Too much time, nothing to do

The Cantonese phrase Tak Han Mo Yeh Cho comes to mind when Unspun read the story below.

Roughly translated the phrase (literally, too much time, nothing to do) refers someone who engages in frivolous things because they have nothing better to do. It is totally apt for Malaysian officials and Ministers over the ridiculous issue of caning.It is apt because Malaysia has in recent years been failing its citizens in the issue of law and order.

Robberies, burglaries and mugging is all too common in Malaysia these days, even in the better neighborhoods. The situation there is so bad that some of Unspun‘s friends have emigrated to Singapore, which they think is a boring place but at least it is safe enough for their children to go out and have fun, and catch public transport to school without them being worried sick.

The situation is so bad that when Unspun went back to KL for the Chinese new year, he was treated to a litany of stories about robberies and muggings of neighbors, friends and friends of friends.

So you’d think that the priority in Malaysia, if they had their heads screwed on the right way, was to restore law and order and then, once they have this under control and if they had a lot of free time to spare, get around to curbing the libido of Muslims

But no, what the Malaysian government does instead is not only to perform the first caning of Muslim women who’ve had extramarital sex but to  choose to make a to public statement about it. Why?

And the forced rcanting of the women through the mass media, where they said that th caning did them good, wasn’t that out of a chapter of Arthur Miller’s Crucible? Bolehland turns police state?

And now the Malaysian government goes to the trouble of conducting surveys to gauge the support of the public oncaning naughty Muslim women, as well as thinking of organizing a conference on caning? Don’t these people have anything worthwhile to do?

And why the injustice of it all of not caning the men too? It is as if, in their view, all the sins of Muslims are caused by women. It is these lewd women who enticed the innocent men to have sex, to go astray. The men by themselves are originally pristine. That’s so much bullshit.

The only way to interpret this is that the Malaysian government is so morally and politically bankrupt that tak han moh yeh cho has even become a viable strategy, to them at least, to shore up their polularity or votes. So sad. (earns a shit-for-brains tag)

Nothing like a bit of S&M to stop extramarital sex

Most Support Caning of Women, Says Malaysian Official

Most Malaysians accept the caning of women under the country’s Shariah courts, Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz said on Wednesday.

“Jakim held a seminar to discuss caning long before it became an issue among Malaysians. The outcome was encouraging because the participants understood the whys and hows of it,” he said as quoted by newspaper Web site thestar.com.

“We are aware that some parties are still unable to accept the punishment but given time and more explanation, I believe they will come around.”

He added that Jakim was “willing to explain the issue all over again, to whoever needs an explanation.”

Malaysia’s Women’s Minister, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, said on Tuesday that she hoped to organize a conference with representatives of other Muslim-majority countries to discuss the punishment.

She told the Malaysia Insider website she respected the caning sentence recently doled out to three women, but she believed physical punishment was not the only option.

“Wrong is wrong, but there are many ways to handle the issue, including rehabilitation and counselling,” Shahrizat said.

The women were caned for having sex outside marriage. They have since publicly defended the punishment, saying it gave them a chance to repent.

Authorities used a light rattan stick to hit the women on their backs while they were fully clothed. The caning of men in Malaysia, by contrast, is done on bare skin and can cause bleeding and scarring.

via Most Support Caning of Women, Says Malaysian Official – The Jakarta Globe.

When its OK not to register your marriage and marry more than one wife, or three

Unspun was trying to unspin what the Minister for Religion had to say about unregistered marriages, polygamy and the law and ended up in a knot instead.

A minister that considers something illegal legal from the religious standpoint, legal registration of marriages not being encouraged…what is going on with this guy?

Can someone please help to explain what the man is trying to say?

Religion Minister Defends Unregistered Marriage and Polygamy

There is nothing wrong with unregistered marriage and polygamy, Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali said on Friday.

He said that in his personal opinion unregistered marriage and polygamy were legal from a religious standpoint.

“I personally think that unregistered marriage is legal before the religion and if anyone wishes to do polygamy then go ahead,” Suryadharma said, as quoted by Metro TV.

He said that unregistered marriage was like buying a car. The manufacturer made it in order to solve a transportation problem as well as for the passenger’s comfort. If the car is later used for drug smuggling or other bad uses, it was not the carmaker’s responsibility, he said, and they should not take the blame.

“Unregistered marriage is legal before the law because all the requirements are fulfilled,” he added.

