Sunday, November 21, 2010

Namewee and our nanny state

namewee-kuantan-showCOMMENT [By Mariam Mokhtar] The reasons for cancelling Namewee’s show because there were ‘objections from many quarters’, are themselves objectionable.

It appears that Malaysia is fast approaching a slippery slope when people who try to earn their living - Namewee from his hip-hop music, and the entertainment owner as a venue operator - are bullied into submission by a few members of the disapproving public.

It is wrong for Wong, the owner of the entertainment centre to cave in to the demands of those who object to Namewee’s show.

However, his actions (Wong’s) are perfectly understandable. He had purportedly been ‘advised’ by the police and the Kuantan Municipal Council to do so.

Malaysians live in a nanny state although others are inclined to say that it is more of a police state. To illustrate this point further, recently, businesses in Ipoh were told that if they failed to display the Jalur Gemilang on National Day and the state flag during the Perak Sultan’s birthday, they would be fined or blacklisted and risked having their business licences revoked. (Fortunately, following deliberation and condemnation from certain quarters, this order was rescinded.)

Although Wong faces strong criticism for cancelling the Kuantan show, the more deplorable action is by the 30 non-governmental organisations (NGO) in Pahang which objected to Namewee’s show.

Trying to mobilize a handful of NGOs for a noble cause is itself hardwork, but 30 at the same time? This looks like a concerted and planned action by some influential people or groups behind the scenes.

When Pahang Umno Youth Abu Jimi Samat, raised strong objections to Namewee’s show saying that he ‘feared it could spark off undesirable incidents’, Abu Jimmi should at the very least be cautioned by the police for causing panic and fear-mongering. What did he mean by “undesirable incidents”? He is being very alarmist.

When Abu Jimmi clarified that there was nothing racial to the objection, then why should he be fearful?

One man’s treasure is another man’s rubbish. Namewee’s brand of music – rap or hip-hop with its emphasis on profanity is vulgar ‘noise’ to some ears but the young considers such tunes as music to their ears. That is why Eminem or Jay-Z are so popular.

Another ridiculous objection raised by Abu Jimmi was when he said that Namewee had “hurt the feelings of the people before”.

If I was given one cent for the number of times I had “hurt the feelings of the people before”, I would be a millionaire by now!

Moreover, if entertainment outlets had to shut down or cancel shows because the performers “hurt the feelings of others” then our income from the entertainment industry would come to nothing.

Abu Jimmi said, “We want an entertainer who has noble values and can serve as an idol for all races”.

He would be hard-pressed to find one whose music appeals to all races. What about all ages, too? Without sounding insulting, he might even be more hard-pressed to find one with noble values. Many of the top entertainers are highly gifted and creative but have some personal flaw.

Nevertheless, the cancellation of Namewee’s show is wrong. Why should bigots be allowed to dictate what should or not, be termed entertainment? Why should others dance to the extremist’s tune only? There are those who actually like Namewee’s music so those who do not find it appealing need not attend his show.

When will common sense and justice prevail in Malaysia? Maybe these people who object are afraid that Namewee becomes too popular and races to the top of the music charts. At the rate his shows are banned, that might soon be a reality.

Now listen to the latest music video release by Namewee. Although I do not understand a word he is singing, but I personally feel it is a good ballad, a far cry from his usual rabble-rousing rap music. The authorities must be getting too unfriendly for his liking with concert shows being cancelled, and thus he penned and sang, "Snowing in KL"?

No comments:

Post a Comment