The Baju Problem

  1. Picture this. You had a bitter start to a day. You and your roommate overslept. You didn’t have time to indulge yourself to a relaxing morning shower. You didn’t have time to iron your shirt so you just put on whatever was lying around, stuffed your already bursting bag pack and scrambled down the stairs. You have decided to pick up breakfast at pocket D when lo and behold, there stood the mighty law enforcer of the university. Armed with a small notebook, his hands resting on both sides whilst his eyes scanned the whole area; a wild eagle in search of his prey. You could only watch in utter surprise and curiosity. How could you not? Something so odd in a place so familiar to you. It’s a refreshing sight especially after you’ve spent your week stretching yourself over assignments, classes (and occasional late night lepak sessions with your clique).

It’s all fun and new. The guard being stationed there gave you something to talk about with your classmates. Something to laugh and gossip about. Until of course that guard finally called you and issued you a fine for wearing “inappropriate attire”.

While this I can confirm didn’t happen to me (or did it?), I have to say this is where we should stop and start thinking of the situation. How exactly does wearing round-collared shirts and jeans make you indecent? Shouldn’t you at least be allowed to wear the kind of clothing you want within the premises of your own university? Isn’t it a part of self-actualization? A way for you to express yourself to others? Or are all of those things just stuff people made up to feel good about themselves?

Personally, I believe society put too much virtue on fashion. Be it fashion critics in magazines or a mall guard in a rural town, people constantly judge others based on how they see them. According to the media, the innate beauty of certain colors and shapes disappear as the seasons change. I understand that people’s opinion changes; that’s natural. But why should that opinion be enforced onto others? Why should I stop liking purple just because it is not in season? While they don’t exactly force anyone physically or restrain their rights of having opinions or liking, society does pressure others into favoring things they like. Just skim through some magazines or websites. You’ll get the idea.

Judging someone on how they dress regarding anything other than how they dress is just lazy and presumptuous. If someone has an income which can barely afford them the luxury of buying designers outfits, why should he or she go the extra mile to make an impression on others? And even if they can afford that lifestyle, why should they keep up with how the world think of fashion? Some people, like yours truly, appreciates vintage clothes. Some people prefers collecting quirky accessories. Why shouldn’t our preference be important as any other? Bottom line is, you don’t have to like something to accept it. Be a good person and just tolerate things. If it is none of your business in the first place, you shouldn’t be concern about it at all, honestly.

On the other hand, some will say that there’s a need of a dress code for certain professions in society but, realistically, that necessity is only there because we’ve placed certain expectations on those professions in the first place. A doctor’s competency isn’t lowered if he wears leather pants. Yet if someone saw him in studded leather pants they might be afraid to have him operate on them. Why? Because he doesn’t look like how we expect a doctor to look like. Similar to how we expect doctors to wear suits and look professional, we also expect bikers and rock stars to wear leather pants. So when we see someone in a suit we assume they’re a professional and when we see someone in leather pants we assume they’re a biker/rock star. That’s our fault. Not theirs.  They are just being themselves. Who are we exactly to tell them it’s wrong and they should be stopped?

Honestly, this argument goes on and on. Whether we like it or not, fashion and all of its wonders and horrors are a staple part of our life. People use decency, politeness and religion as a way to enforce ideals upon others, including on how one should dress. But these certain few cannot become the main reason we reject traditional, conventional ideas. While I advocate self-realization and exploring oneself, I also would, however, reaffirm my belief that maintaining your self-esteem and retaining your cultural identity is just as important. In conclusion, be brave. Explore yourself. Make mistakes. Learn from those mistakes. And become better.

Dress in any way you want. Just don’t become a carbon copy of Miley Cyrus. We don’t need two of that.



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