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Tag: moral policing

Why TransMalaya’s bus segregation has little to do with protecting women

Long-haul bus operator TransMalaya Ekspres has been practising gender segregation in its buses since February 2015 before it was featured by Berita Harian yesterday, and subsequently Malay Mail Online by following up with Noorlini Ramli, the owner and co-founder of KRZ Management Sdn Bhd that manages the fleet.

The revelation was met with outrage over the spill of moral policing into the transport industry that would also affect non-Muslims, reminiscent of segregated check-out lines in Kelantan.

The outrage however was mocked by among others Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), who claimed it contradicts liberals and feminists’ goal of protecting women. It also became the subject of a webcomic by VulpineNinja (which itself does not reflect the exact facts of the case).

Supporters of the policy lambasted critics, believing that it protects women from sexual harassment, which was backed by Noorlini’s claim:

“The point of this is to give an advantage to our female passengers because we have heard and read reports of how female travellers get molested by strangers, so we took this effort to give them a greater sense of security and comfort.

“This is for both Muslim and non-Muslim. We simply want to avoid any untoward incidents.”

Is it, though? While there is undeniable intent that the policy is meant to ensure women’s safety, it reeks much more of moral policing.

Teach me about sex

Published in The Malaysian Insider

Forget that when people think about sexual prowess, they don’t automatically think keropok lekor. Forget that the amount of Tongkat Ali additive available in health supplement products is too little to work. The fact that Terengganu thinks it’s a prudent idea to sell Tongkat Ali-laced keropok lekor reflects that there is a sizable demand for it.

Perhaps it is time to admit that our society is obsessed with sex. More accurately, we are obsessed with ubat kuat-kind of sexual performance, but not so much the aspects that would benefit from sex education.

Last month, my fiancee and I attended the nationally-mandatory two-day kursus kahwin. If anything, we were looking forward to the class about sexual health, in particular family planning. Instead, we were left unsatisfied (your mileage might vary).

How many kids do you think can a woman bear in her lifetime? Six? 10? By some dubious mathematics, a preacher suggested that women can bear 30 kids in their lifetime, and therefore the participants must breed as many children as biologically possible.

“If you don’t breed, we Malays will be over-run in numbers by the non-Malays. We will then lose our voting power,” he explained. “Just look at Singapore, where Muslims are the minority.”

It sounded like a bad joke, but many of the participants took the advice to heart. The preacher also warned against masturbating: “Your testes are gifts from God, the human race will disappear if you don’t take care of your sperm.”

“You only have 30 million sperms in your ejaculate, you need as many of them as possible to inseminate the egg,” he urged sternly. I hesitated to tell him that’s not exactly how it works.

This emphasis on performing as a way to prove your manliness, and delivering babies upon babies is in stark conflict with the attitude towards unmarried couples who are expected to remain chaste.