COVER STORY

Home Based Businesses in the Singapore Malay/Muslim Community

The success of home based businesses (HBB) in today’s environment of corporatisation of businesses is testimony to the pioneering spirit of Singaporeans.

It harkens back to the early days of nation-building when migrants came with only their bare necessities to set up small businesses on sidewalks which prospered to become today’s mega-businesses. This will to survive is what makes us successful today as a nation. (more…)

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SOCIAL
The Future of Work

THE WORK CULTURE OF TODAY
Before the Circuit Breaker, anyone who works between 9am and 6pm would probably get up one to two hours earlier to get ready for work. Time is allocated for morning routines like showering, a light breakfast, wearing the appropriate attire, self-grooming, exercising (for some) and then the daily commute to work. (more…)


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The COVID-19 Frontliners: Soldiering against the Pandemic

THE WORLD REMADE BY COVID-19
Just a few months ago, the Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, was unheard of, but now, almost every continent is battling the virus. The disease is an infectious one caused by a newly discovered coronavirus and has taken almost half a million lives worldwide at the time of publication. (more…)


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Breaking The Chains That B(l)ind Us All

When the positive COVID-19 cases spiked in March, Singapore had to undergo a circuit breaker period during which all schools were closed and students shifted to full home-based learning (HBL). On April 18, The Straits Times published a report[1] that showed how the move to HBL has exposed inequality in Singapore as it impacted families in unequal ways. (more…)


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Stay at Home, Stay at Risk: Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Domestic Violence

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries put in place lockdown measures as safety precautions to curb the spread of the virus. Staying at home, for most, meant being safe from a possibly fatal affliction. However, for victims of domestic violence, this was not necessarily the case. (more…)


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ARTS & LITERATURE
Classical Malay Texts: Of Relevance and Reverence

William Shakespeare – a figure so far away from us here in Singapore, and yet we are well familiar with his works: Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, as well as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to name a few.

Similarly, Islamic scholar Imam Al-Ghazali, though not a literary figure, has produced works that are so renowned, such as Ihya Ulumud-Din, Tahafut al-Falasifah, and Al-Kimiya’ as-Sa’adah or more commonly known as The Alchemy of Happiness, that they are often referred to as authoritative religious texts for Muslims around the world.

There have been many classical texts produced in lands so far from this island that have managed to make their way here and become prominent among the community. But what about texts from the region? Were there no local scholars or literati within the Nusantara? Or were their works eclipsed by other more noteworthy texts?

The absence of classical Malay texts in mainstream discourse does not mean that there was no intellectual fervour in this region. Rather, the region saw a slew of texts, but these texts were sidelined and marginalised in favour of others from different parts of the world. This article highlights the relevance of Malay classical texts in examining or studying the world today.

HISTORICAL EVIDENCE
When Singapore celebrated the Singapore Bicentennial last year, marking the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles 200 years ago, there were many debates surrounding the historical roots of Singapore and the lack of acknowledgement of the island’s civilisational past other than it being a ‘fishing village’[1].

If we were to take into consideration classical Malay texts in examining this narrative, it is myopic to claim that Singapore was indeed a sleepy fishing village in the 1800s. Sulalatus Salatin (Genealogy of Kings) written by Tun Sri Lanang in the 16th century painted a rather different picture of Singapore during pre-colonial times, at the earliest.

The Malay Annals, as pointed out by several scholars, showed that Singapore was well-connected to the region. It was a cosmopolitan society and had relations with other parts of the world, such as the Majapahit Kingdom (which eventually led to the downfall of Singapore and the opening of Malacca), Kingdom of Siam and even China[2].

With the inputs from the Malay Annals in the larger discourse on the history of pre-colonial Singapore, it gives a more balanced approach and a richer perspective. Though there are already works which acknowledge the presence of Singapore from the earlier period[3], it is ever important to raise classical Malay texts not only as a form of historical evidence but as responses to the developments in history.

One of such texts which can be used to analyse the responses of the local community to colonialism back then is a collection of syair (traditional Malay poetry) by an individual known as Tuan Simi.

The responses towards colonialism in Singapore were captured in Tuan Simi’s Syair Potong Gaji, which described the working conditions under colonial capitalism.

