Friday, 5 August 2011

The Weak Should Not Fast?

I do not know if this video is now banned but since it is freely available on You Tube, I suppose banning it would be as silly as airing the advert in the first place. But one never knows for sure these days.

Anyway, as I have said before, if there are more Muslims like Art Harun there would be more Muslims. In his latest blogpost he says everything I wanted to say on the matter. Please read:

Syabas 8TV!

By now, many of us would have been aware of the “public service” advertisements which have been pulled out by 8TV.

For those who have not seen it yet, the  awesome “public service” advertisements could be accessed via a Malaysian Insider report yesterday.

It is amazing that some people could take leave from their intelligence in full public view nowadays. And we seem to be doing it with the consistency of Datuk Nicole Davids in the squash courts. Syabas.

The thing which struck me was the nonchalant attitude shown by Media Prima chief operating officer Ahmad Izham Omar when the advertisements were creating a storm in cyberspace yesterday. He was reported as saying, on his twitter account:

“Chill guys. Don’t overthink the ads. Its written, produced and directed by a multi-racial team. If you overanalyse, anything will be bad.”

As a media man, he should know that a message driven public service advertisement would at some point of time be dissected and analysed by the very target of those advertisements. And when the advertisements turn stereotyping into an art, surely they will touch on raw nerves.

One does not have to “overthink” about those advertisements to find them offensive and insensitive. The fact that it was produced by a “multi-racial team” does not negate the somewhat insidious stereotyping contained in the advertisements.

The advice to “chill out” was, to me, even more insulting than the advertisements themselves.

Speaking of insult, I am sure many Muslims would find those advertisements insulting as well. How weak are we, Muslims? We would be breaking fast when we see other people eat or drink? Or we would be having a hard-on at a pasar Ramadhan when we see girls in sleeveless tank top showing their arm pit eh?

The ritual of fasting is meant to cleanse not only our physical body but also our soul. We are supposed to be humbled by the experience of fasting. We are supposed to learn the sufferings of those who are not as lucky as we are, those who do not have food and drinks like us day in day out throughout the year as opposed to only 30 days or so a year.

Why are we so weak so much so that we have to ask people of other faith not to drink or eat in front of us? For God’s sake, the Prophet and his followers fought the Badar battle on the 17th day of Ramadhan in the year 624. And here, now in 2011, we seek the non-Muslims’ understanding not to eat in front of us in Ramadhan. Awesome.

I just love seeing how the Chinese-looking girl was portrayed as a greedy person trying to make a pig out of herself with all the food. If 8TV crew could go to one of those hotels which serves the RM100++ buka puasa buffet, perhaps they would see that Muslims too put mountainous amount of food on their plate too which at the end is not consumed.

There are many messages which could be delivered during Ramadhan. Messages about how we all should be moderate in our buka puasa meals; about how we all should not forget the sufferings of those in poverty and those children who have to work on the streets of Chow Kit to fend for  themselves; about how we all should not just think that Ramadhan is all about avoiding food and drink in day time; about how we should all strive to respect each other, to treat each other with good manners and in civility; about how we should all detoxify our soul from greed, corruption, intoxication with all things materials etc etc.

Instead we chose to demean our neighbours and friends with insensitive and almost senseless stereotyping this Ramadhan. Just a few days ago I remember our Honourable Prime Minister preaching for acceptance instead of tolerance. What have the people at 8TV learned from that exhortation?

Well, the advertisements have been pulled out. The  chief operating officer of Media Prima had  reportedly said:

“Ok guys. We’re pulling out the ads. Thank you very much for your concern.”

He followed up by asking:

“And now to more important things... Does a horn section sound better with 4 trombones? Or would just 3 trombones be enough?”

Yes, life goes on, isn’t it? There are much more important things in life.

As for the horn section with 3 or 4 trombones, I would surely hope 8TV is not going to air a programme on it. Because I fear they might just go and inspect some horns on some cars and air their findings. 

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