THE bizarre is happening again in ultra-political Malaysia. With the unity government seeking to put the country back on track again, “another controversy is swirling around the nation”, according to The Edge (May 23, 2023).
Previously, it was the dress code that irked netizens, but after this issue subsided, it was the Coldplay’s Nov 22 concert in Malaysia, and now the raid on Swatch stores over its rainbow Pride Collection.
It only took some netizens to highlight the alleged association with Swatch’s band support for the LGBTQIA+ community to have some overzealous authorities scurrying all over the shopping malls where Swatch stores are located.
While we do not condone LGBTQIA+, the distraction created by the raid is what Amanah’s Hanipa Maidin wrote, “Such a sacrosanct right is duly embedded in our apex law and to be freely enjoyed by anyone, including the LGBT community.”
It makes one wonder whether Wall’s Paddle Pop Rainbow Swirl ice cream or Microsoft would be the next, after Microsoft openly “celebrated Pride by centring on intersectionality, donating to LGBTQI+ non-profits and releasing the largest and most inclusive product line-up.”
Perhaps, South Africa may be the next to be severed of all international ties if these conservatives have their way. After all, the term “Rainbow nation” was used after the collapse of its apartheid regime in 1994.
Religious conservatives may not realise that they are burning more bridges with the larger segment of society.
Previously, they conducted a raid on a Bible Society at a time when the Selangor Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and his exco were all having their year-end holiday and they confiscated even the Iban Bibles which contain the word Allah, even though no Malay in West Malaysia would be able to read or understand the native language.
The matter was finally resolved after the good Sultan of Selangor stepped in.
Who knows in the current scenario that even children will be banned from admiring the rainbow for fear that they will be influenced to accept the practices of the LGBTQIA+ community?
Judging from past voting patterns, politicians who may be working hand-in-hand with these conservatives are turning the majority of the silent voters against them, too.
Desmond Tutu was fighting the apartheid regime alongside with people in the African National Congress (ANC).
When South Africa became a nation that is free from apartheid, he coined the term “rainbow nation” to signify a country that has a bright future.
The imagery of the rainbow comes from the sign of God’s promise to the biblical Noah that the earth would not suffer from another major flood like what happened during the patriarch’s era.
People carrying a rainbow colour umbrella may even be frowned upon just because the LGBTQIA+ community uses the rainbow colours for its symbol.
Certainly, Malaysian authorities need to exercise some critical thinking instead of adopting the practices in other countries such as Algiers which recently vowed to ban rainbow-coloured products.
If Saudi Arabia has done it, and if Malaysia seeks to emulate the Kingdom’s example, why then do our religious conservatives not adopt their attitude towards the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims?
Or is this a matter of pick and choose what is expedient politically instead of sound religious teachings, knowing that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will have to choose between two answers, both of which will “hopefully”, in the eyes of these people, lead to his downfall?
Certainly, sound-minded Malaysians are not that naïve to be picking “you know who” to be the next government. – May 23, 2023