Once again another mayor of a town decrees that all female high school students in the town should wear long skirts. There a re a number of compelling reasons why such a decree by a regional official should be rejected outright.
Student dress code should not be determined by a town mayor. If any mayor who is so inclined cab willy nilly impose his will, ideas and standard of morality, where will it all end? The female students of different towns will be dressed in a manner dependent on the whim of the local mayor.
Arif Sirajuddin believes that a male’s unwanted attention and immorality of young women are determined by the length of a skirt. In civilized societies females wearing modern, modest and practical clothes do not attract unwanted attention from the opposite sex. Furthermore long skirts have no bearing whatsoever on the morality or lack thereof the wearers.
It is truly tragic that many a man puts the blame of immorality, sexual permissiveness and lewdness on the female. These men never think that perhaps the menfolk actually are the ones that need to learn to control their behavior and be respectful to women.
It is never acceptable to harass, even to leer at or let alone attack women just because they wear garments that are not to the liking of the oversexed men. Parents, teachers and religious leaders must instill this truism in their charges. The head of the local high school principals association, Saleh Rugaya, even goes so far as stating that long skirts will reduce crime rates and sexual harassment. (I’m in agreement that students wearing long skirts are not likely to commit petty crimes because they can hardly avoid capture!)
Local representative of the Department of Education, Muhammad Asmin, sates that policy is to apply to all secondary schools, state-run and private, Islamic as well as non-Islamic.
One can’t help thinking that the real motivation behind this absurd ruling (just like another mayor’s ruling that elementary school pupils cannot attend secondary schools unless they can read the Koran) is the forced imposition of Islamic ideals on non-Muslims.
It is high time the central government stops the introduction of bylaws and regulations that are absurd, impractical, prejudicial to non-Muslims and definitely contrary to the laws of the land, including the Indonesian Constitution.
From YOUR LETTERS of THE JAKARTA POST Thursday July 27, 2006, written by Paul E. Rantau from Singapore.