Monday, September 6, 2010

Ramadhan Jazz at No Black Tie

On Sunday, I was at No Black Tie, reputedly KL's premier Jazz Club and Gastro Bar to watch Fieldplayers do their thing. Their Facebook page refers to their show as Ramadhan Jazz. And I had promised to come and support. I suppose you can call their music as New Age Malay with jazz overtones. Rohaizat Hassan (or Jart as he likes to be called) and his band played two sets of wonderfully-inspired music that portrayed a diversity of genres – including songs from their self-titled album. A very agreeable musical evening to end a relaxing Sunday!

In yesterday’s New Sunday Times, Zainul Arifin in his article “Ignore the opportunists” (p 20) – he posed one question that caught my eye: “What is the difference between the Johor headmistress and fellow Johorean Namewee?”

He went on to pen the following: “The former, of course, is an educator with influence over our children and the other a young man, whom I presume to be talented, having as much influence over his audience. While we are not really sure what was said by the headmistress, we can be sure what was said by Namewee, and some of them are not very pleasant. He said he was responding to what she said. Presumably, as an artist, that was how he expressed his displeasure.

He has the habit of doing such things. Presumably, it must be the artist pushing the envelope in him doing those things. I can dig that but, of course, society cannot accept them if they were insulting or inciting.

But why is he somehow less of a villain than the teacher? The former has been given the full political treatment, while the latter's was politically muted”.
I really felt geram reading this because Zainul is missing the whole point. Firstly, in a line in para 14 of the same article, he has highlighted the fact that “the headmistress has been moved; so this suggests that she is guilty”. So doesn’t this affirm her villainy? Secondly, in Namewee’s video clip – his position on this ‘racism’ issue is clear for all to see. There was no sinister motive other than to draw everybody’s attention to this brazen demonstration of shameless racism by Siti Inshah. More importantly, Namewee speaks for all those who suffered that day in school and for the people in Malaysia who stand against racism. Thirdly, in the same newspaper (p 7), it is stated that the Public Service Department is already considering recommendations for disciplinary action to be taken against the principal (i.e. Siti Inshah). But in the case of Namewee, already politicians are calling for his criminal prosecution. E.g. Deputy Minister in the PM’s Department, Ahmad Maslan said authorities should charge Namewee in court for inciting racial sentiments (Webpage, posted September 01, 2010). Even Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had made it known that he wanted action to be taken against Namewee (New Straits Times, August 31, 2010). Whoa! So he has already been pronounced guilty!?!?

So how can Zainul say what he did? As he himself correctly puts it, “It is of course hard to ask someone to be less emotional, especially if he is aggrieved and offended by the action of someone else”. And there are many Malaysians out there who are angry with Siti Inshah.

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