Friday, January 20, 2006

Violence and sex

Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands? ~Ernest Gaines

Or as Eric Goh said cheekily, "Brokeback Mountain will not be shown, but Munich will, a film about the war between Jews and Muslim. Malaysian society like to watch two men hate each other and shoot guns to kill each other and dislike watching two men falling in love shooting 'water guns'".

Today’s Star said that the:
FT Religious Department wants to go ahead with its snoop squad

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Territory Religious Department (Jawi) wants to go ahead with its snoop squad, against the Cabinet's decision.

Jawi public relations officer Idris Hussein said it was not given the opportunity to explain to the Government the purpose of the unit's formation.

The department would wait for Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Abdullah Zin to return from Mecca to brief him on the matter, he said when contacted yesterday.

“The volunteers are tasked to provide us with information on those who commit indecent acts,” he added.

“They are to educate the people and get closer to them so they can explain to the public why they should not be involved in unhealthy activities.”

This is indeed a sad state of affairs. I wonder whether is this kind of thinking representative of the general population or just the religious and political authorities?

If this is how society perceives love and affection, we are in deep trouble. We are more concerned about superficial things; form over substance.

Two people holding hands leads to the bedroom? Do all signs of love and public display of affection eventually lead to sex?

If the moral police think they do, it speaks more about their own morality and thinking, rather than the people who displayed public affection.

Humans are complex beings. No one knows for sure how another thinks. As a Chinese saying goes, one can know what lies in the deepest ocean, but one can never delve to the bottom of another’s heart.

Instead of focusing on the effective solutions, like sex education and providing avenues for young people to spend leisure time like community centers, stadiums, etc, the moral police took the easy way out – monitor their behaviour.

It’s obviously a case of stopping the effect or symptom, without addressing the cause or root of the problem.

In fact, I don’t even what does the religious authorities are trying to achieve. Holding hands are a sign of what? Bad grades? Loose morals?

Real issues that need attention, like violent crime and rape (as in the case early this week of a jogger in Penang who was raped and murdered) are ignored. Things that affect the public’s safety for real are neglected.

Wouldn’t it have been better if there are crime squads instead? To be fair, the police do catch the offenders. But they seem to act only after a crime has been committed and not before. What kind of crime preventive measures are actually being carried out? Isn’t prevention better than cure?

Needless to say, it’s a pointless and inane endeavour. People can easily hold hands in the car or in shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur. (Note that the snoop squad operates only in Putrajaya, the administrative capital.)

In short, violence doesn’t make us blink twice, but sex-related issues do. I have yet to come across anyone in Malaysia who raised concerns about violent video games and its affect on the PS2 generation. Rather, I see TMNet plastering posters at toll plazas, which say to hold down Alt F4 to exit porn pages.

That might not be a fair comparison, but the reality is that sex gets the authorities’ knickers all tied up.

Violence? Hardly. Well, maybe just a little, when there's rape and murder. But it's only a flash in the pan; sex gets attention all year round.

Actually, I feel that this whole thing goes down deeper. It’s about Malaysia’s obsession with form over substance.

Just take a long at our own Book of Records. Who gives a damn about the largest ketupat, roti canai or yee sang (raw fish)? Or the longest line of twenty-cent coins and satay?

Parents want children to score As, without paying attention to whether the child is actually learning.

Kuala Lumpur gets a temporary makeover whenever there is an international conference or summit. Posters and lights get put up, but never maintained or taken down after.

There’s a sticker on the back of heavy vehicles, showing a number to call and another to SMS if other drivers catch them speeding or driving dangerously. You guessed it; no one ever picks up the phone.

Let's not even mention about the "Drape the 57 OIC countries' flags on the pyramids" plan, another form over substance and shiok sendiri (self-gratification) exercise.

I can go on and on.

And here we were, host of the Perdana Global Peace Forum last December in Kuala Lumpur. How can we claim to peace-loving, when we’re so uptight about loving and signs of loving?

We really should get our priorities right. And stop being so superficial. And start getting down to the roots of problems. And ...

P/S On an unrelated note. To anonymous who posted a comment on a long ago post (July 2005), about the 2nd letter, could you please send me an email? I would like to reply on your comment. Thanks.


AJ said...

Taking cue from JAWI, I shall embark on a mass murder spree! I mean, surely the cabinet won't approve of it but if JAWI can do it, why not me? Its all good!

What i hated most about the article was how they formed task forces to help muslims put our fires.

Doesn't that mean if a Christian's house was on fire they would just stand there and watch?

I'm sick of all this stupidity

Chaichakri said...

This is a sad development in Malaysia. During the Nazi's Third Reich, it all began with some moral police like this snoop squad.

Geez, where is the Malaysian nation heading to? This is a sad day......

MrBunnyBan said...

Heh. Violence in the media definately deserves more attention. My own upbringing was influenced by that.

Somehow, although the article doesn't say so, I only see this task force targeting Muslims. Am I mistaken?

Which would mean they care about what hanky panky their youth are doing, but not about how they treat their women folk. Hmph.

Alex said...

Yup, there will be always some people trying to enforce their own morality to others. If people afraid of them and start to give in to them, this is the beginning of the end of Reasoning. The dark age of Dogmatism & Terror shall reign the land.
These so-called moral police are zealots hiding behind the name of religion and morality... it's all about politics and power, isn't it?
Therefore, the People should be empowered with knowledge & an open mind. These are the best weapons against the onslaught of bigotry, hatred, extremism and above all, inanity.
Free People, unite!

savante said...

It's unfortunate but our country seems to be going to the dogs. SIgh! We really need to find an island of MenmEnmeN


Musang said...

paul, if you are going to the MenmEmeN island, please invite me also ok. i will ask will later.

derek, i'll be dead around here.

i'm a gay muslim.

what do you expect?

MenmEnmeN Island... please exist...

kelvinteo said...

i luv yr post.. esp on realistic issues keep this up

hrugaar said... gets the authorities’ knickers all tied up. Heheh, love it! :oD

Of course I'm only an ignorant outsider from the decadent West (heheh!), but I think I agree with Alex that it does appear that the zealots are trying to muscle their way into power, and the future implications of that for your country are disturbing.

On the subject of the post (kind of), Malaysia isn't the only country that has an obsession with form over substance. That seems to be common to humanity (or at least governments) all over the world. The UK may be trying to implement measures in terms of crime prevention and education, but it still seems to me that they're treating symptoms rather than tackling the underlying causes. :o\

Derek said...

aj: The thing is, the current administration is all bark and no bite. An auspicious start to the Year of the Dog?

Sigh ...

kitjar: Indeed it is. The country is going to the dogs.

mrbunnyban: As I mentioned, the important issues are conveniently forgotten.

alex: Even if the people are aware and educated, there is also the problem of lack of avenues to bring this up.

Not to mention the prevalent tidak apa (apathetic) attitude.

savante: We can only hope that the island will exist and be better. ;P

bitch: Being a straight Muslim is already so difficult. Being gay as well ...

Of course, we'll keep you in the loop about the MeNmEnMeN island ...

kelvinteo: Hi Kelvin. Thanks for visiting my blog. And thanks for the compliments ;P

hrugaar: At least the UK government are doing, or seems to be doing, something about it.

Over here, nothing much has been done since February 2005, when the Royal Commission report on the Malaysian Police came out. The report came up with more than 100 ways to reform the police.

In education, the Ministry has always mentioned about revamping the education system. But the truth is, we are losing competitiveness. We can't compete on rote-learning and scoring As, without emphasising soft skills and critical thinking.