Saturday, July 14, 2012

A window into Islamic Malaysia

 You'd never know, at first or second glance, that the Sze Zeng theology + life blog contains a wealth of interesting information about Islam in Malaysian politics, culture and society.  Ostensibly, the blog is about "theology in Southeastern Asia" and in addition its author, who currently lives in Singapore, also not unusually seems to meander on topics all over the map.  Quite by accident, I found my way there tracking down some lead on some Islamic issue.

For the reader who wants to go straight to articles on Islam proper on Sze Zeng's blog, a simple advanced search through Google yields this list of pages of links.
I haven't spent perhaps a sufficient amount of time vetting the anti-Islamic bonafides of Sze Zeng, but a transitory browse among a few of his articles shows that he respects Raymond Ibrahim as well as Bernard Lewis, and more generally from parenthetical remarks here and there one gets the sense that he is more or less antipathetic to Islam (which is not to say that his perspective in this regard may not suffer from common asymptotic flaws).  Nevertheless, his blog would seem to provide a fecund source for what Islam means in that supposedly "moderate" country, as noticed by an eye that does not suffer from the reflex tic of PC MC, as seems to afflict so many of our Western mainstream news media, academics and politicians.

To adduce one such story from literally hundreds one could pluck from a songkok, consider this one about a Malaysian female lawyer and former president of that country's Bar Association, Ambiga Sreenevasan, who has acquired quite a few international distinctions and honors (including the International Women of Courage Award, presented to her by Hillary Clinton in 2009).  Sze Zeng's blog provides a video showing how a large group of Muslim military veterans came to her private home and began to protest outside -- including very pointed "exercises" which were obviously calculated to have them stand facing their buttocks in the direction of her front gate (even gyrating their rear ends around at certain points), evidently a crude and reprehensibly childish (i.e., typically Islamic) way to insult her.  Their little stunt was also a calculated threat, as Ambiga herself notes when talking to a reporter on the scene.

One interesting glimpse into the OCD madhouse of Islamic psychoculture comes up in the video, which we have the blogger Sze Zeng to thank for translating and remarking upon in his own brief article introducing the video -- namely, that when Ambiga courteously offers her protestors some "100Plus" to drink (a cold carbonated sports drink, sort of the SE Asian version of Gatorade), one of the Muslim men says that according to Islamic law, Muslims can "only drink warm water"...!

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