The Confusion that is Malaysia
We strive for certain objectives but we make it unnecessarily difficult for us to achieve the objectives. The classic example is the wish of almost every Muslim parent to have religion abiding children. On top of the Islamic classes at school we send them to extra Islamic schools in the morning or in the afternoon depending on when their regular schooling session is. Coming back from overseas it surprised me that even my two preschool children are offered the option of extra Islamic classes in the afternoon after they have finished their regular school in the morning. It so obvious we wish to imbibe adequate religious knowledge and etiquette in our children so they do not go astray as they approach teenage and adulthood.
However in the evening we sit together with them cheering on the participants in TV’s Akademi Fantasia. Don’t we realise an episode of Akademi Fantasia or similar programme teaching kids how to be artistes will undo everything the Ustaz or Ustazah have taught to our kids earlier in the day? What is wrong with Akademi Fantasia and similar programmes on TV? Well let me make the list. First the ladies on the programme do not cover their aurat as taught to the kids by the Ustaz and the Ustazah. Their dressing is as a Hadith says of women’s clothing at the end of time, dressed but naked. Males and females mixed freely which is strictly prohibited by Islam. They freely touch each other; they shake each other’s hands and God forbid, kiss each other’s cheeks. The Hadith clearly say you cannot touch the skin of a female who is not your muhrim. Are these people on the TV programmes given special exemptions from these rules or we feel that the Prophet saw is wrong is his pronouncements? It has to be either one or the other. We have to make up our minds. Are we Muslims or not? A Muslim by definition is one who submits. If we don’t submit to the rules of Islam, are we a Muslim? Why do we hope our children become good Muslims and in the same breath condone such behaviour that do not constitute the behaviour of good Muslims? A clear contradiction in wish and practice. We should weed out such programmes which pollutes the minds of our children.
Immediately after Akademi Fantasia and suchlikes will be the Drama Minggu Ini. Now this the classic example of a group of people trapped in the warp of time. Do you notice how the dramas usually try to portray Malay Muslim society in the eyes of the artistes’ fraternity? Almost always the actresses do not cover their hair which are invariably tinged blonde or blondish. Their dressings sometimes put Britney Spears to shame. The story line will usually have a session when the wife will scream loudly at her husband. Now with our children watching this, what lessons will they learn about marriage and the relationships between wives and husbands? The Ustaz and the Ustazah teaches them that a wife must be obedient to her husband to get the blessings of Allah, but the dramas tell them it is okay for wives to scream at husbands. Then we wonder why the marriage of some of our children do not last long and ends in divorce. If it is a drama about a rich family, then invariably one brother will plot to kill the other to monopolise the family fortunes. These are probably commonplace in the West, but in a typical Malay family?! Why do we allow these drama people to define our society and our values; why do we allow such dramas to mould the minds of our society?
At the weekends there will be programmes that project these artistes as role models. They will be asked their opinions on many issues. Would not the religious scholars, male or female be better role models? Aren’t their views more valuable than the artistes’? Aah yes we have religious programmes, we have Bicara Mufti and Tanya Ustaz. I supposed the lagha entertainment programmes are to provide adequate challenge to the religious programmes so that they become more effective.
If we are to ask the question which Ministry in the Malaysian Cabinet is the most important. Many will answer either Finance or Education. Many would not say the Information Ministry. But is this not the Ministry that shapes society through daily intrusions into family lives via TVs and radios. Why is the token Religious Scholar Minister always in the Prime Minister’s Dept. Why cant the Information Minister be a Religious Scholar? You can imagine the changes he will make as an Information Minister. This begs the question, are the powers that be keen on such a transformation or do they quietly condone the status quo to lull the masses?
Talking about confusion, a certain state in our land is in some hell of a political imbroglio. Do we not hear that the ruling party wish to reverse the fortunes of the last general election? Do we not hear the leader of the ruling party wanting to regain the hearts and minds of the Malaysian voters? What better way to do so than to exemplify the heights of statesmanship by agreeing to an election in Perak. A statesman will call an election and swallow the bitter pill of a possible loss, if that is the wish of the people. Perpetuating the limbo and gambling the untarnished reputation of a country many in the third world look up to, is not the action of a statesman, but that of the leader of a lost tribe.