Monday 20 December 2010

Who is Azwan Ismail and why are some people saying terrible things about him?

Those of us who watched Malaysian TV circa 1990 would be familiar with the effeminate Sam (played by the actor Imuda) in the sitcom 2+1. I didn't watch every episode, but I do remember a few instances where Sam flirted with brawnier men. This made Sam not only lembut (soft) but gay, although I don't think his desires were ever permitted to be reciprocated.

Folks loved Sam. When the Information Ministry decided to ban the character, the TV viewers -- and by this I mean regular people (we aren't talking about gender/sexuality activists here, not that gender/sexuality activists aren't regular people too) -- were actually upset. There was even a play, Jangan Bunuh Sam (Don't Kill Sam).

Sam was a stereotype that anyone familiar with slapstick comedy will immediately recognise: the non-threatening, endearing, but faintly ridiculous queen. You could also say that his trademark phrase ("Here's my card!") identified him as being a peculiarly urban/bourgeois phenomenon: no 'manly' proletariat would carry around name-cards, or feel the need to proclaim their existence all the time! So I'm not saying Sam was such a progressive role model; he was a figure of fun. And yet, the fact that he existed at all, without howls of outrage from the majority of viewers, is proof that there is space for queerness in the popular Malay imagination.

It's not just Sam, of course. In my book 120 Malay Movies -- and a bloody entertaining book it is, too -- I identify the first gay male character as being in Kaki Kuda (1958) and the first lesbian as being in Nora Zain Ajen Wanita 001 (1967). The fact that both characters were campy villains need not detain us for now; what's important is that they existed.

And it ain't just fictional depictions, either. Stories about the jambu in male boarding schools, or kakak angkat in female boarding schools, would be familiar to anyone. And then -- surprise! -- some of these boys and girls do not outgrow this 'phase'. This is 2010. I think every Malaysian -- who isn't a hermit, or delusional, or unobservant, or all three -- would know at least one gay person. Gay attraction is certainly not a foreign concept.

With that in mind, watch this video, and read (or try to read) most of the comments. I will wait here while you do so:

OK. Welcome back.

My thesis -- and I do have one -- is that some people aren't appalled by the fact of Azwan Ismail's sexuality. What they are affronted by is that he's a person who's giving his own name, and being completely honest about what he wants to say.

We are a society that thrives of innuendo and nudge-wink insinuations. Most people are aware of local gay celebrities who 'cover line', sometimes to the extent of having lavish weddings. How long would these sham unions last, and how much unhappiness would they cause? Those questions somehow recede into irrelevance; what's important is that the values of the community have been upheld. By 'values', I don't mean marriage but hypocrisy. There's a perverse pleasure to be had in making people lie about themselves. What Azwan did, and he seems quite unprecedented in this, was to choose to tell the truth.

Despite what the newspapers are saying, the video isn't some gratuitous pengakuan berani mati (shockingly brave confession) but a response to the international campaign It Gets Better, which is meant to encourage LGBTQ youth not to feel alone or to despair. (Yes, the irony is that the mostly negative comments might end up having the opposite effect! But remember what whoever-it-was said about the longest journey.) And his is not the only Malaysian video, either; there are more to come. Unfortunately, this wider context has been drowned out, at least for now, by tabloid noise.

Azwan Ismail is a friend and I've known him way before he co-edited the bloody fantastic Orang Macam Kita. But even if I hadn't known him, I'll say that what he did was significant, right down to his decision to quote Shahnon Ahmad instead of, say, Shakespeare (so who says homosexuality is a 'Western invention"?).

What he did was violate a code. Not the code of sexual conduct, but the code of faham-faham ajelah or kalau ya pun, janganlah buat terang-terang. An analogy: Walk down the stairwell of any office building during a Ramadhan afternoon; you will find at least one Malay man surreptitiously sneaking  a smoke. Everyone 'knows' this happens but no one makes a big fuss because there was an attempt at concealment. What Azwan did was, to some people, the equivalent of having a nasi dagang lunch during the fasting month, live on national TV. What's shocking isn't the fact but the openness.

