The Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore

Clothes, a Person Doth Maketh.. Posted on 15th Feb 2011, 12:02pm by admin

Hello dearies~!

This forthnight has been pretty interesting, to say the least. 

Usually, this writer would flip the Sunday papers at a leisurely pace, armed with his daily freshly-brewed coffee, savouring the peace and tranquility that comes with the very word “Sunday”. (Although 2 floors above, my neighbour’s mother-in-law would be screaming away at her  in Hokkien over undone household chores – hey, its a Sunday! Surely a great time for a little extra snooze?)

When I flipped to the cover story for last Sunday’s papers, I almost knocked over the caffeine pot in my haste to read the whole report. Scowling at my own carelessness, I sopped up the spilt coffee with a wet cloth as I perused the article about the dressing sense – or lack thereof – of Singaporean Catholic churchgoers.

Now now, I don’t profess to be much of a religious zealot, but having your own religion splashed across the newspaper in a less than positive light is almost akin to taking a picture of your car plate number in an accident and having it broadcasted to the whole so that the inquisitive uncles and aunties would be queuing up to buy 4D in a hurry.

The article dutifully goes on to report on the various fashion trangressions that appear in church – from the floppy H-slippers (if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, the brand starts with H); to see-through blouses and spaghetti straps, and even singlets, shorts and skimpy skirts. Apparently quite a few churches have even resorted to putting up notices of “acceptable” dressing wear and sending out “ambassadors” to correct the fashion faux-pax of the many clueless sheep.

Since time memorial, religion has always held a sacred role in society. People mark out special dates for religious events, they dress up for religious festivals, and hold many ceremonies and rites to commemorate and celebrate the God that they believe in. Man has always dressed appropriately when they come before the God that they revere and love.

The concept of dressing up is certainly not new – though we new Generation X / Y / Z tend to take it to new “depths” of interpretation. The English adage from Mark Twain: “Clothes Make the Man” , and the Chinese saying “人靠衣装” certainly bear testament to the inherent focus on that. But surely, the church is a place to observe these sacred unspoken rules of dressing?

1. No slippers / flip flops
2. No caps / hats
3. No sunglasses
4. No revealing or see-through clothes fabric
5. No singlet / shorts / tube tops

Haven’t you ever had the urge to knock those aviator sunglasses off somebody who’s talking to you? I know I have – my mother always told me its plain rude to talk to somebody with your sunglasses on (unless you’re in sunny Egypt – but then you’d be running for cover from the sweltering heat first). Or ever resisted the temptation to step on the heels of those flimsy H-slippers of the person in front of you in a queue? Guilty on that account too.

Oh don’t give me the story that you’d run late for church if you had to dress up – I’ve heard them all. Running late for church? Wake up earlier / go for a later church service. Too hot to wear shirt and jeans? Many churches are air-conditioned.

Dressing up, is a basic courtesy. A courtesy to yourself – so that people will know that you value and respect yourself. A courtesy to others – so that conjunctivitis doesn’t spread too rampantly. Aahhh, but I jest. Dressing up, is simply a form of expression of love – for your own God who has chosen you, and you have chosen Him – that you want to be the best, just for Him.

Quite basic, no? Sunday’s best – many may not wear, but definitely at least your best (or most decent) foot forward.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the wanton use of handphones during church services.

That’s another muse, for another time. 😉

Signing off,

~ the resident muse ~

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