Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Uniform For Bed Time

There was a serious discussion among the old boys about the state of the school now (ha ha nothing new there). It started from commentaries about the last OBW (which apparently left a lot of room for improvements, especially since we were hosting the Siamese - oooh I'd love to be there, just to tell these kids to hate Thaksin!), and digressed to the standard at MCKK now, then went on and on about the ridiculous changes happening and finally to the part that interests me most - the uniform for bed time!

A big ha ha - college boys now can only wear track bottom to go to sleep. No more shorts, no more "three quarters", no more kain sarung, a big NO NO to boxers.

There were many theories as to why this rule was enacted, ranging from the creepy crawlers thing at night (as if everyone wore boxers back then), to the maxim that "...

* I hate it when you are caught blogging by your boss!

... to the maxim that "a leader does not want to share the sin of youngsters not covering their aurat, hence the ruling".

I don't want to make comments about the ruling, but I do want to reflect how it was back then.

I sat very highly in Badan Revolusi Ugama (BRU), which by its name, suggests the uncompromising stand it takes as far as Islam was concerned. It was indeed uncompromising in many ways, but during our time - choice and tolerance were the catch phrase of the day that those who sat very highly in BRU were the ones exposing aurat left right and centre.

If my memory serves me right, throughout 1994, I had never once worn anything but a short. I had various shorts for the sleeping purpose - from the very short one, to a bermuda type, to a sporty type, to a "three quarter".

Every night during lights off, if the warden on duty were to be an ustaz, he would frown and expressed his displeasure as politely as possible that a president of BRU had the audacity to stand before him uncovered. But that was it - he wouldn't do more than just that, never was I beaten or punished because of my fancy shorts. Sometimes the next morning I may end up becoming an imam for Subuh prayers (if I woke up in time that is).

Personally speaking, it was not out of rebelliousness or trend or for stature that I wore shorts throughout my F5 days - it was purely the most comfortable attire to wear at night. The dorm was blazing hot and the silly fan just did not reach my bed. On top of that, I knew for a fact that shorts or pants were not a factor when it came to the creepy crawler bit.

And I wish koleq's administrators would just see it as that. It's for practical reasons that most boys wear shorts to sleep.

But college is a changed place. It is no longer the cradle for liberalism and openness that it was during my time. Some of us still retain the liberalism and openness that we discovered and exercised back in college, it is sad that the same liberalism and openness is perhaps no longer in existence there.

Perhaps the days when we could organise ourselves to counter HM's proposals, or to be given the freedom to run college ourselves, or to operate as an independent minded body of students, are long gone.

For when you are told what you have to wear for lights off has become an acceptable culture in MCKK, that tells a lot about the kind of freedom allowed for the boys.

Footnote: I no longer own most of the shorts - they were taken by juniors who did not mind sharing my shorts.

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