|A former managing editor of The Malay Mail newspaper, Terence is today a media and perception management consultant. With 20 years of journalism behind him, he has received numerous awards for investigative reporting and public service journalism notably from the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) and the Society of Publishers Asia (SOPA).|
MAY 2 ― Let's lend some perspective to the chess tournament dress fiasco. There are claims by the mother of the 12-year-old competitor and her coach that they were cautioned over the length of the young girl’s dress.
The decision was later made to withdraw the young competitor from the National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017 on April 14 in Putrajaya following a comment by the chief arbiter that she was inappropriately dressed.
To quote the complainants, her dress was deemed “seductive” and a “temptation from a certain angle far, far away.”
The organisers are disputing thier version of events; the chief arbiter said the organisers “will refrain from making a statement, as they wish to allow the appeals committee all opportunities to make an impartial and fair decision.”
In the meantime, the tournament director has lodged a police report about the incident.
Apart from the moral policing, what we should be more disturbed by is the fact that the words “seductive”, “temptation” and “12-year-old girl” were used in the same sentence.
Even if she were naked, the fact that a grown man can view a child in a sexual manner is cause for concern.
The police should not only be looking into the claims of the breach of dress code but the fact that a child was possibly sexualised by an adult.
Hence this incident adds to the ongoing debate about child marriages. That there are people out there who will not think twice about marrying a 12-year-old and subjecting her under-developed body to sexual experiences.
She is not even old enough to vote, so how can a child give her consent to marriage and conjugal relations?
In fact any grown-up who can look at a 12-year-old’s knee ― or even a 14-year-old ― and have impure thoughts is a pervert and sexual deviant who either needs help or needs to be locked up.
They should go on the long overdue sex offenders' registrar and be kept away from young girls upon release.
And why do women have to be the ones on the receiving end when it comes attire? Dressing modestly and appropriately is not the sole responsibility of the fairer sex. More importantly what are we teaching our boys and young men about objectifying women?
Be it in school, at home, kelas mengaji or catechism, the girls are always told to cover up, be decent and “don’t cause men to sin!”
But are we teaching our boys to respect women? Are we teaching them to control their urges as that is what differentiates a human being from an animal?
No. We failed where this is concerned.
Probably explains our high rape statistics of over 37,000 REPORTED cases in the last 15 years ― half involving minors between 13 and 15 years old, according to Home Ministry data.
So we have some people who may view a chess competition as a “chest” competition and lust after the young competitors; pretty much how some time ago, a talented gymnast was harassed for her attire as some men preferred to focus on her groin instead of the artistic movements and nimble performance that made her a gold medal winner.
Perhaps instead of preaching to women on the need to cover up, we should be educating men to focus on what’s between a woman’s ears rather than what’s between her legs!
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.