Negative Malay dramas – where are the guys with the scissors?

by Sonia Ramachandran

PETALING JAYA: A Malay couple are forced to marry by the bride’s grandmother. After the marriage, both husband and wife have extra-marital relationships, based on mutual agreement.

The wife then goes to Bali with her “boyfriend”, with her husband’s blessings, and returns pregnant. Her husband seems to have no issue with this.
Scandalous? Sounds like something from a foreign soap opera?
This is in fact the storyline of a local Malay drama currently playing on television.
In a country where kissing scenes in Western movies are censored and the word “sex” is bleeped out in songs played on radio, it seems to be fine if things such as extra-marital affairs are implied in local dramas.
A concerned mother, Julieza Ibrahim, told Theantdaily that she was worried about the negative values these shows would impart to the impressionable young.
“If you want to instil positive values in the Malaysian young, is this the type of shows you broadcast? I don’t want my children watching these shows.

“According to Islamic law, an unmarried male and female alone in a room can be caught for “khalwat” (close proximity) but you show dramas, that too Malay dramas, that depict it as a normal everyday affair that is allowed,” she said.
Julieza said Malaysians were brought up to be able to differentiate between western and eastern values but that home grown shows such as these would just confuse the young.
“What is the Film Censorship Board doing? Are these the values we want to impart to our young? You talk about the horrors of baby-dumping and you broadcast shows which show a married woman having another man’s child.
“The young are drawn to these type of dramas. Is this the kind of shows we want them to watch? They might ape this culture and think it is ‘cool’ as well as the right thing to do,” she said.
Julieza also cited a previous Malay drama where sleeping around was portrayed as a something normal that was practised by almost everyone.
“Dating, having boyfriends and extra-marital affairs are also shown in these dramas as something condoned by the parents. Our youngsters might then feel that it not wrong to do these things and to have relationships outside the marriage,” she said.
Julieza wants the Film Censorship Board to carefully vet the storylines of local dramas before allowing them to be screened.
“You have to practice what you preach. Of course Islam allows entertainment, but it should be entertainment in the proper way. Why can’t they show dramas with positive values?” asked Julieza.
Another parent, who declined to be named, said these dramas were giving a wrong impression on what Malay culture and religious values are all about.
“We pride ourselves as being an Islamic nation but at the same time show Malay dramas involving Muslims that show this.
“Many of these dramas are adaptation of novels but the target audience of romance novels and television dramas are different. Viewers watching television are made up of all generations, including the very young, whereas the ones going to a book shop and picking up a romance novel are a different group. The authorities should remember this,” she said.
These are Malay dramas involving mostly Muslim actors and actresses, and whose audience are mostly Malays.
It is no use condemning the values the West portrays when the same message is implied through dramas produced at home.
There is nothing wrong with a “holier-than-thou” attitude, so long as you practise what you preach as well.
Otherwise, it just smacks of hypocrisy. – Theantdaily
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