Friday, June 17, 2005

Entertainment ala Malaysia

The latest happenings concerning public entertainment does send a bundle of laughter down my being or should I be worried that something so unbelievable could actually be happening in real life? The first was concerning the Shah Alam city council's policy stating that there will not be any cinemas within the Shah Alam itself and that anyone is free to apply for a permit since it is a free democracy after all but the council will not entertain such a request with an approval. So tell me, when did something so harmless and family oriented not to mention purely entertainment be deemed so harmful to our society that it would not be allowed for public consumption? It boggles the mind as well since with a prohibition of cinemas within the state, there is no logical nor effective way to prevent those living within the borders to just take a drive down to good old Kl and catch a flick anyway. Didn’t they take the lesson of American prohibition experiment to see that socially engineering citizens is never truly effective and would cause resentment or worse encourage bootlegging of the said item?

What could happen in such an innocuous setting as a cinema? Would people be more partial to immoral acts such as groping, kissing, fondling and ‘gasp’ making out when the lights are dimmed? Come on I pay RM10 for a good movie and if they really wanted to go about such behaviours there are better venues and more discreet setting than a cinema, unless people find doing it in public a turn on, which I’m sure other people paying RM10 would kill the couple for disrupting the movie. It stems from the same logical thinking as the Kelantan government had when they decided to decree that all shows are not allowed to be screened in the dark and dimmed lights are a must in case ‘immoral’ activities take place within a cinema.

What is the logic of coming out with such moves? We have more pressing problems out there that begs for attention such as the escalating AIDS infection, poverty reduction, staunching the brain drain, etc. for the city councils to turn into moral guardians. Cinemas are one of the most affordable leisure venues that are both wholesome and family friendly, people go to catch a few hours of laughs, thrills, horror, joy and tear jerker. Once we deem such places as not conducive for families I can only shudder where youths will turn to for their pleasure. Not forgetting the recent clamour to urge the singing of ‘Negaraku’ before the start of every show, don’t get me wrong being patriotic is good but there is a time and place for it and there is such a thing as overkill.

On another note, the recent comment in Kelantan about allowing snooker centers, billiard halls and karaoke lounges to operate again within the state albeit with strict rules seems like another political ploy to soften the image of the ruling state government. I’m still sad about the killing off of their traditional arts by disallowing cultural elements such as Mak Yong, Kuda Kepang and Wayang Kulit and now this? Allowing association members only to frequent snooker centers will cause a situation where running the centers would not be financially viable, I agree that such unhealthy activities such as smoking and betting should be elements that are eradicated from such premises but better guidelines would be for the shops to go with renovations such as those imposed for cybercaf├ęs such as doing away with a closed shop environment, better lighting and situated in more crowd friendly avenues. As for the proposed restrictions for karaokes, I don’t think any right minded businessman would consider opening any such business soon in Kelantan. Doing away with private lounges would discourage patronage of groups which seek privacy to sing, imagine a whole room full of bad singers going about it at once in an open setting. As for being for more family oriented it is a noble cause but flawed if they think that business can be viable if they figure people would pay good money just to sing nasyid songs, clearly they are far away from the general taste of the public who frequent such places.

Would other states follow in such puritanical rulings? I like my current visits to the cinemas with popcorn, coke and a nice movie. Denying me such wholesome pleasure would be illogical as well as self defeating as I ca always turn to pirated VCDs and internet P2P downloads. In short the more they try to reform people with plans that the general population think is nonsensical, the more negative backlash they will face in turn.


Adrian said...

Oh my, I sympathise with you for having to live in such a place. :p

I'm sooo happy that where I am now, morality is but a few strategically well placed pixels. :p

I don't want to go back. Good riddance!

Kervin said...

Advice, don't come back hehe I'm sure Japan is more liberal in their pursuits, read an article that recently states a survey that they are more open sexually with 16 year olds don't mind having premarital sex and think nothing of multiple partners, though the stats stating that teenage pregnancies are up and abortion rates account for 40,000 such operations are also facts to digest. So got laid yet? Hehehe :p

Adrian said...

Well have YOU gotten laid yet? :p

mmulibra said...

"Selamat Datang" to Malaysia! The whole country is run by idiots.

If cinema is not healthy, then they should clear all the waterfall areas where so many smut vcds showing amateur having sex at the outdoor.

Everyone trying to be smart by coming out with dumb ideas, but usually there is no logic behind it, and it will end up being criticized heavily by the public and eventually left forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Aiyo! Adrian & Kervin, didn't your Uni teach you guys the definition of "Moral ala Malaysia"? Let me help you out - Immoral Activities shall be defined as "The fragments of imaginations of the process of engaging in such activities deemed by the 'relevant authorities' to be forbidden and shall include but not limited to holding hand of the opposite sex or a mother kissing her male offspring. Such activities if depicted as photos or similar grahpic illustrations shall be marker-pen in black to deter viewing."

Having said that, please remove the pic of Lady kissing Adrian as the photo may be misconstrued as a little bitch making out with a rooster.

Thank you.

narrowband said...

Haha. Time and again we read about news like this, but the general public (like ourselves) can't do much besides poking fun about them. It's so typical of some of their (the people who make the rulings) ancient mindsets. Most of us who've better things to do (besides ranting on and on about their closed-mindedness) would usually shrug it off saying "Welcome to Malaysia" or "Malaysia Boleh!" patriotically.

Come to think of it, this is almost what defines Malaysia itself. Without these "brilliant" ideas, this would no longer be Malaysia. So welcome... to the land of all bolehs.

Lucia Lai said...

actually i did hear comments here and there in forum from people who visited cinemas, spying couples making love (esp. at lousy movies that not doing well, where there are few patrons).

but of course this doesn't mean that i agree on the move to ban cinemas. no no, not at all! i share your sentiments, kervin on this issue.

Kervin said...

Adrian: Waiting for you to go ahead first ;)

mmulibra: Well it'll be forgotten as long as it will until the next round of great ideas by some quarters and everyone raise more broohaha again, it's a cycle.

Anonymous: Sensitivity is culturally based, what may be accepted elsewhere may not be so somewhere else, but Malaysia can be ridiculous at times, like when they deemed kissing on screen was taboo, sight.

Narrowband: True it wouldn't be Malaysia if it wasn't so. Sometimes I wonder if our creative people could use such elements for art direction or film and theatre, using parody as a means to define what it means to be Malaysian.

Lucia Lai: Hehe I figure it's not as bad as the seedy theatres overseas but can't imagine making out in the cinema with all the people around :D