Friday, February 10, 2006

Pride and prejudice

I’ve watched with much amusement the plight of the 11 men who were shaved bald after being caught gambling and not so much amusement at the rapidly deteriorating situation in which Muslims and certain newspapers have found themselves entangled in.

Today, the ‘Bald 11’ as they are affectionately called have decided not to file the civil suit against the police after they were promised an internal investigation by the coppers.

Call me cynical, but does anybody else think that the investigations are not going to come up with a favourable conclusion?

Anyway, I was talking to mum about it and told her that I didn’t particularly see the huge deal in having their heads shaved. After all, hair grows back right?

She promptly proceeded to scold me, telling me that it was a matter of pride in ones self that set off the outraged reaction. It wasn’t about whether hair was going to grow back or not.

To quote a certain friend of mine, this to me was ‘ponderance material’.

The Malaysian law states that when people are detained, the police have the right to ‘potong pendek pendek’ their hair. And that’s where I think they hit a snag.

The law seems pretty open to interpretation from where I sit. I’m going to take the stance of a bimbotic blonde on this one and say that potonging someone’s hair pendek pendek could very well be equivalent to shaving one’s head bald but leaving stubble behind.

I do not deny that it would have been an extremely humiliating situation to be in. If someone had tried to potong my hair pendek pendek I’d probably threaten the person with every known form of torture available from boiling pitch to defenestration (too much Eddings, sorry).

What I’m wondering now, is how the police really got these men to drop the charges (again with the cynicism).

By some wild stretch of imagination, I’m thinking of money changing hands and maybe some ‘persuasive’ arguments put forth by the coppers.


But of course, Malaysia is a lovely country and we need to keep up that image so I’m certain the above said NEVER happened.

The other thing that has caught my attention in the news would be the images of burning Danish embassies that seem to be flourishing in the news lately.

Racial prejudice? Freedom of the press? Respect of other cultures?

For those of you not acquainted with the story, the whole thing started when the Danish newspapers decided it would be in their rights as press to publish certain cartoons of a controversial nature, one featuring Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb as a turban.

I have always been of the opinion (I’m sure I’m generalising here) that most Westerners are not sensitive enough of other cultures. Add in eons of enmity between the West and the Muslims and we have a rather large bomb just waiting to explode.

While I’m not condoning the acts of destruction, there is a limit to everything, even the freedom of press (which I think is a flimsy excuse for racial prejudice).

The situation has reached Malaysia, the Sarawak Tribune has been shut down because they published the offensive cartoons. I mean, how smart was that? You live in a Muslim country and you publish cartoons that have effectively insulted the Muslim population of the world)

Violence and immaturity (Muslim newspapers want to publish caricatures of the Holocaust in retaliation) are not the answer.

I do not pretend that something as simple as an apology from the ever-pompous Westerners will resolve the issue but I’m sure that it will mollify the other party somewhat.

I have seen chatrooms with the ever-repeated message of ‘Fuck Islam’. I want to know how that helps the situation. It’s not even imaginative in any sense. Just because you don’t like a religion, it does not mean you get to disrespect it.

Everyone needs a large healthy dose of ‘Grow the hell up’. And that’s all I’m going to say on both matters.


Blogger Wen said...

meh, its really stupid on both sides... so its just a cartoon, get over it. So they're drawing holocaust cartoons in relatiation, does that give westerners the right to burn arab embassies? Westerners sometimes dont know where to draw the line. Democratic 'freedom of speech' in parliameny meetings makes me sick. Good thing power is to be handed over to the TGA over the ru-486 matter.

11:11 PM  

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