In his usual inimitable best, RPK whacked the DOGgone critics of poor Maznah Mohd Yusof, she who loves dogs and of the doggie YouTube fame or notoriety, depending on your sympathies or lack of.
I won't repeat what RPK said in his article so please read it if you want to know more - I strongly recommend it, if anything, just to see how he shows Dr Fathul, CEO of Pertubuhan Ilmuan Malaysia, shot himself in his foot about dogs and cats, wakakaka.
However, having said that, I love one phrase RPK used in his article and thus want to make an exception to my earlier assertion by repeating it here, namely, "... let me venture into an area where angels fear to tread and comment on what Islamic Scholar Dr Fathul Bari has to say about dogs in the Islamic perspective."
RPK's 'angels fear to tread' is from the proverb 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread'. The phrase first appeared in a book written in 1711 by Alexander Pope titled Critical Essays.
According to Wikipedia, Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. Famous for his use of the heroic couplet, he is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson.
|Alexander Pope: 'Doggone it. Bloody Elvis took my immortal line and sang it'|
Switching now over to Zaid Ibrahim, you would have noted that recently he wrote some inspirational high level articles in a couple of newspapers where he showed his courage, compassion and leadership qualities.
One of his articles Why the beauty contest is important have been about the religious authorities' draconian suppression or oppression on innocuous areas such as Muslims participating in beauty pageants, where he said that giving in (kaytee's choice of words) a centimetre (eg. Muslim participating in beauty pageants) to the religious authorities will end up eventually in us giving in the whole nine metres of our personal freedom to the clerics, like women can't drive cars, men can't wear shorts, no to music and movies, etc.
He also lamented that the DAP has not come out to defend those Muslim sweeties. Now, that's where the phrase 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread' comes into consideration.
I agree with Zaid that the DAP should have said something but we all also know that the current flammable socio-religious-political climate engineered, encouraged and egged on by UMNO party wannabes doesn't allow a party like the DAP to say anything on Islamic issues or policies, no, not even if they push forward DAP Malay MPs like Mohd Ariff Sabri, Zairil Khir Johari, Senator Ariff Omar or Pahang ADUN Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji to be their representative spokesmen, because whatever these DAP Malay members were to say, UMNO would have twisted and turned their statements into some form of nasty attacks by the Chinese on Islam.
Thus the phrase 'where angels fear to tread' applies to the DAP on Islamic issues and policies but only because of the sinister and evil artificially created tinder-dry powder keg that the Malaysia social-religious-political environment is today, all because UMNO party wannabes are each jockeying for party positions in the coming UMNO party elections.
Only neutrals like Zaid Ibrahim and RPK and indeed the former Mufti of Perlis, Dr Asri, can do so with some degree of impunity.
My uncle told me that eons ago, when Harun Idris was the MB of Selangor, there was a similar brouhaha about participants in beauty contests parading publicly in bikinis, so the crafty MB said he would cover the sweeties up with an additional layer of clothing over their bikinis.
Now, Harun Idris wasn't going to allow any impediment to his aim to promote Selangor as an place for international events as beauty contests, so he dolled those sweeties up in short flimsy and totally transparent negligee. Unc told me the males in the audience were virtually drooling as the negligees made the baby-doll sweeties even more sexy and alluring - you can bet many hubbys' ears were twisted mightily that night, wakakaka.
Malay Mail Online columnist Azrul Mohd Khalib write courageously in his article Beauty is in the eye of the beholder:
The 1997 incident to me was a clear demonstration of what happens when oppressive practices and thinking were allowed to grab hold and dictate our actions. Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had in fact, in the 1997 case, declared that the raid was “not the Islamic way.”
Hmmm, makes you wonder why Dr Mahathir has been so silent today?
Rather than a compassionate, tolerant and gentle understanding and practice of the Islamic faith, the raid was symptomatic of how we have instead cultivated and grown a society which thrives on a form of religious tyranny focused on terrorising, humiliating, entrapping, judging and punishing others.
A few years ago a raid on a restaurant in the Klang Valley by religious authorities ended up with all the Malay girls present forced to line up and be eyeballed by officers to determine whether or not they were wearing indecent attire.
What is considered as “indecent”? Who decides what is “indecent”? This was not the first and certainly not the last example of how our moral sentinels have taken upon themselves in such a way to be God’s hammer and punish who they considered to be wicked. Perhaps for them, punishment in the afterlife for moral sins seems so unsatisfactorily distant, vague and takes too much time.
History has also demonstrated and proven consistently that when the seemingly pious feel the need to demonstrate their piety, their eyes fall upon the female form. There is something about a woman’s body which drives our religious organs into a state of frenzy thus requiring them to find ingenious ways to further control, regulate, repress and dictate.
The rights of women seem to be first ones to be trampled upon when zealots attempt to earn brownie points on their stairway to heaven.