However, public stigma meant that unregistered marriage often equaled secret marriage, he said. Suryadharma condemned such stigma as being “very wrong” because even though the union was not registered, the couple was wed by a member of the clergy and the event was witnessed by their families.

“So, it’s not a secret marriage. If it is abused, it’s the individual mistake,” he said. “And what about polygamy? Go ahead, it’s a choice.”

via Religion Minister Defends Unregistered Marriage and Polygamy – The Jakarta Globe.

Women having extramarital sex with no men?

This story has been making headlines in Malaysia. But so far nobody seems to have answered the question of many discerning readers of this episode: How come no men are caned together with the women?

Why is it that only the women were punished for having extramarital sex? What about the men who fucked them? Don’t they have an responsibility in all this? Malaysia Boleh! Once again.

Malaysian Women Caned for Sex Say Punishment Was ‘Good’ for Them

Prison staff demonstrate to the media how the caning process was undertaken at the Kajang prison outside Kuala Lumpur. (Reuters Photo)

Three Malaysians who became the first women to be caned under the country’s Islamic laws said they “deserved” their punishment and that it would help stem sex outside marriage.

The three women were caned for having sex out of wedlock in a move that has angered human rights activists and some lawyers who say the punishments are illegal in this mainly Muslim country that runs parallel civil and Islamic justice systems.

“I deeply regret my actions as I should have married before having sex,” the New Straits Times newspaper quoted one of the women who it said was aged 17, as saying in its Friday edition.

The newspaper did not reveal the womens’ real names and a picture showed the three clad in traditional Malaysian dress and headscarves seated before reporters.

via Malaysian Women Caned for Sex Say Punishment Was ‘Good’ for Them – The Jakarta Globe.

The Allah Issue: The difference in Malaysia and Indonesia

The Malaysian Government is totally right, of course, in its explanation that Malays in Malaysia are different from Muslims in other countries such as Indonesia. Its insistence that this difference is justification why the word Allah cannot be used by those of other religions as in Indonesia and in Arab nations are, however, spurious.

Marina Mahathir has written in her blog about how Arab nations make no fuss about Christians using the word Allah. Unspun has little knowledge about the Middle East but having grown up in Malaysia and spent 14 years in Indonesia feels somewhat qualified to examine the government’s claim that Malays in Malaysia are different from those in Indonesia. Let me count just three ways (Unspun is aware that the three points are generalizations and contain their quota of untruths but generalizations sometimes capture some truth too that may spur informed conversations, hopefully, and it is in this spirit that this post is written):

1. Malaysian Malays get all confused between race, ethnicity and religion, Indonesians don’t

In Malaysia Malays are all Muslims. If they are not Muslims then the Malaysian Constitution itself rules them out of being a Malay. They also think that Malay is a race and the more idiotic fringes think of it as a super race. Hence the term Ketuanan Melayu.

In Indonesia, everyone has no difficulty identifying themselves as Indonesians in terms of nationality but are clear about their ethnic origins. Malay is considered an ethnic group in Indonesia confined mainly to Riau and parts of Kalimantan. Others are Bataks, Sudanse, Javanese, Bugis etc, who may belong to one religion or another.

2. Malaysian Malays are insecure about themselves, Indonesians are at home in their own skins

Over four decades of affirmative action favoring the Malaysian Malays in the guise of the New Economic Policy (NEP) has resulted in some very warped  psyches among the Malays. Unspun thinks it was Rehman Rashid in his book Malaysian Journey many years ago who said that at the back of the minds of many successful Malays is the nagging thought of whether they succeeded on their own steam or because of government largesse and favoritism.

On another level the Malaysian Malays that have not reaped to the full the benefits of the NEP become resentful because they see no way out of their relative meagre existences while the NEP-created Malay tycoons and politicians swish around the country in their Mercedeses and BMWs and live in palatial splendor. They are resentful and angry with the world, not least because somewhere deep down they realize that they are now slave to a handout mentality.

These factors contribute to a lot of hangups and anger, and in such a situation religion and race can be come very potential catalysts.

Of course, there are many Malaysian Malays that are cosmopolitan, liberal and top of the class but many of them end up being critics of the Government or migrate outside the country.

