As everyone is still talking about the over-hyped mum who called the police when a teacher was too finger-itchy and snapped off the hair of a boy in a primary school, my concern is why are schools so paranoid about the length of one’s hair?
If the boy has cut it to a reasonable length, it should be enough and acceptable. Why go to the extra mile of ensuring that it never touches your collar?
More significantly, are the schools focusing on the wrong things here?
Besides over stressing on one’s hair length, should it not channel precious resources to cultivating a adventurous learning environment within the school?
Should it not also breach the over-disciplined culture found in many of our schools here and reach out to needy students who may need a teacher’s helping hand of encouragement than always keep looking at his hair length?
Our students need our teachers to respect them also and a over-kill on discipline will create a rift between teachers and students – especially if your hair grows too fast like mine.
I remembered having to cut my hair twice within a day as the first hair-cut was deemed to have touch my uniform’s collar by the school’s discipline master.
Many of us have to dip our head a little so that the hair line behind would appear higher.
That was almost thirty five years ago and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I kept reading instances of parents up in arms with schools about their children hair length.
I am sure that many parents right now are having a torrid time with teachers on their children hair length.
The big question to ask is why the nation-wide MOE fuss over your hair when it doesn’t contribute one bit to your educational prowess or intelligence?
To the schools, hair length is one way to teach you discipline as if you keep flouting the standard you will end up rebellious and disobedient.
It will also bring the school’s name down if too many boys are seen showing off their long hair in public.
I have heard from someone that girls are also not spared in a all-girls convent school when long pony-tailed hair are prohibited and they have to cut it short like the boys.
In a defiant show of protest, some of the girls shaved their head bald and were subsequently disciplined in the school’s assembly.
I agreed that our boys and girls should dress decently and behaved well in public but when it gets too paranoid about discipline it can be counter-productive.
Our young students need to be given some space and personal freedom to openly study without having to constantly worry on silly stuff like whether your hair length will touch the collar or that the girls’ uniform skirt must be below the knee.
Schools should focus on providing their students with the right platform for adventurous study and over-disciplining them is surely not the right one.
In fact, alot of our kuaisu personality may have develop from our schooling environment as we have too many rules to follow since young which result in us developing a very conformist norm.
When you are always on your toes worrying about whether you have break this rule or not, I am sure that it will rub off on you when we go to the work place later on.
You merely follow orders from the boss and will not want to go out of line too much – elements of risk taking that is crucially missing from our general population.
I also remembered many of our top students after receiving their GCE O level results began to make a bee-line for the polytechnics.
Some have straight As and could enter any junior colleges of their choice but they opted for our polytechnics instead because it treats them like a person and more importantly with dignity.
Granted that some of them want to have a diploma first before enrolling for the local universities but their main reason for the alternative choice is the out-of-touch over-stress on discipline in our schools and colleges.
Polytechnics students could dress in their civilian clothes and I have some of their hair length when I visited a polytechnic in the east and none of them will ever make it if they have enter a junior college.
Those who are in their teens or adolescents need to be treated with respect and having someone hovering over their hair length constantly actually cause them to hate the system very much.
I advocate that schools relax slightly on their discipline especially when it comes to the hair length.
If the boy has cut his hair and it does not look like a Beatles-styled bop kind, it should be acceptable.
Do away with standby hair assembly for boys as well - it is degrading and has cause many students to disrespect the archaic Communist-like system.
I have been through our hellish secondary and college stern disciplinary system and hated it for as long as I lived as it not only caused me to hate our strict educational system but also instilled alot fear in all of us.
Did we break the rules again? Is my hair too long? Will I have to rec-cut and be punished if the rec-cut did not make the mark?
For a few years I was more worried about my hair length than whether I have enjoyed studying!
On retrospection, I should have cut my hair to a botak length so that I could better focus on my study without having to worry if the barber has cut enough.
No one will ever bother to say – many years after they have left tschool - that they thank the schools for helping them keep their hair to a resonable length as it has instilled discipline in their life!
I have not even returned once to my secondary school after graduating as the over-kill on discipline has caused me to hate the system.
Nevertheless, the friends I have made while studying have helped me remembered the fun times we have together.
Discipline can be learned through many other reasonable ways and hair checking is really one lousy way of doing it.
Its time that our Minister for Education Mr Heng takes a serious look on the over-hyped hair length as a disciplinary issue.
I am not advocating relaxing discipline so much that hyppies with cigarettes hanging over their mouth will turn up for classes over night.
If a student has shown that he has cut his hair to a resonable length and that he is neat and proper it should be acceptable.
Moreover, what has one’s hair length got to do with the person’s educational achievement?
Written by: Gilbert Goh