Thursday, January 12, 2012


I started this blog with the initial intention of documenting everyday life, when I started my Masters in The Hague. But the wonderful thing about plans is that they always go awry. As I learnt more, I started thinking differently too, and I wrote more and more about all of it -- stereotypes, assumptions, injustices, words that I had taken for granted before.

So I have this blog and my time at ISS to thank for helping me see and think about the world in a different way. And I felt that a makeover was due since I graduated in December last year. I had initially planned to go back to Singapore or find some awesome job somewhere, but God had other plans, and so for the next year at least it seems that I will stay here, and the blog title has changed to reflect that.

Besides, I'm reclaiming the term 'minah' from its pejorative connotations to encompass more positive things -- a woman who is more concerned with what's in her head, and not what's on it.

I've also been published in NL! A few days after submitting my thesis last year, I went to interview the filmmakers of 'The Light in Her Eyes', a documentary about the work of Houda al-Habash, a female director of a girls-only Qur'an school. The interview is translated into Dutch (by none other than the Dutchman of course!), but the original English article is available here

I also got to watch a private screening of the film (which had juuust been completed) along with the filmmakers, another Dutch female filmmaker, and some officials. The film is fantastic. It reminded me so much about going to Sunday madrasah when I was young, except that I considered that so banal I wouldn't have thought of making a film on it! Besides, the teachers then didn't exactly emphasise the importance of secular education, like Houda does. (You can help increase publicity for the film by liking its Facebook page here.)

During the private screening, present was a rather famous female Dutch diplomat, who quite modestly described herself as an "expert on the Arab world", having lived in Syria and Jordan for oh, four years, and having quite recently predicted the Arab spring herself. She made me think quite immediately of the upper-class Greek women I met in Athens.

Anyway, I'll be writing more for this magazine, inshallah! :)

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