Monday, 19 September 2016

News stories that caught my eye

Brave New World (The Star)
14 September 2016


SELAMAT Hari Raya and Happy Malaysia Day, everybody!

What a week, eh? Those of us with enough foresight would have taken three days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) off and got nine days holiday. Unfortunately I had no such forward-thinking ability and so am back at work.
This does not mean I feel like working and thus the article this week may reflect my state; which is to say my body is at the keyboard but my mind is on the beach.
Very quickly then; two items that caught my interest.
Firstly, Siti Zabedah Kasim’s middle finger. Not since John Wayne Bobbit has a little digit caused such a media furore.
What happened was this. Siti Kasim (pic), lawyer and activist, was at some forum or other regarding the amendments to the Syariah Act which would allow a form of hudud to be introduced in the various states.
She was in the audience and was trying to make a point opposing the amendments when she was heckled continuously by those who disagree with her.
It all got to a head until finally she lost her cool and flipped the bird.
And boy, how excited people got. How rude, they said. How crass. Gosh, one woman makes a gesture and it’s awful. Yet all those uncouth morons who jeered and provoked and wouldn’t let her speak, they don’t deserve any comments.
And then, naturally, the inanity starts. She’s a Muslim but she doesn’t wear a tudung, they gasp. How can a woman go around bare headed and say she is a Muslim, they tut.
Dear oh dear. That’s what it boils down to in this country, doesn’t it?
There are so many reasons why people oppose the introduction of hudud in this country.
There are theological reasons (where Muslims doubt the theological foundations espoused by the supporters of hudud), there are constitutional reasons, there are human rights reasons and there are reasons based simply on the fact that brutal punishments are ineffective and amount to torture and are thus pointless and wrong.
In a democracy, all these points must be openly discussed. Shouting down those who disagree with you is not right. Patronising people who disagree with you by falsely saying they don’t understand or are phobic is not right. Demonising people based on inane things like dress, just because they disagree with you, is not right.
When faced with so many wrongs, I think one little birdy flashed for a few seconds is probably the most reasonable emotional reaction possible.
The second news story that caught my eye was the one where Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, AirAsia chief, was reportedly keen to be the new Football Association of Malaysia president. He has apparently denied this, so who knows what would have happened?
However, for a while at least, it made a nice talking point.
Some of my Spurs mates thought he would do very well, being an astute businessman and owner of Queens Park Rangers football club.
I have no idea whether AirAsia is a brilliant business model and I am uncertain whether being the owner of an ex-premier league team equates to football knowledge, so I really don’t have anything to say one way or the other.
And besides, that wasn’t the fun part of the conversation. It soon degenerated to a series of messages along the lines of:
“Hey, does this mean that now, everyone can play?”
“What about tickets? Do you buy a ticket to enter but pay extra for the seat?”
“Would games be delayed without any reason?”
“When the programme says that we will be playing Indonesia, with Tony in charge, does that mean Australia will turn up?”
Anyway, for those of you with foresight, enjoy the rest of the hols; for those of you like me, here’s to the long weekend.

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