An open letter to my high school.. SMK Convent Teluk Intan

I don't know why I'm getting so worked up on this. I just feel like the issues in Malaysia are adding up and getting more ridiculous each day. This is why I like to ignore things. If I care too much I'll get really fired up and make a big fuss about it.

I just sent an e-mail to the school, hopefully they are using their e-mail and hopefully my mail is not filtered into junk mail. If they don't receive them, then hopefully this blog post will reach them. I really am very curious on what the authorities of the school are thinking. Genuinely interested.


Hello Madam/Sir, 

Hopefully this e-mail will reach the school. My name is Joey Kuan, an ex-Convent student. I am quite curious about the reason behind the new rules that has been imposed on visitors of the school ground. 

Translation: "Rules and clothing ethics of visitors"
"Things that are not allowed: sleeveless shirts, short pants, short skirts, coloured hair, earrings"
"No smoking zone"
"Courtesy is our culture" 

First of all, I saw this picture (as shown above) posted by a dear junior of mine and I am quite appalled by these new rules. I do understand it is appropriate for students to wear decent clothes and not to colour their hair during their school years. However, I fail to understand why these new "rules and etiquettes" are imposed on visitors as well.

The action of prohibiting "baju tanpa lengan, seluar pendek, skirt pendek" and also no-smoking zone is not a surprise to me as since I was young, these rules were always there so it is a norm to me. I do not question the existence of them but now I am wondering why they exist. Is wearing shorts and skirts wrong? I understand it is a must for Muslims to cover their body but non-Muslims has no laws regarding this. So, why are these rules suddenly imposed on everyone? Also, I do not understand why "pakai subang" and "rambut berwarna" are prohibited as well. Seeing the "budi bahasa budaya kita" quote below this sign, do you mean to imply people doing all these are not applying "courtesy" to their culture? I do hope that you understand what courtesy is without any bias view on it. 

I quote from the dictionary, the meaning of courtesy is "the showing of politeness in one's attitude and behavior toward others". Therefore, I do not see that colouring one's hair or wearing earrings are an action of not being polite as these actions only affect the ones doing it to themselves but not towards other. I think it is not very nice to judge someone by their cover. To me, this action of being judgemental is very immature and sounds very shallow. I also do question why the society always do that (like judging people who have tattoos or light-coloured hair) but I digress. Let's leave that for another day. 

I do hope the teachers do not pass the wrong idea or condemn other cultures (which are different from ours) to the younger generations as we need brighter and mature people in the world right now. Speaking as a recent university graduate, this type of judging attitude is completely wrong and should not be picked up by teenagers below 17 years old as they will carry these habits towards their adulthood.

Lastly, I have not visited the school for a few years now and I am not planning to either because I have no reason to do so. With all due respect,  I am only enquiring this out of curiosity and I want to shed some lights on this issue so that the teachers or the person-in-charge of this rule might have another perspective on it. I hope you can enlighten me by explaining why are these rules imposed and what are the school trying to achieve by doing so. 

Thank you very much. I really look forward to your reply. 

Joey Kuan

Ex-Convent Batch 09


*** Update 26 June 2015 ***

I got a reply from one of my ex-teacher down below the comment (or at least I think Mr Anonymous is.. maybe it's not the same person), please read. 
However, I was kind of upset by a status update made by her.... which I didn't know until today because I am not her friend on fb. My friend showed me instead. I respect your privacy so I will make it anonymous as well.

I would wish that you write this in this blog post comment section as I would gladly say in return or explain myself if you have any misunderstanding. Now then, to defend myself. I have also sent the exact same thing via PM thru Facebook.. just in case she will not visit my blog again. 

Okay, I understand that in a school, there is dress codes to be followed, the same goes to formal events where you need to wear smartly and all those. I accept that reasoning. Regarding clothes, yes. Regarding coloured hair and earrings on men, I still don't understand but.. it's your school, your management. It's just that I have a big WHY in my head. Does not hurt to be curious. But in my case, curiousity killed the cat. 

First of all, I did not judge anyone as shallow.. My sentence as per above..
"I think it is not very nice to judge someone by their cover. To me, this action of being judgemental is very immature and sounds very shallow." 
Bear in mind that I am referring this action not person (nor you for that matter). Unless you feel that I'm referring to you in case you are indeed judging someone by their cover... right? It's kind of ironic because you're claiming I am being judgmental. :/

.... Why do you suggest me to check myself first? ????? I am not suggesting visitors to wear a bikini or underwear to school. Why are you responding like I am? Please note that when I ask "Why is short sleeves and short pants prohibited?" doesn't mean I am saying "I want to be naked or wear clothes that cover my private part is enough". It simply means that "Why is short sleeves and short pants prohibited?". It is a question, not a statement. 

