Entry: The Scarf Issue Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A friend emailed today, complaining about what her company asked her to do.

My friend, who is Chinese, works for the Singapore branch of an Arab-Malaysian company. According to her, she was told to put on a scarf whenever the Arab/Malaysian 'big bosses' come to town! What the *%@$#&&#^*#&???!!!!!!

Her Singapore boss told her she had no choice in the matter. Apparently, the Chinese staff in the KL office also had to put on a scarf to work everyday. And now, they've even asked her to submit a photograph of herself with a scarf on for their staff directory!

What kind of company is this? How can this company insist that non-Muslims put on a scarf? It's not fair to force non-Muslims to 'cover up' just because the bosses are Muslims! I mean, havent these people heard of religious freedom? Why employ non-Muslims then? Wont they be better off with employing Muslims who willingly cover up?

If my friend was working in an Arab country and was told to cover up, then fine, I suppose that would be acceptable. All women are expected to do so, and if you're working and living in someone else's country, I guess you should follow the rules, you should try not to offend anyone. Ok, even if the Chinese staff in KL agree to wear a scarf to work, that's up to them - after all, despite being a multi-racial/religious, Malaysia is primarily a Muslim country. But for this to happen in Singapore?

I tell you, I'd be pretty pissed off if my company told me to put on a scarf. I'd be even more pissed off if I was told to submit a photograph with a scarf on. Yeah, I'm Muslim, but I dont wear a scarf and I dont see why I should, just because my bosses say so. I live in Singapore and I have the freedom to dress however I want, so long as I'm decently and properly attired. I'll wear a scarf when I'm good and ready to wear one - which is probably when I'm old and toothless and dont have a lot of hair left! :-)

So I told my friend, to make a point, she should dress in all black from head to toe, wearing not just a scarf, but an abiya/hijab, and she should also cover her mouth, and also use that metal nose plate thingy (whatever it's called) , and the only things on display should only be her eyes. If the Arab/Malaysian bosses want their staff to be covered up - well, this should do the trick!


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