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The homophobic, sexist world of Putrajaya

 | September 21, 2012

There are plenty of men in Putrajaya who are insecure. Sadly, most of them end up working in the Information Departments of the various ministries.


There are plenty of men in Putrajaya who are insecure. For them, the place for their ideal woman is at home, or as Jerry Hall’s mother put it, a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in bed.

These males fail to appreciate women as equals, and certainly not, as bosses. They are possibly severely nagged husbands or ones with domineering mothers. Sadly, most of them end up working in the Information Departments of the various ministries in Putrajaya.

What do these men do? They live out their frustrations and deal with the angst of being bullied by their wives or mothers, using the only method at their disposal; making and distributing ministry guidelines.

We are still reeling from last week’s Ministry of Education’s guide on detecting homosexuals in schools and colleges. This week’s ministerial blunder, which appeared on the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) online video MedikTV’s Facebook page, offered guidelines on “How to be the Perfect Female Boss”. So, not only do we have homophobic people in Putrajaya, many of them are sexist too.

The information supplied by these ministries, is shallow and crass. The only possible result is the division of an already vulnerable public by injecting it with unnecessary fear.

The guide is written in Malay and focuses on eight ways to be a good female boss.

Having drawn much criticism from the public, the photo link has since been removed. It was accompanied by a sternly worded statement by the Deputy Health Minister Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, who disapproved of the guide and denied it having any links with the MOH. MedikTC has apologised for the posting and offered a retraction stating that the posts were “not ministry policy”.

Anyone reading the guidelines is able to build a profile of the person who drew them up; a weak and self-centred man, lacking in confidence.

Most of all, it hints at the suspicion that he has lost a promotion to a woman, and is sore about it. He also talks about having “rigid problems” with having a female boss.

It also shows a man who feels that he has to be consulted, to give him a sense of importance. It tells us that he has a strong desire to be the centre of attention, hates criticism and does not like to be wrong. He fears rejection and most of all, does not like to receive instruction, from a woman.

‘Relax and remain calm’

In the first tip, the guide tells the woman boss to “relax” and remain calm, in both ordinary and tense situations.

The guide is attempting to characterise woman bosses as being highly strung, she-devils, who are continually shouting and screaming.

For his second tip, the person wants female bosses to consult their subordinates frequently, especially the male employees.

Has this man worked with former minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil? He also gives the impression that he has been frequently excluded (perhaps, with good reason). He might also be someone who believes women are incapable of making decisions and that it needs a man, like him, to be entrusted with decision making.

In his third piece of advice, the person who made these guidelines, gives us an insight into his own behaviour.

He comes across as someone who is overly sensitive. He says that women bosses should not display their ego and power in front of the junior staff, especially when issuing instructions. Indirectly, he is saying that women are not supposed to be bosses and that he has difficulty taking orders from a woman.

When he tells the female boss, in his fourth tip, to refrain from being too stern and fierce, perhaps he is actually talking about his wife, or mother.

He is experiencing a moment of déjà vu. One can imagine that when he is being reprimanded, for a badly executed job, he does not see his boss telling him off, but sees and hears his wife. This man needs psychiatric help and should not be producing guides for the MOH.

In his fifth tip, he advises the female boss to ‘be clever in winning your subordinates’ hearts’.

Again, his mind is transported to the nagging wife or mother at home. He is merely recalling the time he has been told off for procrastinating over repairs to the house and so, to punish women bosses, he tells them that he has to be wooed before he will do any work.

For his sixth piece of advice, he tells women bosses that instructions to subordinates should be given in a calm and cheerful manner.

Does this person crave attention at home and at work? He sounds rather effeminate and overly sensitive. Was he a victim of bullying?

The seventh tip advises women bosses to empower their subordinates, whilst the final one tells women bosses to stop annoying their subordinates, by being control-freaks.

Again, these tips, like many of the previous ones, are applicable to both men and women bosses. Has the man who produced these guidelines been harangued by the head of the First Lady of Malaysia (FLOM) department?

Inbreeding happens when parents with closely related genes mate and produce children who have deleterious traits. The people who live and work in Putrajaya, seem to be inbred. Are they exposed to the normal things and everyday situations which most people experience at work or at home? Are they aware of the challenges faced by normal people outside Putrajaya? Are they aware that woman’s role in society is not just procreation? Are Umno men afraid of strong women?

Last week, people wearing V-neck shirts were vilified and today, we have stereotyping of the female boss. For political and personal reasons, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who is the de facto Minister for Women, Family and Community Development cannot publicly acknowledge, nor make use of the Obedient Wives guidelines.

Disappointingly, Najib has remained silent on the homosexual witchhunt in our schools and the attack on women bosses.

We wouldn’t be surprised if his ministry came up with a guideline on “How to be the perfect mother-in-law”, in the light of the allegation that he intervened to release the mother of his daughter’s husband, from a Dubai prison.

Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.


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