Tuesday, September 20, 2016

TAK BOLEH BOGEL (NO NUDITY) IN MALAYSIA (HERE WE GO AGAIN!)

Spencer Tunick
Another unpublished Letter to the Editor... 

It’s been ages since I felt moved to write a letter to The Editor. The urge to air my views in print has been building up since the Nude Squat furore erupted (seems like the only “legitimate” way you can see people naked is to arrest them first). City Hall’s declared intention to penalize folks caught smooching or even holding hands in public was irksome news to me (some of my fondest memories involve exactly that). But the final straw was the email I received announcing that free screenings of international films organised by Kaki Kino at FINAS have been suspended till further notice, after a shrill complaint about uncensored “babak lucah” (nude scenes) appeared in a leading Malay daily.

Imagine a lush lagoon, festooned with giant ferns and flirtatious mermaids. A man and a woman, both well-tanned, are strolling hand-in-hand along the sandy shore, gloriously naked. Is that not a veritable vision of paradise? Granted, the couple could also be modeling chic beachwear by Jean-Paul Gaultier (but that would be too much like a glossy magazine ad).

Now imagine a fast-motion sequence showing Tokyo commuters at rush hour – all respectably dressed in office apparel and suffering from gastritis. Or a slow-motion montage of KL traffic after a heavy afternoon downpour. Cut to the gory aftermath of a car bomb attack in Baghdad and then crossfade to a wide-angle closeup of an American-made Israeli bulldozer, demolishing a Palestinian neighborhood, as terrified women clutch babies to their hearts and wail in despair. Hellish scenes, for sure – but they would get past the censors, no problem.

Why is this so? Are we being indoctrinated to perceive pain as okay and pleasure as not? Is it any wonder that crime reports are getting more gruesome by the day? Maybe it’s time to reassess what sort of messages we’re being programmed with.

There’s no way I can conceive of a kiss or a hug, regardless of who’s doing it and where, as being indecent or offensive. These are signs of love and affection. Are these warm feelings WRONG? Folks who react negatively to romance and sex were probably deprived of cuddles as kids. They’re likely to inflict corporal punishment on their own children as a matter of routine. Those who express alarm and outrage at the sight of female nipples are undoubtedly some inorganic lifeform in human guise that never experienced the life-sustaining comfort and nourishment of mother’s milk. How do you think a baby would react to seeing a bare breast or two on the screen? Lodge a self-righteous report with the religious police... or gurgle with happiness?

Spencer Tunick
All it takes is a bit of common sense and reason. There’s nothing shameful about our bodies. Fat or sinewy, hairy or baby-smooth, the body is our sovereign domain, our physical home. Naked or adorned with sparkling gems, bodies are magnificent by divine design. Everybody loves being naked. In the bathroom or the bedroom, being naked means you’re enjoying a hot shower or some hot sex. Or maybe you’re just relishing a good poop or your private space after a marathon immersion in public affairs. What’s so scandalous about that?

We live in the hot and humid tropics. The sort of place where clothing is merely a fashionable option. You won’t find too many nudist colonies in Alaska or Tibet. Arab women have traditionally had to cover up to protect themselves from desert sandstorms, camel farts (possibly radioactive since Gulf Wars I and II) and temperature extremes. Were it not for fear of their control-freak husbands, don’t you think they would celebrate being in their own skins if they were magically transported to a balmy beach in the South Seas? Talk about “inappropriate attire”... being wrapped in thick cloth from head to toe on a sweltering day in the city sounds like a portable sauna to me. But to each his or her own - I’m happy in my sarong and flip-flops.

Spencer Tunick

I have to be honest with myself. I love looking at beauty, and women are embodiments of the Great Goddess, deserving of admiration, love and respect. If a naked woman walked past me in the street, I would certainly turn my head for a second look. And I’d feel absolutely no guilt or shame about doing so. Nor would I - uncontrollably overcome by animal lust - drag her by the hair off to my cave and show her my etchings. Unless, of course, she handed me a perfumed note with precisely such a request. Even so, I’d rather she walk back to my cave on her own two feet than drag her all the way. I have a different concept of exercise.

