Saturday, February 11, 2006

No Fancy Spectacles


First we have the controversy of taking mobile phones to schools (which I never got round to blog about), and now some schools are clamping down on fancy spectacles. Hmm...

In a frontpaged report by Nanyang Siang Pau, two secondary schools in Penang – the Penang Chinese Girls High School and SMJK Heng Ee – have barred students from wearing “peculiar” and colourful spectacles to class.

The ban is apparently to "prevent" students from following ("跟风") the latest trends of some of their hippier classmates, and spending extravagant amounts of money on the fancy frames. The principal of Penang Chinese Girls High School, Yeoh Eng Sim was quoted to have said that "stern action will be taken to put a stop to this before it gets out of hand".
过去以来,戴奇形怪状或抢眼眼镜上学学生大有人在,只是一小撮而已。如今已有越来越多学生“跟风”,所戴的眼镜花样百出。一些学生还戴了镜框全白或粉红眼镜到校,太引人注目了,连我也不能忍受。基于当时学校还没有全面禁止,我们只能见一个,劝一个。”
The principal also added that the thick and multicoloured frames is totally unbefitting for a student's image - "完全不符学生形象".

I can understand the disruption that mobile phones can bring to the a student's attentiveness as well as the conduct of classes - but "fancy" spectacles a "major" disciplinary issue? I would have thought that's the business of the parents, not the school. Next, they will regulate what type of school bags designs you can bring to school and possibly the type of stationery (designer pens versus 50 cents ball point pens) etc. etc. etc.

Loosen up! It's no wonder there are those who think that without UUCA, there will be daily riots and demonstrations by students.

10 comments:

黄德峻 said...

they just can't open up their mind! world is changing! do you need to blame us for a yellowish teeth and force every students to whiten their teeth?

Anonymous said...

Next is a national order of no short pants ... every friday must wear baju kurung etc...

Impossible? Welll... its already commenced in some schools...

Chris said...

Actually, I'm not surprised. Chinese-medium schools have always had a policy of implementing conformity throughout their institutions. Contrary to what is being done in Islamised national schools, most Chinese-medium schools actually require the wearing of SHORT trousers up to Form 5 for boys (unless perhaps you happen to be Muslim), and require their girls to sport near-androgynous haircuts. A top Chinese school in Bukit Mertajam even restricts the wearing of religious articles! I have not seen any examples of such spectacles; there may be a case for not allowing them if indeed they are terribly distracting and garish, but generally their dress codes are way too strict - discipline is one thing and not always bad, generating clones a whole other story.

P.S. This is an informative blog for someone who is interested in education like myself. Keep up the good work!

thquah said...

I believe that the chinese medium type schools are more stricter than the national type schools in the rules set for them.
But sometimes these rules does really don't make sense at all.
We as parents cannot do much if we want our children to study in chinese medium school.We and the student just have to follow the rules or else we have to go to the national school.
It has it's pro and cons (the rules)but sometimes it just too much.

Anonymous said...

I think the school sure got no complaint if all students look like Mr. Bean.

tm tiong said...

At secondary school level, the kids must be educated to follow rules. Once they leave the secondary school they will be mature enough to differentiate what is good and bad, taking on responsibilities and different set of rules will applied, until then, the kids have to learn to abide by the rules. That is the reason why we have school uniform rules in school, what you wear constitute part of the uniform rules. Anyway no such rules in the post secondary school.

Schools now have to take on more disciplinary responsibilities as parents by choice or otherwise leave much of their children’s problems to the schools. It is not that the schools have nothing better do and like to make more rules to burden the school kids. Making rules are easy, enforcing it just hell a lot of burden to the school authorities, but the schools still do it. Why? Simple, the Chinese based schools believed that it is their responsibilities to do so. In Chinese language – the word - control and teach, not the other way round. As for the parents, now more often, they raise the kids without teaching them the value and that is the main problem.

LSY said...

