12 September 2016
What I wear is none of your business – or is it?
While we have the right to judge a person by their attire, we do not have the right to disrespect them because of it.
Have you ever worn something only to take it off the very next minute because it does not meet the standards or dress code set by society?
I refer to the recent case of Gillian Benjamin, who endured a horrid experience at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport recently when an immigration officer behaved rudely towards her and her family because of her choice of attire.
Gillian was in a pair of shorts and a singlet. Her choice of clothes that day ultimately made the immigration officer question her ethnicity and her (un)worthiness of receiving respect.
While many netizens questioned Gillian’s ‘indecent’ attire, I would like to point out that she was not at the airport to meet a government official or attend a black tie event. She was merely travelling with her family.
Now I don’t know about you, but I have personally seen many people of different races and religions dressed in shorts and singlets when travelling. Do all of them not deserve our respect? Would Gillian have been shown respect if she had worn something more “appropriate”, say a baju kurung?
Many people dress for comfort when travelling. As Gillian did. To expect them to dress up in order to meet the expectations of say, immigration officers, is totally unacceptable.
While Gillian hopes for an apology from the immigration officer who insulted her, I say this same lady officer does not deserve such leniency. Since this lady officer clearly judges a person by their attire, she should be subjected to the same.
As an immigration officer, she was wearing her uniform – which requires she conduct herself professionally, carry out her duties diligently and treat Malaysians and foreigners passing through the airport with the utmost of respect.
Sadly, she failed miserably on all three counts.
And for this, I say she doesn’t deserve her uniform nor the job it represents.
While Malaysians have fixed ideas on what constitutes decent attire, it is time we got off our high horse and learnt the simple virtue of respect, regardless of how the other dresses or whether their choices go against our personal set of principles.
8 September 2016
Woman claims immigration officer rude to family
She says the woman officer was rude to her wheelchair-bound mother and asked what ethnicity they belonged to at KLIA.
PETALING JAYA: When we return to our home countries after some time away, among the first people we meet are the warm and welcoming immigration officers.
However, this was not the case for Gillian Benjamin, who had a horrid experience at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Tuesday.
Gillian claimed that an immigration officer was unusually rude to her wheelchair-bound mother, and that the officer even questioned her ethnicity.
She said the officer rudely shouted at her parents from a short distance away, asking them to move over to the next counter. When confronted for being rude, the officer shouted at Gillian’s sister and asked her ethnicity.
“What’s wrong with you? Are you lost? What ethnicity are you?” (You kenapa? Sesat ke? You orang apa?)
When Gillian’s friend, Qhal, responded saying that she was Malaysian and that the woman was her mother, the officer allegedly said “How would I know? I thought they were Chinese! Look at the way she’s (Gillian) dressed, how would I know?”
Gillian condemned the officer’s comments, pointing out that she did not understand the connection between race and the way she was dressed.
“What does being Chinese have to do with the way she (immigration officer) treated us? What does being Chinese have to do with the way I dress? Such a shame!” Gillian said in a Facebook post.
“There is no reason to show your temper and act rudely towards anybody no matter where they come from or what race or religion they are. It is wrong to use your power against anyone, like in my case, ‘threatening’ us by asking a male officer who was attending to my parents to get our passport number, when we clearly did not break any law.
“Immigration officers are one of the first people a visitor or citizen sees when they enter Malaysia, and to have someone working there treating you or your parents in such a rude manner is something unacceptable. I have never encountered such treatment.