YOURSAY | 'The 13-year-old seems more refined in articulating his points, even though I don't agree with him.'
Fair: A student’s personal appearance in school reflects discipline. Having a uniform is also part of the discipline in school. When a student is at the tertiary level, then it is all right to have long hair.
For heaven’s sake, we probably have one of the worst education systems in the world, so please don’t add another irrelevant issue for our Education Ministry.
Shalimar Abdullah: This is the problem with so-called New Malaysia. Nothing is ever right. People are just picking on about any minor issue.
We all grew up being disciplined by our schools, with no loose long hair for girls and short hair for boys to keep us neat and tidy. It is part of a schooling tradition that kept us disciplined.
How is asking to allow long hair critical thinking? Perhaps just because some boys want to look cool? And I see nothing wrong with Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s reply.
I view his response as friendly and appropriate, coming from a young minister. I am sick and tired of people creating a big fuss over small issues. Please concentrate on the bigger issues like the country’s economy.
Ir: Schoolboys are compelled to have short hair so that they will look neat. It is also to instil a certain amount of discipline. It's the same as wearing a school uniform and the corresponding pair of shoes and socks.
One may think it's a small matter, but it's part of character building. Having been an administrator in an all-boys school myself, I feel the implementation of the rules regarding hair in school can be compromised according to circumstances.
Similarly, girls too have school rules regarding their hair. They are allowed to keep long hair, simply because they are girls. But they are expected to wear their hair appropriately - no hair dying, and it must be kept neat, tidy and clean. Long hair must be tied up. Some schools even have rules regarding the colour of the ribbons and hair clips.
This is part of the discipline. If we want to have a free-for-all school, then there is also no need for uniforms. And we ask why young people today lack discipline?
If we adults cannot use the environment and given circumstances to instil discipline and good living values among the young, then don't blame anyone else for all the rot taking place in our society and for more rot to set in, in the future.
Roger 5201: Syed Saddiq should have just listened and acknowledged Darrell James' views instead of playing an arrogant and condescending role using inferred power from the prime minister to talk down to a young fellow Malaysian.
In the world of democratic governance, his role as an elected representative is to listen to and serve the people.
Tulan: The boy is only 13 years old and he wants to keep long hair? If he was my son, I would have disciplined him.
A Malaysian 1960: I absolutely agree with the youth and sports minister - no long hair for boys in school. The issue is really not about hair, but more about discipline and having the right attitude.
There is a reason why in every country, there is such a thing as the age of majority. Children need more guidance than adults, simple as that.
To parents who think it's all right to let their children decide, do you also let them go out drinking, smoking, or driving illegally at all hours?
Iphonezours: Darrell James, that’s the way to go... voice your thoughts, don’t be a yes-boy, and do challenge the norm and think out of the box more.
Minister Syed Saddiq, you should have put more thought into your reply, rather than just brushing off Darrell James’ suggestion straightaway. These are our youths, and they need to be encouraged to think and act creatively.
Clear Thinking: There is nothing wrong with Syed Saddiq’s reply.
University students can have long hair. Not schoolboys. Long hair is an assertion of the self which ought to come after the basic school education and at a certain age.
Hsu Do Nimh: It boggles the mind. How does having long hair affects one's ability to focus on study?
If that is the case, all the girls should cut their hair short. Strangely enough, girls are getting a far better success in school compared to boys.
Legit: No parents in their right frame of mind will allow young schoolboys to have long hair. However, I applaud Darrell James for his maturity and poise in writing to the prime minister.
It is the youth and sports minister’s response that is disappointing. Syed Saddiq is patronising in his response to the 13-year-old student.
Instead, he should have advised the boy about the discipline issues and the health issues of keeping long hair in his school-going years, instead of lecturing him on something else.
3D Waffle: I agree completely with the minister on this issue.
What nonsense is this Form One boy talking about hair petition? What is he going to do next? No more curfews for secondary students, less homework, allow part-time employment during the holidays?
These are the kind of children who will grow up to become troublemakers and irresponsible people who abuse free speeches and rights.
Discipline creates leaders of the future. Stop the pampering of our young to stop the rot in the country.
MW: Regardless of the merit of the petition, it was a patronising reply from Syed Saddiq. The 13-year-old seems more refined in articulating his points, even though I don’t agree with him.
The Analyser: It’s one of the delusions repressive and insecure Malaysians have that appearance is a measure of one’s personality and ability.
Hence, they force young people into a mould which they find acceptable... and in the process, they destroy motivation, initiative and individuality.
Then they turn around and demand young people to show initiative and motivation... and scold them for turning out to be the drones their repressors wanted.
6th Generation Immigrant: This is no longer a haircut issue, and thanks to the youth and sports minister for making it so. I, for one, accept enforcement on haircuts on young ones as a form of passive discipline.
However, the intelligence of a leader and politician in answering an intelligent question from the public had revealed this - Syed Saddiq was brushing off the teenager like all previous BN leaders and quite a number of present leaders.
Lord Denning: There are benefits to having shorter hair - primarily related to hygiene and hot weather.
Both the students and their parents can decide what is good for them. But the rule is outdated and the youth and sports minister's response is patronising and condescending towards the student’s individuality and his right to make decisions on his own, without overbearing adults and the likes of Syed Saddiq pontificating to him.
The minister does not have any schoolgoing child, so he should have refrained from commenting on this issue.
Fairnsquare: Isn't the minister entitled to his views? Come on, Syed Saddiq is giving his views and so is Darrel James. Both are expressing their rights and that is democracy.
There are also more challenges in our education system that need addressing and bringing it to the 1970s level, where national schools were more sought after than private schools.
Our parents were not afraid of religious conversion in schools. How about English as a medium of instruction? How about the underperforming education minister?
Perhaps the older students should be voicing their opinions freely on these issues, since Darrell is only 13 and his concerns are a reflection of the natural rebel, common in all of us at that age.
I felt the same way as him at his age and respect him for expressing it. In our time, the headmaster said: “If you don't like the rules, you can collect your school leaving certificate,” which simply meant, expulsion.
Anonymous #33227154: The students have the right to petition, and the school authorities have the right to reject their proposal and enforce the school rules.
Democracy doesn't mean we don't have to follow the rules, it means we can voice out if we disagree with the rules.
The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. Over the past one year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 100,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now.
These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.