Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Seksualiti Merdeka 2011: The Thrill in the Drill

The public outcry on both sides, whether in support or opposition to Seksualiti Merdeka 2011, has been at cross-purpose to each other. In this respect, the issue has given rise to an atmosphere of exasperation to partisans and 'confusion' to members of the public. Those who object or criticise, see Seksualiti Merdeka 2011 as advocating 'free sex' in the form of LGBT. They see the event as a threat to the norms or values of the majority. They question the right of the sponsors and advocates to 'freedom of expressions' and 'human rights' in championing their cause, explicitly or latently. On the other hand the supporters or sympathisers of Seksualiti Merdeka 2011 seem to compound many issues in their stand, thereby creating a general mood of ' unsaid things' , 'latent support', or even 'streaks of opportunism' among them. The basic approach is essentially ' we like it, minus the liability', a kind of ' expediency or convenience ' if you like.  

The stand of PAS, PKR or PR in general is interesting to ponder. Although giving a semblance of non-committal stand on the issue directly championed by Seksualiti Merdeka, their stance clearly reflects the modus operandi of PAS, PKR and PR. On the whole they like the idea of street demonstration, the exercise in mobilizing, the networking, the organizing, the populistic stancing, the whetting of defiance, the conditioning of international opinion, cultivation of anarchic and anti-establishment psychology, and the subtle undermining of the legitimacy of authority and the establishment. Seeing street demonstration as a basic principle to its modus operandi, the opposition strives for its maintenance or preservation.

While keeping the practice of street demonstration alive and  intact, PKR, PR and PR carefully dissociates themselves from the issue of LGBT as such . This is carefully done in several ways.One way is to avoid official statement on the issue of LGBT directly. So as not to appear too glaring, members are allowed to speak up ' as individuals'. If pushed to the wall in making an official stand, they would sidestep into general diffused and abstract issues like 'human rights', 'freedom of expression', 'freedom from persecution', and of course the usual ' draconian establishment', ' authoritarian police' and 'protection of minority rights'.

In opposition to what PAS, PKR and PR see as 'heavy-handedness' or 'intolerance' of the authority, they advocate a general approach of 'social education', ' dialogue', 'forum', 'engagement' or ' moral persuasion' towards LGBT. While such approaches have their objective values, coming from PAS, PKR and PR they represent a glaring departure, even a stark contradiction to their general political disposition. All of a sudden we note the generally orthodox PAS and segments of PKR, noted for their preoccupation with attire, rituals , 'westernisation', sexual segregation and the like, prescribing rather unconvincingly the 'social education' approach or 'tolerance' towards alternative sexual mores or norms. The jarring contradiction suggests political expediency rather than political conviction or principle.

Although the opposition has 'dissociated' itself from LGBT as an issue, it has has vested interests in the polemics over the Seksualiti Merdeka 2011 event, politically speaking. The General Election is around the corner. It is clear that sex videos of wayward leaders would be one of the major arsenal of adversaries. If such videos promise to be a major political liability to the opposition, it would serve their cause to tamper sexual norm or values of society. If the paradigm of public sexual norm or values could be conditioned somewhat towards greater 'liberality' or 'permissiveness', then the errant sexual conduct of key oppositional leaders could be made more acceptable or palatable. In this way it is hoped  the public would be more accommodating, ' forgiving', 'understanding' of deviant leaders. Shifting the paradigm of sexual mores and values, or at least relativising it, would be an imperative of 'damage control' in the face of serial exposure of leaders in the mass media.

As evident in the Sensualiti Merdeka 2011 issue, the opposition is not really interested in the issues as such when it comes to street demonstration. It merely wants to ride the practice of street demonstration to its full advantages. Hence the public can expect the practice of street demonstration to continue or intensify. From the perspective of the opposition, street demonstration is to be eventually transformed into an opposition tradition. This explains why the practice is of increasing frequency, assuming a serial nature. It explains too why leadership and sponsorship is always the same for several incidents. As far as I can see, the interests is to move politics from parliament, the mass media, into the street. To shift politics from discussion and dialogue to 'direct action', regardless of what sponsors claim or declare to the contrary. Who knows, one day Malaysia can go the way of 'people's power' in the Middle East. Until then, never mind the issues. What matters is the drill must go on, the thrill must be whetted. To be prepared for any eventuality, 'the thrill of the drill' must be sustained at all cost!

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