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14 theSun | TUESDAY JUNE 30 2009

speak up!

Playing the politics
Remember how Beyonce rightful guardian of the souls of the
thumbed her nose at us when she people?
was imposed with a “dress code” Local authorities and state
and instead took her show to – of governments have no reason to
all places Jakarta? fear over withdrawing applications
Rod Stewart’s Merdeka Eve although promoters spend
concert 15 years ago was cancelled hundreds of thousands of ringgit

of morality
after the powers-that-be said it – in MJ’s case almost RM2 million
would be unpatriotic, prompting the – to confirm the shows.
Scotsman to vow never to play here They know that concert
– as the last-minute cancellation promoters would not dare take a local
Down2Earth also affected the rest of his tour. authority to court as this would
by Terence Fernandez Avril Lavigne who covers her- mean they would be blacklisted for
self from head to toe was deemed all future shows.
“too sexy” by PAS members who Meanwhile, the beer ban in
WITH everyday life on earth almost Muslims since Shah Alam has been Malaysia or Singapore, or both. asserted pressure on the authorities Selangor is still being debated and
coming to a standstill in the wake portrayed as the Islamic city of Se- (Whether his frail frame would to revoke the permit. several bumiputra communities in
of the death of the King of Pop, one langor, with the blue domed Sultan have survived even one show is A show promoter had wanted East Malaysia are restricted in their
feels out of place in trying to touch Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque a another story) to bring Kylie Minogue down last use of the national language dur-
on – yes, more pressing issues. But stone’s throw from the stadium. Whether Syed Yusof, (the Jojo December, with the Aussie super- ing worship. Journalists are being
as fate would have it, the moonwalk- Good thing his child molestation in Jojo Entertainment) would have star’s people confirming the dates persecuted for reporting the truth
er’s demise actually reminded me allegations did not emerge until risked another headache in bring- and fees – only problem was the and the politics of patronage is
of my first encounter as a journalist later or this would have given the ing him here is anyone’s guess. One promoter got cold feet as he felt widening the gap between the
with what has since become every- authorities and politicians another is sure that MJ would have said yes whatever approvals he received haves and have nots – not to
day fodder – the incompetence and reason to ban him. to his friend but as we continue from the authorities would be mention making doing business
arbitrary nature of governance. Anyway, to cut a long story short, to bear witness, our guardians of subject to being revoked at their more expensive.
For those of you who remember, the then Culture, Arts and Tourism morality are relentless in ensuring whim. It would be great if our guardians
Michael Jackson’s first and only Ministry got involved after an SOS we don’t go down the dark path that The PAS protest over Avril of morality would concentrate on
performance in Malaysia in October from show promoters Jojo Enter- leads to eternal damnation. Lavigne convinced him that the such issues instead of the height of
1996 almost did not take off. tainment chief Tan Sri Syed Yusof However, what is mind boggling authorities would be pressured to the slit on an artiste’s dress and the
After 90% of the tickets for the Syed Nasir. The public were urged is that instead of focusing their call off the Kylie show. Ms Minogue, gyrations of a dangdut singer. But I
two shows of the HIStory World to “hold on to your tickets” as a energy and resources on fighting after all, is known for her eye- doubt that will ever happen because
Tour at Stadium Malawati Shah new venue was sought. Before long, corruption, alleviating poverty and popping outfits although she does their intentions are not as noble as
Alam were sold out, the Shah Kuala Lumpur City Hall came to ensuring the fundamental rights of cover up for more conservative they would have us believe.
Alam Municipal Council withdrew the rescue, decreeing that the show all citizens are protected – all moral audiences. It was too risky for a
its approval – backed by the state must go on at Stadium Merdeka. issues in their own right – the moral businessman and he dropped the Terence is glad that he managed
government. One suspects that had things police are transfixed on banning idea. to tick “Attend a Michael Jackson
Of course, the usual reasons turned out differently, MJ would alcohol, preventing the use of the As in all concerts, bans are politi- concert” on his list of “Things to
were given – that Jackson posed have come to our shores again, as national language in some places cal. Why approve only to withdraw? do before I die”. He is deputy editor
a serious threat to the morals of his 50-date London shows were to of worship and banning concerts Because two political parties are (special reports & investigations)
youths who would be attending his be extended to a three-year world of artistes they had not even heard falling over each other to determine and can be reached at terence@the
shows; that it was disrespectful to tour which included stops in either of till now. who is more religious? Who is the