In the syair, Tuan Simi narrated[4]:

Gaji yang dipotong kerja-kerja ditambah
tempat pekerjaan ditukar dipindah
di manakah hati sekalian tak gundah
kerja yang bertiga seorang sudah

The pay is cut but the workload is increased
the workplaces keep changing
how can the heart not be sad?
work that is meant for three is now done by one

Sampai hatinya sungguh perintah sekarang
memberi kecewa pada sekalian orang
berlainan sekali dulu dan sekarang

How could they, the elites of today
causing disappointment to everyone
how different (things are) then and now
*Translated by author

The grievances laid out by Tuan Simi were not something unusual or far-fetched. In fact, the working conditions under colonial capitalism were deplorable and had an ever-lasting impact on the colonised for generations to come[5].

From these two works alone, one can easily point out the importance of classical Malay texts in understanding the dynamics of Singapore’s history. First, to debunk the notion of Singapore being a “fishing village”. The study of classical texts such as Sejarah Melayu fosters the idea that Singapore was cosmopolitan and in a well-connected position in the region prior to Raffles’ arrival. Secondly, syair such as Tuan Simi’s documented the voices of dissent against the colonial authority. However, the use of classical Malay texts is not just limited to the study of history. These texts are also useful in the study and understanding of religious ideas and political development in the region.

GOVERNANCE, ETHICS AND MORALITY
While classical Malay texts may provide a glimpse into the historical window in this region, it is equally important to note that their relevance is not just within the domains of history. Classical Malay texts, too, contain ethical and moral reminders that are applicable in today’s context.

These moral and ethical reminders are in the form of rules, principles and stories pertaining to governance and the relationship between the ruler and the subjects.

A good example of a text that is filled with ethical and moral principles for the ruling elite is Tajus Salatin, or the Crown of Kings, written in 1603 in the Sultanate of Aceh by Bukhari al-Jauhari[6].

The manuscript contained a total of 24 chapters surrounding the ways of governance that are filled with stories and advice. The chapters go from the call for man to know himself (Peri manusia mengenal dirinya supaya mengetahui ia mulanya itu daripada ada dan adanya itu betapa), and then to knowing God (Peri mengenal tuhan yang ia menjadikan alam dan Adam dan lain daripada itu) . It even covers the specific roles of different individuals within the court circle (Peri pekerjaan segala penyurat itu, peri pekerjaan segala penyuruh itu, peri pekerjaan segala pegawai raja itu) and the relations with the citizens (rakyat), Muslim or non-Muslim (Peri segala rakyat yang kafir dengan raja Islam itu)[7]. It is evident that Tajus Salatin concerns itself with matters of governance and ethical principles.

Syed Farid Alatas mentioned that the text was filled with Malay humanistic values that was long in existent even before the Western conception of human rights was devised[8]. Hence, Tajus Salatin gives a localised perspective on governance and rights, that can be complemented by studies from other parts of the world, giving it life and relevance in today’s context.

According to Azizuddin, he commented that classical texts including Tajus Salatin “preach good government and attack royal injustice. They urge the rulers to govern with the advice of their ministers and to care for the welfare of their subjects. They uphold the rights of their subjects to resist oppression, corruption and injustice.”[9]

Much closer to home, Raja Ali Haji of Pulau Penyengat of the Riau Archipelago, wrote Gurindam Dua Belas, or the Twelve Aphorisms, in explaining the ethical principles and moral standards of a Sultan. Take for example Fasal Dua Belas of the Gurindam which mentioned:

Raja muafakat dengan menteri,
Seperti kebun berpagarkan duri.
Betul hati kepada raja,
Tanda jadi sebarang kerja.
Hukum ‘adil atas rakyat,
Tanda raja beroleh ‘inayat.

Ruler working together with the minister,
Like a garden protected by thorns.
Intentions are in line with the ruler,
A sign for matters to run smoothly.
Just laws enacted onto the citizens,
A sign that the ruler is bestowed with kindness.

This portion of the text shows the relationship between the ruler and minister. In this instance, Raja Ali Haji pointed out the traits needed of each of these individuals – a just ruler to ensure his or her mandate is supported by the people, and a minister who has a symbiotic relationship with him.