Immaturity has its place, I grant that. However, let it not be exalted as the arbiter of our behavior and our moral code. There’s no immorality in portraying the human form in various stages of dress or undress in the adult cinema. What’s truly immoral is imposing on others our own limitations and limiting beliefs. Do we really value the grotesque hypocrisy censorship encourages? Are we to blinker our cinematic vision (like the proverbial katak under a tempurung) in a knee-jerk reaction to the poisonous outpourings of a pusillanimous prude?

Sincerely,
Antares
Kuala Kubu Bharu
27 April 2006

[First published 12 January 2007, reposted 1 July 2012]

Excerpt from an open letter to Akmal Abdullah, deputy editor of Berita Harian (published 1 August 2006)
Dear Akmal Abdullah, I am not particularly pleased that you exist. Why is this so, when we haven't even met and you don't know me from Adam? But is that so surprising - considering your predilection for campaigning to ban movies you haven't even seen? Well, Akmal, I think you ought to be banned from paradise - unless you wise up and 'fess up to having been an outright obstruction. Akmal Abdullah, you stand accused of suppressing art and denying life. Have you anything to say in your own defence? When you look into a mirror, are you happy to be the person looking back? Do you see a frog trapped under your own obscurantist coconut shell? Will you repent and henceforth channel your energies towards being creative rather than destructive? Or will you dig in your reactionary heels and doggedly remain a blight on the face of the earth with your acute case of 'cemburu kampungitis'? The Chinese have an instructive saying about this: "The midget does not grow taller by chopping off other people's heads."
Please heed these words if you'd rather be greeted by decent folk with a pat on the back instead of a kick in the butt.

5 comments:

masterymistery said...

To a large extent it's driven by religion, that the body is a source of evil, and that sexuality is evil. The sins of the flesh. Maybe it's a tactic to keep people apart and away from each other! Add a bit more guilt and shame to the mix...

Yek Ming Yong said...

Dear
I do not think the joker Akmal Abdullah understand what you are saying..

Regards
Shiokguy

Antares said...

@masterymistery - It's entirely driven by a renegade reptilian mind-control agenda posing as religion: an insidious way to seed the idea within the mass psyche that we are all "unworthy" because our mothers actually FUCKED to conceive us. Supreme Beings can be identified by the way they appear out of the sky encased in a meteorite, or magically manifest as a tiny homunculus in the middle of a newly blossomed lotus. The rest of us have to wait in line for some young bride to get over her wedding night anxiety and for her husband to get sober enough to shoot his wad inside her before we stand a chance of utterly maculate conception. To their credit, Muslims don't have to make up a story that Muhammad was supernaturally sired or conceived in vitro (although I've heard an apocryphal tale about how that happened, will recount it another occasion :-)... and although he reportedly had 12 wives (ordinary non-prophetic men are permitted only 4), he never took his trousers off (or something to that effect). To the fundamentalist Muslim, fucking is perfectly okay... but being seen naked by anyone except your spouse is a big no-no.

@ShiokGuy - I remember c.c.'ing a copy of my email to Akmal Abdullah. I can't remember what he actually said - only recall that he was struggling to insult me in English much worse than Ibrahim Ali's. That's a dead giveaway. Monolingual Malays have a HUGE chip on their shoulder because they feel so left out of any conversation that isn't entirely provincial. When traveling in Indonesia, I never have any trouble communicating - mainly because Indonesians don't suffer too much from ego insecurity and use language very gracefully to exchange ideas - not as a way to make you feel like an outsider.

Edwin said...

You know what they say when I boy saw his parent having sex? I think that's what happened to Akmal Abdullah. LOL!

Here's what probably happened:

Once a upon a time there was a boy name Akmal Abdullah in a kampung, he was 4 years old. By this age, he could speak and always want to follow his parents wherever they go.

One night, his mum put him to bed and slowly sneak under blanket with his dad. (You know in the old days, parents and children sleep in the same room only separated by the mosquito net) So dad asked wife: "Akmal dah tidur ke?" "Ya bang, dah tidur" wife replied. So they decided to do their husband and wife duty by getting naked under the blanket. The truth is Akmal wasn't asleep, he's been listening to his parents talking. At the end of the fun activity, dad said to wife "Bang dah nak keluar lah", wife replied "Ok bang, aku pun nak keluar". Suddenly, Akmal heard this and shouted "NAK IKUT!"

LOL...

Khun Pana aka johanssm said...

No nudity , no naturalist resorts , no topless ladies.
Strange and weird as the government produces sex videos and vivid accounts of sodomy