In my earlier posting Malaysian Morality – Whose? involving a case of two young Chinese Malaysians issued a summons by two city hall officials on an issue of morality, for kissing and hugging in a public park 3 years ago, I lamented that the judge had found that they could be charged for 'indecent behaviour'.
The 2 students claimed they were issued the summons only after they had refused to pay bribes to the 2 officials. That alleged vindictive action by the officials should merit investigation as the possibility of corruption combined with threat by officialdom has not been uncommon, but that’s not the objective of my posting.
Assuming that they were in fact kissing and hugging, the act begs the question, which as shown in the earlier posting, federal court Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim had already answered.
His lordship has judged kissing and hugging not to be the norm for Malaysian, and therefore the 2 could be charged with indecent behaviour. That’s was why my posting title was ‘Malaysian Morality – Whose?’ with on the emphasis on 'Whose?'
It seems to attract strong views with one anonymous reader defending the court’s verdict, by stating: “Since when did fornication acts become decent behaviour? Where do we draw the line if they start taking off their clothes and claim freedom of life? because they are not your off-springs, it’s ok. What if they are? Would you be the proud parents defending their acts?
A strong assertion indeed that supported the judge's concept of morality and acceptable public behaviour.
Let’s examine a few words so that we may see whether we are on the same frequency. Using the online dictionary, I have the following words defined, picking those definitions that have relevance to the case in hand:
Kissing - To touch or caress with the lips as an expression of affection, greeting, respect, or amorousness
French kiss - A kiss in which the tongue enters the partner's mouth
Hugging - To clasp or hold closely, especially in the arms, as in affection; embrace
Fornication - Sexual intercourse between partners who are not married to each other
Groping - To handle or fondle for sexual pleasure
Fondling - To show fondness or affection by caressing
I think Anonymous has gone beyond the scope of the ‘kissing & hugging’ charge by accusing the couple of ‘fornication’. He or she has even taken off on an unauthorised flight with his rather wild accusation that that kissing & hugging couple would or could strip naked, and then rambled off to accuse them (perhaps in anticipation of their evil nature?) of claiming 'freedom of life', whatever that means?
When expressing a view, it’s best we keep to facts rather than flight, fantasy, fallacy, fabrication or figment – all those F-words, other than facts, would lead to an unfair and unjust F-up.
If the couple had been caught for fornicating in a public park, most Malaysians and I would have fully supported the judge’s verdict. But neither the judge nor the 2 city hall officials had charged them with fornication, so let's stick to the truth.
And accusing people of the wrong acts has been what had led to many innocent people being killed unfairly. Had the act of fornication in public been punishable by death, the 2 poor youths would probably have been already strung, slaughtered or stoned to death, when their only ‘crimes’ had been kissing and hugging.
I have also included the meanings of ‘groping’ because reader howsy brought up this possibility, and also compared that action to ‘fondling’, with the latter being more caring than mere recreational.
I don’t believe whether French kissing had occurred or not would be important as a kiss within the context of the case is still a kiss, unless those two morality-police had pried aside parts of the young couple's lips to check the whereabouts of their tongues.
The summons issued by the city hall officials, regardless of whether their motive had been vindictive, or even what training they had received to become moral-police, has its origin in some petty officials' perception of Islamic laws and how or on whom it ought to be politically applied.
We know that UMNO and PAS have been at war, a political one, to see who was ‘holier’ and who could claim the support of the Islamic heartland of Malaysia. It’s a crying shame that non-Muslim Malaysians have been trampled in between by one of the products of that political (and not religious) war.
During our recent history, meaning the last 30 years of independence, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of young Malaysians [leaving out Muslim youths] have hugged and kissed in Malaysia.
In Penang where I grew up, there are favourite spots for young lovers to express their affection for each other without uniformed goons intruding on them, whether for piety, profit, prying, perversity or punitive bent. Police patrol cars would cruise by to ensure that there were no prowlers or gangsters while respecting, and indeed protecting the privacy of young lovers.
Let's remind ourselves of what act and intent constitute kissing and hugging. Hugging is about affection, while kissing is also an expression of affection, greeting, respect, or amorousness.
Let's leave out greeting as surely we can tell that the couple wasn't doing that unless they had been so forgetful that they just saw each other a microsecond earlier. What I see in the act of the couple had been affection and respect.
To me, kissing and hugging are about affection. Even allowing for amorousness, which incidentally is about love or being in love (and therefore affection), pray tell me, where's the indecency?
How the F did we come to this state?