Dress Codes

In one very hot day, I see med students of HUKM wearing long-sleeve shirts and ties and labcoats for outdoor lunch. Tak panas ke? Oh, that is the dress code. Not abiding to that code will ensure your failure in this very fine medical institution. So the same for other dress-coded IPTAs.

I once went to a government office with untucked t-shirt and a baseball cap. I was asked to tuck in my t-shirt (which isn’t designed for any tucking-in) and take off my cap. I got into the office to show off my very messy appearance plus the uncombed hair, only to be rebuked by an officer because I didn’t remember my personal serial number. Why? That’s the dress code. And that officer treated me like a stupid kid.

Last 2 weeks I was doing practical in a private hospital and somehow I was prohibited to come in with my sport shoes. No big deal. I bought new pair of BATA shoes for RM70 just so that I can do my one-week practical in that private hospital. Seriously, no big deal. My parents print money. I use 100-ringgit notes as toilet paper. I have lamborghinis at my disposal.

Yep, the topic is dress code for students.

Firstly I have to compliment the Russian education system for one very good thing – no dress code. Well, maybe there is, but not so much as Malaysian hogwash dress codes.

But why dress code?

Is looking smart so important?

Will a necktie on a very hot day ensure your academic success?

Is wearing untucked shirt to lectures or government offices mean that you’re stupid and can be treated like a child?

Is wearing sports shoe or sandals make you a lesser doctor than those who wear crocodile shoes?

Why should it matter if a person wants to wear a serban to school? Why should it matter if a punk with spiky highlighted hair, one-sided earring and multiple piercings comes in for surgery lecture? Why should it matter if a med student wears sleeveless on the inside covered with labcoat outside when he meets his patients?

Why is outside look so important?

I was criticized for coloring my hair a while ago. Someone implied that I am a racist because I colored my hair to look like a caucasian. Okay, I did not color my hair to look Caucasian, but even if I did, so what? Why am I a racist for coloring my hair a little brighter? In the end, he’s the one who’s overtly concerned about the Caucasians’ perceptions towards hair-coloring Asian people like me.

It’s all about the Caucasian’s perception, right? I don’t know about you, but this fetish over Caucasian is racist, in my very humble opinion.

“Kalau orang putih datang tengok pelajar kita pakai selekeh buat malu je!”

I’m sure many of you heard this already. It’s all about how orang putih think about us… But orang putih  never really cared how we dress. Only the pathetic ones do. Even the orang putih wear comfortably to school; sandals, untucked shirt and absolutely no neckties. And they’re much more successful than us dress-coded Malaysians.

Malaysians are so obsessed over dress codes. Time, money and comfort are so much wasted over this very little thing. I’m not saying about the big things like graduations, functions with VIPs etc.

I’m saying about small stuffs like going to class and lectures, practical works, government/department offices and many other daily stuffs that matter a lot to students like me and you. Ah yes, you are just students and can be treated like children. You are stupid. You don’t follow my dress code rules, I will make your life miserable.


But no matter how much I stress that, who would care? This is just a blog with useless ramblings…


But somehow I am thankful that I am not studying in dress-coded Malaysian IPTAs. If NNSMA also play dress codes, I almost have nothing to be thankful for…


13 thoughts on “Dress Codes

  1. hoho.. setuju2.. for me, doctors should just wear scrub in the hospital..if not, pagi2 nk kena decide pakai baju apa la, iron baju (n tudung) la, n some other leceh stuff. wearing scrub to work surely saves a lot (time n money). n yeah not all docs who wear smartly to work are up to the standard.. harapkn baju je kemas tp diagnosis pon xtau nk buat. wth.. n for the female docs, baju kurung seems like a must (well not for me so far, never wear one yet for practical.. hehe). thats so absurd (well thats my pov). no wonder they are no good in practical works.. kalo harapkn teori je x guna gk, tu pon teori xde a terer mana :P.. (gaya cam aku terer sgt jer.. haha. terer sket kot.. :P)

    p/s: i do wear my adidas, jeans n shirt to work. n they dont say a thing.. haha!~ maybe thats a good thing bout doing practical in PB hosp.. too bad they dont have that much challenging cases 😦

  2. i have to disagree with this one, sorry.
    how one dresses can determine how far one gets, in my opinion. but more important, in th medical profession, we have to remember we treat patients- who put their trrust in their doctors and have certain expectations of professionalism; and therefore it would be important to dress that part.
    it would be unfair (and probably fear-raising!) for me to wear shorts and a t-shirt to see patients.

