Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Good Hair in Malaysia (A failed attempt to microblog)

I’ve returned to my blog after having been in the trenches writing a grant proposal, setting up and attending play dates, fighting the subsequent colds, and even saving my son’s life after he fell facedown into a fountain.  (That was a bit scary.)

I am in the process of gathering my thoughts for my next post Race and Residence in KL, Part 2. I’m excited about it because I’ve had an aha moment about race and ethnicity in the United States.

When I talk to my husband about the coming post, he teases, “Don’t make it too long."  I am incapable of microblogging, he concludes. “You have to write a report.” 

I take his light taunt with an ounce of pride.  “That’s because I’m an academic.” To prove him wrong, I’m sending this shorter post in the meantime.  

The photo is that of a woman I met at the bank today. When she sat next to me, you know I had to say something. “I like your hair!” But my wide eyes and smile must have said, “How in the world did you get braids?”  “I’m married to a Nigerian,” she answered. “Is this your first time having them?” “No, my tenth time.”

I will refrain from any analysis and allow you to draw your own conclusions about the amazing era in which we live, as people, ideas and practices crisscross the globe.

By the way, she is half Malay and half Chinese. Noticing her natural Asian hair under the weave, I couldn’t help but think of the part in Chris Rock’s Good Hair when he tries to sell black hair (as opposed to Indian or Asian hair). A Korean shop owner responds saying that no one wants to look like Africa. 

My Malaysian acquaintance is likely to differ. And that’s why hers is my pic of the week.


  1. I finally took the time to read your Blog. It is wonderful. I am so proud of you both. I hope that my children have the opportunity to live in other cultures and explore the world. I am thrilled for you. I had my locks tightened today and my stylist told me that Six Flags amusement park will not hire anyone with locks. It is written in their policy. So I have joined her "fight" to get the policy reversed! Love you.

  2. I LOVE IT! Thanks for posting this small blog; still powerful! Give the boys kisses and hugs from "auntie Isha" please! And greetings and best wishes to Hud!

  3. Love this post and the crisscrosses of the globe it represents! Tell Hud I'm a fan your long posts and you can fail at micro-blogging all you want...I'll still be reading.

  4. Yet another wonderful post, Jamillah. I love to the picture of the week and your inability to microblog. Looking forward to reading your on Race and Residence pt2. Tell Yahya to stay away from fountains!

  5. I enjoy reading your blog. . . micro or not. I would have asked who and where she got it braided. A good braid stylist is a necessity for me anyway.