Like Marina Mahathir I hadn’t intended to wear black. But 7th May seemed like a day which will go down in Malaysian history as one significant day when something important in this country really died. And it did so dramatically.
A day before that a university professor was arrested for calling for a mass solidarity for the people of Perak with everyone wearing black. It was meant to be a symbolic gesture to mourn the death of democracy. So I thought I’d like to wear black for a change, at least for just the day in question. We'd be at work anyway and won't be anywhere in or around Ipoh to be in any 'danger' of being arrested just for our choice of color. Black has to be washed separately, and I never enjoyed giving the wife some extra chores. When I asked around in the office I got the idea that the whole lot of guys in the office would be in black. So I thought I’d make this day an exception.
The boys at the road blocks didn't even look nor get up from their chairs. But I was to find only a handful of us showed up in black. So much for solidarity, but it seems I couldn’t blame anyone. Except for some ladies, nobody owns a black formal shirt. They have only T-shirts. So do I. Besides we’re not supposed to wear T-shirts except on Fridays. (What kind of rule is that anyway?) But trying to be a non-conformist for once I just went ahead and put on my black AIA T-shirt. Boy, did I feel like a lone Lemming. The message must have been overlooked for the sake of conformity.
Then I saw another blog showing the now famous professor in orange prison garb. Someone said let's wear orange!!! So Friday, being a T-shirt day, I went to work wearing my black and orange company quality campaign T-shirt. At least there are more people wearing the same colors. But then it doesn’t mean anything anymore.
But for all we now know as Malaysians, one more color in the spectrum has suddenly become a taboo color. However I think we can’t afford to conform for long. Except for the color-blind, the rest of us must not compromise the colors of our own choice where clothes are concerned. That, and to make our silent stand for democratic principles.