Baju Kurung In Schools - An Irony
Monday, July 11, 2005
It was a rainy Monday afternoon and everyone was stranded in campus. While we were taking shelter in the cafeteria, the crowd and atmosphere reminded me of our schooling days. Back then, whenever it rained heavily, most students would get wet. It was almost unavoidable, because the corridors could never completely shield us from the pouring rain.

As you know, the Baju Kurung is a traditional Malay dress which is supposed to cover, or retain one's modesty (menutup aurat). In my school, female students, regardless of race, could choose to wear either the pinafore or Baju Kurung. You may think that the Baju Kurung was a popular choice for girls who wished to "retain their modesty". Well, that didn't seem to be the case.

Many girls who wore the Baju Kurung in my school seldom "buckled" or "fastened" their Baju Kurung (damn. I know my translation sucks, so if you know BM, the term is "berkancing". Y'know, at the top of the dress, around the collar). That way, they actually revealed more of their neck compared to wearing a pinafore.

In addition, the material/fabric used for the Baju Kurung was so thin that wearing one was almost akin to wearing a transparent plastic. Whatever underneath the Baju Kurung had become a common sight in all schools, except all-boys' schools (duh). It's not like we stare into the dress intentionally, it's just that you can't expect everyone in school to be blind, can you?

To complete the list of ironies, the condition worsened whenever it rained. The thin material of the Baju Kurung served almost no purpose when the wearer got soaked in rainwater. Now, you may ask, doesn't the same thing happen to pinafore? Okay, we know that it is almost all too natural for girls to dress up attractively. For the case of pinafore, the girls would purposely shorten the length of their skirts (admit it, some of you reading this have done that before).

In my school, there were rules that told students to "buckle" up their Baju Kurung, of course. Same goes to the minimum permissible length of their pinafore skirts. But let's face it, often, these dresscode rules are not very strict, unless there're extreme cases (ie wearing a pinafore with a skirt the length of Anna Kournikova's tennis outfit).
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