Tribute to MJ
A talented child t’was

Treat H1N1 for what it is Above others his talent soars
Starting from the Jackson Five
it was music for his life
IN THIS globalised world, different countries seem forbidding them from even going out for food. The on our health-care personnel, we may
to be responding differently to the H1N1 outbreak. CDC also says that “not all people with suspected be better of bypassing the Singapore An icon in the music industry
In the United States, ground zero where H1N1 H1N1 infection need to have the diagnosis con- experience and get onto what the CDC He has inspired thus many
began and with nearly a million estimated cases, firmed, especially if the illness is mild”. While our in the US is recommending. From Moonwalk to anti-gravity
there are no thermal scanners at the airports. In policy is to quarantine health-care workers who The Health Ministry has initiated He is indeed a born prodigy!
Japan, with over 900 cases, travellers only need to may be exposed to even suspected H1N1 patients, numerous measures to contain the
fill a health declaration form. In Singapore and Ma- the CDC states that “health-care workers who do H1N1 outbreak. We are using valuable The King of Pop we hail him
laysia, airports have thermal scanners, hospitals not have a febrile respiratory illness may continue health-care resources in this contain- A performer who uses every limb
have special tents for suspected cases, quarantine to work” and even “asymptomatic health-care ment policy against H1N1. How many Belting scores of record-breaking hits
is mandatory and schools have been closed. workers who have had an unprotected exposure other health-care areas will now be left Enticing music lovers to every beat
Although new, this flu does not appear to be to H1N1 also may continue to work if they are underfunded and undermanned by this
dangerous. The WHO update on June 26, lists started on antiviral prophylaxis”. diversion of resources? MTV was his brainchild
59,814 confirmed cases with only 263 deaths giving Although H1N1 is a benign infection, it is highly Should we not be proactive, look at where his dances arranged in style
a mortality rate of less than 0.5%. Our response to contagious. Over a week from June 19 to 26, the the situation of those ahead of us in their The story of his songs briefly told
H1N1 may have been inappropriately influenced number of H1N1 patients in Singapore jumped experience of H1N1, save on resources in choreography of multi-fold
by the experience with SARS which had a mortal- from 100 to 365. Singapore has only a small area and avoid unnecessary, hurtful and
ity rate ranging from 15% to 19%. to trace contacts and enforce quarantine using a ultimately unsuccessful endeavours? The most successful entertainer of all time
The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in the highly trained and efficient health-care service. Should we not treat H1N1 for what it A record holder through rain and shine
US states that “not all patients with suspected Yet being an open trading country, Singapore’s is, new and highly infectious, probably Thriller, Beat It, and Billie Jean
H1N1 need to be seen by a health-care provider, containment measures have not been success- uncomfortable, but not at all serious or Songs fondly recalled from our TV screens
only patients with severe illness or those at high ful in preventing the spread of H1N1 in the local dangerous for those without underlying Remember Heal the World and Earth Song
risk of complications” ( community. Malaysia is a similarly open country illness? After all, as doctors we must not issues of nature that we sing along
identifyingpatients.htm). The document then goes with a much larger area as well as multiple entry make the treatment more unpleasant With intention to unite the universe
on to give detailed advice on how to care for a points, we are unlikely to succeed where Singa- than the disease itself. he tells the world with every verse
patient at home, and how to prevent spread among pore has failed. Instead of expanding the number For the better or for the worse,
members of the same household. of people quarantined, forcing employers to give Dr Ong Hean Teik it is a choice made by all of us!
Here we quarantine the entire household, full pay unrecorded leave and increasing the strain Penang
Racial discrimination is of concern
A nation gap widely discerned

Are we patriotic or nationalistic? Black or white it does not matter
As long as we all get together
Come, every boy and every girl
I’M INTRIGUED by the question of are political constructs built upon the ing facets of their national identity. We political arena, it’s easy to see As we proudly sing We are the World!
whether Malaysians are patriotic or collective identity of the people through can be more patriotic at one point in where Malaysians are along
nationalistic, or both, or neither! Or are their shared experiences. In other a nation’s history and less patriotic at the continuums of patriotism What a great loss t’was,
we more inclined to be patriotic in some words a nation is an “imagined political another. Merdeka saw the high point or nationalism. The race- the world marks the date today,
contexts and nationalistic in others! Or community” with a collective/national of patriotism and nationalism in the based nature of our political the King of Pop we lost,
are we generally more patriotic than identity (Anderson 1983). And interest- run-up to the country’s freedom from parties ensures that the vision but in our heart his legend stays!
nationalistic or vice versa! ingly, this notion of “nation” is not static colonial rule and the establishment of of a national identity which is
Patriotism and nationalism are emo- but is continually reconstructed through self rule; 1Malaysia may not be so lucky indivisible and a nation which Christina Kim
tions and convictions that people have processes of exclusion and inclusion in a country that’s politically divided! is 1Malaysia will meet with Kuala Lumpur
about their country which are inspired (Schlesinger 1991). Thus, patriotism and However, unlike nationalism which stops and starts. The dream
by love for and pride in its socio-cultural nationalism can vary synchronically (in can manifest itself in the negative feel- of perpetuating our shared
symbols – its myths and history; its time) and diachronically (in space) as ings of superiority and dominance over experiences, myths and his-
traditions and way of life; its language they can vary within the positive and other nations or peoples (Feshbach tory, traditions and way of life, tity
and cultural norms. Being patriotic or negative poles. If I may use a linguis- 1994), patriotism never implies a rejec- language and cultural norms into an among a nation of people who are more
nationalistic means one has a convic- tic term, patriotism and nationalism tion and oppression of out-groups or a overwhelming sense of patriotism is in nationalistic than patriotic. It may take
tion as to which nation one formally are not absolutes but occur along a dominance over them. While patriotic danger of being aborted by the nation- the form of a war against an outside
belongs and to which one wants to for- continuum. groups would espouse liberalism and alistic forces which play up elements force like the US war against terrorism
mally belong. It implies loyalty to one’s Of the two, patriotism refers to tolerance, nationalistic groups are which are disparate. and the deep fear of terrorists. God
country. This sense of a national identity one’s love for one’s motherland and inclined towards intergroup differentia- Perhaps each of us should ask our- forbid Malaysians need the grief of a
or national self-image can also be trig- an attachment to the national values tion of “us” vs “them”. BN vs PR; Malay selves where we are along the continu- national tragedy like 9/11 to unite us and
gered by feelings of protectiveness and – albeit laced with a critical under- rural poverty vs Indian estate poverty; ums; who or what we are loyal to? But evoke the love for our motherland!
defence in the face of incursions and standing. Thus there can be degrees Chinese business ventures vs Malay can we really be honest? Otherwise, like
intrusions from outside or inside. of attachment and understanding with corporate undertakings! the US, Malaysia may have to artificially Halimah Mohd Said
“Nation” and “national identity” in-groups and out-groups demonstrat- If we go by what is happening in the create a cause to forge a national iden- Kuala Lumpur