Indonesians, on the other hand, are very comfortable being themselves, some would argue too much so that it breeds a certain level of complacency. But the latter point is not true of the new generation of Indonesians growing up who are confident of their nationality, their ethnic roots and their capabilities. The Indonesian business scene may be a jungle but it is a rather fair jungle to all those to venture into it. Many have succeeded on their own steam and you can almost sense a new level of confidence and optimism in Indonesia today.

3. Malaysian Malays are so subjected by the authoritarian political system of Malaysia that also controls religion that there is little room for moderate religious leaders to thrive

If the Indonesian government were to be so silly as to claim that the use of the word Allah by Christians would confuse the Muslims here, they would be laughed out of town by the likes of the late Gus Dur, who, in spite of his eccentricities was a great voice for religious moderation. You would also have the Mohammadiah and Nadlathul Ulama poo-pooing the notion. In Malaysia you have PAS and UMNO trying to out Islamize each other in their efforts to court the Malay/Muslim voters. As a result no moderate religious figure or voice is able to emerge.

Excerpt from Ninth Church Vandalized in Malaysia as Tensions Rise – NYTimes.com

Government officials condemned the violence Monday but defended their position, saying conditions are different in Malaysia from those in neighboring Indonesia or in Arab nations where “Allah” is the common term for God.

“These outrageous incidents are acts of extremism and designed to weaken our diverse communities’ shared commitment to strengthen racial unity,” The Home Ministry secretary, Gen. Mahmood Adam, told reporters after briefing foreign diplomats on the situation.

“They don’t understand the situation here,” he said of the diplomats. “They just want to know why it can be allowed in other countries and not here.”

He said he told them: “Be fair, you have to compare apples to apples, oranges to oranges. Our landscape is different from other countries. Malays here are different from other countries. The landscape here is different from Indonesia so we can’t compare.”

The violence has strained relations among Malays, who are mostly Muslim and who make up 60 percent of the population, and the Chinese and Indian minorities, who are Christian, Hindu and Buddhist.

Indonesia is less divided, with Muslims making up 90 percent of its population of 240 million.

Some Muslims in Malaysia say they fear that Christians are trying to win converts by using the word “Allah.” They say Muslim believers could be confused by the use.

This posting also appears at Malaysia Today where there’s a bit of a conversation going and at Asian Correspondent.

The Allah issue in Malaysia: Look South

This Allah issue in Malaysia is getting ridiculous and dangerous – the latest developments include the firebombings of churches in Taiping.

Ironically Taiping, where Unspun grew up in the state of Perak in Malaysia, is means “Great Peace” in Chinee. It was given the name after a bloody civil war between rival Hokkien and Cantonese migrants in the tin trade. For many years since Taiping has enjoyed the serenity of its namesake and the biggest action in town when Unspun was growing up was when they installed traffic lights in the road junctions.

The firebombings last week has destroyed whatever Great Peace Taiping seems to have had. Perhaps it is a sign of the times.

Allah is used freely by all denominations in Indonesia without widespread defection of Muslims to other religions. Why is Malaysia so different?

In this entire hoo ha one question that needs to e asked is what is the role of the Malaysian Government playing in all this? If you will recall, it was the Malaysian Government that triggered the issue in the first place when the Home Minister forbade  the Catholic Church to use the word Allah in its newsletter Herald.

When the Church successfully challenged the order in the Malaysian High Court, the Malaysian Government said it would appeal, and it did on the grounds that if the Catholics were allowed to use the word Allah there MIGHT be racial conflict.

The problem with prophecies is that they tend to be self-fulfilling. So did the Malaysian Government inadvertently suggest the idea of racial conflict or was it cynically prescient in predicting the future?

This is a question worth thinking about. But while pondering about this, what to do about the genie that is being let out of the bottle with the firebombings of the churches in KL and Taiping?

Here Malaysians should Look South and learn from the Indonesians about religious harmony. When there were riots in 1997 the more responsible Muslim groups not only did not partake in the destruction of churches and calling for calm, they actively form brigades to guard against the violent attacks of their fellow muslims against churches. How cool is that?

And for those, like the Malaysian Government, who advance the idiotic argument that the use of the word Allah by other religious groups would encourage Muslims to change their religions, they should also Look South to Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world where over 90 percent of its residents have been and remain Muslims.

Here churches use Allah freely in their sermons and  in the Bibles they use, Muslims do not whip themselves into a fervor if Muslims decide to change religions, and Allah is just another word for God, whether they are of Christian, Muslim or other persuasions. And the result? No widespread defection of Muslims to other religions. Go figure!