I am an ex-PCGHS student, and this is not the weirdest(well, from my view, anyway) rules ever made. We already had to:
1. wear laced-up shoes(yup, no velcro); the shoes must not be too large, the soles too thick(less than 1.5, or 1 cm)
2. wear socks that is about one quarter-length the calf; those up to the knees are not allowed
3. keep our hair shorter than 5cm from the ears, but not too short until it became too tomboyish, else the school will either cut your hair for you(too long; I was subjected to this once), or have you wear a shower cap(too short; what I heard after I left school)
4. not more than 1 earhole in each ear; earrings must be small stud earring with only certain colours...
5. no straightened or curled hair, those with naturally curled hair must inform the prefects in the beginning of the year
6. etc, etc

PCGHS is very strict about enforcing it's rules, eapecially with student's hair(they actually use a 5cm plastic film to measure one's hair) and nails. I remember being checked on nearly every week!

That's not all, we actually have to take a "school rules test", in which the marks are actually counted in our Moral subject(10%). Still, I guess the environment actually produces a very conducive(and rather competitive) study environment. Competitive in the sense that the top classes is split into cliques and always try to outdo each other, even in Pendidikan Moral!

chris said...

"At secondary school level, the kids must be educated to follow rules."

One would think that after having been brow-beaten (and I do mean beaten in the literal sense of the word) in the Chinese primaries adhering to rules isn't going to be that much of a problem, especially not in a culture where obedience and its symbols such as bowing to teachers is the norm. Sometimes we have to cut the pupils some slack too. Like I said before, discipline in itself is no bad thing but excessive doses of it, like with anything else, is.

"Once they leave the secondary school they will be mature enough to differentiate what is good and bad"

You are confusing something trivial, and at most, quirky, with something 'bad'. They are not the same. And in this case, there isn't anything to back the case up, unlike say where a religious text proscribes something.
Besides, many teenagers these days are actually quite mature for their age in certain spheres - certainly more than their parents used to be. I hesitate to say 'all' though. As differentiating between right and wrong (not that wearing a certain type of glasses is wrong, I reiterate), you mean to say that after at least 6 years of education the pupils still cannot do this, and that after a further 5 years in secondary schools a moral metamorphosis will take place?

More importantly, I fear such strict toeing the line will lead to blind acceptance of what is decreed from above and the loss of critical faculties. In fact, we can already see the fruits of such policies in our undergrads - the docility of the student 'reps' who are actually advocating the continuance of certain laws which their constituents do not agree with, for example. It is interesting to see the contrast between undergrads in the West, and our own - many of our own university students don't even have opinions, let alone the ability to defend them.

(sits back and waits for the ad homs and mudslinging to begin :) )

Anonymous said...

Don't you guys think that our education system is churning out robots that do exactly what is expected from the authority? This kind of rules will only worsen the situation whereby critical thinking and creative articulation of opinion pertaining to the vital issues of the world affairs is greatly stifled. Just imagine a human as a computer. Data, regardless of good or bad, will be input and stored in the brain. The data will be retrieved when needed by the authority. I know it sounds a bit paradoxical but it's true. Students nowadays only have 2 main responsibilities. 1-Read and memorise all the facts in the book. 2- Regurgitate the facts in exams in order to score distinctions. Have they ever questioned why the facts exist and why they are important for them to learn? Nope. All in all, the students only need to take what is provided. Not less, not more...

Joel Lee said...

As a current student of a Chinese secondary school, I condemn the principals and disciplinary board for setting up these rules. They may say we are immature (which I suspect whoever reading my comment will feel) but as the comment on top of me said, robots are exactly what the government wants. They want obedient citizens, not creative citizens. Look at our Pendidikan Moral textbooks, they are the most useless subjects ever created. Moral values cannot be taught in a school syllabus with 'values' and their definitions which cannot be changed, not even a single word. Moral values are taught when we are children, not during adolescence's. Hair lengths, sock lengths, and type of shoes are just a nuisance to our lives and to our parents lives and dose not show discipline in anyway. And when I get out of the country, we get laughed or someone asks you if you're a monk in the middle of Disneyland. Our rule books are like studying law. Chinese schools are so behind that they even spell iPad as I-Pad. I believe a 'communist' regime in a democratic country like Malaysia is not acceptable by anyone. I am very happy since next year all student are allowed to bring gadgets to schools, one step into entering a modernized education system. But I wont be surprised if schools in Penang
still ban them. My school also prevents religious article and my school is the first Buddhist school in Malaysia, isn't this funny?