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Burgers, butts and sensibility

 | May 17, 2012

If the burger protest and 'butt aerobics' are bad, then what about kids occupying Dataran Merdeka and the Bersih rally?


First they were selling burgers in front of Bersih chairperson S Ambiga’s house and thankfully it was the normal pan fried burger and not the popular “burger bakar” from Wangsa Maju. If it was the latter, we could have had a full blown rally during lunch.

Then a small group of middle-aged moustached men decided to conduct morning “butt aerobics” in front of her gate. This of course is too much.

As expected a flurry of angry responses flowed from the net. Apart from condemning a horrible perverted exercise routine (being that Yoga has been banned by the Fatwa council) that reminded people of the movie “Brokeback Mountain”, we got internet commentaries criticising the fiasco by proclaiming it as an invasion of privacy, intimidation and uncouth behaviour not befitting our culture.

Some of you refer to me as an Umno cybertrooper or a paid FMT Umno writer, which sadly is not true (as I certainly could use the extra cash). Yes I am biased, I must admit. I don’t pretend to be neutral and proclaim that my opinions and commentaries are the words of the “rakyat” unlike some other writers.

To me, being bias is normal and I think there’s nothing wrong with that, but to be blindly bias discounting all forms of sensible thinking and common sense in order to support the narrative and notion of the political movement that one favours, now that is something I find rather silly.

Here is something which some of you will never get because you are so caught up in the euphoria of an anti-establishment and anything but Umno/BN mindset: I too am against moustached middle- aged men conducting “butt aerobics” in front of Ambiga’s house.

In fact, I am against them conducting it in front of anybody’s house (especially mine) without prior permission from or agreement with the local residents.

Even though they did it in a public space and not on private property hence adhering to the spirit of public assemblies, I still think they shouldn’t be allowed to simply do whatever they please and that proper permission from the local authorities should be attained before doing so, just like how I am against kids camping at Dataran Merdeka and massive numbers of people wearing yellow marching through road intersections causing traffic jams and problems in and around Kuala Lumpur regardless of what delusional noble cause they may purportedly claim.

Yet ironically, some of you Malaysians, who talk and shout about freedom of expression and the right to protest during the recent Occupy Dataran and Bersih rally, suddenly began to shout about privacy and respecting other people’s rights when it comes to moustached middle-aged men conducting “butt aerobics” or people selling burgers in front of your spiritual leader’s house.

You talk about the absurdity of someone simply opening a burger stall anywhere they please yet at the same time vehemently support college kids camping in the middle of Dataran Merdeka. You talk about the need to respect other people’s privacy and the need to not disrupt other people’s lives yet you seem to forget about the privacy and rights of those who live in and around Kuala Lumpur who may not be too pleased with your massive Bersih rally.

Be sensible

Tunku Abdul Aziz, the former DAP vice-chairman, tried to convey the very same message. He is not against free and fair elections, it’s just that he thinks that it would be more sensible to simply have the rally in a controlled and manageable environment.

But to some of you, he just had to be a dinosaur who doesn’t understand freedom of expression or that he is an Umno stooge bought over by BN with loads of money.

To you sensibility means nothing if it means to disagree with you. Principles can’t be activated according to whims or convenience, you have to be consistent, you can’t simply open a burger stall anywhere you please just as much as you can’t simply camp and occupy any place.

Taman Tasik Titiwangsa is a public space no? Do you think it would be sensible for DBKL to allow say Perkasa to organise a rally there? Why not? It’s a public space is it not? Taman Tasik Titiwangsa belongs to the rakyat and if the rakyat want to rally there why should you stop them, after all if you can organise a floral parade or a futsal competition why not an exercise of democratic freedom to rally?

Of course DBKL wouldn’t simply allow that, they would much rather have Perkasa organise that sort of rally in a controlled, manageable environment where it would cause minimal disruption just like how they didn’t allow Perkasa to conduct an anti-gay protest at Dataran Merdeka.

But of course you just don’t see that now do you? Because to some of you principles and rights only apply to a certain party, in a certain situation that seems to be convenient to your political narrative just like at one point Tunku Aziz was a towering Malaysian with principles and now he is simply a dinosaur who had been bought by Umno.

To simply protest in front of someone’s house, even though it’s a public space is just poor taste, just like having idiotic kids camping at Dataran Merdeka.

You need to be considerate, yes freedom of expression gives you the right to express things but you should respect the rights of others who do not wish to listen to you, so the next time around I plead to those who took great offence on the action of these so-called veterans to have the same thoughts when it comes to conducting your own protests, be sensible.

Zaidel Baharuddin is Mr Right, Mr Right Wing that is, electronics engineer by day writer by night, Frank Sinatra fanboy all day long, catch me at WirawanWeb.com, lipassepi.blogspot.com or follow me on twitter via @Sinatra_Z. He is a FMT columnist.


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