There is, as always in our dear country, a political context, too. There's a sense of majority privilege about everything; and this is a majority that is very prickly and always seeing threats to its very existence. The newspaper Berita Harian that 'broke' the story also has this poll result:

Check out the result! Being Malay in this instance is analogous to being heterosexual; it's the majority, therefore its 'dominance' cannot be 'questioned'! To do so would let 'outsiders take over'. 

The direct gaze of the video is why some people feel threatened. (And by 'some people', I mean also the middle-class gays who want to protect the comfortable 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' status quo that has provided a comfortably living. To extend the political analogy: these would be the non-Malay tycoons who got rich from Malay affirmative action policies, and thus don't want to rock the political boat.)

Yes, you might find the approach of the video, starting with its title, "Saya Gay, Saya OK" to be too direct, somehow 'unMalay'. Couldn't a euphemism have been used? You know, like "Saya Rama-Rama, Tak Mengapa" or "Saya Merpati, Nak Terbang Lagi" or something suitably fey? That would have been less provocative, perhaps. But what's done cannot be undone. Whatever happens after this, 'Sam' is not going away -- because, you see, he has always lived here.


Jef Hadi said...

baru je tulis pasal ni, err, sikitlah, lebih kepada promote buku OMC. haha.

silakanlah baca dan komen kalau sudi!


Preets said...

Great post, Amir. I very much agree on the subject of hypocrisy and how one can get away with almost anything in Malaysia as long as one doesn't talk about it -- the old "What Will People Think?" social rule.

At the same time, though, I'm not 100% sure about Sam being proof that there is space for queerness in the popular Malay imagination. Sure, okay, but space for what kind of queerness? Only queerness that we can make fun of, queerness that is slightly ridiculous, queerness that we don't have to take seriously. I'm still waiting for a Malaysian queer character who doesn't just exist so that people can laugh at him/or her.

Obefiend Weiland said...

reading the 279 comments left on my blog regarding this video makes me lose hope for any kind of equality in Malaysia

i am no a kafir and a homo to my readers just because i think Azwan Ismail has the right to be WHAT HE is and not hide in a iron maiden (closet is comfy.. u can actually open a portal to narnia in on) for the rest of his life

as i tweeted yesterday

"i use to wonder why the western people saw Islam as a religion of hate. After reading the comments left on Azwan Ismail's video i now understand why"

pity the fella. demonised for being honest in Malaysia. Honesty is not the best policy in Malaysia so it seems!

Amir Hafizi said...

If only someone like Anwar can lead the charge for sexual freedom in Malaysia, instead of all the hypocrisy...

jejaka anggun said...

dia gay, saya ok jer....

fadz said...

Preets, you have seen him and he is AZWAN.

Now, take serious on him.

Anonymous said...

Very well written Amir.

Pet Shop Boys said...

AMir, I dare u to name Malaysian people , Malay most notably that is gay...

haha...ada berani ka?

Unknown said...

you're gay, i'm ok
i'm a t-girl, i'm fabulous :D

michelle nor ismat

bibliobibuli said...

Beautifully said, Amir.

Shamsul Cairel said...

Salam untuk semua,

Aku manusia yang 'lemah'. Hanya berani untuk tidak bersetuju dengan kata-kata.

Walaupun begitu, aku 'tabik spring' pada Encik Azwan kerana keberanian, kejujuran dan keikhlasannya namun matlamat tidak menghalalkan cara.

Tidak mustahil jika Sodom dan Gomorrah akan berulang..( walaupun kalendar Maya hanya setakat 2012 sahaja )

Memetik kata-kata seseorang, 'Gay bukannya takdir, tapi satu pilihan'.

Salam untuk semua.

Rey Buono said...

Thanks for this, Amir. There may be a struggle ahead. It's great to know that there are people like you, with clear heads, and strong hearts.

Amir Muhammad said...

PSB: Kalau seseorang tu tak nak 'out' kan diri mereka sebagai gay (atau Syiah, atau Wahhabi, atau peminat Justin Bieber) kami sebagai masyarakat tidak ada hak untuk 'mengkantoikan' diri mereka.

