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Astro dan homoseksual

BAYANGKAN keluarnya satu filem tempatan tentang pejuang kemerdekaan tanahair, Dr Burhanuddin Helmi, salah seorang pengasas dan mantan presiden PAS. Siapa yang sesuai mendukung watak Burhanuddin? Farid Kamil? Rosyam Nor? Farhin Ahmad? Katakan Rosyam yang terpilih — Farhin dan Farid dapat main watak pembantu. Mungkin watak Khatijah Sidek pula diberikan kepada Nasha Aziz. Sharifah Amani mendukung watak pembantu wanita; Datuk Siti Nurhaliza pula membuat penampilan kameo dan menyanyikan lagu tema.

Bayangkan filem Burhanuddin ini berjaya merangkul pelbagai anugerah di festival filem antarabangsa. Baik untuk pelakonnya mahupun penulis lakonlayar dan pengarahnya — Yasmin Ahmad, mungkin?

Bayangkan pengkritik dan peminat filem seluruh dunia akhirnya memberi penghormatan kepada artis Malaysia yang berjaya membikin sebuah filem yang amat berkualiti tentang seorang tokoh Islam. Bayangkan tokoh-tokoh dari negara Islam mahupun dari Barat memuji Burhanuddin sebagai karya yang berjaya melawan stereotaip tentang Islam yang dipelopori oleh pihak Islamofobik mahupun puak fundamentalis Islam.


(Gambar oleh Cliff1066; sumber: Flickr)
Bayangkan akhirnya filem ini berjaya dicalonkan untuk pelbagai Anugerah Akademi. Dan bayangkan, apabila pemenang Best Foreign Language Picture diumumkan, judul Burhanuddin dari Malaysia yang bergema di dewan. Satu pencapaian yang begitu bersejarah untuk artis beragama Islam dan juga artis Malaysia.

Bayangkanlah seluruh dunia menonton pencapaian bersejarah ini. Inilah peluang keemasan untuk membuktikan sumbangan tokoh Islam ke arah kemajuan tamadun kemanusiaan sejagat. Inilah peluang keemasan untuk kita orang Islam membuktikan bahawa segala stereotaip yang orang Islam pengganas, pelampau dan jumud semuanya palsu belaka.

Tetapi bayangkan, di kaca televisyen, apabila Yasmin sedang memberikan ucapan penghargaannya, perkataan “Islam”, “Muslim”, “Allah” dan “Al Quran” dimatikan bunyinya.

Bayangkan bibir Yasmin bergerak, tetapi tiada suara yang muncul. Dan inilah yang akan ditonton di Barat mahupun di Timur. Dan bayangkan betapa kecut jadinya hati remaja Islam di seluruh dunia yang bercita-cita tinggi, yang mahu menghayati identiti dan pengalaman mereka sebagai Muslimin dan Muslimat.

Inilah yang terlintas di fikiran saya apabila pihak penyiar Astro menyaring perkataan “gay” dan “lesbian” ketika Sean Penn dan Dustin Lance Black memenangi Anugerah Akademi pada 22 Feb 2009. Penn telah dinobatkan Pelakon Lelaki Terbaik dalam lakonannya memainkan watak aktivis hak gay, Harvey Milk, manakala Black meraih anugerah untuk Lakonlayar Asal Terbaik untuk filem Milk.

Tidak masuk akal

Kenapa Astro, khususnya saluran Star Movies, bertindak demikian? Adakah disebabkan ada pelanggan Astro yang membuat aduan yang mereka benci kepada kaum gay dan lesbian? Atau adakah Astro sendiri mengambil langkah proaktif supaya tidak menyentuh “sensitiviti” sesetengah pihak? Atau mungkinkah Astro diarah untuk berbuat demikian oleh pihak penguatkuasa?

Jannie Poon, jurucakap Astro yang berpejabat di Hong Kong, berkata pihaknya mempunyai “tanggungjawab untuk mengambilkira sensitiviti dan garis panduan kesemua sektor pasaran”.

