OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Smacked Right In The Eye #2

This one's from Asia Times Online.

Malaysia takes the rock out of music
By Ioannis Gatsiounis

KUALA LUMPUR - This is Visit Malaysia Year and the government is using the opportunity to promote the multi-ethnic country as a regional beacon of diversity and tolerance. But apparently international performing artists are a little less welcome than your average tourist.

In August pop star Gwen Stefani was required to dress "modestly" for her concert here, after the National Union of Malaysia Muslim Students protested against the scheduled performance on the grounds that she would bring to Malaysia an "American hegemonic background", said the group's president Hilmi Ramli.

Early this month, R&B singer Beyonce Knowles scrapped her debut concert in Malaysia slated for November 1 due to what her agency called "a scheduling conflict", though local record industry sources say it was because the 26-year-old diva thought better of conforming to Malaysia's dress stipulations for international performers. "They have to dress decently ... and behave in a manner appropriate in Malaysia," insisted culture, arts and heritage minister Rais Yatim, days after Beyonce cancelled her show.

Malaysian authorities have long required local rock stars to cut their hair or forfeit the opportunity to appear on television or radio, and frequently remind Malaysians of the consequences for openly addressing "sensitive" issues like race and religion. But it wasn't until 2005 that foreign performers were asked to join the act.

Guidelines require foreign performers to cover themselves from shoulder to knees. They also stipulate no hugging or kissing fellow artists or audience members, no jumping or shouting, no cursing and no exchanging objects between audience and artist. Preventing "moral decay" and preserving Malaysian values are the reasons usually cited for the restrictions.

But what exactly are Malaysian values, and who is defining them? The issue has come to the fore in this multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, as religion asserts itself with renewed vigor in the public and political domain, and Malaysia's sizeable non-Muslim communities feel increasingly marginalized. Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak recently called Malaysia an "Islamic state", even though Malaysia's governing framework is a secular constitution that gives Islam special importance.

... (link)

He's certainly picked this up while the local media clearly hasn't. Believe me, it's quite a good read to spend your 10 minutes or so. I want more Western artists performing in Malaysia...!!

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