Kula: No moral policing on dress code for Thaipusam festival

- M. Kulasegaran, January 11, 2016.
kulaMany religious places in the world implement dress code for visitors because appropriateness is a requirement for religious site.

Thaipusam is a religious event and it is therefore necessary that devotees and visitors be appropriately dressed for the event as a mark of respect.
There is no doubt that over the years there are devotees who have neglected the emphasis that appropriate dress code is necessary when attending Thaipusam event at Batu Caves and elsewhere in our country.

Batu Caves and other Hindu temples are holy sites for Hindus. Thaipusam is a religious event. It is therefore understandable the failure of some in dressing appropriately for Thaipusam at Batu Caves and other Hindu temples has become an issue of concern among some people.
Last week at the main Hindu temple in Ipoh I was told that tourists who were in shorts (men and women) and some others were in revealing dresses were disallowed to enter the temple. Malaysians and tourist must abide by the temples dress code.

A few days ago, a Facebook group has warned Hindu women to expect being sprayed with paint should they be “inappropriately dressed” at Thaipusam events.

While I agree that there should be increased awareness among devotees to be appropriately dressed for Thaipusam festival, there must be no moral policing on such an issue. Neither must there be any violent threat nor act against any one failing to abide by appropriate dress code requirement.

Increased awareness must only be done via education and publicity and not by violence or any form of threat. What more when such spray painting is obviously against the law. No one should take the laws into their own hands.

Thaipusam is a big religious event in Malaysia. It is also a major tourist attraction event. However it must not be marred by unpleasant happenings which can tarnish the event and even the country’s image internationally.

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