[Pictures courtesy of Malay Mail]
Way back in the eighties, during the then recession, Lee Kuan Yew spoke to his citizens, "You either buckle up or we may have to re-join Malaysia." Immediately, there was an uproar from UMNO who staged a protest outside the Singapore High Commission office demanding that the Singapore prime minister withdraw his statement, which implied making Malays the bogeyman just to perk up the Singaporeans to work harder to overcome the economic crisis.
Fast forward to last week, when the Mufti of Johore, supported by the Mufti of Perak, seeking the ban on soccer club t-shirts and jerseys that have the emblem of a cross, citing that it will promote the wrong values to the Malay Muslims in the country. By making such a remark, they have once again, unwittingly created the Christian bogeyman.
"Wrong values"? Let me try to understand the logic here. What values can be so wrong when Christians are trying to promote inter-faith discussions, love and goodwill amongst Malaysians of all races, creed and religion; remain patriotic to the country, pay taxes as a good citizen, etc. If these are wrong values, then by the same reasoning, UMNO Muslims must be practising the "right values" like corruption, incest, murder, stealing, money laundering, enforcing the ISA to the hilt, calling a certain sultan "binatang", a low ranking officer calling Chief Minister of a state "biadap", wasting tax payers money on useless stuff like the two submarines, burning churches and insulting Hindus by stamping their feet on the head of a decapitated cow and organising a road show with the sole purpose of running down opposition leaders. Isn't this what Muslims called "fitnah"? During the current road show in Selangor, I have yet to hear one idea how they could make the state better if they were to re-take the state. None, but from the start of each ceramah, each speaker will be up at the mike condemning the opposition leaders. For that "I do not lie" Perak Mufti, why did he lie about the SMS he sent to the Malay community which nearly caused a riot at one of the Catholic churches in Perak?
If this are the right values practised by UMNO and their beloved Muftis, then I rather be on the side of the wrong [values].
If they could pass a fatwa on Yoga, why can't they do the same with the soccer t-shirts? They know that the following of the sports is huge here even among the Malay Muslims which deem the sport almost like a religion. The muftis realise that if a fatwa is passed, social unrest will emerge and currently, Najib can live without that. It is a case of one fatwa too far? Maybe.
Now if they want to ban the t-shirts that bear Christian crosses, then shouldn't they ban -
1. All T-junctions and cross-junctions in the country (since Malaysia is an Islamic state).
2. Muslims henceforth cannot use the plus (+) sign, or the letters "t" and "T", as that would mean they are part-taking in some Christian rituals. Even BM and religious books will blank out the alphabets.
3. They will have to ban all Muslims from playing/singing rock 'n' roll music, jazz, blues, etc as their origin came from black Gospel music/hymns (read Christian). A fatwa must be passed to this effect and all Muslims henceforth will be restricted to Gazal, keroncong or some Arabic music.
Next is the Manchester United emblem and the name "The Red Devil". To me as a marketing consultant, this is nothing more than a branding exercise. During my younger days, we had several soccer teams in our neighbourhood which compete against one another on a regular basis during the weekends. My team was called "The Blue Angels". Upon wearing the jersey each time before each play off, do we really get up lifted and feel like angels with halos above our heads, flipping our wings and looking cute like cherubins. No, we were just eleven boys (Malays, Chinese and Indians) out there having a great time kicking a ball around.
Muslims must refrain from flying AirAsia because of its close assication with "The Red Devil". I am sure MAS will be looking forward to an increase in passenger load in the months to come.
Remember what William Shakespeare said, "A rose called by any other name, still smell the same". Manchester United is nothing more than a world class soccer team, devil or not. Anyway, give me PAS Islam any time which can certainly act as a balm to our raw nerves these days.