Saturday, July 9, 2011

of pink bra and school demerit




It's first school report pick-up-time for eldest daughter today. Since she's the first in high school for me, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Turned out to be a normal session of class teacher explaining her strengths and weaknesses, lavishing her with praises for the good things she does...but, giving me a shock by saying that she has a demerit of 10 marks because of wearing a pink bra! Class Teacher quickly said "not to worry, it's only 10 marks" before dismissing us, and of course, before I digested the info, although alarm bells have started ringing in my head then. As I am a bit slow in responding to shocking things, I didn't get to respond appropriately to Class Teacher on the spot.

Later, when we were at the car and about to leave the parking spot, I asked Daughter "what was that pink bra all about again?". So she explained that one day in May, there was a disciplinary check-up at her class, during which, the prefect on duty checked to see her bra colour and decided that, since it was pink, she had to get a demerit of 10 marks. "So how did you feel about it?", I asked as casually as I could. "It feels weird, as if I'm being violated", she responded. "That's the thing, didn't you see that that's one form of unfairness? Why didn't you tell anyone then?", I couldn't hold it anymore. "I did feel that it's unfair! But I didn't want to get into more trouble!", she defended herself hotly. "Well you should have told me. I would have complained to your teacher", I told her.

Daughter and I discussed the matter, and I explained to her that checking somebody's bra is indeed a violation of privacy. Firstly, it is basic human right to wear whatever colour underwears they want. Secondly, that particular color might be the only one in which they can find their size. Thirdly, it could be the only one available to wear at that time. I reminded her to fight for her rights, although being an aspiring prefect herself at her age, I know she would rather dismiss the thing as unimportant rather than jeopardize her chance of being selected as a permanent prefect. (That is how successful the system is in brainwashing the young ones to compromise their basic rights in exchange of power. It is so disturbing.)

We checked the school's discipline booklet, and to my horror there's a clause that states "Hanya baju dalam (bra) yang mirip warna kulit (skin ccolour) dibenarkan" (Only skin-coloured bras are allowed). What the heck?!!! Why do people make such a big fuss about bra colours? It's not as if she is going to strip and show it off to others! Phew, I still feel angry so I'm going to have to postpone writing the letter of complain I was going to write to the principal...

9 comments:

Gunaqz on July 10, 2011 at 6:55 AM said...

OK, that's it, I'm losing my temper!

What is the purpose of making bra colour codes into school rules? This is the most ridiculous rules I've ever read!

I suspect they may want to suggest 'keseragaman' but this is waaaayyy too much! Undergarment is not something others can 'check' against your will. Nobody is allowed to even ask you to lift your shirt for them to see what's underneath. That's a harassment.

Verone, would you do me a favour? Please include in your letter to your daughter's school principal, a question of what exactly would they like to achieve by implicating this rule? I know in certain parts of our diversity communities, there are people who take anything 'revealing' as an offense. I have nothing to say about that, it's their freedom of belief. But if this bra colour code has got something to do with that, then I'm opening my mouth.

I feel sorry to your daughter. I can't imagine how would I stop my fist from 'flying' into people's face should they give me troubles for my choice of brassieres!

Verone on July 10, 2011 at 10:51 AM said...

Gunaqz- I will certainly include your point in the letter...

After sleeping it off, I am still upset. And the points I want to write are still laced with emotion, so I haven't even started the first word yet. Won't do writing a letter that would only trigger some people's hatred towards my daughter, and make her a vicious target of... whatever (I hope I'm only imagining things her but you never know)

Gosh, this is soooo ridiculous kan? Unbelieveable!

Borneo rain on July 10, 2011 at 5:24 PM said...

Oh dear, so sorry to hear about this sort of thing happening to your daughter, Veron!

In short, it's all about conforming, or learning to conform, isn’t it? No wonder, there’s always something about high-school that makes us cringe, because of this experience of always having to try and fit in. (As I read you here, I'm reminded again that we are in that kind of society where even when you're sitting down, you are told not to stand out!)

Nevertheless, this is the first I've heard of 'bra colour' rules. I do remember another colour-coordination kind of rule - the school where I used to teach had rules that said that girls must colour-coordinate their barrettes, clips, ribbons and hair bands (including 'gatah rambut' (those with thick hair had to use ‘gatah sayur’) to the colour of their hair. But this didn’t stop some girls who continued to wear colourful hair accessories, and become punished over and over. Come to think of it, I think they must have done this under protest, if nothing else.

Whatever it is (whether we become self-righteous and indignant, complete push-overs, or barely scathed, by the time high-school’s done), it’s important we talk to our kids about what’s right and wrong, and their absolute right, as you did - and am so happy to hear that you did, cos our kids do need us to stand up for them, especially when they’re young. Then, I guess the question that remains is when, how and where we can do that for them, and since your daughter’s older, whether she wants you to do that for her.

So, I’ll be thinking of you, Veron! Let us know how it goes k? How this pink bra challenge goes ☺ Keep good and strong heart! If something happens, or nothing happens, I’ll be sure to never see a pink bra as just a pink bra again! It’ll stand for when your daughter, indeed for when all of us, started coming into our own ☺ Go pink bras indeed! ☺

Mommy's Recipe on July 10, 2011 at 7:21 PM said...

Telampau ba dorg ni.Dulu masa budak2 saya di sekolah menengah pun dorang kana suru raba dan tingu adakah murid perempuan pakai 'kun dalam'.Dorang pengawas jadi terpaksa la buat.Kalau pakai baju kurung mesti pakai singlet lagi di dalam,kalau 'terang' bra nanti kana denda.Sekolah yang buat tu peraturan ka dari kementerian?

CrysJoan on July 11, 2011 at 1:29 PM said...

Dr sekolah be tu.. simis mesti pakai, singlet x buleh warna selain coklat/putih.. warna baju (form 6) x bulih guna kuning yg terang (skul sa dlu -entah apa beza, kuning juga).. but for me apa yg durang bilang JANGAN.. itulah yang sa kesiokan buat..

sa pernah kana suruh jumpa guru kaunseling just because sa x suka ikat rambut p skolah. What the heck?! haha..lepas tu putung rambut kasi pindik, kana panggil guru disiplin, bilang kenen rambut telampau pindik smpai nmpk tengkuk.. abis bukan tei kalau ikat rambut nampak tengkuk juga? I still dont get it until now.. wahahha

Kay Kastum on July 13, 2011 at 1:02 PM said...

We are totally focusing on the wrong stuff lah in school. Our school system need to be changed. It's the new and challenging age now and we are still forced to follow the old ways of just ikuut saja ndak payah pikir banyak way. LoL!

Verone on July 15, 2011 at 10:06 PM said...

Trix, Mummy Manda, Crys and Kay- betul ba kan. They definitely focus on the wrong stuffs at school. Mcm mana mo maju? I chatted with some parents and I was enlightened with the history of how the rule came to be. Apparently at one point a few years ago there was a bad disciplinary problem in the school: boys getting involved in drugs, teens engaging in free sex etc. So they decided to be strict. I was reminded that changing one aspect of the rule might affect the whole system again. Now that is scary but I still intend to bring this up the first chance I've got :) Too bad we are in this kind of society kan...

Borneo rain on July 16, 2011 at 7:50 AM said...

Hi Verone!

Good that other parents gave you their input! We, all parents, are the same, in this same boat of parent vs. school! Let's hope that one day, and some day soon, that this pink-bra thing will be a distant memory - that it becomes just another small dark pattern in this big fabric of school-life, contrasting the brighter colours there but not overwhelming them either, kan?

Big hugs! Hope to see you again soon!

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