Saturday, December 9

Morality run amuck


I KNOW today marks the start of a new year and while I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a peaceful and fulfilling 2012, this is not going to be one of those articles.

You know, the ones that look back on the last year and, very wisely – and, of course, with the benefit of hindsight – tell us where we went wrong and what we should and shouldn’t have done.

Or those that look ahead and, like those crooked carnival crystal ball gazers, predict things that will never come true … and get away with it because we have such short memories.

Or those really weird pieces outlining new year resolutions – who invented these silly thingies? – they will be broken before the end of the week.

Nope. Instead let’s talk about this fascinating story of this young man. Evidently he is of sound mind and appears to be of a healthy body as well.

This young man gets married half a world away from us and, hell’s bells, causes many of us in this strange bolehland to get our knickers in an absolute twist, ranting and raving as if this young man had attempted to assassinate someone or, even worse, lower a flag with our beloved PM’s face on it.

Indeed, instead of congratulating the couple or, at worst, just ignoring it as yet another unfortunate ball and chain incident, there are curses uttered online, sage advise – all uninvited – given, holy verses gifted.

But perhaps the most disingenuous and clearly audacious attempt at getting a free lunch – plus a return air ticket to boot, possibly business class – from this incident was the proposal by one political party (all right, it was Umno) that their representative(s) head off to the city of Dublin and talk some sense into this young man, Ariff Alfian Rosli.

For those of you fortunate enough to be out of this country this past month, Ariff is a Malaysian who’s been in Ireland for about eight years. None of us, apart from his unfortunate sponsors, his family and friends knew of Ariff all this while.

Until his same-sex marriage in Dublin earlier in December, that is, and when pictures of the same-sex civil ceremony surfaced on the Internet.

It was then that the proverbial najis hit the kipas. That’s also when the social networks of Facebook and Twitter became decidedly ‘unsocial’.

Indeed, it was also then that Muslim (I think) Malaysians, started doing what I’m sure they felt were very ‘Muslim’ things such as cursing Ariff publicly on Twitter and Facebook, accusing him of straying from Islam and dishonouring his family.

Sheesh! And they don’t even know the guy.

And, you know, when self-righteousness goes amuck, reason (assuming it was there in the first place), of course, gets flushed down the toilet.

So, there was this news report of one youth organisation in Kepong (do check out that bustling, happening place on Google Maps) lodging a police report “over his alleged failure to adhere to Malaysia’s Islamic laws”.

Hello, is everything in order up there? You guys know where Dublin is? You guys are aware, I assume, that PDRM stands for Polis Di-Raja Malaysia, the Malaysian police, and not Interpol? You do appreciate that Ireland is not an Islamic state, don’t you?

So why waste your time with these moronic publicity stunts? How about taking on real challenges to assert your manhood, that you are a macho hetero?

For instance, lodging a police report about the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) or, more up your street, perhaps, a police report about the recent misappropriation of the tithe (zakat) funds by government officials?

Anyway, the news report also stated that ‘an Umno’ official is expected to arrive in Dublin … to convince Ariff Alfian to return home.

Return to what, pray tell? Condemnation? A life of being discriminated against? Busybody najis-heads in your face all the time? Death threats?

Come on, folks. Let’s get real and start to get rid of our own sickness, our homophobia.

Personally, over the years teaching in a public university, I have come across many Malay Muslim students who are gay.

No, they didn’t have horns. But I’m sure, like many other straight students of their age, they were often horny.

They were – and I believe they still are – decent human beings, often more creative with their work than their straight counterparts. As far as I remember, they were not discriminated against on campus.

So why should they be hounded and harassed outside campus?

Who are we to judge others, especially those who don’t even know us and possibly don’t want to have anything to do with ‘us’, especially the hateful homophobes among us?

And I ask myself too as we start off a new year, why be so hateful and disgusted? Is it because these homophobes – they can’t be all that religious if they keep on using irreligious language – are fearful that gays may make a pass at them?

If that’s the main fear, let me recall an incident many, many years ago when a good friend of mine in campus overseas confessed to me that he was gay.

I virtually recoiled and, in response, he looked calmly at me and said: “Don’t worry, my friend, gays too have taste.”