:
“I don’t like it when people call themselves feminist and have a problem with girls wearing hijab. Feminism is about women having equal rights and powers as everyone else. So if she wants to wear a bikini, she can. If she wants to have a haircut, she can. If she wants to show cleavage, she can. And if she wants to wear a burka, she freaking can! Not only you have no say in it, but also it is against what feminism stands for. Women are free to do whatever they want, no matter what their choices are.”
“I hope that you can one day escape the sexism that envelopes some women in your religion. It is not as disgusting and confronting as thr burqa but you still look ugly wearing all those clothes. Is that how you really wish to loo?”
Well, you are ugly on whatever you are wearing. And I would like to quote Hind Makki on this:
“I am a feminist, and my feminism doesn’t demand all women take off their clothes – whether they want to or not. My feminism doesn’t demand all women to conform to Western beauty ideals before they can be heard. My feminism is intersectional in nature, amplifying the voices of all women and our male supporters, who work toward building just societies where the lives of women and girls are protected equally under the law; where women and girls have equal access to health care, education and the work force; where women and girls have the choice to live the lives they want to live – without interference from their family, society or government. My feminism does not require me to turn my back on my Creator. My feminism is for everybody.”
I do remember he also mentioned feminism. Yet he knows nothing about it. For me, being a feminist is not following the western culture or western women kinda cloth, but women should be free to wear whatever she bloody wants. You want to show your boobs in public, and you are okay with it, go for it. You want to wear the burqa because you feel it is the right thing to do for you, please do it.
Its almost as if the problem isn’t the hijab or women-but arrogant men forcing their views on how women should dress.
Well, that’s a wrap, guys. I’m just a little bit upset, but I’m okay. I also won’t bother myself to reply to his emails. I already blocked him anyway.
I would like to say thanks and appreciate to you guys who dm me on Instagram and WhatsApp. I feel like I’m so grateful because I am surrounded by friendly people like you. :))
One thing that I could take from this ‘experience’ is that people like Pauline Hanson do exist.🙃