Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Trip to Pati’s Point

I’ve noticed that there are plenty of schools around Singapore and students are everywhere! Aside from being mall rats, these students leave another lasting impression on me: they dress sloppy.

Last week, an article on how slack Singaporeans dress up came out in a local newspaper. It lambasted their penchant in dressing down—sporting T-shirts, shorts and flip flops everywhere including theaters and art museums. The article also pointed out that Singaporeans seem to have forgotten how to dress appropriately such that some locals even appear at job interviews wearing sandals or go to work wearing midriff tops.

Locals use the hot weather as an excuse for their manner of dressing. But the way I see, the heat is no excuse to break dress codes, even the unspoken ones. I mean, don’t wear a coat to work if it will cause you heatstroke but at least wear something decent!

I suddenly remembered how, four years ago, an HR manager my mom forced me to see scolded me for not wearing a blazer when she interviewed me for a “job.” If she weren’t friends with my mom, I could have told her right then, “Are you kidding me? It’s blazing hot outside. This long-sleeved-and-collared blouse is killing me as it is! How do you propose I zap myself from home to here without melting in that weather?”

I wonder what that HR manager will say to the less than formal Singaporeans. But don’t ever think I’d wear my “wais” T-shirt for a formal gig in sizzling Pinas. I am one who honors dress codes. But then there are impractical fashion rules which I try to get away from just by dressing smart and tidy. (Unfortunately for me, the HR manager didn’t appreciate my strategy.)

Looking at the kids here and how they carry their uniforms, I guess the issue on dressing up—or down—in this country has a long way to go before it finds a resolution because apparently, its people begin dressing sloppy at an early age.

At this point, I am seeing Miss Patiño in a new light.

Miss Patiño, is our high school’s version of a fashion police. If she catches you wearing colored hair clips, bracelets or bangles, a dangling pair of earrings or an extra, colored thing pinned on your tie, then you're toast! Get ready for an impending C in deportment. And when you are wearing a skirt longer than two inches below the knees (long skirts were a fad then unlike in my mom’s time when girls loved to wear obscenely short skirts), it will be wise to steer clear of Miss Patiño. I literally had to lock myself inside a washroom cubicle once just to avoid her.

Looking back, having an authority like Miss Patiño around while growing up instilled discipline in me. Yes, I think it did. Despite the hide and seek incident, I managed to realize my responsibility to dress accordingly which somehow I generally did back then. And so did most of my schoolmates. Our blouses were white and well-ironed, our socks weren’t so low they were sinking inside our heels, and our shoes were black leather which wentwell with our uniforms unlike a pair of rubber shoes which obviously is a mismatch. If you line us all up, it’ll be pretty much difficult to point out who’s smart and whose grades are on the rocks.

But the kids around here—with messy hair, crumpled tops, varied lengths of skirts, confused tucking of shirt (do they go in or out?), too short socks, and rubbershoes? I just have to wonder how the smart ones look like.

And if Miss Patiño were here, she’d have a hell of a lot of visitors in her L-shaped table we otherwise refer to as Pati’s Point!


NOTE: For all its worth, Miss Patiño is nice lady. I even found her sweet for remembering that I was once her minion when I bumped into her last year during my short stint in my former school. And Miss Patiño love to make chikka. Just make sure you greet her once you see her, even if you are no longer inside you uniform and even if you are nine years older than when she last saw you.


christmas said...

i so agree! actually i think everything in school was better during our time. and with ms patino around, we all were 'forced' to do -- and look, accordingly. i also think filipinos are the best dressed asians. un na!

i love the way u write tyrene, idol talaga!

-tye- said...

Thanks, Christmas, syempre palakpak naman ang tenga ko!

And as my "manager," I did take your advice kaya heto at kina-career ko ang pagba-blog outside Friendster! haha.

Hope you'll visit my blog more often!

P.S. May picture pala ako with Ms Patino but nasa bahay siya. Sayang! Ipo-post ko sana! hehe