We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. – Benjamin Franklin
There are reasons why people come up with sayings like “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Dr Afifi al-Akiti might be contemplating life somewhat ruefully right now. A video of the religious adviser to the Perak Sultan being present in a Kuala Lumpur nightspot surfaced on Twitter recently and it’s sparked a buzz over social media, with phrases like “forbidden fun” among the more charitable descriptions being bandied about.
The gentleman, wearing a baseball cap, is seen air-drumming along to a rock tune being played by a band on-stage. Meanwhile, a lady seated next to him is seen nodding her head in time to the music.
That’s about it and nothing much to shout about otherwise. Unless, of course, you want to quibble and mention that such places are generally the ones frowned upon by Malaysia’s Moral Majority, those holier-than-thou purveyors of piety who routinely vilify such nightspots as “immoral” where Muslims are concerned.
And this is exactly where the situation begins to turn ridiculous. Reason: one Ustaz Husam has rushed to the adviser’s defence, claiming that the good doctor was merely there to distribute pamphlets about Islam.
In short, would you believe he was proselytising in a nightclub? In a home where the buffalo roam, and the beer and the loud rock bands play?
Maybe it’s not as weak as the old “the dog ate my homework” ploy but methinks many people would beg to differ.
Ridiculous excuses have been going on for millennia. Take, for example, the reasons sportsmen come up with when they are caught for doping.
Czech lefty Petr Korda, once ranked number two in the tennis world, attributed his fondness for veal, especially those injected with steroids, as the reason for his failure in a 1998 dope test.
But dope, or its measure at least, is an exact science. To match the amount of steroid in his system, the science showed that he would have had to eat 40 calves every day for 20 years!
Then there was US sprinter Dennis Mitchell’s “too much sex” explanation. Caught in 1998 for high levels of testosterone, Mitchell explained he’d had sex “four times” with his wife the night before the test.
The US athletic body accepted his explanation but the international association wasn’t buying. While sex does increase the hormone’s levels, it would not reach the dizzying levels it actually did in Mitchell’s system.
He got banned for two years.
And this, from Michael Blodkin, a New Yorker pulled over for recklessness: “I wasn’t driving dangerously. I was just swerving to the music.”
And, finally, this ironic blow to hypocrisy. Former Republican Senator Larry Craig – who has a history of supporting stridently anti-gay policies – was arrested by a plain-clothes policeman for attempting to solicit sex in an airport toilet. After initially pleading guilty, Craig quickly backtracked when the story gained public traction and claimed he merely adopted “a wide stance when going to the bathroom.”
Now, would that have sounded reasonable to Ustaz Husam?