21 August 2019
Leung Kwok-hung sparks a debate on dress code; Priscilla Leung (left) hits 'flirtatious' comment; Regina Ip (second from right) looks summery; netizens prefer another model. Photos: HKEJ, Headline Daily
Leung Kwok-hung sparks a debate on dress code; Priscilla Leung (left) hits 'flirtatious' comment; Regina Ip (second from right) looks summery; netizens prefer another model. Photos: HKEJ, Headline Daily

Women can wear shorts, not men

Short hair, short trousers. It makes sense, or does it?

Fresh from his short vacation in prison, Leung Kwok-hung has again managed to annoy some of his colleagues — this time even without yelling an angry slogan. 

Pro-Beijing legislator Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan took to the floor to complain about Leung’s fashion sense, saying his manner of dressing was inappropriate in the august halls of the Legislative Council. It showed disrespect. Besides, it was in violation of the legislative body’s rules of procedure.

Leung was sporting a brand-new short hair and his signature Che Guevarra T-shirt, which was already part of his persona and therefore acceptable. But what irritated his colleague was that he was wearing short trousers.

Leung promptly protested. It’s summer, after all. Legco president Jasper Tsang Yuk-shing agreed with Quat and asked Leung to put on a pair of pants.

Leung resisted at first and refused to leave the chamber, but Tsang called for a recess to review what the Legco rule book says about the dress code for legislators.

Leung came back with a pair of long trousers but chose to roll it up so it became short long trousers.

Such kindergarten-like behavior among some of our honorable legislators has become a norm under the watch of Tsang, who used to be a primary school headmaster, although we doubt if he had ever ruled on matters concerning trousers. But this one is a no-brainer: Leung is a naughty kid, and must punished. 

It is not common for office workers in Hong Kong to wear shorts at work, particularly for men, despite the mercury shooting up to 33 degrees this long, hot summer. The issue is hair; not many hairy legs – not even those of World Cup heartthrobs – are good looking.

It’s a different case with ladies, of course. I reckon only ladies would complain of inappropriate dressing if they see a lady colleague wearing a short skirt. In fact, lady office workers in Shanghai believe their colleagues from Hong Kong are a bit conservative. Many wear bra tops to the office over there.

When it comes to shorts, gender bias understandably tips in favor of ladies. For example, most classy clubs like Hong Kong Club, China Club and Bankers Club refuse entry to men in shorts, but most of them would allow ladies who wear shorts.

It is not easy for Leung to accept this reality. He charged Elizabeth Quat with discriminating against people in shorts. But I am sure Dr. York Chow Yat-ngok, chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, would not see a case.

Not willing to drop the issue — and perhaps having missed the company of his esteemed colleagues for quite a while — Leung cited the case of a certain female legislator, who, he said, is known for her seductive dressing. Priscilla Leung Mei-fun rose up to complain to Tsang about the offensive description and demanded that Leung take back his words. But the Legco head ruled that Leung did not make any specific reference to anyone.

Talking about seductive dressing, legislator and Exco member Regina Ip Lau Shuk-yee’s new summer look, a bright yellow suit, has also become a subject of discussion among netizens, who suggested that it might not be too appropriate for her age and image.

But all in all, it does not take a wise man man like Solomon or Tsang to make a simple ruling – that women have the right to wear shorts (and no men would oppose that for fear of inviting fury), but not men.

Sorry, Short Hair, life is unfair for you and me.

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EJ Insight writer

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