The Bruneian way of life and dress code for youths

Malay youths performing 'Zapin Melayu' during the opening ceremony of the 'Temburong Bisai-Festival' in this file photo. Picture: Rasidah Bakar

Thursday, February 17, 2011

BRUNEI Darussalam works very hard to ensure that it portrays its image as a Malay Muslim Monarchy and in addition to its own people dressed appropriately, even foreigners and tourists are advised to abide by dress codes that respect the Muslim population.

And plenty do.

However, there are times that even the country's own youngsters choose fashion statements that are very much not Bruneian with their tight clothes, revealing far too much skin.

Young women, especially have been reminded on many occasions that social ills, molestation and rape can be easily avoided by abiding to such dressing codes as well as mingling and behaving appropriately.

Parents, too would have had their bases covered by reminding their children of the dangers of tempting the opposite sex.

However, this tale would seem to be far too unbalanced. There is much discussion about women and their covering up or lack thereof but what about the men?

Are parents teaching their sons to respect a woman's space? Are parents passing down knowledge on how to behave appropriately in the presence of women? Are parents teaching young boys what is right and what is wrong?

Temptation comes in many forms and the brutal truth is that no matter how covered up a woman is, a man may still conjure feelings of desire and this is the other side of the coin that also needs to be addressed.

With the issue of pre-marital intercourse and unwanted pregnancies, men share as much a burden as the women who succumb to desires of the flesh.

Because of the country's stance, the prefered technique to tackle these sort of social ills would be abstinence.

But surely telling young children and teenagers horror stories and reminding them over and over again to not do it might come to mind as the easiest way to get around it.

However, in this day and age of technology and information, the youth have far more access to details than the older members of society might.

So the best way for adults to approach the youth about the matter is to be on par in terms of knowledge. Knowing dangerous trends, topics of discussion and being open to discussing them with the target audience are ideal.

The same way the older generation can make a cool trend very uncool very quickly, the youth would likely to be more open to talking about statistics and dangers rather than being lectured to.

It may be an awkward situation at first as the topics can be embarrassing for both parties but that's why they say that truth hurts. Having teenagers who can openly discuss their problems and difficult life decisions with their parents is far better than having those that live secret lives, reluctant to reveal snippets of their everyday goings-on.

So while covering up remains a very good way to ensure that wandering eyes keep away, there is also a need to open up and be comfortable with talking about these issues in order for the youth to understand why these "social ills" exist and how they can help to put a stop to it.(The views of the author are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Brunei Times).

The Brunei Times


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