These texts are not from the West. These texts are not considered to be ‘scientific’ in any manner. However, it is important to note that these texts presented a form of political theory but in the context of the region. Moreover, the very existence of these texts shows a form of legitimacy to the ruler’s power as Walker notes:

“Malay rulers not only sought to preclude their subjects from acquiring wealth independently of the court, they emphasized the importance of lineage and the possession of sacred regalia to royal legitimacy. The creation and promulgation of court texts was essential to this latter process, expounding the ruler’s claims and becoming themselves sacred, legitimizing possessions.” [10]

Hence, not only were these texts integral in understanding the moral, ethical, and political principles held by rulers (and by some extent the rakyat) at that time, they are also important as a sign of power and legitimacy.

Nonetheless, when appreciating these texts, either from a historical standpoint or from a political, ethical, and moral perspective, it is important not to glorify the texts wholly without looking at its social conditions.

THE TYRANNY OF ROMANTICISED WRITINGS
While it is important to highlight the intellectual achievement of the Malays in the past, it is equally important to pick and choose the relevant ideas that should be celebrated, or even emulated, in the current world today.

Shaharuddin Maaruf, in his book, Concept of Hero in the Malay Society, elaborated at length on the feudal elements that exist within the writings of classical Malay texts, which are currently reflected in the Malay(sian) society[11].

These feudal traits, as Alatas cited Shaharuddin, include:

“(1) a servile attitude towards authority and the acceptance of arbitrary notions of power; (2) the undermining of the positive aspects of individualism and, therefore, a lack of respect for the human personality; (3) a lack of respect for the rule of law; (4) no distinction between the public domain and personal domains of life; (5) an emphasis on grandeur and an opulent lifestyle; (6) indifference to social justice; (7) acceptance of unfair privileges for those in position and power; (8) an obsession with power, authority and privilege for their own sake; (9) an undervaluing of rationalism and the philosophical spirit, and encouragement of myths that serve the interests of those in power; and (10) an emphasis on leisure and indulgence of the senses and the simultaneous undervaluing of work.”[12]

If the study of classical Malay texts is to just exacerbate these traits spelled out by Shaharuddin, then it defeats the purpose of studying these texts for the future.

In his writings, Shaharuddin pointed towards the salient features of feudalism espoused in the classical texts to the working of politics in the Malay world today. From his reading of the political climate in Malaysia, the traits feudalism is entrenched – the unquestioning loyalty to the political elites, mimicking Hang Tuah’s undying support for the Sultan[13]. It can then be assumed that these are the features that are highly regarded within the community.

Certainly, these ideas are existent in Malay texts and the onus is upon us to sieve through and pick the humanistic ideas that lead to progress in the community.

CLASSICAL TEXTS OF THE FUTURE
As we can see, the classical Malay texts presented in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. Now we see the relevance of classical Malay texts in the current context. As a refresher, Malay texts did not only show the pompous nature of the Sultans, or myths and legends that are out of this world, but it also carried stories of the lived realities, frustrations of the people, as well as the rules and ethics of governance.

Thus, with the rich historical, social, and religious values, the question is, how then do we normalise the use of classical Malay texts in studying or analysing the society today?

While language and accessibility to classical texts remain key barriers for these texts to be widely used in mainstream discourse, what is more important is the effects of historical amnesia among the Malay community.

According to Azhar Ibrahim, historical amnesia is “the result of the obliteration, relegation and denigration of historical memory and consciousness”[14]. The effects of this historical amnesia will then generate a society which has “a general disinterest in history; the relegation or undervaluing of history; and the mutilation or underdeveloped historical discourse in the academia or the dominant discourse”[15].

This is the reason why classical Malay texts need to be appreciated and used in mainstream social, historical, and even political discourse. With these texts taking a backseat and disappearing from the social imagination of the community, the community will eventually lose a sense of identity, belonging and be historically unaware of the context we are currently in. ⬛