Ternyata kenyataan Poon tidak masuk akal. Walaupun saya sendiri tidak berkesempatan menonton siaran Anugerah Akademi tersebut, namun saya secara kebetulan menonton satu lagi rancangan di saluran National Geographic malam berikutnya. Wah, perkataan “gay”, “lesbian” dan “homoseksual” diucap berulang-ulang kali! Mungkinkah “pasaran” pelanggan National Geographic lebih senang mengiktiraf kewujudan golongan gay dan lesbian berbanding pelanggan Star Movies?

Akan tetapi kita tolak ke tepi dulu polisi Astro yang tidak konsisten ini. Kenyataan Poon mungkin dapat ditafsirkan begini: Astro, sebagai sebuah syarikat perniagaan, tidak mahu menaikkan kemarahan penonton-penonton yang berjiwa ketimuran. Tapi saya hairan, kalaulah ada pelanggan Astro yang terlalu anti-gay dan anti-nilai Barat, buat apa susah-susah melanggan Astro?

Habis teruk, kalau memang tidak mahu mendengar atau melihat watak gay dan lesbian di kaca televisyen, tukar saluran atau tutup saja televisyen dan jimatkan belanja elektrik. Ataupun langganlah pakej lain yang kurang menimbulkan kontroversi. Yang pihak Astro terlalu bimbangkan sensitiviti orang yang sudah tahu apa pakej yang dilanggan pula kenapa?


Semuanya sama saja (Gambar oleh Leap Kye; sumber: Flickr)

Tapi saya sendiri faham bahawa situasi sebenar mungkin lebih rumit. Tambahannya, setiap individu dewasa berhak untuk melanggan dan menonton apa yang dia mahu, termasuk saya sendiri. Tapi bezanya, Astro tidak pula menyaring perkataan “Sarah Palin” dan “John McCain” untuk penonton macam saya.

Perbahasan ini sebenarnya wujud di seluruh dunia. Di Amerika Syarikat, puak Kristian berhaluan kanan selalu mengutuk “kecenderungan liberal” media massa. Mereka sering mengadu bahawa media massa Amerika Syarikat terlalu banyak memberi tumpuan terhadap puak feminis, gay, lesbian, kaum berkulit hitam, penganut agama Islam, dan sebagainya. Para penonton di dunia Islam pula beranggapan bahawa media massa Amerika Syarikat dikuasai oleh puak Yahudi yang bermati-matian mahu menghapuskan Islam dari dunia.

Memang banyak macam

Apa kaitannya isu ini dengan saringan perkataan “gay” dan “lesbian” dalam siaran Anugerah Akademi di Star Movies?

Kaitannya begini: di dunia ini akan sentiasa ada golongan yang merasakan pandangan dan kepercayaannya betul. Orang lain semuanya salah.

Memang tidak ada kesudahannya. Puak A merasakan dirinya betul dan memangsakan puak B dan C. Puak B merasakan dirinya pula betul dan memangsakan puak A dan puak C. Kita boleh teruskan rangkaian kebencian ini sampai ke hujung abjad. Tapi apa yang boleh dibuat? Memang ini hakikatnya — manusia ini banyak macam.

Tetapi soalan cepu emas ialah: Apakah wajar syarikat besar seperti Astro mempelopori prejudis yang sedemikian? Apa salahnya menggunakan perkataan “gay” atau “lesbian”? Ianya hanya perkataan. Orang yang benci kepada gay dan lesbian pun terpaksa menggunakan istilah-istilah ini untuk menyuarakan kebencian tersebut. Tidakkah logik begitu?


Babak dari film Milk, yang memaparkan Sean Penn memainkan watak gay

Presiden Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, yang mendakwa tiada gay atau lesbian yang wujud di Iran pun terpaksa mendengar perkataan tersebut di dalam sidang akhbarnya di Amerika Syarikat.

Ada manusia yang beridentiti gay, lesbian, biseksual dan transseksual. Ada orang yang beragama Islam, ada yang beragama Kristian, ada yang tidak percaya langsung dengan kewujudan Tuhan. Suka atau benci, kita perlu menerima hakikat ini.

Pelanggan Astro sendiri terdiri daripada pelbagai identiti dan kaum — termasuk pelanggan gay dan lesbian. Tragedinya, Astro sebagai sebuah syarikat media gergasi seolah-olah sudah menyatakan pendiriannya — mereka meletakkan pelanggan gay dan lesbian mereka lebih hina daripada pelanggan lain, malah tidak mengiktiraf kewujudan mereka sama sekali.


