Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hello Malaysia Go Ahead

This came from Rachel who is a daily reader of the blog, and obviously, lives in Malaysia.

Okay.. lemme see.. I live in East Malaysia and we're kinda used to not seeing these big acts over this side so we don't really have much of an opinion about it. Most of the time, we only get singers from the Philippines and Indonesia - they're pretty big here and they're much better singers than their Malaysian compatriots sans a few really superb ones. I know, I know, that's so unpatriotic but I don't support crap, especially the "Oh you've broken up with me and I'm so gonna die" (the Malay word for it is "mendayu-dayu") stuff they sing.

As for those in Peninsular Malaysia, well, I know my cousin and her friends were pissed, but she also said she had no idea that Beyonce Inc. wanted to hold a concert here. I mean, I think most found out about the concert only through news that it couldn't be held. There hadn't been much promotion on TV or in the news or on the radio. Most people are pretty blase about it and I think it's because of the timing. See, it's Ramadhan, the fasting month. And life here really comes down a notch or two. I mean, most muslim shops are closed and activities pretty much slow down if not completely standstill. It's normally this way a month or so before and during the fasting month. Muslims take this month as holy and therefore, their reaction to most anything is "feh..". So it wasn't really big news or anything. But then again, the news only came out yesterday, so could be a majority are probably still not aware of it. Plus, most of the media is saturated with the Nurin murder case and it's progress, which is what everybody's talking about these days.

Malaysia isn't a hardcore muslim country like those in the middle east - it's quite moderate and very modern - but the majority of muslims are strong in their faith (operative word is strong, not zealous). They believe in a strong sense of decorum, as do most of the population here, but again, Malaysia is really moderate. So while you won't get stoned if you wear a tutu when you're out shopping, but you'll probably get a lot of stares. And Beyonce being Beyonce, well, I suppose what you see on her videos are what you see on stage, cleavage and all. And I think that's what's got all the censor's panties in a bunch.

What Beyonce's PR team and most of the western media is trying to spin is really a stretch. "Muslim outcry"? And nydailynews is saying there are protests from radical groups - radical? Conservative, yes, but radical? Radical as in middle east radical? *roll eyes* Puh-leez! "Hostile reception" my ass. They're not in the majority. She has a LOT of fans here and I don't think they're all non-muslims. When Irreplaceable was released, you couldn't walk in any store without it blaring. I know there are a number of peeps in the States that don't like her and make her out to be the devil, but she's a well-received, well-liked singer here.

Another thing. You're coming into a country where a majority are observing a holy month. So, you're going to have to expect the religious authorities to not bend the rules at all - that's not saying that they have, but they'll stick to their grounds even more. I mean, yeah, the concert is a couple of weeks after the Aidilfitri festivities which marks the end of fasting, but clearly, the organising peeps, whose boss is a muslim, was stupid enough to not anticipate the guidelines, what more to not expect this kind of reaction during this month. The dress code is required for any international act wanting to perform in Malaysia - cover up between neck and knees. It wasn't out to target Beyonce alone. And as for the "protests" (which are, in most cases, written memorandum from conservative groups to the concert organizer), everyone else had gotten them before - Gwen Stefani, the PCD's, Michael Jackson, even Linkin Park. So, what's her co. really all worked up for anyway?

I'm actually wondering if the real reason she doesn't wanna dress down is cause she'll trip and fall from stepping on her dress again. I'm just saying is all...

As for Ms. B-A-N-A-N-A-S herself, EVERYONE thought she was great. And she really won huge kudos for being sensitive enough to follow the dress requirements. She had great rapport with the crowd plus she greeted them with some Malay words and stuff. I think the fact that she told the crowd her step-mom's living in Malaysia and so that kinda made her part Malaysian made her more endearing to the crowd (yeah, we're all suckers for that kinda stuff). Lots of media coverage after the concert, total media darling, and a lot of media critics are saying she put up one of the best concerts ever held here. Pretty much everybody's saying she's the next best thing since slice bread (I personally think she's the best thing since peanut butter, and I loves me some peanut butter).

Wouldn't be surprised if Beyonce gets compared to Gwen and ends up being vilified. I'm sure the media's gonna call her the typical arrogant westerner. My take is that she should have just complied. People would have flocked to see her even if she were wearing a sack cloth. Yeah sure, you wanna show your sexy side, but we've already seen all of that on the boob tube. Show some class man.. wait a minute. This is Beyonce. What am I saying?!

Anyway, one thing I do want to note. Yes, we do have conservative religious groups here but it's the same as in the States. I mean you have family values groups and other org's there too. It's just that Malaysia is a small nation, therefore, any protests done by these groups or any other relevant ones, would be heard and considered.

Oh and apparently Beyonce's concert will instead be done in Indonesia. I'm sure they'll meet with protests there too - and the groups there are more physically demonstrative and hardline. So *shrug* good luck to her.


UKGrrl said...

Excellent piece...who wrote this?!
Beyonce's loss.

Khemenu said...

Thanks for posting this Ent, very enlightening.

GammaGirl said...

Of all the press I have seen on BeBe's Malaysia controversy, this was the most enlightening. Great post!

Anonymous said...

What a great read! Thank you to the writer for taking the time to explain the insider point of view, and thanks ENT for posting it.

No longer just a place on the map for me - Malaysia now has a very human, and entertaining voice in my world.

Not Impressed said...

Great post! Thank you to the writer of this entry. I had long suspected that those who were "protesting" really werent putting up as much of a fuss as indicated, and that they were much like our own religious groups. People speak out against the stuff on our performers and on TV all the time, and yet we act like the rest of the world is a prude for not putting up with us!

fo real said...

Great read thanks!

Kar said...

What an excellent post. Well written, informative. It answered questions I didn't even know I had. Great job! Thank you. said...

Actually the fasting month is probably the BEST time for a Beyonce concert, no one will get sick. ;-)

Thanks for the post!

P said...

I'm honestly shocked that Beyonce didn't just comply and do the show. But like someone else said, it is indeed her loss, and really foolish on her team's behalf.

Excellent post! Thanks to the writer and Enty!

Unknown said...

What a great post. Man, that girl can write!!!

Kathy K said...

That's something the US media wouldn't understand or be able to interpret: people with conservative morals associated with their religious beliefs who stand up for what they stand for ... of course within the liberal press that would be "radical".

I am really getting sick of ugly Americans. What egos. What an utter lack of respect. What idiots.

Proof once again that money can't buy class.

Unknown said...

How do we kno tho that beyonce really didn't wanna do it because of the dress code...we can't judge her and blame her for something we don't know about....there's def gotta be more to the story but who the hell cares neway.....LOVE BEYONCE!!

Rachel said...

and numerous others.

Will try to update if I get more info from some more contacts in KL who are in the know, but based on a very close friend of mine who is in the entertainment scene there, it was because of the clothes as well as restriction on suggestive dance moves. Also said cause the management company didn't have as much clout as Maxis who co-organized Gwen Stefani's tour. Another contact in Kementerian Kebudayaan (the ministry in charge of culture, arts & heritage - they set the rules) said that of the foreign acts, most cancel because of the attire thing, not because of the protests themselves or any sort of outcry or hostile environment.

I still say she doesn't wanna do it cause she doesn't fall flat on her booty. Yeah, I guess we're not ready for that jelly.

Nosey Parker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nosey Parker said...

I want to thank Rachel for writing and EL for posting her letter!

I wonder if the dress code was really the problem.
It would be easy for Beyonce to cover up.

Beyonce dances way more suggestive than Gwen. I'm guessing that they were worried that her dancing might accidentally offend people even if she toned it down.


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