Your Letters

Focus on content, not appearance

The debate on a dress code for university students centres on two schools of thoughts - the "conservatives" who think that adhering to a certain attire confers respect on a place of learning, and the "liberals" who feel that the focus should be on learning and not dressing (A dressing-down for casual wear in unis; Dec 31, 2017).

Both camps have valid points.

However, let's not forget the fact that we are living in an age of disruption, where a certain amount of messiness or disorder is to be expected.

When Apple's Steve Jobs first appeared in a T-shirt and jeans during an official presentation, he not only created history with his products, but also impressed an audience that was better dressed than he was.

There is also Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his signature casual wear on stage.

The trend is catching on.

The message is simple - the focus is on the content and not appearance.

When Apple's Steve Jobs first appeared in a T-shirt and jeans during an official presentation, he not only created history with his products, but also impressed an audience that was better dressed than he was.

In 1970s Singapore, men with long hair were associated with the hippy culture, and were fined and compelled to cut their hair. Foreign musicians were denied entry if they refused to cut their long hair or tie it up.

Today, we do not bat an eyelid at men's flowing manes.

We have to accept that in this age, change is the only constant in life.

If university students and teachers are not offended by the casual dressing, who is to say that adhering to a dress code is necessary?

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 07, 2018, with the headline 'Focus on content, not appearance'. Print Edition | Subscribe