Viet Nam News
By Mộc Miên
In the past, people would dress simply, especially at school, because of the difficult life during war and the post-war period. Those from earlier generations were embarrassed to wear a new shirt when their friends had none. Girls kept their hair long or twisted it in braids, while boys stuck to simple short hair styles. Very seldom was a student seen sporting a distinctive style.
Nowadays, however, things have changed a great deal. Students are freer and more daring to express their personalities through fashion. Although most schools still continue with the tradition of wearing uniforms, students know how to style their clothes to look different.
“The regulation says that the uniform must be in white and navy colours. So as long as we follow the colour regulation, we can choose from a variety of shirt styles: short-sleeved, long-sleeved, ruffled, bow, patterned, oversized, etc. One can wear skirts or trousers. It is up to the individual’s style. We have multiple choices.” Ngô Trần Thu Trang, a high school student, said.
Several discussions are held on fashion, making it the hot topic in school. And, it does not stop at clothes; it is also about footwear, hairstyles and makeup for both male and female students.
“Today, boys love sporting up-to-date hairstyles, such as the undercut style. It makes me feel young, lively and trendy. I want to have nothing to do with the simple short hairstyle like my father’s, because it does not fit with my clothes, especially at street, sports and art events. Everything has become more liberal and colourful,” Trần Trung Đức, a 9th grader at Lê Ngọc Hân Secondary School, said.
“We love to change our hair often, both in terms of style and colour. It depends on our mood and the trend. It also depends on the type of makeup we choose on a particular day. Currently, Korean and Japanese makeup styles are our favourite, which make one look pure, innocent and young. Our hair should match with the makeup: up to the shoulder and slightly wavy,” Trang added.
And while there is interest and excitement among students on these topics, teachers and parents are only concerned about the hidden risks.
“They are just teenagers who are growing and discovering the world. That they feel free to experiment is good, which reveals a sense of self-awareness and self-respect. However, it may result in the illusion that a good appearance is the most important thing in life. They may compare, judge and compete for something that is not worth it,” Nguyễn Phương Hoa, a math teacher at a secondary school, said.
The teacher’s concerns have merit, especially when thinking about what is reported on the mass media today. Several cases of school violence have taken place, which are due to disagreements or disparagement by other students.
“It’s not all needless worry. Please remember that if a student gets too interested in such things, they may get involved in love affairs at a very early age. If they cross limits, their studies will be badly affected. Moreover, girls may face the risk of harassment, while boys may find it hard to contain their emotions and actions. It’s very dangerous and regretful.” Nguyễn Hữu Thắng, whose son is an 8th grader, said
To assuage concerns, many schools have implemented strict regulations on wearing the proper uniform with no dyed hair or heavy makeup. If any student violates the regulation, he/she will be penalised.
“The school authority does not want to subdue their personality. However, they can express their creativity during extracurricular activities such as sports and art events. In class, they have to wear the proper uniform and behave correctly. It is to ensure a stable environment at school,” Hoa said.
Meanwhile, parents are cutting their children’s pocket money on receiving negative feedback from school on their children’s attire. The idea is that the children will have less money to spend on beauty and fashion products and perform better at school.
“Parents always do the best for their children. Early intervention when they are teenagers is important to guide them and teach them the right values,” Thắng said.
Students, naturally, do not like being restricted by teachers or parents, especially with external cultural influences hitting the country so hard and fast. If parents avoid draconian measures and try to guide their children with love, respect and sensitivity, they can ensure the sound development of their children.-VNS