What would Christ do about undercover hacks?

This is an interesting case where praise and gratitude should prevail over anger.

The story: Two Muslim reporters pass off as Christians, attend a ceremony and took communion in an effort to check out rumors that young Muslims are bing converted to Christianity. They write the article saying that the rumors aren’t true. This is good for the Church. How much more credible than two Muslim reporters saying that rumors of young Muslims being converted are not true. The Church should be happy, right?

But no. The Church is fuming mad. Why? Because they took communion. They took some bread dipped in wine and the Church feels that this has violated the sancity of the Church.

Unspun has only one question to the Church: what would Christ do if he were Rev. Lawrence Andrew? Say “forgive then Lord for they know not what they do” or get his vestments in a knot?

2 Malaysian Muslims stir

anger over church article

The Associated Press ,  Kuala Lumpur   |  Tue, 07/14/2009 2:23 PM  |  World

Malaysian authorities are investigating two Muslims who sparked complaints after they pretended to be Christians at a church service to write a magazine article, officials said Tuesday.

The investigation poses a fresh challenge for the government in its efforts to reduce religious friction in this ethnic Malay Muslim-majority country, where religious minorities have complained that their rights are being sidelined in favor of Islam.

A churchgoer filed a police complaint last week after reading an article in the monthly Malay-language Al-Islam magazine written by contributor who described how he attended a Roman Catholic mass with his friend and hid his Muslim identity.

The writer said they were trying to confirm rumors that many Muslim teenagers were being converted to Christianity in Kuala Lumpur’s churches every Sunday. He described how they tasted communion wafers to blend in with the crowd, but found no evidence to support the rumors.

Rev. Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the Herald, the Catholic church’s main publication in Malaysia, said the men had “insulted the Christians” through their actions.

“For us, this is a very holy matter,” Andrew told The Associated Press. “They have shown disregard, disrespect. … So we are very upset about this.”

Representatives of Al-Islam, which writes about Islamic teachings and news, could not immediately be contacted.

Police federal crime investigations head Mohamad Bakri Zinin said officials were investigating the two men for possibly causing religious disharmony – a crime that carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

Joachim Francis Xavier, the Catholic man who filed the police complaint, said the men had been irresponsible and that their actions could cause religious tensions.

“If everyone starts to intrude into each other’s services and write about it, there will be chaos,” Xavier said.

He noted that non-Christians were welcome to attend church ceremonies, but they cannot take communion. The magazine article also indicated the men had spat out the communion wafer because they took a photograph of it partially bitten.

Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities – who comprise about one-third of Malaysia’s population – often say their constitutional right to practice religion freely has come under threat from Muslim-dominated authorities. The government denies any discrimination.

Religious disputes include a court battle between the Catholic church and the government over a 2007 order banning non-Muslims from translating God as “Allah” in their literature. The government says its use would confuse Muslims, but Christians say the ban is unconstitutional.

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Islamic fundamentalism 2.0?

Why is it that every time people abuse a technology or use it for unsavory ends, the Faithful are not asked to curb their own desires or to find a more innovative and attractive way to use that technology to win the Faithful over?

If the Islamic wallahs have issues with Facebook then perhaps they should, instead of debating guidelines on how the Faithful should use Facebook, debate instead on how they can use Facebook in such a way that it engages and is relevant to anyone of the Faith.

Now that would be a challenge to their creativity and much more difficult to do that to proclaim a fatwa or issue guidelines, wouldn’t it?

clipped from www.thejakartapost.com

Indonesian clerics want rules for Facebook

Indra Harsaputra and Niniek Karmini ,  Associated Press   |  Thu, 05/21/2009 2:52 PM  |  National

Muslim clerics are seeking ways to regulate online behavior in Indonesia, saying the exploding popularity of social networking sites like Facebook could encourage illicit sex.
Around 700 clerics, or imams, gathered in the world’s most populous Muslim nation on Thursday were considering guidelines forbidding their followers from going online to flirt or engage in practices they believe could encourage extramarital affairs.
Facebook says Indonesia, a nation of 235 million, was its fastest-growing country in Southeast Asia in 2008, with a 645 percent increase to 831,000 users – outpacing China and India. And with less than 0.5 percent of Indonesia’s citizens wired, there is a huge potential for growth.
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Also read: Lirboyo Pecas Ndahe