Shamsul: Anda memetik kata-kata orang yang tidak begitu arif dalam hal ini, walaupun namanya mungkin Arif.

Obefiend: Well, Bill Hicks got banned from American TV, right? You gotta laugh.

Anonymous said...

ambil la iktibar dari kisah kaum Nabi lut. Wallahu'alam.

mamasan said...

i agree this is all about the directness of being open and honest. if he were a little more sideways about being "sideways", then, as you say, it might not have become this big a deal. why this is so is beyond me, because, cultural or social or personal or nOt, it takes a lot of effort to constantly weave and retreat and sidetalk instead of plain acknowledging or addressing an issue.

with regards to the banci, we all were forced to fill in our census forms with pencils - what does that say about how much condescension those peeps view their rakyat with?

thanks for saying it out loud too. happy hols :)

Unknown said...

komen saya:

Latarbelakang bangsa, agama, pendidikan dan adat resam sememangnya menutup minda kita.

Amir Muhammad said...

Mamasan: Ever since I lived in Indonesia, I can't look at the word 'banci' in the same way!

Unknown said...

It is his rights to say what he wants to say and it is his rights to be what he wants to be. Being Malay has nothing to do with being gay. It is his preference and I really wish that others would stop dictating how others should live their lives.

I am proud that Azwan came out and stood up for something that he truly believes in. It is better to live a life of honesty than living a lie.

To Azwan, hold your head up high...coz you have made a difference. Salam

Yusmar Mitch

Shamsul Cairel said...

Salam untuk semua,

"Anda memetik kata-kata orang yang tidak begitu arif dalam hal ini, walaupun namanya mungkin Arif."

Hahaha...aku pun tak tahu apa ke nama dia pun. Tapi, bagi aku...ada benarnya.

Walaupun aku tak setuju dengan pilihan cara hidupnya, tapi aku hormat dengan nilai2 murni yang juga ada dalam cara hidupnya. Yakni, berani, jujur dan ikhlas.

Aku lebih rela berkawan dengan En. Azwan dari Pak Haji berserban labuh yang mulut tak habis2 memaki orang.

Hanya sekadar luahan 2 sen aku.

Salam untuk semua.

AnnLeeOnTwo said...

Yes, there's honesty and then there's Honesty. I don't know Azwan but please give him my thanks and love for being so brave; to be willing, like everyone else in seksualiti merdeka series of 'it gets better', to be a pillar for the stone throwers.

Anonymous said...

it will take years before Malaysia is even willing to openly discuss the issue without at least one party hurling the Quran/Bible as a quick "Shut Up,or its eternity in Hell for you!".

But when that time comes,Azwan Ismail and yourself will be viewed as heroes,and even now,as a gay person,I respect and admire the gays we have who dare speak out and reach out to the many young people who are dealing with being closeted and bullied,and the straight allies we have who preach acceptance and tolerance for us gays.

Thank you for this exceptionally well-written piece Amir,its a trickle down effect and a small thing like this has far-reaching effects for us LGBT.From the bottom of my heart,THANK YOU.


Anonymous said...

im gay, a muslim gay. im not proud of it, but to let u know

to me gay is a fight within myself not with every1 else.

i wish im a man, so i can be a better muslim

thats from me, i cant force ppl to feel the same way, as i cant force the person i love to be gay

Anonymous said...

Absolute freedom is dangerous

Amir Muhammad said...

The only people who seem to crave absolute freedom are the people who leave anonymous comments, no? This means they don't want to be held accountable.

Anonymous said...

siapa tahu Allah akan memberikan hidayah terbesar kepadanya setelah pengakuan ini...

berani kerana benar tapi hukum Allah tetap mutlak..

sebagai saudara seIslam, saya doakan beliau kembali kpd Allah... Drp Dia kita dtg, kpd Dia juga kita dikembalikan...

Anonymous said...

apa keles name card, amir? sam ada facebook lah sekarang. awwwww....

Anonymous said...

Not just honesty but extraordinary courage, knowing full well how the 'moral' majority and the various pillars of religion would respond. Azwan Ismail, i am in such awe of you.

RahimAhmad said...

