Let girls wear headscarves to class

February 6, 2002
Singapore Democrats

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To say that the tudung in not part of the school uniform is to state the obvious. Is there any Singaporean who will perceive the tudung to be part of the school uniform if it is limited to just covering the hair and does not descend onto the shoulders and cover any part of the school uniform? To say that it does not make for integration of the various communities in Singapore does not make sense at all.

What about:

1. boys from Sikh families wearing the turban to school or tying their hair into a knot at the top of the head;
2. girl from Christian families wearing the cross pendant on their chain when going to school is that prohibited;
3. having separate kitchens for Muslim NS men. Are they also to be compelled now to eat in the Chinese kitchen so as to integrate with their Chinese brothers in the army?

The whole of the government’s opposition, to any national observer, seems arbitrary without any logical foundation. It is not the wearing of tudung by Muslim girls and women that will divide the communities. It is the policies that have been carried out by this government that divided the communities. As was made clear by two letters to the forum page of the Straits Times all the different communities lived happily together in their kampongs before the advent of the PAP.

I appeal to our million-dollar salaried Ministers to come up with greater clarity if they still wish to convince Singaporeans of their reasoning. Otherwise, the government runs the risk of further dividing the communities.

Finally, the PAP Malay MPs seem totally ineffective to present the argument for the wearing of the tudung. To say they have presented the concern of the Malay community is an acknowledgement that they serve only as messenger boys.

J.B. Jeyaretnam
6th February 2002