You Didn’t Need To Apologise, NameWee

15 08 2007

23236-msk-namewee.jpg

(photo courtesy of Malaysiakini)


Dear Wee Meng Chee a.k.a. ‘Namewee’ a.k.a. creator of the ‘Negarakuku‘ rap,

You did not need to apologise. But I understand why you did.

I believe that the only reason you’re apologising is because you fear for the safety of your family, who have been on the receiving end of intense government (and govt-related) bullying from the self-appointed ‘hulubalang’ and police harassment. It’s called thuggery, and UMNO-BN has made it into a specialist skillset.

I fully understand your concern, and I am convinced that you had little choice but to apologise in order to protect your loved ones from the real threats made against their safety and well-being. Having said that, I still wish you had not apologised.

Yes, technically you may have violated some obscure ordinance somewhere proscribing the use of the national anthem or part thereof in an “unauthorised” derivative work, but frankly… nobody’s *that* anal-retentive, except when their egos (or dirty laundry) are at stake.

I honestly thought ‘Negarakuku‘ was a pretty good song; it was well-composed and catchy, the lyrics packed a real punch, you have a good voice, and all that anger meant that you were really singing from the heart. I’d listen to you anyday over those manufactured American/Malaysian/Martian Idol wusses.

I know you’re an angry young man, and I applaud you for having found a creative and civil manner with which to express your frustrations by composing a satirical song, instead of shouting racist threats, spraying bullets or planting bombs. The problem is that the government wants to stop you from being angry… but will do nothing to address the root causes of your anger.

I am sure that you are just as aware as we are that the government persecution of you has nothing to do with ‘desecrating’ the national anthem and everything to do with suppressing your criticisms. When your song became popular, you, Namewee became dangerous, for people might actually hear/read your lyrics and start to question why the government’s version of ‘truth’ don’t jive.

I understand that, as part of your apology, you are requesting that other Internet users stop distributing the Negarakuku video. This, I shall not do.

The ‘Negarakuku’ video is now in the public domain, and I consider it to be a valid form of artistic expression. It is satirical and it brings to light so much of what is wrong with this country: institutionalised racism, endemic corruption, systematic abuse of power, civil service inefficiency, police indiscipline etc etc ad nauseam.

It is now MY decision as an independent network entity to continue to post this video, which I consider to have significant artistic value and makes true social commentary on the sorry state of affairs in Malaysia.

It is certainly more honest and true than the multiracial bevy of beautiful girls on TV singing “Paradise, oh paradise, Malaysia is muhibbah paradise we all live in muhibbah harmony and everybody is muhibbah happy and the muhibbah birds are singing and the muhibbah angels are singing and Malaysia is muhibbah beautiful and we are muhibbah beautiful and the government is muhibbah beautiful and our leaders are muhibbah beautiful and nothing is wrong in muhibbah Paradise, oh paradise, we are truly Asia Paradise…

See, I can compose lyrics too.

Let me stress the point again, Namewee: it is not your remixing of the national anthem that antagonises the UMNO-BN government; it is the truth of your criticisms that they fear. Your use of the national anthem is merely the technicality on which they seized upon to persecute you. (Next time you satirise the discrimination and corruption, find a way to do it without breaking any technical rules. That way, all they can do is bark up the tree and not be able to grab hold of anything)

As usual, when the Chinese flock is restive, the MCA lapdogs are released by their UMNO masters to go forth and ‘pacify’ the sheep. (Careful, MCA, some of us sheep have really sharp teeth). Hey, MaChAis…why don’t y’all go take a long hard look in the mirror and try to grow a backbone. Like young Wee Meng Chee, who has more guts and integrity than your whole rotten organisation combined.

Frankly, I consider a Prime Minister who pretends to know nothing about a 632-page corruption report submitted to his office (and turns blind eyes and deaf ears to the rampant corruption of his administration) to be a far greater threat to “national stability and harmony, sanctity of national symbols, sovereignty blahblahyadayadablah” than an angry young student making a satirical music video. Don’t you?


So, Wee Meng Chee a.k.a. ‘Namewee’ a.k.a. creator of the ‘Negarakuku’ rap, I wish you and your family all the best, and I sincerely hope that you may put your considerable talent and (justified) anger to productive use. When/IF you do come back to Malaysia some day, drop me a mail and I will shake your hand and buy you a drink, anytime.

You did not need to apologise; but I understand why you did.

Come back, my friend, and help us make a difference.


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4 responses

16 08 2007
Antares

My sentiments precisely. Thanks for addressing this important issue in your blog, Ghostline. After viewing Meng Chee’s vid I went directly to his website and left him a note congratulating him for his
resourcefulness, courage, and genuine talent as a rapper. This is what rap as a genre is all about – an artistic outlet for angry young urbanites with a good sense of rhythm and street poetry – whether black, white, yellow, or brown. A single human being is worth more than all the goddamn silly flags and slogans in the entire world. Cheers!

[ GhL ] : Ironic, isn’t it? Such ‘righteous’ outrage from UMNO-BN, such prompt action, such a huge amount of precious UMNO-BN energy (so precious they can’t spare it for merely running a country properly) poured into persecuting one justifiably angry young man. Hmmm… here’s a thought… MAYBE they could spare a dollop of energy for that lonely ‘632-page corruption report’? Or is that too much to ask Pak Blah?

28 08 2007
Nucleus Crux

To be frank, I have no objection neither felt offended towards Namewee’s Negarakuku. 85% of the song should be remain untouched, and undisputed. The only thing dat keeps on bothering me, the part where he mentioned bout azan subuh. The rest are fine!

[ GhL ] : Yes, he was rather cheeky in poking fun at the azan subuh there, but it really hardly qualifies as a ‘great insult’ that warrants so much ministerial attention and governmental harassment of his family. The reaction is orders of magnitude out of proportion to the action. It’s clear that UMNO-BN’s hysterical hyping of the issue was mainly intended to (1) distract public attention from the enormous Port Klang debacle, and (2) to make an example of Namewee as a warning to other online dissenters. What a wonderful government we have.

5 09 2007
BegToDiffer

Well he can vent out his frustration for all he wants to the govt…policies bla bla bla…but he is an INSENSITIVE MORON making fun of azan (totally unacceptable)…and you said he was being cheeky…and not insulting..

if you want to take out on the Malay leaders, by any means do it…better yet..have a specific case and NAMED la whoever you’re dedicating the song to…which leader you most pissed off…but NEVER EVER TOUCH ON RELIGION…how would you like it other people kutuk your religion and its practices… put yourself in other people’s shoes…then you’d know what i mean…..

[ GhL ] : Fair comment, BegToDiffer. Conversely though, in a mature and civil society, there should be some room for fair comments on religion, as long as it is not outright hate speech.

It is the ability to think critically (which includes objective consideration of others’ criticisms, and self-criticism where necessary) that defines a mature mind (and society). The inability to accept criticism (as has happened to UMNO-BN) breeds rot and intolerance.

One participant (an Indian Christian) in the Bangsa Malaysia gathering commented on the recent ‘Makkal Ossai’ controversy: he was not offended at all by the caricature of the smoking Jesus Christ published in the ‘Makkal Ossai’ Tamil newspaper and considered the MIC-led official response (suspending Makkal Ossai for 1 month) to be politicised and an over-reaction.

He rationalised it thus: God is great and does not need him to defend Him against something so trivial. If He did, then God must not be as great as we think He is.

An enlightened man indeed.

18 12 2007
jeff

Our lord is an all Mercyful and Compassionate one, he will not have taken an ignorence journalist carricuture seriously, he will want his followers to forgive him and love him like they love Jesus.

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