Uniformly Dull

Amid the recent brouhaha surrounding the clampdown on modified school uniforms, it didn’t escape our attention that this was a perfect metaphor for the state of the nation. People accuse us of being too robotic, too samey, too uniform all the time. And yet here we are saying, “No. Don’t alter that uniform. All must look alike, lah.” Kids wanting to look different is hardly news, and we have some sympathy for the authorities trying to avoid the situation degenerating to the point that kids roll up to school in slippers. But if we want to build a more creative state, shouldn’t we be encouraging this kind of free expression at an early age? Why not award the most out-there outfit with a scholarship, the most revealing pair of pants with a catwalk contract? If that’s a wish too far, let’s at least give all these kids in all the same clothes some ideas—none explicitly forbidden by the rules—to prove that they really aren’t interchangeable automatons.Embrace the look Don’t be like all the others and tear it off at the first possible opportunity. Refuse to remove it at all costs. Ignore anyone—parents included—who tells you you look lame. Shower in it if you must. If the slept-in look works for your hair, why not your uniform?Forego all tech wizardry Gone are the days when to be the coolest kid in town you had to have the latest gadget. Now the only way to stand out is to retreat to the stone age. Toss your iPhone, burn your PSP. Ask friends to contact you via post. Better yet, employ a man on horseback to deliver scrolls to your door.Bully yourself You can’t get in trouble for picking on the man in the mirror. But people will certainly look at you differently when they find you sprawled on the bathroom floor wrestling your right arm with your left like Ed Norton in Fight Club.Wakeboard to school Talk to the young folk down on the East Coast and they’ll tell you that the subsport of winchboarding is all the rage. Essentially it involves being towed across any stretch of water, no matter how small, dangerous or dirty. What with our massive network of storm drains, getting all the way from home to school without touching ground is a distinct possibility. And when the floodwaters return, you can show off your skills as you fly down Orchard Road. Better try to keep that damn uniform dry, though.