Saya pun ada kawan yg gay.Sama2 belajar di UiTM. Jadi kawan pun sebab tinggal sebelah menyebelah pastu tetibe dlm sem 2 dia cerita ttg diri dia. Well its a shock at first but then its okay sebab die x lah sampai rogol saya/seduce saya waktu tidur atau ape2.Just bagi saya, kalau kita ada kawan yg gay kita patut dekatkan diri kita pada dia. Bukan jauhkan diri. Bukan jugak galakkan lagi die jadi gay. Cube nasihat die pelan2 show that we are there untuk die bila2 masa die nak berubah. Tak kisah bila umur die 40/50 years old sekalipun kalau die nak berubah biar dia tahu kita ada. Saya gembira kalau satu hari nanti dia berubah dan pergi pada saya. Means that my effort will not be in vain. Bantu golongan sesama Islam doakan supaya dia berubah. Show that we care for them. Buat solat malam mohon supaya Allah bantu dia. Problem nye kalau kita isolate dia dari kita, die akan lebih berkawan bgn golongan gay dan bila dia nak berubah sapa yg dia nak cari?So jgn lah membenci golongan gay ye. Beri mereka perhatian dan doakan supaya saudara sesama Islam kita tu x jauh terpesong. Thanks!

Fifa Rahman said...

Awesome post. I'm glad people are speaking up for Azwan out there. It's a little bit disappointing that some people want to 'change' them instead of leaving them be.

It's about time that we get rid of all this unnecessary stigma.

Sexuality is personal. It should not be subject to interference of the state unless it occurs against one's will. And you know what? I'm saying this as a straight person.

boo radley said...

Gay people should be allowed to get married.

They deserve to be miserable too, just like the rest of us.

It hurts me every time I see them being so happy and muscular all the time!

Anonymous said...

i love you Azwan for just being honest with yourself, thank you

big hugs

Taf Teh said...

Sayang, ini namanya Jihad Songsang!

Unknown said...

i find it peculiar that people are commenting without understanding the real objective of the video.

the real objective of the video that featured azwan and 14 others malaysian (of which 4 are malay, fyi) is to encourage LGBT youth, regardless of their race and religious belief, to take things positively, and not resorting to negative means, such as prostitution, drug, alcoholism (i mean being addicted to alcohol), suicide, etc in response to the pressure they are facing. yet, we have people who encouraged muslims whose sexual orientation happened to be homosexual to commit suicide. what sort of muslim is that? encouraging others to take their own lives! didn't they realized that IF someone took their words seriously, and committed suicide because of the conflict between his creed and his sexuality, indirectly their hands are smeared with that person's blood?

Unknown said...

It is said an ignorant man will argue you down to his level and beat you with experience. I left a comment, but it's like a candle in a cyclone. Just wait for the next moral-panic-du jour to rear its ugly head.

farahD said...

This is my personal opinion.

To me openness is not an issue. People can be open as much as they want. Even now we got Wikileaks...etc. But being a gay is clearly and totally wrong.

The moment we are born in this world,its not the nature of human being to even think gay.With the right guidance and education of strong belief to God, this thing can be prevented since childhood or even during the time he has the intention of being gay.

What's the purpose he posted that video? Is he seeking for help/guidance or to use his openness to gain support gay?

Being open & honest is what our religion encourage, but being a gay is wrong. He should have tried all his best and might to fight his inner self and set him straight.To be a righteous man according to Islam.If he cant he should seek advice no matter what it takes.

If he wants to change nothing is stopping him. We should not use openness as a reason to deny what's right or wrong.

Thanks for sharing.

Amir Muhammad said...

The answer to all your questions are in the video and in my post.

Cik Siti said...

very accurate observation Mr. Amir. found some comments for the video that mirrors exactly your 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' comment. giggle at the 'saya rama-rama, tak mengapa'.

Amir Muhammad said...

But I wonder how many got my Khadijah Hashim reference in the last para!

Anonymous said...

