Sunday, September 26, 2004

Morality rules?

Candyman Posted by Hello

Pic: Molasses candy, hard chunks of sweets that were often found widely in the old days sold by people riding from house to house on their bikes, blaring their horn to proclaim their coming with shouts of "Lai lai lei mai!" (Come come buy). Nowadays a sight like this except for a few surviving souls of old are rarely seen. At the old Popular book store this old ah pak still sells his pan full of candy, using his utensils to chip away fragments, awaiting his customers.

Today at the UMNO (United Malay National Organisation) General Assembly, the hard issue the delegates tackled were none other than the ever threatening menace that might corrode our youths, steal away our future and deprive our nation of prosperity. Yes we're talking "Reality shows!!!!!".

Now how does one of our leading national parties come about to discuss such an issue (the article was detailed in today's STAR newspaper on page 6), at the main event of the year, we might ask? Beats me. Under the Islam Hadhari principle (Islamic philosophy of excellence), reality shows such as Fear Factor and even the locally produced Akademi Fantasia (Fantasy Academy) was used as a poster child. The first was to point out that the acts and stunts in Fear Factor were dangerous and serves no aim, without an ounce of bravery shown. True, but as the show states, it is to conquer fear itself and supervision of experts are used to ensure the stunts are safe but challenging the human limits.

But shudder, Akademi Fantasia, which has a huge following here is based on the ever popular American Idol (of which there is already a local version, Malaysian Idol), is said to tarnish moral values. Let not the hardship, the training and the raw emotional chiseling the contestants get from the judges be a factor, let not the fact that many aspirants out there which looks upon this as one of their only chance to be notice and achieve stardom, let not be the fact that its harmless entertainment that people come home after a hard day's work to relax to deter us. Delegates put out that the show promotes maksiat (sinful activities) as the contestants and perhaps audiences (?) mix freely, where the opposite sex of whom are not related has an avenue to mingle freely. It went as far as to ask the National Fatwa Council (pertaining to all Islamic religious matters) to intervene.

Other matter was the lambasting that SUHAKAM (Malaysian Human Rights Commission) got recently when it wanted to put forth a suggestion that a man should be brought forth to court if he forces his wife who declines his advances for sex. My, the argument was that it was the wife's duty to allow the husband to perform services, to me a Neolithic mindset that I find surprising to survive even today without the fundamentals of a relationship being on equal terms.

Mmm another case was when two lovers were caught holding hands in a local park area and were issued summons for that act. Till today the case still holds that they were acting promiscuous in public and has been referred to the high court. To many this seems trivial even harmless, that two people in love can show an ounce of affection such as holding hands. Overt exposure might be conceived as inappropriate but it seems that the standard bar is being put too low to the point that any show of affection is prohibitive. How is this different from a mother breastfeeding her child, a father giving a goodbye kiss to his child or two friends embracing as a sign of farewell.

It's frightening to think that the authorities are trying to act as moral guardians in this respect and that certain antiquated ideals still hold true. What's worse is that these issues are being discussed by people who are not even bothering to ask the very people affected by such situations. My, we still have a long way to go Malaysia.


Adrian said...

Uh... wats in the tray?? Geez... Too overexposed lah... The tray I mean. I'd really like to see a photo of the sweet, the chisel and the little hammer in action... :)

Jeremy said...

You know, I can almost swear this guy used to make Dragon's Whiskers in Genting.

So that you do not lose the link to my photosite again, I'm posting it here:

As to my ISP, it went out of business!


Kervin said...

Haha didn't lose that one but I thought you had another site in the past, also I figure. What happened to the older pics of you in Germany?

Jeremy said...

Oh you mean the ancient pictures. I took them down. Maybe I'll put up a new folder with some of them old favourites someday.