Shanon Shah mahu diiktiraf dan dihormati sebagai seorang Islam. Oleh itu dia merasakan hanya adil jika dia mengiktiraf dan menghormati orang lain, tanpa mengira bangsa, agama, identiti seksual ataupun pasukan bola yang disokong.

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21 Responses to “Astro dan homoseksual”

  1. Nadia Ali says:

    LOL I can totally foresee someone saying, “How can you use Islam as an analogy for the gay rights movement? Blasphemous! Shanon Shah is an infidel!”

  2. oakinn says:

    I wonder why this makes you “ticked off”?

    Freedom, equality, respect – I reckon that is what you are preaching. But freedom, equality, respect from whose point of view? For most, who follow the core religion of this world, I for one, don’t really care on this cause of yours as homosexuality is definitely NOT OK to me. But, that’s me. Maybe Astro thinks there’s more people like me in their Astro world, maybe not. But they have made that decision base on their point of view – freedom, equality at its best. Maybe now its time for respect.

  3. lezzo says:

    oakinn,

    “But they have made that decision base on their point of view – freedom, equality at its best.”

    Who is they? Astro is a massive company, not one person. It’s not up to them to take any specific point of view, and impose it upon a whole nation. And what is equality “at it’s best”? Is that limit really for anyone to decide? Why should there be a little give and take on the standards of equality?

    It’s discrimination, plain and simple. And any form of discrimination should not be tolerated.

  4. Narayan says:

    Dear Bung,

    Itulah kita kata , being sensitive to the public – as defined by the powers that be i.e. Jakim etc. the various govt-driven religious groups who have an axe to grind against:

    1) Gays
    2) Yoga
    3) Unplanned pregnancies
    4) Single motherhood
    5) Women’s equality
    6) Using of contraceptives and abortion (some may make slight changes to this clause)
    7) The list is long so I will leave it for people to bash me.

    We have a society of pace setters that wants to be more holy than holy. They have a very, very narrow view of it.

  5. remember1511 says:

    The end is nigh …

  6. BSJT says:

    To Oakinn,

    Equality should be non-discriminatory, for all minorities. If you go and pick and choose in terms of which minority to be granted equal treatment, then it is not so equal after all – that’s what we call Hypocrisy!

    Homosexuality might not be OK for you (that’s your personal preference), but you still have to deal with their existence. You do not have to like them, but you’ll have to tolerate and that’s what it takes to be part of the world.

    Thanks!

  7. Nadia Ali says:

    10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage Is Wrong (courtesy of http://www.collegeslackers.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=9991)

    1) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning. Also apparently those homosexual animals have picked up some unnatural behavior.

    2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

    3) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

    4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

    5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

    6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

    7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

    8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

    9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

    10) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract

  8. Nadia Ali says:

    And oakin, freedom and equality is for everyone, not just the majority. Hence the word “equality”, root word equal = sama.

  9. pilocarpine says:

    Wow, Nadia … Your 10 reasons rocks!

    Tidak salah jika nak percaya/jadi/menganut apa-apa, asalkan tidak mengancam, membahayakan diri dan masyarakat.

    Biarlah Astro mematangkan fikiran mereka sendiri.

  10. Can I just point out that Poon was a spokesperson for StarTV and not ASTRO?

  11. inderalela says:

    LOL! Nadia you rock and you have great sense of humour. I agree that freedom and equality is for everyone, not just the majority. Though I’m not gay but Astro had certainly discriminated against the minority.

  12. * says:

    Religion breeds more hatred and discrimination.

  13. oakinn says:

    bsjt, nadia & all

    Freedom, equality, respect.

    Are you forcing other people to see things according to your views and beliefs? Minority or majority views, are views according to each others’ perspectives. They have chosen theirs, so? They should get the same freedom and equality to voice their belief? Or, are you the ones who are discriminating the majority because we don’t have the same beliefs as the minority?

  14. Dhanen Mahes says:

    In StarTV/Astro’s defence, I think they just wanted to play it on the safe side lest some self-righteous/politically motivated individual decides to accuse the network of supporting homosexuality. This IS the country where a very talented young artist was berated simply for being bald and giving an award acceptance speech in English.

