Dressing up ‘appropriately’ has been a massive topic of debate throughout Malaysia for several decades now. With different cultures and religions playing a major factor, we just never seem to be able to come to a conclusion.
At one point, this issue became so controversial when a 3-year-old child was denied treatment in clinics just because the mother’s pants were too short!
Now, it seems like a simple dress worn by a 12-year-old girl was deemed inappropriate to the point where she had to withdraw from the national Chess tournament she participated in.
This incident sparked outrage throughout Malaysians. Mandy K. was one of the many upset citizen who shared how terribly she was once treated too because of her outfit.
In a letter to Free Malaysia Today, Mandy recalls her time when she was in Form 4 and was told to change out of her cheongsam during the school’s Merdeka celebrations, into a baju kurung.
“I had borrowed my mum’s cheongsam and it wasn’t even body hugging compared to some of my schoolmates who were fitted in sheer nyonya kebayas.”
But it wasn’t as though Mandy wore anything as she wished. She had actually gotten permission from the discipline teacher just to wear her cheongsam for the celebration!
“But I suppose being the only person in the whole school who opted to wear the cheongsam, it was easy to be singled out.
“Shortly after that incident, my Moral teacher made a snide remark about me in class, saying that my cheongsam was not ‘polite’.
“When I related what had happened to my parents, they went to the school and demanded a public apology for me.
“However, the principal and my teachers told my parents that I was told to change as they were afraid my cheongsam would ‘affect the emotions of the male students’.”
Obviously, it was a typical victim-blaming attitude the teacher had. And Mandy’s mum was NOT having any of this bullsh*t. Never mess with an Asian mom!
Her mom told them that her daughter shouldn’t be ‘chastised for proudly wearing her national traditional costume’ and gave them a reality check that the teachers should probably be the ones to ‘think about what they were teaching the boys in school.’
At that time, Mandy was still young and couldn’t see why her parents made it into a big deal.
“But I get it now.
“I get why they fought for me and why we shouldn’t be living in a time where incidents such as this happen to brilliant girls.
“Like the girl who was forced to withdraw from the national chess tournament recently or our national gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi who was criticised over a photo of her wearing her leotard two years ago.
“I hope this doesn’t deter the chess player from the game she loves. I hope she knows she didn’t do anything wrong. I hope she gets the apology I never got.”
Indeed, it was extremely unfair for a person to be treated different due to their outfit. And the excuse that a woman’s clothing will affect the emotions of men is the oldest and lamest excuse ever.
It is just like blaming a rape victim’s outfit for being ‘too revealing’ and not the rapist’s sick and twisted mind of thinking he can rape anyone he wanted.
Read the original letter from FMT here.
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