Christmas was a merry occasion with my parents and sister, and also our muslim friends who thought it wouldn't hurt Islam to join in the festivities, let alone wish others merry christmas. If you're wondering what I mean by that, perhaps you will understand as I do my Random Top Seven of 2006!
MOST EMBARRASSING CASE OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS
When a syariah leader of a financial establishment sent out an email telling muslim staff not to wish their fellow hindu colleagues "happy deepavali" as it would be tantamount to worshipping hindu deities, the media freaked out, as I am sure his bosses did too (o at least, they did in reaction to the media's reaction). A quick apology wasn't enough to appease the people, who called for his immediate termination (jobwise). I have read no reports about what eventually happened to him. Haha! He thought he was being a moral compass for his flock, when really he was being everything his religion teaches him not to be: narrow, pompous and intolerant.
MOST BORING REVISION OF A NATIONAL ITINERARY
We were so proud to be sending our own astronaut (now officially "angkasawan" - does that mean space warrior?) and sending shouts of glee and joy to the skies that once again, we would show the world how seriously we took these land-in-the-lap opportunities, by having Handsome Him make teh tarik and play local children's games in zero gravity! For almost a few months we gloated to ourselves about our huge propensity to take our chances for granted, till someone noticed it was leaving a sour taste not only in the international world, but in our own nation. So they changed the itinerary to show our more serious side. Don't worry, we can still show the world that astronauts from our side of the world are WAY cuter than everyone else's. Go, I mean, Pergi, Malaysia!
LATEST GET-RICH SCHEME
In an attempt to prove to the world that nothing is below the lowly entrepreneur in us, Malaysians started charging people to guarantee their safety! No, it's not an insurance policy, it's a hare-brained exercise in futility and a testament to the value they seem to place on life: zero. Let me revise that - those despicable people heard a rainfall of ker-chings when they thought of all those displaced men, women and children floating around having fun in floods. I say futile because when you find yourself being washed away by torrents of rain, the last thing on your mind is a trip to the bank to empty out your meagre savings. What a display of the poverty of the human soul. And kudos to the Malaysian Forces out there saving lives as best they can - don't forget to donate cash, clothes and supplies, and extend your help to the victims.
MALAYSIAN HOSPITALITY IS DA BOMB!
From moral policing of tourists to special care of visitors, Malaysia has done it again! In the entertainment industry, rumours are rife with the speculation that we might have closed yet another door to big international business! Who'd a thunk we'd be capable of it when most nations would find themselves hard pressed to sever ties which might potentially be of real economic value?
WOMEN COME OUT TOPS
There's nothing like a little gender stereotyping to help make all women feel welcome in society. And there's no better stereotype than the victim who asked for it - after all, a man can't help himself when he sees a short skirt, a God-given hip-to-waist ratio, lipstick, or hell, even a tudung! He simply must help himself to its owner, even if he were to hurt her in whatever way. No, that kind of logic is too warped for the good men of Malaysia, and of the world. And there is no better mouthpiece for rights-abusing malecentric logic than Nik of the North! Did anyone else gag when one of his minions declared there would be handsome rewards paid out to those who practise polygamy?? However we all know that one little man's ranting doesn't necessarily represent what all men think or want, and there are men out there who cringe whenever they hear embarrassing statements in the press. However, it ain't just opinion sometimes - women still lose out in issues such as health and its all because (according to the article) they fear their husband's wrath when it should be a basic human right to healthcare, and not something subject to someone else's ego!!!
AND RELIGION COMES A CLOSE SECOND
...because for all intents and purposes, there are people out there trying to make sense of their faith in a world where secularism leaves little room for religion. Unfortunately, all the rules and fines and punishments in the world are not going to stop naughty people from doing naughty things - it's good social conscience and an individually-driven moral ethic borne of good parenting and exemplary society which makes good people, not moral policing, not finger-pointing and definitely not public humiliation. Take the perfect example, stringent Kelantan boasts an interesting statistic that vindicates my entirely unoriginal and oft-misconceived theory.
On a lighter and more positive note (for real)...
THE MOVIE INDUSTRY JUMPS LIGHT YEARS AHEAD OF ITSELF
Though that is a wonderful achievement, we are still lagging, if not in content and execution of our movies, then in lack of practical official support, shameful internal politicking and plain old lack of recognition of what we have that is good. Afdlin Shauki won two awards for Buli Balik, repeating his wins for Buli last year, and the powers that be still have not recognised his work as legitimate representation for Malaysia. Can someone please tell me how on earth Buli Balik was passed over for Pontianak in the selection for the Asia-Pacific Film Festival? Well, it all sounds like a big grouchy whinge, but, really what I want to say is, Afdlin Shauki is in my opinion the best commercial film director in Malaysia, bar none. Though he may have some competition in the upcoming Dukun, the next movie Sumolah promises to blow all competition away!
I may have written all this in haste and regret later that I didn't make better choices for my Random Top Sevens. However, in all sincerity, these have really been issues that I ahve taken to heart, despite my light-hearted tone.
Here's hoping that 2007 brings love, luck and shopping money to all youse out there!