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Thursday, April 06, 2006

No kissing/hugging, please - we're uptight Malaysians

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It's official - in Kuala Lumpur, at least, kissing and hugging in public can land you up to a year in jail, fined RM 2,000 - or both. Unless, of course, your significant other is a snake - king cobra, to be exact. Then, you get yourself immortalized into the Malaysian Book of Records - provided the cobra doesn't mortalize you first.

Normal/healthy male/female displays of affection - tak boleh - even if you are a legally, certificate-holding, married couple (by then, it's only about breeding anyway, so why bother, right?). I guess that means public displays of stupidity affection with dangerous reptiles is okay. In more civilized places, I believe that's akin to bestiality?

And as for naughty words like b**s*a*d, a**, or cel*k* - a definite no-no. Especially not on Astro. Unless, of course, you're a certain minister's press secretary (in parliament, no less), then calling out "Fuck that reporter" is A-OK!

Double standards? In Malaysia - of course not. NEVER! Don't even dream of making a cruel accusation such as that. Unless you wanna get yourself verbally abused by a minister's P.R. (for the record, he did later apologize, in private, over the phone - so much for public relations). Oh, you masochistic slut, you..

But I digress... sorry folks. Sanctioned idiotic behavior always irks me that way.

What, oh what, has become of Malaysia? And how long before even holding hands will land you in prison?

Anyone remember what happened in June 1997? (see full post)

It was the arrest and subsequent prosecution of 3 Malay beauty pageant contestants in Selangor, after which a unilateral ban on Malays/Muslims participating in beauty contests Malaysia wide was imposed. Which means, any acknowledged beautiful Malaysian female cannot - must not - be Malay/Muslim.

Suddenly, I'm feeling a little deja vu-ish...

Is this country slowly evolving into... Melayunistan? It would seem that with this decree by the secular courts, we're inching our way there. It wouldn't surprise me if we'll probably next see the attempted re-introduction of the "skodeng" police force.

I sincerely hope I don't live to see the day when I have to pledge allegiance to this flag.

Is it just paranoia, or is it something to really worry about?

As it is, mention the words "liberal" and "Islam" in the same sentence, and you're two steps away from being labelled an Islam hater. Even worse, if one is a liberal muslim, as I am, the favorite label of murtad (apostate) starts getting flung. As far as I know, though, it was that same liberalism and culture of intelligent questioning that brought Islamic civilization to its zenith.

As such, I'm reminded of an article I came across, from which I excerpt the following. It is written by Mesbah Uddin, a researcher and freelance writer, based in the U.K.

In the beginning, Islam flourished because of its emphasis on "good in this world" (Koran-2:201). But the Mullah's came up with the sermon that no worldly improvement has God's blessings. This world is merely a temporary shelter for us for our onward journey to hereafter. All Muslims were encouraged to devote most of their times in madrasahs and mosques for continuous prayer for pleasing God. Within a few generations, these self-defeating teachings in the name of Islam got deeply rooted in the Muslims' minds. While the Koranic verses describe God as "beneficent and merciful", the Mullahs perceived and portrayed God as an intolerant ruler even for slightest deviation in praising Him. A deep belief engulfed them that nothing could be achieved without the blessings of God. They overemphasised the need for God's blessings in accomplishing things and de-emphasised the need for doing the things themselves. Gradually, a lethargic community grew up. The virgin 'hooris' were perceived as the thrill in the Heaven than the thrill in invention for the good of all people.
(read the full article here)

Another portion of the article has this to say:

Regrettably, the decline of Islamic glory crept in when the Ulemas declared that none but they were the ones to give its (the Quran) true interpretations.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? And this has persisted until today. How many times, as a Muslim growing up, has one heard to 'never question the ulamas'? Or those in authority? Countless, I tell ya - at least that's what I recall.

So, is Islam a religion of tolerance, of knowledge-seeking, and of unilateral love for mankind, in one's journey towards the Almighty - or is it one of don'ts, don'ts and on top of that, more don'ts? If if the don'ts don't work - fucking kill 'em all.

It would seem that these days, right here in good 'ol Malaysia, it's becoming more the latter - and dare you not question the wisdom of those who insist that it's their way, or the highway...