We bought a hair shaver a few months ago. With two boys in NS, I figure it is more economical to spend on the shaver than a fortnightly trim at the barber ($12 each time or less). Somehow, Ivan still prefers to go to the barber, as he has no confidence in his mother’s skill.
When Andreas first returned home from BMT last weekend, he told me he needed another cut. I looked at his crew cut and wondered what’s there to cut, but he insisted. He then proceeded to use the shaver on himself. He literally shaved a small patch of his hair off. I discovered he had forgotten to use the length adjuster. Like an expert, I gave him a Number One trim, with a slight bald side. (Frank: Like yours last December!)
This is not the first time I cut someone’s hair. Once when he was in primary school, my brother received a warning for his ‘long hair’. I decided to help him trim the side touching the ears, and gave him a nip on his ear in the process. Still he was quite appreciative of my effort. Better a nip on the ear than punishment from his teacher.
When I was in school, Nanyang had a strict rule about keeping short hair even for girls. Our hair lengths were not allowed to exceed an inch below the ear (耳下一寸) and the prefects were serious about enforcing this. (You should see the prefects’ hair.) Nanyang girls became quite an expert in cutting their own and their friends’ hair. Believe it or not, my Aunt E even allowed me to cut her hair a few times. Considering how much she spent on her hair cut now, she must think herself to be mad to allow her niece to cut her hair then.
Nanyang has since relax the ‘communist’ rule and allows the students to have long hair. When I see Nanyang girls with ponytails nowadays, somehow, I just cannot relate to them. Still, schools in Singapore have strict rules on hair. I know my friend who has to wake up early every morning to give her daughter, studying in Nan Hua High, a French braid – a must for all girls with long hair.
Conversely, German schools have no rule at all. My German friend showed me a photo of his fourteen-year-old son’s basketball team. I asked him why does the team have girls too. My friend pointed to the each of the ‘girls’ and said, ‘Boy, boy.’
A report in today’s Straits’ Times said that a boy in Texas was suspended for a haircut tattoo of his basketball hero. That, in my opinion, is taking ‘freedom of expression’ too far. But then, I also read a school is US that allows tattoos. So a haircut that will eventually grows out is perhaps not that serious.
(Photo: Associated Press)
Closer to home, a mother made a police report last week because a teacher had cut her 12-year-old son’s hair and ruin the $60 haircut. The boy was apparently too embarrassed to leave house for two days. She had to spent another $60 to correct the cut. The teacher had since apologised to the mother and the son. This mother drew many flaks online and understandably so. Most people could not relate to a $60 haircut for a 12-year-old boy, much less making a police report about this. When a mother makes such a fuss about a boy’s hair cut, I wonder if she knows she is building his self-esteem on appearance. I had the same thought crossed my mind when my niece refused to trim her messy long hair when she was last here. Somehow, I have no respect for people who place too much importance on their hair – that’s probably thanks to my education in Nanyang.
That said, I was really proud when my sons shaved their heads for charity Hair For Hope a few years ago. That experience made shaving for NS a no matter at all.