Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pop and Rock Culture?

The media recently reported that Avril Lavigne's much anticipated concert scheduled on August 29th in Stadium Merdeka was to be cancelled on the grounds that she was "too sexy".

Now how on earth is this too sexy?

Many Malaysians felt that there is a slow but steady Islamisation of Malaysia in recent decades. Whether you agree or not, that depends on which side of the fence you are on. Mind you that Article 3 of the Federal Constitution states that Islam is the official religion of the federation. No mention of Malaysia being an Islamic State was ever found. It is also helpful to know that if we were an Islamic country, non-Muslims would have to pay the Jizya (special tax imposed on non-Muslims) to the government. Are non-Muslims in Malaysia paying the Jizya? Apparently not and therefore we cannot be called an Islamic nation.

Now, the whole debate on whether Malaysia is an Islamic nation or not can go on endlessly and I would have to leave that for another time perhaps. However it is worrisome to note that there are certain quarters of society who are imposing their values on others-many of whom may not share the same set of values.

The Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, Shafie Apdal was quoted saying, "There are a lot of events on Aug 29 and the Ministry does not want the independence and the near Ramadan month to be filled with such pop and rock culture." [The Star, 20/8/08] A similar view was echoed by Federal Territory PAS Youth chief Kamaruzaman Mohamed.

This just raised an important question: Are all Malaysians fasting during the Ramadhan?
Shafie Apdal may have failed to see this but is he blind to realize that we are living in a multi-racial and religious country? It would be understandable if the authorities on the religion of Islam felt that the concert was not suitable for Muslims and bar them from taking part in it. But why deprive the other Malaysians who were eager to see their favourite singer on stage? Why not just make the concert for non-Muslims only?

Shafie Apdal had also contradicted himself when he said, "...the Ministry does not want the independence month to be filled with such pop and rock culture." For the past few years, the government organized massive Merdeka concerts for the masses. Local artistes like Search, Mawi, Pop Shuvit, Daniel and Ruffedge performed on stage in front of thousands of Malaysians. With that fact, I would like Shafie Apdal to explain how these pop and rock artistes differ from artistes like Avril Lavigne.

Perhaps in the future, female singers would have to dress like this on stage. But who knows, Shafie Apdal might say this is not environmentally friendly.

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  1. siewkwan said...

    serious, they canceled it? How come this maxis still bombard me with smses about Avril? But, seriously, I thought they invited some pop singer for the merdeka celebration thing too? Weird...

  2. Yeahwho said...

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  3. Roey said...

    Agreed. Their reasons for calling Avril's performance 'inappropriate' are inappropriate themselves.

    Musically speaking, pop-wise, she's just like any other English-counterpart of Jay Chou. Rock-wise she's not half as hardcore as the typical American rock band.

    If it was for her being female and 'too sexy', her being 'sexy' is totally BS, through common sense (and watching Astro, which I doubt PAS members subscribe).

    But the obvious lack of judgment on Shafie Apdal's part bothers me.

    Whether he's being stupid or his grand scheme of barring foreign entertainment has just started, their 'victory' with Avril is going to limit whatever future foreign entertainment Malaysians are supposedly able to receive.

  4. mayniacs said...

    i believed that there's other reason that avril is banned in m'sia. and this shud not be a tool to counter the muslim governments or an excuse to raised up racism among the conservative malays. Such issue like GLOBALISATION might be a reason why this concert is banned. and i guess that the government is not all too stupid and not look into the cons of globalisation because there are political public relations practitioners who most of the time tell them what they shud do. anyway, im going to far here. I studied media globalisation and malaysia actually ranked no 63 globalized out of 240 countries. i have to say we doing just great. compare us with singapore. ya ya.. they are all well advanced and stuff but do they have a sense of identity? do they have original bak kut teh which only can be found in malaysia? at least, malaysia still preserve some so called culture and there's a chance that malaysia could develop a sense of identity in our nation. If we are so americanized, then what would malaysia be? just another america? or put it this way laa. lame american wannabes.

    i had an experience with a 3 year old kid shaking butts and dancing over avril i don't like ur gf song. i kinda imagine, 20 to 30 years down the line, i don;t think that kid will still remember what is baju kurung. avril is an important icon who invented super short mini skirts, netting black socks, and high boots with highlighted hair.. which you'll be able to scout this is many teenage gurls in malaysia now. so, some people is not just about appreciating the music like we do but also on role model and icon.

    im not being too conservative here. i might be having some conservative thought. but im questioning the credibility of the media that uses such excuses as being too sexy for malaysia. it might be exxagerating it. and its really unfair to just blamed it all out to the government or the malay race. they might be conservative but i don't think they are that conservative. is kl here la com'on. and this shud not a reason to implant into everyone's mind to raise up racism and to condemn them. oh yes, we are loosing alot of from this. think about the malaysia tourism and foreign economic development we might have. but in a way, it might be good to still be conservative at times so that we wont be too overboard. what you want the malaysian kids to be next time?

    i still believe that there's other issue in cancelling this. to think about it, i guess some parents might be really happy that their kid could not go for this. *grins*. anyway, if you're really appreciating avril pop rock songs, you can always see her somewhere else. is dumb that malaysia loose out such a money making chance, but it could be for better goods. anyway at the end of the day, is the song that you're appreciating rite? what is there to loose of not seeing her?

  5. jonathan ong said...

    Dear mayniacs ( I know who you are *wink*],

    I would like to stress that this post is not to incite any racism or is against any religion. Please do read carefully. What was said in the post was against islamisation of this country and the act of imposing one's values on others. To think that the government might have 'other reasons' is pretty naive. They would have just said it out in the press if there was any 'other reason' in the first place. Why would they not tell us of the 'other' reason? There is no reason them to shield us from any information on this matter. Also, the government's reason has already been stated by the Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage.

    Secondly, I do not believe that Malaysia has to give up it's identity to be a globalized or a developed country. One must first define the word "identity" here. Who says we cannot go to mamak stalls or say "LAH" when we achieve first world status. Losing the national identity is not an issue this post is trying to raise.

    You have my regrets on your experience with the 3 year old kid. But then again, if you take Avril Lavigne out of the equation, can you guarantee that she won't learn to shake her butt from some other sources? To use foreign artistes like Avril Lavigne as scapegoat is a cheap move. The bottom line is that every parent has the responsibility to allow their children to be expose to such artistes or not. No one is forcing anyone to go to Avril's concert. Why ban the concert when you can just make this concert exclusively 18+ if there is an intention to 'protect' children?

    Thirdly, the quote that Avril was 'too sexy' was made by the Pas Youth Leader while the government felt that they do not want any pop and rock influences during this month and Ramadhan. There is a double standard here. Please refer to my post.

    Fourthly, I would like to stress again that the media did not intend to "blame it on the government or the malay race (quote: you)". This was never a racial issue the begin with. Not all Muslims are malays, you know? SO please do not jump to any conclusions that this post and along with the media are anti-Islam. But whether you agree or not, there is a trend of islamising this country. Please do read your Federal Constitution and tell me since when Malaysia was ever an Islamic country.

    Thanks for reading and do drop by again =)