This is not the question whether it is 'unmalay' or not, not relevant to be related with races i think. It's religion what matters here. What's the point of having a religion and beliefs if he is going to violate it up to this level? This is meant for all religions, no specificity. Being honest is a good value, but by doing this..
En. Azwan Ismail, mengucaplah pakcik, ingat Yang Maha Pencipta. Semoga mendapat hidayahNya.

Fifa Rahman said...

Radical Scope, you are 100% right. What kind of Muslim encourages people to kill themselves, or says that they'll kill him themselves?

Jeez, it friggin scares me that we live in this country full of potential murderers. How do we get rid of all this bloodthirsty behaviour? Is prayer the answer?

Unknown said...

now, tell me: put yourself in a situation where you are born with your orientation is towards the same gender. being a muslim, went to religious school, observing both the pillars of islam and pillars of faith, you do whatever you can to get rid of your orientation. yet you fail. tell me, what would you do? accept it, and live with it? reject it, and to certain extend question god for giving you the orientation that you have? or go with the current popular advice, which it to turn left, go up to the 14th floor, and say goodbye to the world?

your view is similar to one of my friends:

i disagree with him, as it's my policy not to judge other people. however, it's his opinion on the issue, so he has the right to express it as long as it is in a civilized manner.

Anonymous said...

Whatever it is, this Azwan Ismail bikin hidup org lain susah only. Now they want to 'pantau' this & 'pantau' that just because of his so-called open & frank revelation.

Anonymous said...

it is not matter if he is malay or non-malay. and he shud not have brought up the issue of ethinicity in the 1st place. what matter the most is, muslims cannot be gay.

theNameIsFida said...

Kalau macam tu boleh la cakap "I'm a pedophile,I'm ok"

hidup jangan berpura2..tak gitu?

Adam said...

sediakan payung sebelum hujan.

Anonymous said...

How interesting that Azwan Ismail's video gets such a negative reaction with all the rape, gang-rapes, incest and baby-dumping cases in Malaysia. People who live in glass houses shouldn't leave abusive comments on Youtube.

farahD said...

Dear Radical Scope,

1)First,how do you describe a child born gay? Gay is something you developed thru time and becomes stronger thru certain exposure. If you think you have the criteria to be attracted to the same gender,you should stay away from doing things that God forbids. Simple. and how do u do that? get help.

2) Your perception of fail is to give up.WHY do you give up and let it be? You just dont seek for help to the right person. God will certainly help you if you continuously try to find the way.

3)It was given? Why do you succumb to be gay in the first place? It was a test, you see. He clearly states what is wrong. You shud know what you need to do already.Only a give up person follow instruction to kill himself.You decide when u give up.

4) I don't judge him.I dont have issue with his expressing. We need to help him. Want him to seek right guidance.Its good u dont judge ppl, but God will judge him @ akhirat. Who's gonna help 2 justify that?

Dont be radical, Islam always has its way. Islam is not radical. Its universal.

Anonymous said...

seriously...wat were u wat ur gay n u feeling so ok to expose ur 30 years of gayness hunger to the whole world.i do feel its just wrong man..stop saying that he so brave or honest or wat so eva..he's just being so selfish..did he ever think how big the issue will be..wat will happen to those who is lembut here in malaysia and now caused of this stupid video ppl will started asking r u gay r u gay...u know how hard is that...there s certain things u just need to keep it to urself...

Amir Muhammad said...

As a professor on Facebook just said: "Some of the comments prove just how necessary the It Gets Better campaign is for Malaysia." Shalom!

Amir Muhammad said...

I wonder if the Malay translation rights for this book are available. Would make a nice change from Mastika.

Adam said...

provocation is good, but not when it is being overdone. sabar ya Amir Muhammad. you have a such beautiful name.


Unknown said...

@Amir: we should get a list of people who are interested, and make a bulk order. put my name first, please.

1) you have the proof to support your argument that it is "developed thru time"? i sure hope you do

2) have you heard that assuming is the mother of all fuck ups? and what is your definition of "the right person"? another straight guy? and what if God's answer to his search is "accept it as your test"?

