The Irish writer and playwright Oscar Wilde was famous for his epigrams. Consider this observation: “Some people cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”
He may have been prescient. More than a century after his death, his trenchant quip suffices as a succinct sketch of the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) in all its vainglory.
Any sane person should be terrified of the party because – and I kid you not – there but for the grace of God, goes God. It thinks, nay knows, that it’s the only one that understands what’s best for all Malaysians.
It knows this because it’s puritanical and governed by a solitary anxiety: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun.
The Ayatollah Khomeini had a similar affliction and we all know how that’s going.
The latest bee in PAS’ bonnet is an English band that threatens a November performance in Kuala Lumpur.
Coldplay is only one of the most successful bands in rock having sold more than a 100 million records over its 27-years. Its KL performance will undoubtedly attract regional fans and help boost the economy.
Early this week, PAS strongman Nasrudin Hassan called for a ban of the show, claiming it would encourage “hedonism and deviant culture.”
What’s wrong with hedonism? The ancient Greek theory of ethics posited that pleasure was the highest good and the only proper aim of a man’s life.
Who knows? Maybe Mae West was an ancient Greek: “Too much of a good thing … can be wonderful.”
In any case, no one should be surprised by this latest PAS offering. Apart from an obsessive preoccupation with women’s attire and divine punishment for criminals, PAS has yet to articulate a single, coherent economic or administrative idea.
Its president, the fiery Hadi Bawang, seems more interested in trying to prove that all corruption in the country is by, for and through the non-Muslims.
Good luck with that!
It does not seem to matter to PAS that Coldplay composes insightful songs with intelligent lyrics. Nor the fact that the band is an ardent champion – both musically and financially – of the environment.
The indefatigable Nasrudin had other fish to fry. As if to prove Coldplay’s wickedness, he held up pictures of the band’s frontman, Chris Martin, holding up the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) flag.
So what? The LGBTQ community didn’t choose its path, it was thrust upon them as it were. It could happen to anyone and only the benighted would leap to judgment.
If Nasruddin would only read, he would find out that homosexuality isn’t unnatural. According to the science, it occurs in at least 10 per cent of herbivores like sheep.
And why harp on the trivial? The community is an easy target and the intolerance merely demonstrates Nasrudin’s bigotry.
The American cartoonist Frank Hubbard was also considered a humanist. It’s easy to see why: “Some people get credit for being conservative when they are only being stupid.”
Meanwhile, the Minister for Local Government Nga Kor Ming had some excellent advice for Nasrudin. “If PAS does not like Coldplay, it’s simple. Don’t buy their concert tickets and don’t come.”
That’s as good as it gets.