Repent, says the institution that decries excessive laughter

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”

- Mark Twain

COMMENT | Remember a couple of years ago when the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) issued its new guidelines proclaiming comedy shows should not lead to “excessive” laughter.

MCA’s Koh Chin Han in a media statement said - "Jakim's failure to see things from a wider perspective will certainly result in serious impingement into the rights of an individual. This will lead towards a divided Malaysian society along religious and/or gender lines. This ironically runs against the justice the religion itself calls for."

Here is the thing. Jakim, or any other state-sanctioned Islamic organisation, is apparently not interested in bringing Malaysians together. They are interested in the purity of whatever school of Islamic thought they are promulgating in this country. That is axiomatic, right?

Remember when there was all this talk about specific labels for Muslim-produced goods. This is what I wrote about the turf war between Jakim and whatever the name was of that other Islamic entity - “Every time the state pushes the edges of what is acceptable when it comes to social cohesion by coddling interests such as these and it goes unnoticed by the so-called silent majority or voices of change in this country, we draw closer to a failed state that would be the logical outcome, if and when we collapse economically.”

(Appropos everything, remember in that label fiasco, “Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was complaining that Jakim’s halal certification was too stringent and a burden on small industries run by Muslims.” What this meant was that when it comes to Islam, you could lower the bar because of race. It all depends on which race)

So, when a Muslim Malaysian, Nurhanizah Abdul Rahman, decided to use a social media platform to talk about her relationship with her pet dog, Bubu, as part of some pet food competition, this has apparently caused distress amongst some Muslims. Did a few Muslim Malaysian cat lovers participating in the same competition decide to whittle down the competition by drawing attention to this video? I mean she has to win now, right? It is the only outcome where good triumphs over stupidity.

I guess you could argue that Nurhanizah made a boo-boo when she adopted Bubu. See, with this kind of joke, you do not elicit excessive laughter. Of course, Jakim would take this act seriously. Remember this is the same religious organisation which got into Aunty Anne’s business because of a pretzel dog.

Remember, in the pretzel dog controversy, Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz said, “Please don’t make us look so stupid and backward...”; well, I guess it is too late now...

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