(This fictional article came about because when Hari Raya and Deepavali were celebrated close together last year, our papers were full of praise about what a tolerant society we were. At the same time, I couldn't help noticing something in the TV listings...)
NST. 26 October 2006
The screening of no fewer than four Hari Raya-themed TV movies starring Rosyam Nor this year is proof that Malaysia is a tolerant and diversified society, the authorities claim. The public has been praised for accepting this phenomenon without resorting to protests that can raise tension in our multi-cultural society.
In Nek Kiah (TV1, Oct 28), Kamal (played by superstar Rosyam Nor) is a man who secretly marries before going to study overseas. In Takbir Terakhir (TV3, Oct 23) Johari (played by award-winning actor Rosyam Nor) is a novelist who neglects the welfare of his son. In Sederet Dua Kali Lima (TV3, Nov 17) Sham (portrayed by versatile actor Rosyam Nor) celebrates Hari Raya with his cooky neighbours. And in Fitrah Di Ufuk Ramadhan (TV9, Oct 24), Razali (acted by screen icon Rosyam Nor) goes in search of his birth mother.
"We should count our blessings," says a Ministry spokesman in charge of TV entertainment. "There are other countries in the world that are ravaged by war and famine and don't even have a single Rosyam Nor TV movie to watch. Imagine that! But we in Malaysia are blessed with a peaceful atmosphere, good food and Rosyam Nor on practically every TV channel."
He continues: "All these ungrateful activists who complain that we in Malaysia don't have enough freedom can now eat their own words. If you don't like one Rosyam Nor TV movie, you can always wait for the next one to come along. How's that for freedom of choice?"
He cautions against `subversive elements' that do not appreciate our festive celebrations. "These are the people who do not realize the importance of harmony in our society. If there's no harmony, how can we spare a few hours each day to watch Rosyam Nor?"
Pensioner Lateefah Dugung agreed. "Back in the old days, in the early 1950s, we were oppressed by the British masters who refused to show a single Rosyam Nor TV movie. We fought hard to free our country from such a system. Now we are a proudly independent nation that can choose any Rosyam Nor TV movie we want."
The earlier Ministry official did however concur that not everyone likes to watch movies on TV. "These folks have the choice of going into the cinema to watch Bilut instead."
Bilut is a film about an early Felda settler named Yazid (played by reclusive actor Rosyam Nor).