Source : The Star
Don’t let clothing hinder racial harmony
I WHOLEHEARTEDLY support Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s call for Malaysians to move together towards a Bangsa Malaysia in his address at the OIC summit.
However, it seems as though some of his colleagues in the government service do not share his views, vision and tolerance.
A friend recently recounted her experience when she attended an interview to join the government service.
She observed that several Malay and non-Malay women who were dressed smartly and formally, but in long skirts or trousers and not in baju kurung or baju kebaya were told to leave almost immediately.
Another friend related that in the government school where she teaches if a Malay woman teacher wears anything else other than the baju kurung or kebaya – even something as aurat-covering as a Punjabi suit – she would be reprimanded or spoken to by other teachers.
Even senior non-Malay teachers would wear baju kurung on a regular basis in order to gain the co-operation of the Malay women teachers.
While these dresses could be considered as our national costume, this unwritten law, imposed arbitrarily by certain individuals enforcing it as compulsory office-wear, only causes misunderstanding and resentment.
It is thoroughly disheartening to realise that something as trivial as clothing from another culture can become a stumbling-block to achieving racial harmony, tolerance, understanding and unity.