Alvin and Vivian’s Religious Provocation in Malaysia and Racial Harmony Day Singapore

Infamous Malaysian sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee are doing it again to score controversy. However, they got more than they bargained for by provoking Muslims in Malaysia and were charged with sedition today. Their crime was stupidity as they not only provoked Muslims, but provoked them during Ramadan. It was not accidental, and totally deliberate. Incidentally, Malaysia and Singapore are so similar in that Malaysia also resorted to sedition laws to squash racial and religious provocation. Although the slight difference is that in Malaysia it is used to protect the majority’s interests, in Singapore in past cases it is used to protect minority’s interests.

Alvin and Vivian’s precarious Internet stunt to gain attention is unwise in multi-racial Malaysia, given the racial and religious sensitivities of their bad joke. In Singapore, schools acknowledge Racial Harmony Day on Friday although to be exact, the Day is marked annually as on 21 July. Many of us would have forgotten or never knew the significance of this weird red letter day.

On 21 July 1964, the historic Chinese-Malay riots broke out in Singapore, supposedly because of provocation between Chinese and Malays when Malays were marching in Geylang to celebrate Prophet Mohammad’s birthday. Nonetheless, the context of the riots was deeper and charged by UMNO-PAP tension e.g. PAP’s campaigning in Malaysia for a Malaysian Malaysia which was a frontal challenge to UMNO’s bumiputra politics.

Malaysia sex bloggers charged over pork posting
Created 18/07/2013 – 14:09

A Malaysian couple known for a sexually explicit blog were charged Thursday with sedition after they caused outrage by posting a Ramadan greeting on Facebook which showed them eating pork.

Alvin Tan, 25, and Vivian Lee, 24, pleaded not guilty to publishing or distributing a “seditious publication” and two other charges in a Kuala Lumpur district court in Muslim-majority Malaysia, a court official said.

They were denied bail and so will be jailed pending trial, she said. The next court date has been set for August 23.

Sedition is punishable by up to three years in jail.

The duo had posted a greeting for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan on social networking site Facebook last week, showing a poster of them eating pork, which is forbidden in Islam.

They later apologised in a video on YouTube for the posting, which sparked widespread anger. Their Facebook page is no longer accessible.

The other charges were causing disharmony on the grounds of religion and possessing or producing obscene material, which is punishable by up to five years in jail, the official said.

Prime Minister Najib Razak criticised the couple on Wednesday while discussing implementing a new law to replace the colonial-era sedition act, which has been slammed by critics as a tool to crack down on dissent.

“The insolent and impudent act by the young couple who insulted Islam showed that freedom of expression and irresponsible opinion can jeopardise the community,” he was quoted by The Star as saying.

Last year Lee, a kindergarten teacher, and Tan, who is currently unemployed and a former law student at the National University of Singapore, sparked outrage in Malaysia and Singapore by posting erotic photographs and videos of their lovemaking as well as close-ups of their genitals on a blog.

The duo, who said they aimed to destigmatise sex, shut down the blog because of family pressure in the conservative countries, where pornography is illegal.

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