1 EUAN, G. SINGAPORE AT 50: TIME’S UP ON THE ‘FISHING VILLAGE’ NARRATIVE. THE INTERPRETER. FEBRUARY 27, 2017. AVAILABLE AT: HTTPS://WWW.LOWYINSTITUTE.ORG/THE-INTERPRETER/SINGAPORE-50-TIMES-FISHING-VILLAGE-NARRATIVE
2 LANANG, TS, AND MUHAMMAD, HS. SULALAT AL-SALATIN: YA’NI PERTETURUN SEGALA RAJA-RAJA (SEJARAH MELAYU). KUALA LUMPUR: DEWAN BAHASA DAN PUSTAKA AND YAYASAN KARYAWAN. 2009
3 SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. MURDER, CIVIL WAR, FREE TRADE: THE MAKING OF SINGAPORE. JULY 5, 2019. AVAILABLE AT: HTTPS://WWW.SCMP.COM/LIFESTYLE/ARTS-CULTURE/ARTICLE/3017222/HISTORY-SINGAPORE-OVER-700-YEARS-SHOWS-CITY-STATES-UPS-AND
4 RABBISYFINA, U. SUARA-SUARA PRIBUMI MELAYU ‘DITINDAS’ SEBELUM 1867 DIRUNGKAI DALAM PAMERAN. BERITA MEDIACORP. NOVEMBER 11, 2019. AVAILABLE AT: HTTPS://BERITA.MEDIACORP.SG/MOBILEM/SINGAPURA/SUARA-SUARA-PRIBUMI-MELAYU-DITINDAS-SEBELUM-1867-DIRUNGKAI-DALAM/4362200.HTML
5 ALATAS, H. THE MYTH OF THE LAZY NATIVE: A STUDY OF THE IMAGE OF THE MALAYS, FILIPINOS AND JAVANESE FROM THE 16TH TO THE 20TH CENTURY AND ITS FUNCTION IN THE IDEOLOGY OF COLONIAL CAPITALISM. ROUTLEDGE, 1977.
6 TAN, H. TALES OF THE MALAY WORLD: MANUSCRIPTS AND EARLY BOOKS. BIBLIOASIA. NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD SINGAPORE, JULY 14, 2017. AVAILABLE AT: HTTP://WWW.NLB.GOV.SG/BIBLIOASIA/2017/07/14/TALES-OF-THE-MALAY-WORLD-MANUSCRIPTS-AND-EARLY-BOOKS/
7 HUSSAIN, HKM. TAJ US-SALATIN. KUALA LUMPUR: DEWAN BAHASA DAN PUSTAKA, 1992.
8 ALATAS, SF. ANTI-FEUDAL ELEMENTS IN CLASSICAL MALAY POLITICAL THEORY: THE TAJ AL-SALATIN. JOURNAL OF THE MALAYSIAN BRANCH OF THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY, 91, NO. 1 (2018): PP 29–39. AVAILABLE AT: HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1353/RAS.2018.0002
9 SANI, MAM. FREE SPEECH IN MALAYSIA: FROM FEUDAL AND COLONIAL PERIODS TO THE PRESENT. THE ROUND TABLE. 100, NO. 416 (2011): PP 531–46. AVAILABLE AT: HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1080/00358533.2011.609694
10 WALKER, JH. AUTONOMY, DIVERSITY, AND DISSENT: CONCEPTIONS OF POWER AND SOURCES OF ACTION IN THE SEJARAH MELAYU (RAFFLES MS 18). THEORY AND SOCIETY. 33, NO. 2 (2004): PP 213–55. AVAILABLE AT: HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1023/B:RYSO.0000023412.88260.C2
11 MAARUF, S. CONCEPT OF A HERO IN MALAY SOCIETY. PETALING JAYA, SELANGOR: STRATEGIC INFORMATION AND RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT CENTRE (SIRD). 2014.
12 ALATAS, SF. ANTI-FEUDAL ELEMENTS IN CLASSICAL MALAY POLITICAL THEORY: THE TAJ AL-SALATIN. JOURNAL OF THE MALAYSIAN BRANCH OF THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY. 91, NO. 1 (2018): PP 29–39. AVAILABLE AT: HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1353/RAS.2018.0002
13 MAARUF, S. CONCEPT OF A HERO IN MALAY SOCIETY. PETALING JAYA, SELANGOR: STRATEGIC INFORMATION AND RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT CENTRE (SIRD). 2014.
14 IBRAHIM, A. NARRATING PRESENCE: AWAKENING FROM CULTURE AMNESIA. SINGAPORE: THE MALAY HERITAGE FOUNDATION. 2014.
15 IBID.

 


Muhammad Faris Alfiq Mohd Afandi is a Research Analyst at the Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs (RIMA). He specialises in the discourse on Islam in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, sociology of Islamic law, and political Islam. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Malay Studies from the National University of Singapore (NUS).


