Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shaking Hands and Politics

I don't usually read Malaysian politics, not because I could not care less, but more because I have more thing to care about. I have to admit though, I became more aware of our own political situation after weeks of Malaysian Studies classes, and the classes really have done me good.

I am also not a reader of The Malaysian Insider but, this one issue forwarded by someone to me, caught my attention. It was emailed me to from someone I know, and respect. As we all know, the Tenang by-election is coming (please don't ask me when is it, I really do not know). And from this article I've read, and the comments below it, I found out that PAS is sending a Muslim lady to compete for the seat.

Read the article here:

And this lady, namely Ms Normala; a former teacher, refused to shake hands with men of her opposite sex (Muslims and non-Muslims alike, save those with matrimonial and blood relation). And MCA's Chua Soi Lek is making a fuss over this matter.

I continued reading the comments posted by readers, and I find the arguments getting more ridiculous. Why are these people arguing about a lady, refusing to shake hands with men?
Some people are saying she should not act that way because a politician must not be seen as "conservative" and they must be ready to be approached by people.

Some people are condemning that she is being rude by refusing to shake hands, because shaking hands is a way of paying respect to others. Refusing to do so means you are refusing to respect that person.

But really, I find it an idiotic issue to fight about.
In addition, shaking hands is not an Asian culture in the first place.
The Japanese bow to one another, the Chinese (before being infiltrated by western culture) did not shake hands too, the ladies just present themselves charmingly without touching the gentlemen. And the Indians, they put their own hands together to wish one another.

It was the western people who came to us, and taught us that we should all shake hands with each other.
The men were even supposed to take lady's hand and kiss it. They even greet each other with hugs and kisses, males and females alike (well, that's what has been shown in movies at least).
I can't imagine if any man I've just met for the first time, after being introduced by my friend to me, came and take my hand to kiss it, that's kinda gross, really really gross. Ingat sape2 je boleh pegang2 and kiss2?!

Why are we so excited, and keen to adopt this infiltrative, too-socialised culture?
There are good things we can take from them undoubtedly, but really, not everything from the west are good.
Most of them aren't.

I don't mind if this lady came from PAS, or UMNO, or even MCA.
The issue is not the political party, it is the right of a woman to refuse to be touched by strangers.
Why can't the people just let her smile and treat them nicely?
Why must this issue be politicised?

This is why, I don't really like Malaysian politics.
Petty things being debated, forgetting the bigger issues.

I am still living in Malaysia, and do not have the intention to leave her thus, I think albeit how much I dislike it, I have to know some important current Malaysian political issues, please note the emphasis, "SOME". Don't be surprise if you find I can't answer who actually won the Tenang election (But I doubt I don't know that, since I'm sure it'll be really publicised).



  1. sigh... this is a typical example of how Malaysian politics can be so idiotic and unwise. It really reflects on the them and the media. In the past years, I've been noticing all these "funny funny" event. Because of that, I have little faith of our Malaysian government and politics.

  2. it is just about perception. they do what they should just to win the people perception. in Tenang, if the voters perception women should shake hands then they will play against Normala. but it was very unlikely because the malays over there still in a "conservative" kinda culture.

  3. @Tay.
    True enough. Idiotic and unwise topic of fights.

    Just abt perception... Hurm...

  4. yes my dear, you win the perception, you win their hearts.