I was a student in a JC, having formerly studied in a local Madrasah. While I was happy to overcome stereotypes that Madrasah students can never make it to a local JC, I definitely wasn’t comfortable with the compromises that I had to make as a Muslim. But I realised I had to make those compromises to get ahead. So I was not shocked after coming across online articles of mass dancing in a local JC.
Choosing to study in a JC was a tough decision to make. I was embarrassed and felt like I was betraying my faith by having to remove my hijab to attend a JC. I understood the need to follow the uniformity of a secular school, with Singapore being a secular country, and I know that if I insisted on an Islamic education and an Islamic way of dressing, then I must go to a school in Malaysia or even the Middle East. But that was not an option for me, and it had also always been a dream of mine to study in a local JC and then moving on to NUS. I reluctantly accepted that I couldn’t put on my hijab in school, for two years. And I was able to achieve my dreams.
But even back then I couldn’t comprehend the need for a mass dance during orientation. It was enough embarrassment sacrificing my aurat for studies. It was worse having to dance with hordes of school mates, most of whom I barely know. And there were times we were told to dance with a school mate of the opposite sex.
For the life of me, I couldn’t understand the purpose of the mass dance. I mean, we could make friends without dancing together right? I decided that I wasn’t going to participate in it and it was a choice I was willing to make. Hence, everytime there was practice for the mass dance, I would excuse myself to the ladies’. I contemplated telling them that it was that time of the month for me but i figured, telling them that I had stomachache was easier. At the toilet, you can see others who are just lazy or feel they they were too cool for the mass dance. I made good friends there.
So there you go, my secret to cabut the mass dance. If you don’t want to do it, don’t. It is not a big issue and should not stop you from choosing a JC to further your studies. Islam is my religion, and this is how I was brought up. I am proud Muslimah who can make tough choices to excel in this world.