The scholar Amin Sweeney (who was English, Malaysian, formerly Kelantanese, formerly Californian, finally Jakartan) died last month. He specialised in Malay literature, and seemed to move between the discursive realms of both Malaysia and Indonesia with graceful ease; in fact, one of his last major works, a 3-volume critical edition of the works of Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir (aka Munshi Abdullah) was published in Jakarta rather than KL.
A particularly delightful essay by him is Martyr to Science or Gaseous Windbag of Colossal Ignorance? which is about ... oh, I shall not spoil it, read it yourself. He had, as you can see, a particular gift for the naughty, sharply observed aside. How many essays in academic books can make you LOL?
A short book of his was published online posthumously: Pusat Plagiarisme, which meticulously confirms a plagiarism accusation against an Indonesian linguistic body. Before he even reaches what Monty Python would call the fulcrum of his gist, he has a couple of sentences right on Page 1 that are not about the subject at all. But this aside is the perfect explanation for the prurience of Indonesians (but the nationality can be interchanged with ours, and in fact I think it fits Malaysians even better) when it comes to matters sexual:
Di negeri waras dan matang, tidak akan ada obsesi yang sakit parah dengan seks. Tapi dalam suasana represif yang penuh kemunafikan, tentu saja terdapat reaksi penuh gairah ala alhamdulillah—masyaallah—alhamdulillah—masyaallah. Tutup mata sambil mengagumi lewat celah jari.
I immediately thought of this quote when, a few weeks ago, there was a local Youtube sensation: a couple of Malay teenagers were making out in front of their friends; the phrase "pilih KLCC" was used somewhere. Almost all the comments condemned this couple to Hell with gleeful enthusiasm, with quite a few using their scandalous behaviour to explain why our region has lately been tsunami-prone. Yes, God in His wisdom sent down tsunamis to Sumatera because camwhoring KL teenagers get horny, which must mean (rather blasphemously) that He missed them by a few hundred kilometres.