Before we get too far into this I feel as though I need to quickly outline the difference between observation and racism. It is a fine line, I will admit, however there is a distinction. If one makes a stereotypical observation about a certain behaviour that is only found among a particular ethnic group, and not observed in any other ethnic group then that’s not racism – that’s just noticing stuff, or the academic pursuit of Anthropology, if you will.
But, I digress.
What on God’s-green-earth is going on with Asians and their obsession with freaking umbrellas? [By way of background you may want to check this earlier umbrella related post].
I just came home after a walk through the city. I was at a café enjoying a good book when my outing was cut short when they closed early. (This will, of course, form a topic of conversation for another hard-hitting blog.)
On my walk home I saw an Asian girl in her early-twenties sitting on a bench seat, waiting for her boyfriend to finish taking photos of the harbour (remember observations aren’t racism). The harbour wasn’t looking particularly nice today, as the sky was very overcast. Not sunny, but not raining either.
I’ve done my research, and the Apple Mac Dictionary (the red book one with the “Aa” on the cover) has the following entry:
A device consisting of a circular canopy of cloth on a folding metal frame supported by a central rod, used as protection against rain or sometimes sun.
Please pay particular attention the two situations in which an umbrella has an approved usage opportunity: rain or [sometimes] sun. I would argue that if you are in Australia it is never appropriate to use an umbrella as a sun shield, for fear of looking like a complete wally. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to sit idly by* and let an umbrella be used when it is neither raining nor sunny.
This young girl was not hiding from the harsh sun. Although research suggests that partially cloudy skies can often amplify UV-B radiation, I think it’s safe to assume she didn’t know this and besides it was completely overcast. The second approved usage, rain, certainly wasn’t a factor either. If she was anticipating soon-coming-rain then I herby award her points for preparedness, but she was taking it too far. Simply having an umbrella with you is preparation enough. There is no need to have the umbrella deployed pre-rain. I would go as far as to rule that one must only deploy an umbrella once precipitation has begun. Otherwise other people see the premature umbrella deployment, think it is raining and then begin to panic.
Isn’t adverse weather bad enough to deal with when it actually arrives? Do we really need people who live in fear of the dreaded droplet or the scary sunray reminding us of impending weather-doom?
Let’s end the unnecessary usage of umbrellas.
* In the interests of transparency: I walked idly by without taking action against the inappropriate use of an umbrella. Then I sat by and blogged about it.