  3. i agree too!i love wearing scrubs(super comfy) and like jatdin said, tak payah think bout what to wear in the morning or the night before!but of course, we have to wear smart cos first impressions of our patients of us are very important.but neckties and what not are too much for me.as long as the person is neat and presentable OK lah tu. haha but its just my opinion.thank goodness NNSMA dont have such dress codes!=)

  4. Jatdin + Flo: Since you agree with me, I have nothing to comment 🙂

    Vagus: Thank for dropping by Dr. Vagus. I won’t go so far as wearing shorts to see my patients, but I do not like to wear necktie and long-sleeve either. I’d prefer the comfy scrubs. Why not t-shirt? T-Shirt is comfortable, especiall during on-calls.

    Looking smart occasionally is OK. But to be always smart it’s very suffocating.

  5. Faiz, this topic came out in the Star today!!! Did you write this article cos of that? Well anyways, I kinda agree woth youla. Its a hassle sometimes to find the “right” clothes to wear, to me as long as its not revealing until ppl’s mata “Gosh, hard to imagine. Well anyways, how u dress does not determine how you work or how well you do your work!

  6. i juz read the article in star from my nokia E71 ngenge… Apparently the star copycats me, i wrote this first and they copycat copycat….

    I can sue them, no? Get a LAWYER next door or somethin’ ngenge. heh, what do i hv to sue… Star article much better than mine…

    But if u r askin’: i absolutely wrote this first, earlier by several days from thestar

  7. well, i think i half-agree and half-disagree on this one! what i notice when i was doing my attachment was that the women doctors have a lot more freedom in how they dress..lucky us! sure we have to have that “smart-casual” look but i think its pretty simple to emulate that..just a shirt and slacks or a skirt and then throw on some court shoes..and since its already REALLY simple for girls to dress up, any slacking would just make one look like a slummy student.

    the boys on the other hand, i seriously pity y’all. the long-sleeved shirts and the ties…if the dept is not air-conditioned u guys will be sweating before rounds is over! so the standard on this one should be lowered a bit i think..maybe a casual polo shirt with slacks or just a shirt without the tie? 🙂 dun go on wearing shorts or what-not like dr vagus said..slummy guys are x hot!!~ hahhaha

    just my two cents…

  8. am not really agree with this…1st impression always go for the outlook!With a proper dress at least u can gain some trust & coorperation from pt @ ppl..

  9. i agree some n disagree some.
    yes .. no neckties on a hot day n outdoor lunch. ok in cold air-con room. but at least not-slekeh-looking la to show your doctor image n professionalism. short-sleeved shirts tu dah ok tu with labcoat. as long as u know ur work. n ur hv to promote urself too in life. bersih n kemas itu satu ibadah juga. salam.

  10. OK. dress codes r there for a reason, but i do agree that they are rigid beyond practicality. For me, as long as we/everyone looks presentable for the occasion, that’s fine.

    I have instances in my medical school, where this person came to exams wearing 3-quarter-length sweatpants, a pagoda shirt and slipar jamban. To me, that is unacceptable. I guess that’s y we hv dress codes : i for one have little faith in people to draw the line on what is decent and what is not. I fear the day i’d see my classmates coming to lectures in their kain pelekat.

    I definitlety would not want to go to see a doctor who’d look more like a mechanic than a certified healthcare provider. I agree doctors should just wear scrubs. I agree sports shoes are very very logical in hospital. Unfortunately, from what i see, a pair of high heels would generally be more acceptable. Whare is the logic and practicality in that?

  11. i wore a selipar jepun, levis n a bob marley shirt to my oncall last night. thank god all the patients were asleep.

    my mum scolded me for wearing shorts and that bob marley to the park. i told her “intellectuality is not directly proportional to your appearence”.

    and she kept quiet after that.

  12. Dressing is important (coz of first impression) but to say it’s crucial for a STUDENT? Definitely ridiculous especially in the context of Malaysian public university. Weather here is humid and hot, can’t compare to Western university where you can cycle or walk for km and feel cool about it.

    So, Malaysian educators and academicians should understand this and advocate to the relevant Ministry to imply only those that are ‘rational’. As long as the student does not come to class in a dis-respectable dress-manner or come naked (I would wish to see that =p), I think it should be no big deal.

    For that,I’m glad University of Malaya (my alma mater) has not change. But I heard there are planning to do away with casual dressing this year. How sad..

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