COMMENT | When Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad reminds Suhakam that our value system is not the same
as the West, this is complete horse manure. Are there differences in
what we as Asians value than that of the West? Sure, there is. You could
make the argument that what we value as a community, regardless of race
and religion, differs from the West. So, there’s that.
But when it comes to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,
and queer) issue, what separates us from the “West” is that we are bare
naked hypocrites. Indeed, all you weaselly politicians are big stinking
hypocrites. And anyone who supports you in this thinking is a big
stinking hypocrite, too.
When the Wikileaks cables scandal erupted many years ago, tongues
were waging of the gay politicians within the then Umno establishment.
Does anyone really know of the gay politicians in the now Harapan
establishment? What about the grassroots level operators who are gay?
What about the propagandists from Harapan – DAP, PKR, Bersatu, even
Amanah – who are gay?
All these gay people helped create your new Malaysia and you have the
audacity to lecture Suhakam about not following Western values? But
forget about that. Even in the old Malaysia, there were gay people who
were part of the gravy train and who had no problem weaponising
sexuality to destroy people, especially if they were part of the
opposition or who sympathised with the opposition's values.
In fact, whenever the state wants to demonise an opponent, they
usually claim that the opponent is attempting to propagate Western
values when it comes to issues which at the core are about freedom of
speech or expression, sexuality being part of the latter. You know what really bothers me about this whole issue? It like this.
First, the establishment attacks people who have very little say in
society. They attack them along racial or cultural values lines because
they know they have the support of other “religious” people. They know
they can get away with it because people do not really care.
Then they move on. They always do. Take these attacks
against lawyer/activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri. You really think that the
attacks against the LGBTQ community and Fadiah are not part of a larger
narrative of social/political control? The difference between the two is
the reception of the public. In Fadiah's case, what she dissenting
against finds some currency in the way how some people think of state
power when it comes to history and the royal institution. So, the
establishment is careful in the way how they handle the Fadiah issue.
But when it comes to the LGBTQ community, they know that people
generally do not care for obvious religious or cultural reasons. They
also know that their hypocrisy will not be unmasked on a political level
because while political parties rely on gay people, they know that
nobody wants to rock the boat in case the balance of power is
threatened. So, all that is left are gay activists, and nobody cares
much for them or their cause.
Meanwhile, people are licking their lips at the situation the former
Umno grand poohbah Najib Razak finds himself in, and the prime minister
gets to remind a human rights organisation to marginalise certain people
based on their gender or sexuality. The state security apparatus gets
to mess around with an activist who is challenging the official
narratives, pedophiles have a field day because child marriage laws
allow them some leeway in their perversion because religious people are
more involved in the sex lives of consenting adults than the grooming –
see what I did there? – of children.
Come on, how many lawsuits and state-motivated legal harassment
against opposition-now-establishment politicians have been dropped? How
many legal suits against media practitioners who were supposedly
pro-opposition have been dropped? You think this is a coincidence? If
the state wants to disentangle itself from what it did before, it can.
The reason why Fadiah is attacked is the same reason why the LGBTQ
community is attacked. Because this is what the state condones.
In Fadiah’s case,
you really think that whoever these goons are that lodged a report
against her, does not have the backing of the state? What I mean is, it
is convenient for the state that a police report was lodged and the
state security apparatus investigates because then they do not have to
deal with the messy issues that Fadiah brings up. But what really
bothers me is the hypocrisy. The former prime minister rewrites his own
history all the time, so why shouldn’t the average citizen, do the same.
Similarly demonising the LGBTQ community is easy because then the
state does not have to answer questions of how the religion of the state
has played a part in how various communities are at each other’s
throats and how the religion of the state has hampered the growth of a
community which we are told are in constant need of state intervention. Remember the syariah-compliant guidelines
for the private sector? Here’s what I thought of it -"This is how it
starts – innocently enough. Hidden behind a message of fairness is
actually the tools for compliance. Guidelines eventually become dogma,
and because they think people will not notice – most often they do not –
they encroach into our public and private spheres uncontested."
People always forget that things start small. Brazenly telling a
human rights organisation to marginalise a certain segment of Malaysian
society or the state security apparatus investigating an activist in
violation of promises to respect freedom of speech and expression is the
larger narrative of state control. That’s how the state manages to divide us. First, they attack easy
targets, then they normalise fascism by rejecting counter-narratives.
This piece ends which a question Fadiah asks - “Does that mean the change on May 9 is just an illusion?"