Friday, 3 August 2007
Of Disclaimers, Political Correctness and Daddy's New Rules.
I was watching the stand-up comedians on You Tube a few days back and Russel Peters was truly hilarious – his jokes about Whites, Indians, Koreans, Vietnamese and Chinese were fantastic. If he had performed in Malaysia, he might just have been charged for "incitement" or whatever, going by the trend.
Then again, there are the debates about religion ....
There is a multitude of clips on YouTube that speaks for and against every single thing about every single religion/ idea that claims to have a monopoly of the " whole truth" (whatever that is!).
Well, one thing's for sure – there are no riots, murder, lawsuits, mayhem, or whatever in world or the net, the bcos of YouTube. They are definitely not labeled as a danger to society – in fact, it has become the focus of debates, ranging from utterly idiotic to highly intelligent and philosophical. It is left to the thinking public to think and decide, with the multitude of ideas accessible to them. There is Freedom to think, without undue interference as long as you can respect the "golden rule".
And yet, I do not see any "disorder" or "chaos". (Not so sure if the "fundamentalist/ extremist" Muslim or Christian leaders are aware of these things on YouTube - I dunno, they may scream for blood as usual, had they been aware).
It appears that the people at the forefront of civilization realize that there is no need to be petty and defensive, if you are right.
Laws are meant to protect the rakyat from those pedophiles, rapists, thugs, murderers and theives who cause misery, with the boldly voiced out threats that they pose to the rakyat. In some places though, the Law is meant to protect the lawmakers. (Hmmm....... something to ponder on indeed).
There was a time things were much simpler in Malaysia .......
A joke was just a joke. An opinion was just an opinion. A viewpoint was just a viewpoint. Differences were respected and accepted.
No more - we are today, a "proud people" (in line with our "amazing bin hairan achievements" under the "guidance" of certain illustrious leaders), whichever social group we belong to. What was once (long ago) deemed to be a harmless comment, joke or opinion, may today be considered tasteless, harmful or seditious or even considered as "racist", anti-this or that!
When did we start taking ourselves so seriously? Are we so insecure, that we need "big daddy" to make rules so that "we know what is right or wrong"? Have we lost that capacity to think and decide for ourselves? Aren't old enough to do away with the "rotan", stop squabbling about who is the best child and gets the biggest pie?
I recollect an incident/ argument/ debate that I had with Raja Petra, in the comments section - the article was about the ISA ....
Somehow, things got a little "heated", and I disagreed with RPK on a certain point, and decided to "bail-out" (as I saw no point in me further expressing my opinion). Of course, RPK wasn't too pleased, thinking that I had "merajuk", which made me reply explaining myself.
In the "debate", I had taken no offense. But I needed to "have a break" ("have a kit-kat" - as I usually say it) to accept the difference in opinion, and agree to disagree, though .........
However, I received a call from a friend, saying that "he was with me", and that RPK was extremely rude. Despite the fact that I wanted to speak about the issue that was debated, this friend of mine was so totally fixated on the fact that RPK had addressed me as "Thamby"!! He went on and on about it, like RPK was the devil himself! In the end, I just changed the topic and found some reason to hang up.
The same occurred in another discussion, when a commenter had mentioned this very incident, as a means to "discredit" me in some form.
Hell ( ... I wanted to say WTF!) man, I call some of my friends things far worse than that, for issues far less "sensitive"! Why this obsession with political correctness?
Now - what's so "insulting" about "thamby"? Since when did it come to be perceived as a slur? I just don't get it! I mean, okay - so he did use a Tamil word for kid brother (and I'm no Tamilian in the first place) to address me while banging away on the keyboards, in the heat of the moment - so what? There are even Malay Leaders with such a word for a name for
gottsakes! It wasn't like it was a derogatory term or something ....
Alright, I agree that sometimes, "it is not what you do, but how you do it" that matters - but come on ..... I wouldn't jump on something as petty as this. In fact, I know that RPK has "endured" far worse slurs to his person than this, in the spirit of tolerance for the sake of a vibrant discussion. I do realize also that he gives just as hard as he takes.
RPK, please note that no "buttering" is intended here, [okay, I confess - I'm a cheapskate and would appreciate the MT sticker at a discount or FOC! ;-)]. I only wish that all readers and commenters understand the spirit with which articles and discussions are carried out in Malaysia Today.
It must be noted though, that "No Holds Barred" blog is definitely not for the faint-hearted (YouTube too, I should add). This was something I realized long ago, and I had sent a letter to RPK touching on the language of the commenters. In reply, I was told that, that's how we debate - we apparently haven't "matured" yet. In fact I think, RPK appreciates the openness if it isn't too gross(my apologies if I'm wrong - anyway "grossness" is relative to your upbringing, education, thinking, beliefs, culture and maybe "class").
How true. Guilty as charged – we are so full of 4letter words, when we "articulate" are feelings and ideas so well – it is a truly global blogging phenomenon.
Hey, what do you know – we are now truly Glokal, in an era of Globalisation!
However, I'd hate to see our parliamentarians adopting the same culture in our august house. As much as I can stretch my imagination, it is truly beyond me, how a noted columnist lately, had equated our Parliament to the Blogs.
Now, that's an insult to bloggers ..... I wonder if he was actually trying to flatter them. What have they done to earn such an honor? I'll try to figure it out, and save it for another time.
A recent "disclaimer" that was put up in Malaysia Today was indeed hilarious - yeah man, why would you wanna come into my house, and tell me how to behave myself within the confines of my privacy? When I disagreed, I just made myself scarce where the topic was concerned.
If there was something that I perceived to be insulting, extreme or whatever you call it, I either tried to make a point thru writing comments, or just "bail-out" if I feel that it is pointless. Some readers/ commenters are extremely "passionate" about certain issues, that they could "go on and on in circles" about certain topics. Some would expose their "perceived opponents" by tracing the IP address, to reveal personal info. Some would take it a notch higher, and call for a duel or threaten to send goons. Then again, there are some who would up the ante and threaten with legal action or lodge police reports!
Take a break, guys ..... have a Kit-Kat. If you can't take the heat, just turn it off and .... voila! – no need for daddy to make new rules of conduct!
Have a heart, guys ..... Daddy's growing old, gets erratic, emotional and inconsistent with decision making. He often doesn't know what's going on when he makes those rules that you cry for. Haven't you noticed?
Let's just spare him the trouble, huh ...... let him rest or sleep or take a holiday.
Opinion/ ideas mentioned above isn't meant to offend anybody in particular.
The writer is willing to retract anything deemed seditious, provocative or
To those offended by anything (please inform me), I apologise.