I must have been around 12 at the time. One night during our weekly religious classes, our ustazah lectured on the need to constantly maintain our modesty. An enlightened woman of sorts, she not only extolled the virtues of keeping proper to the girls, but demanded equally of the boys. We were told of the importance of wearing underwear at all times, even in sleep and in the shower. I found this to be a bit absurd. Keeping your undies on in sleep is odd enough, but in the shower too? Who exactly am I protecting my manly modesty from? It’s not like I’m bathing by the banks of Sungai Pahang, in full view of fellow villagers. I couldn’t bring myself to shower “in modesty”, but I obeyed her commands and put on my undies to bed. I did feel a bit restricted, having been so used to my airy, baggy shorts.
Did I feel more modest the next morning? Not really. The undies seem redundant considering I was covered under a layer of blanket. Even if I were to sleep fully exposed, who’s going to see me in total darkness? On the third straight night, after brushing my teeth, saying my prayers and checking under the bed for any monstrous creatures, I did the logical thing and took off my undies. My crotch had been suffering in suffocation and it was about time it got some fresh air. That was when I started to question authority.