    And yes, Nadia, some people do seem to think that “some of us are more equal than others.” :)

    I hope you don’t feel like we’re picking on you, Oakinn. You’re right when you say that many people simply believe that homosexuality is wrong. This is true. However, its not okay to DISCRIMINATE against homosexuals simply because you do not agree with their lifestyle. If you think they are committing a sin, then that is between them and God. They deserve to be respected just like any other individual.

    And although I’m an atheist myself, on the anonymous comment that religion breeds more hatred and discrimination, I’m going to have to disagree. People breed hatred and discrimination. If you’re going to blame religion, you might as well accuse a knife of murder.

  15. Nadia Ali says:

    Oakin, I think you’re confusing the issue. I think you’ve misunderstood the meaning of freedom, equality or respect, or the purpose of this article. We acknowledge that yes, there are people who will never agree to homosexuality. But you can’t just bleep out words denoting homosexuality like it doesn’t exist, just because you don’t agree to it.

    No one’s forcing you to do anything oakin. It’s plain and simple – when we talk about freedom and respect, everyone’s views should be taken into account. In this case, it’s obvious that you (and other peeps who agree with Astro) are actually forcing *your* views on us. You’re silencing our voices by bleeping the words out. Is that your view of freedom and respect?

  16. BSJT says:

    To oakinn,

    What the majority perceive does not equal truth… At one time people (the majority) thought that the earth was flat, well is that the truth? What if one day the majority thinks that “being fat” or “being black” is not okay? should we start persecuting those minorities? Is the oppression on the black Americans back then acceptable?

    What people do in their bedroom has nothing to do with them being a good person, it is their preference.

  17. oakinn says:

    There you go again, asking me to accept your views. This is not a “just” world, accept it. I don’t consult with “everyone” before I open my mouth and utter my views, neither do you. I’d say A and you’d say B, we might never agree on anything, that is what freedom and equality means to me, I’m free to stand by my beliefs and I’m no lesser than anyone else, if you choose not to, reckon it’s time for respect.

    I’d stop at that.

  18. Zedeck says:

    Hello oakinn:

    Just a point of curiosity. In this issue, and perhaps all other issues where minority rights and majority norms collide, what course of action would you advocate? What is your equation for maximising “respect”?

  19. Karcy says:

    Oakinn,

    Homophobia kills people. That is the defining difference in your argument about moral relativity.

    Using Shanon’s analogy of Islam, I am sure that there are many people who are like Geert Wilders, who believe that the way to stop Islamisation is through the implementation of racist immigration policies halting of migration from Asian countries to Europe. And there are people like Obama, who prefer to listen to the needs of the Muslim world. Both are opinions of their own, with supporters of their own. The difference is that one builds, and the other destroys.

    And in your dichotomy, one opinion will only disgust the other, but the other opinion can kill people.

    I accept that in my religion homosexuality is a sin. When people try to read liberal readings into my Scripture, I put my foot down and say, “No, you got it wrong”. I also accept the importance of truthfulness. If homophobia did not result in dead people, then yes, why not? Silence all homosexuals and set them straight (pun unintended). There would be no damage except inconvenience.

    Except that homophobia kills people. I am not talking about legal stoning, although that is an issue of its own. I am talking about someone, going out, minding his or her own business, and getting rounded up in a dark corner somewhere by a group of wild youth, who see this person as less than human, and who start to pick a fight, and beat the person, ignores this person’s pleas, and keeps beating, and torturing, and hitting the person, until the person dies. This is not hypothetical. It has happened many, many, many times.

    This is what homophobia can do.

    Unless you think that this kind of treatment is right. If you do, very well then — let’s agree to disagree.

  20. BSJT says:

    To Oakinn,

    No one is asking you to accept any point of view, you are entitled to your own take on any issue.

    But to impose one’s (majority) view on an issue through any public limitations, benefits and welfare, in this case “homosexuality” through censorship, that’s the issue.

    You might not like to hear anything about gays, but it doesn’t mean that others think the same … you may not like your neighbour but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to eliminate them … you simply tolerate them.


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