It all started when 5 students from the all-girls school had participated in a fundraising event called "Hair for Hope". Organised by the Children's Cancer Foundation (CCF), the event encouraged supporters to shave their heads as a gesture to tell children with cancer that it is “OK to be bald”. The students asked for the school’s permission before going bald. Permission was given but not before the school made the 5 students promise to put on wigs when they return to school due to a rule stating that students are forbidden “punk, unfeminine or sloppy hairstyles”. Or in this case, no hairstyle at all.
When only 2 of the students came to school with wigs, the other were called out of class and only allowed back after buying wigs to cover their bald head.
Now, do I agree with what the principal did?
- Hell no! Although like most Singaporeans, I do no charity work whatsoever, I have to admire what these girls did. They decide to go bald for cancer children! Even with my fast balding head, I wouldn't have done that. They were great!
However...am I surprised by the principal's actions?
- Hell no also! Not only am I not surprised, I am surprise that so many Singaporeans are!
The simple fact of the matter is that the principal did what all principals in Singapore would have done. Remember a few years ago when Malay girls wearing tudung were sent home because the tudung is not part of the school uniform? Or how many boys had to get their hair cut if they are found to have hair that were deemed too long?
The action by the principal of St Margaret Secondary School might be controversial due to the reason why the girls decided to go bald, but her actions were pretty much in line with what Singaporean educators feel about school uniforms. They feel that "conformity" is not only important, it is paramount to maintain discipline for students.
Frankly, it is beyond stupid. I personally never felt more disciplined just because I was wearing a uniform and I never understood why students are not allowed to study just because they had long hair or are wearing a tudung. However Singapore educators feel differently and their words count more than my opinion.
So when I read about this, I wasn't surprise at all. Singaporeans slamming the principal for being inflexible had obviously forgotten their school days in Singapore; either that or they were very good boys and girls in their schooldays. For me...her actions were worthless but it's pretty much what I expect from a principal in one of our schools. She follow the rules to the letter.