This is a rather belated response to Marina Mahathir’s writing in The Star; but I feel a response is rather warranted anyway, from me that is. We all remember Munirah Bahari’s statement on the school uniform and how it could lead to sexual misconducts a few weeks back; and how it caused quite a stir in the country. Some supported the statement, and some disapproved of it (rather emotionally; I wonder why). One such disapproving statement came from Marina Mahathir. She wrote in her column in The Star, Musings by Marina Mahathir, an article entitled “Looking beyond the white blouse”. I hope by writing her name down in here she could stumble across this blog via Google and read this entry by me.
Marina Mahathir, in her article, wanted to (sarcastically) nominate Munirah Bahari’s statement for “Small Mind of The Year” award. Well, Marina, how about I nominate that response of yours for that award? To me, Marina’s response is more emotional than academic or rational. Even a 20-year old friend of mine had easily disputed Marina’s writing (Read here). I feel like arguing Marina’s writing sentence-by-sentence; but then, that might perhaps make her article look like “the smallest mind of the year”.
I have written a response on Munirah Bahari’s statement before (search for it, it’s somewhere in the archives of my blog). At no point in her statement (except if perhaps she misconstructed her words, thus became misunderstood) did Munirah implied that the school uniform is the sole and main factor for rape. So, I have to question: what’s with the people who just can’t seem to grasp the gist in Munirah’s statement? Erm, is it small-mindedness?
The main idea in Munirah’s statement was that the school uniform which Muslim students wear nowadays are improper, in the sense that the white garment used for the school uniform are of thin material, thus makes it slightly transparent. Tell me Marina, would you wear a transparent cloth to go to work? I think not. So, when almost everyone in this country managed to overlook on the simple matter of a student’s dressing, Munirah stood up and voiced out. There’s nothing small-minded in that.
If this issue is such a small issue, why then, did TV3, RTM, MalaysiaKini, Associated Press, and some local radio station took up the issue? TV3 and RTM even held polls, of which on both channels more then 60% of the voters agreed with Munirah’s arguments that the school uniform (specifically, the baju kurung) that we have nowadays is to some extent, sexy. And please understand, we are discussing the term “sexy” from an Islamic point of view, since the article is – since the beginning – concerning the female Muslims students attire. Now, can we deny the simple known matter that transparent clothing will arouse sexual desires of men? It’s only normal.
Yes, it’s true that not all men are sex maniacs. However, that is not in any way a permission for any women to dress indecently. True enough, rape cases can even happen to a fully clad woman. Still, again, that is not in any way a permission for any women to dress indecently. Put aside the rape matter; wouldn’t it be just nice, appropriate, civilized, proper and honourable for a Muslim woman to dress decently in accordance to the guidelines set by the religion? Even if we talk about the rape matter, eventhough in most cases it’s the men that has to be blamed, there are several cases in which the women has a part to play. I’d like to bring a simple analogy to present my argument. (Small-minded people might not be able to understand a simple analogy such as this. Please get help if you can’t understand this.) Let’s say M is a car owner. M parks her car outside the gates of her house. She doesn’t lock the doors, and she leaves the car keys hanging in the car. Then her car got stolen. Now, we all agree that the thief who stole the car is guilty for stealing. But then, would people not blame M for being careless, for not taking care and safety precautions? Think over it.
And what’s this about comparing Munirah’s statement with French students taking to the streets? Clearly, Marina, you’re out of context. It’s such a childish argument that I don’t I need to argue much about.
One thing I agree with Marina: Even opinions must have a sound basis, not plucked from the air.