Target: Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak
Goal: Stop government funding for derogatory, anti-gay play
A play titled “Asmara Songsang,” or “Abnormal Desire,” has recently begun a tour of Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. The play tells the story of a “club” of homosexual individuals who attempt to lure straight teenagers into their society and force them to cut off contact with their family and friends as well as abandon their religious practices. The play relentlessly reinforces inaccurate stereotypes concerning gays and lesbians, producing scenes of wild partying, casual sexual encounters and criminal activity for a full hour and a half. The play culminates with three characters denouncing the “homosexual lifestyle” while all those who fail to do so are struck dead by lightning as punishment.
While the play itself is highly offensive – in its depiction of gays and lesbians and in its promotion of erroneous stereotypes – what is most alarming is that the production is entirely government funded. In fact, the Malaysian government is not only paying for the production, it is handing out free tickets to theater-goers.
Ironically, the general population of Malaysia is not known for being ultra conservative. While the government itself is predominantly Islamic traditionalist, the general attitude of Malaysian citizens has been described as having a “live-and-let-live” mentality. While this viewpoint does not necessarily embrace the lesbian-gay-bi-transgender (LGBT) community, it is not actively discriminatory either. The fact that the Malaysian government is providing all funding to “Asmara Songsang” reveals a disturbing attempt to sway public opinion against homosexuals and incite fear and prejudice where it does not exist.
This is not the first instance of the Malaysian government propagating an anti-gay agenda. In 2011, the government established a camp to “correct effeminate behavior in boys,” leading to public outcry. Furthermore, education systems have been provided with pamphlets outlining how to “recognize gay and lesbian behaviors,” and public displays of gay pride, including parades, have been shut down due to “national security concerns.”
Condemn the government of Malaysia for its clear and purposeful anti-gay incentives, and demand that government funding for the offensive and inaccurate play, “Asmara Songsang” be eliminated.
Dear Prime Minister Najib Razak,
The Malaysian government has had a long, embarrassing history of propagating an overtly anti-gay agenda. This conservative take is in contrast with the general outlook of Malaysian citizens.
The play, “Asmara Songsang,” depicts offensive scenes that serve only to reinforce inaccurate stereotypes concerning homosexuality. These sorts of stereotypes and incorrect assumptions lead to increased prejudice and difficulty of life for homosexual Malaysian citizens.
Therefore, it is in the best interest of citizens and the government of Malaysia to cease propagating such derogatory stereotypes, and instead work towards promoting peace and acceptance.
I urge you to discontinue government funding of the play “Asmara Songsang,” and instead help to promote a culture of tolerance and acceptance amongst all.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: US CIA via Wikimedia Commons