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Stories and the Theatre

When I was growing up, stories were avenues of exploration and escape. The dystopian futures of comic books were scary but that was all they were at the time – stories. Imagining living a life as a superhero trying to right the wrongs of society, while at the same time stopping the world from destroying itself, occupied many of my evenings after homework was claimed to be done. (more…)


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HEALTH
Taking Charge of Our Health

Several years ago, when I was in working in the healthcare sector, I was struck by a set of statistics that were attributed to the Malay community. According to findings from the National Health Survey that was conducted in 2010, obesity is most prominent among the Malays here. The data showed an increase from 11 per cent in 1992 to 24 per cent in 2010[1]. (more…)


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Clearing the Misconceptions about Vaccinations

The practice of immunisation dates back hundreds of years. Buddhist monks drank snake venom to confer immunity to snake bites and variolation (smearing of a skin tear with cowpox to confer immunity to smallpox) was practised in 17th century China. Edward Jenner was considered the founder of vaccinology in the West in 1796 when he inoculated a 13-year-old-boy with cowpox and demonstrated immunity to smallpox. (more…)


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COMMUNITY
OKLetsNo: Misogyny and the Malay/Muslim Men

While you may not have been aware of OKLETSGO (OLG) in the first year or so of its existence, in June 2020, the popular local podcast channel would have been impossible to ignore.

Started in February last year, OLG is the brainchild of three former local Malay radio DJs – Dzar Ismail, Dyn Norahim and Raja Razie.

It quickly earned a high profile for its irreverent takes on issues affecting the Singapore Malay community, as well as a willingness to take on topics still considered controversial in the community, such as apostasy and transgenderism.

This allowed it to become the number one podcast on Spotify’s Singapore charts, pulling in more than 100,000 listeners per episode and attracting guests ranging from Papa Rock Ramli Sarip to Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Then on June 9, 2020, Twitter user @anygalien posted the following:

I dislike OLG because they remind me of the Malay men in my life and environment who casually dehumanise and sexualise women and brush it off as jokes. Having that normalised and aired to the Malay masses does enable/shape the current and next generation of Malay men.

The tweet went viral, with others commenting on their own discomfort with the show’s content and giving examples of misogynistic content from the show’s hosts.

These included referring to women as daging fresh and daging basi (fresh meat and stale meat), degrading references to the female anatomy as well as descriptions of their own sexual experiences with their wives.

The show eventually issued a statement in response to the growing controversy, which said the hosts “recognize the need for improvements”, but which stopped short of an actual apology for offensive content.

Meanwhile the show’s fans – inexplicably referred to as ‘Bloods’ (no reference to the American street gang, it would seem) – rushed to its defence, claiming any sexist banter was just in the name of entertainment and echoing the hosts’ claims that this was in the name of differentiating OLG from tame, hamstrung mainstream media.

In the worst cases, OLG fans even insulted, slut-shamed and threatened critics, to the extent of doxxing them and finding out where they lived.

The saga eventually drew the attention of no less than President Halimah Yacob – herself a Malay/Muslim woman – who issued a statement on her Facebook page on June 15 calling on OLG to “sincerely and humbly apologise to all women for their offensive, humiliating and misogynistic remarks on their podcasts about women”.

Noting how COVID-19 lockdowns in countries around the world had resulted in increased instances of domestic violence against women, Madam Halimah said:

“If we continue to perpetuate the image of women being inferior, existing only for the purpose of male sexual gratification, then we have to be held responsible for being one of the perpetrators of violence against women.”

That same day, OLG said on their social media accounts: “We apologize for the objectification of women and will be more careful in the way we portray matters moving forward.”

The hosts said they did not “condone misogyny in any way” and called on fans not to make personal attacks against critics, noting that “we have always been about being real, and being real now means taking responsibility for our actions”.

While this perhaps draws the OLG controversy to a close, the issue of misogyny within the Malay/Muslim community is far from over.

MISOGYNY IS ALIVE AND WELL
As already noted by others, OLG was not so much an instigator as it was a product of rampant sexism, existing in day-to-day interactions and popular culture among Malay/Muslims as well as the wider community.

This is evident in the toxic comments by some of the podcast’s fans – that misogyny is so deeply ingrained in some that they would go out of their way to defend it against criticism, to the point of insulting or even threatening others.

This is not unique to the Malay community or even to Singapore, as shown by the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault from a few years back.

Anecdotally, many women say they have encountered sexual harassment of some kind at some point in their lives.

