Renie Leng

In defence of leggings
(To United Airlines)

I wear leggings on the plane.

A recent practice.
On long haul flights, it gets
very cold; I don’t do track pants,
Or loose elephant print ones,
(Those that exploited Indochinese women sew)
Jeans, my skinnies, can get a tad tight.
My auntie jeans have long been cast aside.
I used to wear jeans transpacific and intercontinental but
I think leggings are more practical.
I wear plain jet black or opaque grey leggings to keep me warm,
Sometimes my Lululemons, ooh, controversial,
Under a knit dress. Always under a dress.
Then layers with sweaters or scarves.
With boots or proper shoes.
I can do decent, glam, vintage, Grecian.
Little girls look cute in tights and t-shirts.
But airline staff rules are rules.
But don’t hector me about my leggings
Or jeggings on the plane, from your editorial pulpit.
When you can’t even give me room for my knees,
Nor space for my nether regions to breathe
and your food is subpar and your service worse.

Don’t get me started on the dragging.


Between teaching and motherhood, Renie Leng carves out time for her passion in poetry. Published in Oxford Poetry, she is the winner of the inaugural Fay Khoo Award for Food+Drink Writing. She lives in Kuala Lumpur.