Tuesday, July 23

Is it too sexy or costly?


WHO is Selena Gomez?

Here is the answer from Qing, a girl a year older than Selena. I had asked her for an immediate reply (with no googling).

“I don’t have much impression of her because I’m kinda old school. Besides, she comes after my time, me being older, but younger people call her Selegend. She’s a former Disney star who has transitioned exceptionally well compared to her peers. Not much controversy in that,” Qing said.

She added that even as Justin Biebers’ex, Selena still kept humble and did not resort to any antics when they broke up.

“She’s also a fairly active humanitarian. I think she wrote a song and gave to charity after the most recent shooting in the US. I can say she has been a good role model. Younger people grew up watching her Disney shows and her transition into music. Her charitable works focus a lot on children like education, and she became UNICEF ambassador at the age of 17.”

However, a while later, Qing texted again: “Actually, don’t say no controversy compared to others. I forgot she had made that very sexy movie before.”

So that’s Selena Gomez. The 24-year-old ‘Body Heat’ singer is slated to perform at the Melawati indoor stadium (Selangor) on July 25 – one of the stops of her 2016 Revival Tour, beginning in Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 23 and ending in Guadalajara, Mexico, on December 18.

Based on Qing’s last observation that Selena had made a “sexy movie” before, Malaysians can expect opposition from hardline Muslim groups and PAS Youth to her scheduled concert in the country.

PAS Youth have voiced their disapproval with their Dakwah Committee chairman Hafez Sabri claiming Selena’s sexy appearance would be a big blot on the holiest month of the Muslim calendar or Hijri calendar.

“The presence of the American-born singer, who is synonymous with sexy appearance, will tarnish the sanctity of the month of Syawal which is being celebrated in earnest, and further stoke the hedonistic culture among the country’s youths,” he said in a statement.

He pointed out that the movement was committed to opposing the “sexy appearance” of the US hit-maker because it was a priority and the responsibility of PAS Youth to ensure there were no elements which could “destroy” the younger generation.

He also said the Selangor government should have been more careful in giving the concert the go-ahead.

I really like how Datuk Seri Azmin Ali responded to PAS Youth’s objection.

The Selangor Mentri Besar was quoted by Berita Harian news portal as saying: “Sexiness is God’s creation and subjective. Do not be over excited by it. Most (of her fans) are drawn by the song lyrics delivered by the singer.”

He also said holding the concert in month of Syawal was not an issue as every month should be equally respected.

While kudos are in order for Azmin, there seems to have been some administrative mess-up by the Selangor government over the application and approval of the permit for the concert.

Azmin claimed the Shah Alam Municipal Council (SAMC) had yet to receive any application for permit but the organisers PR Worldwide maintained all the necessary forms had been submitted to SAMC and approval already obtained to use Stadium Melawati as the concert venue.

Evidently, someone is not telling the truth or the Selangor local council which approves permits for events such as the Selegend concert, needs to be more efficient in keeping their records to avoid embarrassing flip-flops.

I again asked Qing: “Will you attend a concert with tickets priced at RM285, RM385, RM455 and RM485 plus 6 per cent GST?”

I nearly fell off my chair when she texted back: “That’s cheap. The reserved ticket prices for such a concert are normal. I mean if you convert, it’s around US$100-150.”

So will you attend, I asked myself.

No, I will not. It’s not about sexiness being bad influence. Rather, it’s has everything to do with the ticket prices. It’s just too costly watching an artist sizzling on stage, attired in a series of revealing outfits, or sparkling in a sheer, glittering body stocking!

Incidentally, Starbucks entered Sibu this week. Days after news broke that the ubiquitous American coffeeshop had finally dared to make a foray into the Sibu market, the local residents reacted with mixed feelings.

One wrote in his Facebook: “Will Sibu, being a Christian town and standing firm on one-man-one-woman marriage, welcome Starbucks which supports same sex marriage? Every cup of coffee, purchased at Starbucks anywhere in the world, goes to funding “gay marriage” which is deeply offensive to cultural, moral and religious values.”

Another chimed in: “In Sibu, a cup of coffee can cost as little as RM1. Starbucks price is over RM10. Will it be regularly patronised?”

However, despite the discerning comments, the huge American coffee joint – with free wi-fi, comfy seats and refrigerated sandwiches served out of a package, believed to be a novelty, took off as it had done in other countries – with long queues to boot.

Someone asked a pastor whether he would “dump Starbucks” on the ground that it has taken a corporate-wide position to reappraise the definition of marriage as being solely between one man and one woman and advocate that same-sex marriage should become equally normal.

The wise and witty pastor answered: “No, because it’s too costly. You make your own decision.”

He quoted Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:9: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindles, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.”

For all the long and the short of it, watching Selena Gomez on TV over a cup of home-brewed coffee or paying a few hundred bucks to swig a cup of American-size Starbucks coffee is an uncoerced personal choice. That’s what it really boils down to.

PAS Youth should not get over-zealous by resorting to moral policing to sabotage the concert. It’s illogical to assume that the mere sight of Selena performing on stage would turn perfectly rational concert attendees into hedonists overnight. Surely, our faith in our own ability to maintain a behaviour in keeping with good taste and propriety is a whole lot stronger than that.

In terms of crowd control, PAS Youth need not fear as the regular police force are more than capable of deploying an adequate team to keep the fans in line and ensure public order during the concert.

As for me, I will continue to enjoy my RM0.90 coffee and use my few hundred ringgit for other good causes.