Lastly, to respond to your "Pakai decently dilabel shallow" comment, I did not say that if you wear decently, I'm labelling you as shallow. Please do correct me if I am wrong if I ever did mean that in any way and I will correct my way of saying things to avoid any more misunderstanding (if any of my words mean that way). 

However, I am not responsible to what my readers understand from my blog post but I would appreciate it if you tell me straight to my face. You are a respectable adult and teacher after all. That's all that I am asking. 

And please understand that I am all-the-way for dressing respectably when going to bazaar ramadhan, it is puasa month after all. Definitely a no-no to wear indecent clothes. Just to make it clear, just in case you misunderstand me again. Feel free to show your friend what I have written because I don't want any misunderstanding or hatred towards what I think and write.

Thank you. Selamat berpuasa.

*** Update 26 June 2015 again ***

After a short chat with her, I found out that the other ex students are sharing and making a lot of fuss about it (and some using words that aren't very nice) therefore, some people view this post as very... hmm.. rebellious? Please refrain from using those not good words, as some people might take it wrongly (idk why, some do). Just be the bigger person okay. As for the other issues, I didn't get any comments.

Regarding the new rules, I was told not to judge the sign before I understand it completely (that must mean that the sign is not really working efficiently) and suggest me to ask (formally). Unfortunately, she did not want to explain the rules to me (because I'm in Germany.. yes, that's her reason) even though I asked her but suggested me to make a phone call to the headmaster or make an appointment to sit down and chat with the authorities in the appropriate way for this matter. 
Thank you for the suggestion but I rather spend my money and time on other things. I wouldn't want to spend my money on a flight back to the place I've left for 5 years. I've grown up, high school is no longer my whole world. 
So, for those wanting to know what is really happening here, better to ask the guard or the teacher in the school when you are visiting. 

P.S. Bring a scarf just in case, so you can cover your hair and ears if you are denied entry. *wink wink*. I joke. I joke. 

I am not trying to change the world, but seeking for explanation. Which I only have half of it. Life goes on, and I'm spending way more energy and time on this issue than I should. So, ciao ciao~


  1. Hi Joey,
    First of all nice letter.
    Could you add the English translation of the rules written in Malay?
    Btw for the little that I saw, Malaysia is getting every day more and more ridiculous and it is always about one thing: religion.
    Isn't Malaysia supposed to be a secular State?

    1. Thank you Alessio. Oh yes, I'll gladly do it. The sign says "Rules and clothing ethics of visitors", "Things that are not allowed: sleeveless shirts, short pants, short skirts, coloured hair, earrings", "No smoking zone", "Courtesy is our culture" .
      Yes, I find that true as well but I don't blame the religion. Problems are always ignited by people who "claims" to be doing it for "the name of their religion".

  2. Hi Joey, I am sure hope you realize that the pictures in the second row are dedicated to men? As far as I'm concern women have no issues to wear earrings.
    Also, I believe that dressing in modesty is acceptable in every religion, culture & moral etiquette, especially among us, Asians, which are rich with beautiful culture, traditions, politeness & modesty since thousands years ago.. I wonder why many people are all being so difficult and making a big fuss out of it.. you’re asked to cover your body.. you're not asked to expose them or go naked. Is it too much to ask? And trust me, it totally has nothing to do with Islamisation, otherwise I would think that the casinos are trying to ‘Islamisize’ their customers as they also have their dresscode regulations.. you’re not labeled as Muslims/Melayu just by covering your body.. Dresscode is very common in many public facilities all around the world.
    The least that u can do is show respects ("respects"= Polite expressions of consideration, deference, or condolence; due regard for something considered important or authoritative). It’s your choice..
    But if you still feel that you’re so Westernised & so liberated & that people have their rights to wear whatever they want, dress however they like, then I guess you wouldn’t mind if people come to you or your family’s funerals by just wearing shorts & singlets and maybe sometime in the future, naked..
    Just my 2 cents.. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your input, I kind of understand another perspective of these rules now. Oh, I didn't know the second row was for male.
      Hmm.. you're right, covering our body is not a big deal. If i would to answer honestly, maybe ppl just don't like to be push around and be forced to do something they are not used to suddenly. Woah, no need for personal attack there anonymous. And hey, even if somebody is "westernised or liberated" that doesn't mean they will go to a funeral wearing shorts and singlet.. right? :/
      A few question still remains, why can't men wear earrings and coloured hair is prohibited? Is it a disrespect to the school to do so?

  3. Thank you for your comment, Mr. ANONYMOUS.
    I'm a male with earrings. Don't you think that "respect" is also to let me keep my earrings on?

  4. Lolllll the problem with Asian countries is they never want to accept new ideas ughhhh:/