Thursday 24 November 2011

Desert Storm

It had a long run in both the printed and celluloid media - a story of a (sometimes) doomed relationship between a white 'goddess' and a hot-blooded, sultry non-white male, usually Arab-Muslim.

We know of Shakespeare's Othello the Moor and Desdemona the Venetian.

Then in 1924 E.M. Forster wrote "A Passage to India"  about Adela Quested's  fantasy of Dr Aziz Ahmed's sexual attraction for her.

From Hollywood in the 1920s we had the smouldering sex icon, the 'Sheik' and  'Son of the Sheik'  starring Rudolf Valentino.

Another movie  'Island in the Sun' (1957) touched on the delicate story of a black activist (Harry Belafonte) and a blonde beauty (Joan Fontaine).

So, I was quite chuffed to discover this same motif in my 1934 Woman's Needlework Magazine.

By the way, this was the period in-between the two massive European Tribal Wars aka the First World War and Second World War - when there was rampant unemployment and poverty of the lower classes (or the Great Depression) somewhat like today after the Banks' Crisis.

There was this icy-cool English brunette ....

 .........who was irresistibly attracted to ......... the Dark Cavalier.......

who actually turned out to be ...  An Arab ......... Sidi Zarouk ben Mohammed ben Amor Metlaoui!!!

...... from a noble and royal Moroccan pedigree!  (Well, it had to be aristocratic enough for our fine  English lass, hadn't it?)

"You see they are really still living centuries ago - they have their brutality and splendour, the magnificient qualities and the terrible faults of another age."   (Hold on mate, you're only making it more exciting for the English rose!)

Well, these words  (the ones in italics) could have come from our present-day journalists, academic and social commentators and of course Cameron and Sarkozy and  America's super-hero.

The one difference is this: present day magnificent savages have ... OIL!

Well, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, if only you and your father had played the game right.  Instead of  feasting and feteing  sultry western maidens like you did ......

...and English political scroungers like your father did .......

..... and donating loadsofmoney, to the tune of  Sterling 1.5 million, to the London School of Economics ...... you should have spent it on more worthy causes, if not in your country but to other poverty stricken people.  But rich Muslim potentates seem to have a penchant for throwing money at institutions in the West.  Shouldn't charity begin at home?

Undoubtedly your father provided Libya with an impressive education and health system that put Cameron's to shame - but other issues seem to have been neglected or made to look more dire.

Your father tweaked the Judaeo-Christian's tail once too often and he had to be run into the ground -in fact lynched by a mob while the self-righteous mullahs in the West looked away.  (Remember, they allowed  Chilean dictator and murderer Pinochet to get away with his "crimes against humanity"). 

And so, poor Saif, finally in your blackest moments you donned your traditional Arab robes.....

..... but you will not be a heartthrob like the 'Sheik'  (Rudolf Valentino) and other glamorous male Arab-Muslim 'heiristocrats'  for the trophy collectors in the West.

Perhaps , your father might have lasted longer if he had fostered this image of the Arabs  - as seen in this video "Ahab the Arab".  Long live Coca Cola and McDonalds and cheap oil!!!

By the way,it was not until the 1967 US Supreme Court decision that US-based inter-racial marriages were allowed.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Seksualiti Merdeka

If I was born in 1997 I would have a tough time right now coping with the pressures of being a female Muslim teenager, especially my sexuality.

There are all these early photographs of me ......... especially this one looking like a cool dude in my dad's shades, at the Singapore Botanical Garden when I was 4/5.

According to LGBT ideology this is most likely an indication of a non-female sexuality trying to 'come out' of the oppressed female/feminine Muslim's sexual ethics.

Should my parents be hauled over the coals for repressing my 'true sexuality'?  I think this is probably what they will say.

PARENTS:  Sometimes, in our culture .........

VICTIM-FEMINISTS'  WATCHDOG  (VFW):  You mean the oppressive Patriarchal Culture !!!

PARENTS:  ....... in the hope that it will catch, parents will dress up their daughter in boys' togs (mind you, not for all of the time) so that the next baby might turn out to be a boy.

And hey presto, it worked!  Mustakim was born giving them an ideal number of two girls and two boys.  Of course it's not as certain as going for a scan and then aborting the foetus if it's not the desired type.  After all, abortion is another much-vaunted human right like the right to happiness and freedom.  It has even been resorted to as a form of birth control for some busy women in Britain.

VFW:  What about this then? 

The scruffy kid on the right (front row) looks like a Hari Raya 1948/1949 version of Richmal Crompton's 'William'.

PARENTS:  Well, we can't stop her as she loves her boy's outfit.  We know she feels a little left out being the second child, stuck between the special first-born sister and the first son and the youngest one, you know, the second child syndrome.
But she seems comfortable and happy - we think she will grow out of it.  Children do go through such phases of wanting to be different, to demonstrate their distinct identity.

