Since writing this this morning, I realised how incomplete my thought were, so I decided to elaborate a little. New additional material has been added in italics.
I was in the car not half an hour ago when the Black Eyed Peas' song "I got a feeling (That Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night)" came on, on a very popular, if not the number one English language commercial radio station.
They scrambled the phrase "Mazel Tov". I couldn't believe my ears. So I listened for the next time that phrase was sung, and found that they had muted it from the song, and also the word that comes after, "L'Chaim" which Fergie sings.
Well, this was done because obviously someone up top thinks we would be condoning pro-Israel sentiment by having people a) hear the words, b) sing them, and c) possibly understand them. I say pro-Israel as opposed to pro-Jewish, because they can hardly be censoring those particular words for the reason that they are Jewish, as they have happy, positive connotations, and are not particularly Jewish in nature except for the fact that they are in Yiddish.
Firstly, I would guess that many people do not know what it means, even if they might have known it was a Jewish phrase. Secondly, what could these Jewish phrases possibly do to convert people from fun-loving, radio-listening people who just like the tune, into raving pro-Israelite militants ready to take over the political and social consciousness of our unwitting melayu muslim malaysians?
Mazel Tov means "good luck" or "congratulations". They say it at weddings, when they eat, when someone is being given blessings or has achieved some sort of religious milestone. It's like "syabas" for goodness sake. And "L'Chaim" means "to life", and I guess you could equate it to "cheers".
I would like to know if other radio stations are doing it too, which is weird, since it has been playing uncensored for months now - hah! you've been duped all this time! - or is it just this commercial station that pre-empts a government intervention?
I'd also like to know if they got permission to do so from the record company, and if they did, was it a management decision, or were the Black Eyed PEas themselves in on the decision to allow this to happen? Because if BEP were aware of this action and allowed it, then their whole persona as all-inclusive, forward, party kinda guys is kinda called into question. Basically, if this were true, they would rather compromise their propounded beliefs for the sake of being able to continue playing the song in Malaysia for money - unlike, say, Steven Spielberg who decided that he would not cut Schindler's List for arbitrary censorship rules, for the sake of collecting box office returns in Malaysia.
I suspect they are unaware of it, or may even have been pushed into allowing it by the record execs. For shame!!
I think someone upstairs decided that a point must be made, and it may have started from honourable intentions, i.e. "we do not condone Israeli occupation of Palestine" (an honourable sentiment, I wholeheartedly believe).
However, in true Malaysian fashion, we completely balls up the real issue by taking petty steps in an attempt to control. "...therefore we will censor a party song by an American band in order to make a real effort to show our rejection of Israeli war and political games, and really (dis)educate the Malaysian people about the difference between race and politics and power and money".
This is why we seem anti-Semitic. I think the average MAlaysian hasn't even any idea what a real Jewish person is like. And yet there's this fear in their consciousness that has come about from misinformation and of course, presumption and bigotry. The truth is, we're anti-Israel-occupation-of-Gaza etc. Here comes the big difference: ISRAEL'S OCCUPATION OF GAZA HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE JEWISH RACE. IT IS ALL ABOUT POWER, SMALL-MINDEDNESS, CRUELTY, HISTORY AND OH, SO MUCH MORE - and you have only to look in our own back yard to find that people like that, behaviour like that, can be found anywhere, perpetrated by people from any race.
So get real, we're not going to implode morally if we hear Jewish words in a song!!
For real though, how many of you believe that hearing "congrats" or "cheers" in Yiddish means that you are pro-Israel?
The stupidity of it all, I just wanna lie down and cry.