In a response to the controversy, Twitter user @anygalien – whose tweet helped kick off the entire debacle – penned a piece for online media outfit Coconuts entitled, ‘The Insidious Problem of Casual Sexism and Why I Called Out OKLETSGO’ under the name Nuri Jazuli.

The podcast’s banter reminded her “too much of the experiences (she) had almost daily, involving casual sexism,” she wrote.

“It is normal for my sister and I to be catcalled by older Malay men while on our way to get groceries. It is normal for male colleagues to talk about a woman’s body in explicit detail, in my presence. It is normal for male relatives to lounge around during festivities while their female counterparts are hard at work. It is normal that I do not know a single woman in my life who have not had an encounter with sexual assault in some form.”

She was not surprised when her tweet received backlash from both men and women in the Malay community. She said.

“It seemed perfectly natural for people to be offended because, what I am questioning and attacking, is after all, a normal way of life, isn’t it?”

A 2018 survey by United States-based nonprofit organisation, Stop Street Harassment, suggests that as many as 81 per cent of all women have faced sexual harassment.

The numbers are sobering – the survey found 51 per cent of respondents saying they had encountered unwanted sexual touching, with 27 per cent having gone through sexual assault and 41 per cent encountering sexual harassment online.

The argument can be made that one can listen or watch sexually lewd or crude media and not sexually harass or assault others, just as watching violent movies or playing video games does not necessarily make one violent.

I doubt the vast majority of OLG listeners will turn out to be molesters, for example. Yet it cannot be doubted that what we listen to, read and watch shape how we think.

In the June 22 episode, OLG host Dzar Ismail himself acknowledges their show was meant to emulate the provocative, no-holds-barred approach of American radio and podcast hosts such as Howard Stern and Joe Rogan, whom he listened to. Former NBA star, Charles Barkley, famously said in an early 1990s television for sports brand Nike that he – and thus, other athletes – were not paid to be role models.

Yet it is inevitable that people, especially impressionable children, emulate those we see in the media, whether consciously or not.

Social learning theory, a term coined by Canadian-American psychologist Albert Bandura, posits that children and even adults learn and imitate behaviour observed in others including sexism and aggression.

As noted by others, misogyny – explicit or otherwise – is unfortunately common in popular culture, even in ostensibly conservative Malay culture.

A popular local Malay television drama featured a wayward daughter whose ‘punishment’ was getting raped not once, but twice over the course of two seasons.

The popular 2011 movie, Ombak Rindu, featured a protagonist who not only was raped, but begged to get married off to her rapist, eventually falling in love with him.

Such examples of misogyny in popular Malay culture are summed up nicely in a 2018 article on the website of pop culture magazine Juice, appropriately titled, ‘Everything Wrong with Malay Dramas That’s Deteriorating Our Society’. And this is on top of the everyday instances of casual sexism many women might encounter regularly in their day-to-day lives.

There are of course no easy answers, and despite our best efforts, the reality of things is that – as is the case with other massive challenges like war, poverty and hunger – we are unlikely to ever see sexism completely eliminated.

So what can we do?

For men, perhaps the simplest way is to start with ourselves, by recognising our own prejudices and preconceptions regarding women and how we treat them, see where we are lacking, and try to correct our own behaviour. This includes recognising misogyny and sexism in the media for what they are.

OLG can and should continue to take an “open-minded approach” by featuring those on the margins, though, as noted in the statement by Crit Talk, Beyond the Hijab and Penawar, they should ensure “taboo or difficult subjects must be approached and facilitated with care and responsibility”.

For Muslim men in particular, this means going back to the example of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who said the best of men are those who are the best to their wives, and who in his last sermon said:

“O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under a trust from God and with His permission.”

To their credit, the hosts of OLG said in an episode released on June 22 that they had spoken to women’s rights groups, as well as counsellors and victims of domestic abuse in an attempt to improve themselves and the show, and that they now understood the “social and moral responsibility” that came with their popularity.

Perhaps the takeaway here is that all men should understand the social and moral responsibility they have to address misogyny in themselves, and in their spheres of influence. ⬛

 


Ahmad Abdullah holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a part-time writer.


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PERSONALITY
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Silicon Valley is the centre for innovative technology and home to more than 2,000 tech companies. High-valued tech companies such as Google, Apple, eBay and PayPal, among others, have greatly contributed to America’s reputation as a global leader in technology innovation and in making the industry the fourth largest of the US economy. (more…)


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BOOK REVIEW
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