Reader mahaguru58 lamented that while authorities rightfully want to curb the excesses that non practising Muslims indulge in, he reckons snooping is not the ideal approach because those people couldn’t care less, or they wouldn’t have indulged so in the first place.
I agree with him that there ought to be a limit to excessive behaviour, seemingly borrowed from a different culture and in some instances offensive to our own. But I believe that limit should be self-exercised, unless such behaviour intruded on the privacy of other citizens.
For example, I would be very annoyed if my neighbour, regardless of whether they are Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, etc, were bonking away in their garden without concealment from my eyes, or punishing my ears with their favourite heavy metal music on their stratoblasters.
That's when I would call upon the proper law officers such as the police, and not some frontier-type vigilante corp or posse, or even become a volunteer of such mobs.
mahaguru58 stated that any action by the volunteer squad must avoid any criminal actions. He reckons the best way would be to counsel rather than snoop and pounce upon the offending couples! Mate, you have my complete agreement.
In this he reckons that Malaysian authorities face a dilemma, as exemplified by the Malay saying of Ditelan mati emak, diluah mati bapak! (= between the Devil and the deep blue sea or ‘damn if they do, and damn if they don’t’). The authorities do want to curb what they have perceived as socially feral behaviour but are also aware that any action they adopt to stop such social rot, may be perceived in turn as equally feral, and thus Taliban-ish.
He bemoaned the lack of understanding by non-Muslims like KTemoc ;-) I accept his comments and criticisms, though I would declare that the criticisms have been misplaced. He (you aren’t a ‘she’, are you) has been wrong, because wishing to curb socially unacceptable behaviour is not the exclusive domain of Muslims.
What blokes and lassies like KTemoc, including many Muslims, don’t want to see are moral police as opposed to moral teachers or counsellors.
As I mentioned in my response to his comments, I believe that the shaping and guiding of youth's behaviour is the responsibility of, firstly, the parents. Then the next group, and sometimes the major force in this task, are the teachers, including the religious ones.
In a traditional Chinese community, the teacher is a very much revered and respected person. A headmaster is greeted with utmost deference by members of the community, and always addressed respectfully by his professional position even by senior citizens of the village, as 'Headmaster'.
Believe it or not, when parents encounter problems in controlling their naughty kids, they would seek the direct help of the Headmaster or teacher, and surrender the counselling or reprimanding of their children to them, because the children are more likely to listen to and obey the teachers.
The Chinese have a saying, that to morally educate young people is not unlike the art of espalier. One needs to do this when the plant (or youth) is young and thus pliable, and to conduct the espalier-ing in incremental bites, less one breaks the plant or its branches. Attempting to do this when the youth has grown up would by then be too late. The branch will break or the plant severely stressed and damaged. Therefore the parents and especially the teachers play a very enormously important role.
Then, the third groups would be the elders. These are the senior relatives, community leaders, religious teachers (imams, monks, priests) and trained counsellors, etc. Sometimes, sporting or entertainment heroes can fall into this group. In Australia, where sporting personalities are revered (yes, revered) many have been recruited into social campaigns, for example, those against violence perpetrated on women, on anti-smoking, to clean up Australia, etc. In America, movie stars are so co-opted. Even the UN appoints well-known personalities such as soccer legend Pele, Angela Jolie (I am sure you know who she is), etc as goodwill ambassadors.
Vigilante snoopers as those proposed by the Federal Territory Religious Department don't fall into any of these three respected categories. We have already witnessed how a supposedly trained Jawi behaved so badly in the Zouk nightclub raid. As I have observed and informed mahaguru58, some people just cannot handle power.
They feel a compulsive and sometimes addictive need to exercise that power. That's what occurred at the Zuok nightclub, where a campaign to curb or stop behaviour, viewed as un-Islamic, un-Malaysian or offensive to Asian values, denigrated into a disgraceful show of unfettered dominance by empowered officials. Instead of counselling those young (and supposedly) social degenerates, the Jawi officials exploited their position of power to humiliate and terrorise the victims.
This has been what occurred in police station such as the notorious nude ketuk ketumpi (ear-squats), or in the extreme criminal cases, rape. The common denominator is the unauthorised and uncontrolled exercise of power on unfortunate receipients - the power to dominate the victims, to make them do what the authority so desires, sometimes to stretch the exercise of power as much as the imagination permits - with the receipients being those apprehended by police, Immigration or Jawi, or in criminal cases, sexually abused and rape victims.
Volunteers are generally untrained, and to confer on them a misguided impression that they have powers, especially the powers of a religious sanctioned activity, would be asking for trouble.
Indeed, there is a crying need for volunteers to guide and counsel youths, but they should take the shape of NGOs, with the full awareness that they don’t have any legal powers to intrude on, threatened, harassed, order, or arrest anyone. That is the challenge not only for Muslims but for all Malaysians.