We have an unofficial but widely accepted tradition in my culture to switch our wardrobe from winter to summer clothes around this time of the year. It is especially important for traditional wear, in which there are still many people who abide strictly by the rules on the timing for switching: summer wear must not be worn before June 1st.
But in recent years, I cannot help but sense the effects of global warming… summer comes earlier, becomes hotter and more humid, and lasts longer. I find it very impractical to put on winter wear when the sun is glaring and it gets to over 25 degrees Celsius (or 77 degrees Fahrenheit), even when it is still early in May. I would choose T-shirts and shorts and sandals if I were to wear Western clothing – can I not have the same freedom to choose with traditional wear?
Well, maybe I can.
Maybe I will get a few frowns from those who abide strictly by the rules, but nobody will force those rules on me.
Maybe if I truly feel that I cannot bear to put on winter wear in early summer weather, I will not hesitate to take out my summer wear.
Or, maybe if I know that I will be receiving scornful looks at a particular gathering, I will simply choose not to put on any traditional wear.
So, what do I actually choose to do?
I choose to abide strictly by the rules, for now.
Maybe because I have yet to learn everything there is to know about the rules, including their hidden meanings and not-so-obvious intentions.
Maybe because I am still finding out the many other factors involved, like fabric texture and colours that can make you feel cooler even in winter wear.
Maybe because I do not want to dismiss as outdated all the style and manner of my ancestors that survived through time without first trying to see how they do (or do not) fit our lifestyle today.
And because I abide strictly by the rules, I am starting to experience something very interesting – the strict abiders tell me, though usually secretly, that they too think some of the rules are becoming a nonsense and would forgive me if I chose to break them. In fact, they would actually approve of the rules being updated and revised, if suggested by those who know the rules inside and out.
Maybe if only some abandon the rules and chose to stand outside of them, that would be called breaking the rules.
But maybe if we can get inside the rules in order to make a fair and impartial judgment on which parts need changes, then that would be called updating or revising the rules.
And maybe it will have a better chance of being a unanimous ruling… more easily and widely accepted.
I would much rather be an updater / reviser than a breaker of rules. So until I have racked up enough time to be able to make a well-received ruling on the rules, I think I will choose to start first by being a strict abider.