Notice how men, on the other hand, seem to have absolutely no problems or run-ins with the law on the issue of aurat? How often have you seen couples from the Middle East, where the woman is covered top to toe in a flowing all-covering abaya while her male companion is in shorts and T-shirt? I have also yet to hear of a Malay male model or bodybuilder being thrown into a detention cell for allowing the outline of his crown jewels to be seen underneath his underwear or bikini briefs.
The issues at stake are more than just about whether or not there is a swimsuit segment. It’s whether Muslims have the right to partake in dialogue on their own religion, especially when the guardians of the faith are taking us down a dark road which encourages us to victimise, marginalise and persecute others.
Are we going to continue to allow institutions and persons to think or treat themselves as being unaccountable to the people and to hide behind the blanket of religion in order to avoid justifying their actions and to act with impunity?
We should no longer be willing to blindly obey rulings and pronouncements made in the name of our religion especially when they are arrogant, unjust or cruel. The ulama do not have the divine mandate or right to be the sole authority to speak on matters which affect our religion or its interpretations.
We, as the ummah or congregation of the faith, should all be part of that conversation and not remain silent. It is our religion too.
We shouldn’t be threatened with investigations simply for questioning the rationale for actions or ruling by religious authorities. That there should be no compulsion in religion is a central tenet in Islam.
Besides Zaid Ibrahim, Dr Asri and RPK, we may now add Azrul Mohd Khalib to the list of neutral and courageous Muslims.
Anyway, on the current and more DOGgone issue, Zaid was quoted by The Malay Mail Online as saying he ... denounced the police action on the 38-year-old woman as excessive in relation to her purported offence.
He observed that Maznah had been treated like a criminal who posed a serious security threat to the country when she had yet to be charged, let alone convicted by a court of law.'
“I think they have taken a high-handed approach ... everyone is paranoid,” said the former lawyer who once ran the country’s largest legal firm, Zaid Ibrahim & Co.
“Everybody is influenced by public opinion and everybody is scared to do the right thing,” he added.
The 62-year-old took to Twitter yesterday following the announcement of a two-day remand order for Maznah, ostensibly to aid in further investigation under the Sedition Act and section 298A of the Penal Code, which includes a variety offences, namely causing “disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will, or prejudicing, etc, the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion.”
Without naming anyone, Zaid posted a series of tweets where he hit out at the authorities over what he perceived to be a trigger-happy reaction to issues concerning Muslims and Islam.
“Muslims in Malaysia don't do naughty things. So anything outside the norm; like having dogs as pet; or buying 4 digits not tolerated."
“They are treated like criminals; remanded; become subject of speeches by top leaders. Muslims are protected species,” he posted in a series of tweets on his Twitter account, @zaidibrahim.
He added: “Malay Rulers used to keep dogs as pets. Those days Islam was not under threat and Muslims were human and allowed to be such.”
Indeed, my uncle told me that the late Sultan of Kelantan, granddad of the current HRH Sultan Kelantan, kept several German Shepherds (Alsatian gods) and even had a Chinese dog trainer on his palace staff. My uncle who visited the late HRH at his palace in Kota Baru as part of a military group was entertained to tea by his gracious Highness who took the occasion to show off his highly trained German Shepherds.
The current doggie brouhaha can be traced to DPM Muhyiddin's premature attack against the DAP for the DOGgone issue, believing the doggie YouTube video was by a Chinese a la the Alvivi Duo's bah-kut-teh provocation, and a hot issue he must have thought with gleeful delight that he could grab DAP by the balls again through shoving the doggie YouTube episode down their throats.
FMT reported in its article Probe Muhyiddin for sedition: Muhyiddin, on Tuesday [30 July] made the “offensive” remarks after a reporter asked him to comment on Maznah’s controversial video, which depicted her celebrating Hari Raya with her three dogs.
Maznah’s three-year-old video had sparked an uproar among some Muslims, who had misinterpreted her Raya greeting as an attempt to equate Muslims with dogs.
Muhyiddin had told reporters: “Muslims do not insult the religion of non-Muslims … But non-Muslims are insulting our religion.”
He was apparently unaware that Maznah, who goes by the name of Chetz in the video, is a Muslim.
The Umno vice-president’s statement also flies in the face of party affiliate Zulkifli Nordin’s insult of the Hindu religion, and Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali’s call for Muslims to burn Malay language bibles.
Too late, they found that her worth as a 'weapon' to attack DAP or the Chinese for being anti-Islam was a dud because she is a Malay and a Muslim.
So the show must continue to preserve Muhyiddin's face (it's not just the Chinese who care about 'face', wakakaka). Thus, unlike the UMNO-teflonised Zulkifli Nordin or Ibrahim Ali, Maznah Mohd Yusof had to be remanded on the excuse of investigation.
Poor Maznah has become collateral damage in Muhyiddin's and UMNO's attack against the Chinese.