VFW:  What do you mean by that?  So you think that her dressing like a macho-male female is only a phase.  You believe that she could or would grow out of becoming a feminist/lesbian/transgender - that she will recover from this - like getting over a nasty flu?

PARENT (ABAH):  Hey, hold on a minute.  Where did you get the idea that a girl who likes to dress up as a boy is a budding lesbian?

PARENT ('MAK):  Abah, lesbian 'tu apa?

ABAH:  Nanti Chah. Nanti abah terangkan.

VFW:  How about this picture then?  She's now 15 and she's still trying to express her true sexual identity - to escape this patriarchal cultural agenda.
Above is the Kampung Abu Kassim 'samseng' at Jardine Steps sporting her butch hairstyle.

15 YEAR OLD TEENAGER (pleading) :   Stop it everybody!  Let me have my say.  I was born a girl and I'm happy to be one.  I love wearing those comfortable 'boy outfit' because I lead an active life riding bicycles, running around the backyard chasing the chickens in the evening to get them into the hen-house, wandering around the kampung with Mus cutting grass to feed the geese, cleaning the goose-house and uncovering their eggs  as well as cleaning the rabbit-hutch.  Also I love climbing up the hills along South Buona Vista Road (or The Gap) with my brothers - you can't do that wearing a frock or a baju kurung, can you?

Sometimes I dress up in the same girly attire as my sister which my dear ole mum had sewn for us.
Admittedly till today,  my sister Maznah always, always looks prettier than me.  And she's a better cook too!

By the way Abah, what is a lesbian?

ABAH:  It's ... it's a girl who ....likes girls ...ummhh ... prefers girls to boys.  And don't tell your mother.  She might throw away all your shirts and shorts!

But Abah, I like boys too.  Did I tell you about my boyfriends when I was in Primary One?

FRONT ROW:  Au Guat Eng (2nd from left), AsH (5th from left)
BACK ROW:  My boyfriends, Tan Aik Chuan (5th from left) and Ang Hock Kee (8th from left)

When I was thirteen, I fell in love with Ng Kian Ann.  It was a love that dared not speak its name because he was Guat Eng's paramour.  Guat Eng and I were always placed in the same team whenever we played netball.  You see, one day she fainted during PE.  When our teacher lifted her up, I had to tell the other kids to keep quiet (in those days, us demure girls never use the word 'Shaddup') and behave themselves - because they were all yelling, 'her knickers .... see her knickers!"

And then in 1957, on our last day in Pasir Panjang English School, before we all went to separate Secondary Schools,  Kian Ann waited for me at the bicycle shed ......

ABAH:  All right, all right. That's enough!  

31 August 1957, Tengku Abdul Rahman called out "Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka"  and I saw my father's tears.

Now, if I had been born in 1997, I would have to ask these questions.

Abah, what's this "Seksualiti Merdeka"?  Has Merdeka got a gender?  Is it because freedom must be made more sexy?  Or is being sexy and doing all kinds of sexy stuff, freedom?  You said Merdeka has to do with seeing our country free from British Colonialism, of working hard and being responsible for our country's safety, well-being and freedom?

  Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan mentioned the "marginalised LGBT"  in the campaign for "Seksualiti Merdeka".  Can  the 'marginalised'   include the poor, the orphans, the single mothers, the drug addicts, abused children and women, the OKU, the alcoholics?  Will there be a "Merdeka" campaign for them as well?

I know now that 'L'  refers to Lesbians.  What is the meaning of Gay (G), Bisexual (B) and Transgender (T)?

The dictionary says  'gay' means mirthful and cheeky.  I am always a happy and cheeky little sod.  Does that mean I am Gay too?

ABAH:  Look, I've got a headache.  Please get on with your homework and then help your mother with the laundry and the gardening.

That's yucky work.  Can I wash the car instead and Mus can do the laundry?

ABAH :  Just go!!!

Am I glad I was born in 1944.  Life was so much simpler for tomboys then, with no worries about being deconstructed by the Post-Modernist brigade.


Of course, Hamid's daughter Number Two had many girlfriends like Tai Ann, Geetha, Sumijah, Soh Khim, Maimunah, Asmah, Yvonne, Jeya, Dorothy, Ann, Aysha Bevee and a string of boyfriends stretching from Singapore to Brunei, Leicester and Penang.

When Hamid's daughter Number Two had enough of her wonderings and wanderings, Iain Buchanan managed to clip her wings (only with her permission of course) and got her started on wifely duties like cooking and marketing and sewing.  Strangely enough, she likes it.

But she still wears the trousers.  Here's the middle-aged Dominatrix, boots and all,  happily married  to the unflappable cameraMAN.

Mus, you refused to give me any chance to wash the car but you made up for it - years later - by introducing me to David Armand.  Thank you.