3) ambiguous answer again. you are answering mostly as a 3rd party, without ever putting yourself in his place. opinion of an observer is always welcomed, but do you consider his situation? i bet not

4) it's good that you think that way. and guess what, HOW GOD IS GOING TO JUDGE HIM OR WHAT IS THE VERDICT IS BEYOND US. heck ALL of us are going to be judged anyway. so how do you justify that?

and i can see you're making a personal attack on my nickname as well. that's very islamic of you :)

Anonymous said...

AGree with you Amir- the whole response to the video has shown that the 'It Gets Better' campaign is needed in this bloody country. Alas, it is gonna get much shittier before it gets any better.

@Radical Scope- relak lah and take a whole truckload of chill pills. You will need them on Judgement Day.

official secret act said...

"Mengapa kamu mendatangi jenis lelaki (Homoseks) di antara manusia"dan kamu tinggalkan (perempuan) yang diciptakan Tuhan untuk dijadikan sebagai isteri kamu? Kamu memang orang-orang yang melampaui batas' - Surah Asy-Syuara : 27:165

Anonymous said...

i don't know what the fuss is all about, it doesn't matter! people are people... les, gay, bi, thai... does it... really... matter?

i viewed all those videos, and sadly, if i was some young confused person wondering about my sexuality... i'd probably jump off my mum's balcony.

the main outtake i got out of those videos is that... "you're different, you're a bit different, you're kind of different... to the rest". that doesn't give me any warm positive "it gets better feelings".

for that reason, it shouldn't be disseminated, and none of this "me gay, you gay, you all ok" thingie!

Amir Muhammad said...

There are a few comments I have restrained from posting due to the violent tone directed at previous commentators. Keep this civil & I will continue posting comments regardless of what your views are. If you have a sense of humour that would be a plus. And if you're cute, I might even want to shag you.

Ed Mcgraw said...

i think that would be my comment, haha! sorry amir, got a bit carried away. realised the futility of trying to open the mind of ppl like prev. commenters. also, don't think they would appreciate your comment re: shagging, haha!

Munira Mustaffa said...

In reply to:

Amir, I know a friend and some of colleagues who are working on the Malay translation of the said book. I'm passing this link on to him. Cheers!

Ed Mcgraw said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ED Mcgraw said...

To farahD: as someone who's been struggling with his sexuality all his life, being gay is not fun, it's not a choice. i don't become gay through exposure. how can i be exposed to gayness when i was the only pondan in my high school? there was no internet when i was in school for god's sake. i only saw porn when i went to college. pray tell farah, what exposure in my early life that caused me to be gay?! don't tell me that my parents made me gay because i will kick your face so hard you would be fed using a tube. asked any gay person out there if given the choice they would choose to be gay, and i would bet my virginal ass that they would say no. who would choose a life of being mocked by society, of being told constantly that "you're going to hell", of being alone most of the time because you feel guilty everytime you have the urge for sex? it's a tiring life being a gay person, a constant fight both with your inner self and the society. it makes me angry everytime someone says that being gay is a choice, as if there's a switch i can flip somewhere that will turn me straight anytime i want. gay sex is a choice, but being gay is not. it takes a long time for me to accept me for who i am, a man who's attracted to another man, and i'll be damned if i let anybody invalidate the realisation that this is just something that i have to live with. don't try to educate us, we who struggle being gay in malaysia, because you have no idea what goes on in our mind and the things we have to endure. if anything, we're the one who deserves to be angry, not you!

farahD said...

Ed Mcgraw,

First of all why the angry tone? Did I even sound as angry?..Well, d truth is I'm not. I dont even curse or even vent anger.-sigh-Stop living your life thinking that all the society (or ppl like me tht you hate so much) do is to do you harm. Of coz la, i'm not that stupid.And only a no-brainer will think that ur parents ask you to be gay becoz if they r,you wont be born. Fine, if you don't want us to educate you, and you believe we are wrong n only you know it all, i have done my part. But my advice to u never stop to seek help and panduan from your Creator, Allah SWT and the best reliable n knwledgeable person. Simple. Read Al-Fatihah 500x a day. Quran has did many wonders.All the best in life.

Radical Scope,

Haha, well you use nickname radical..just saying Islam is really not radical. Just for u to consider n understand. bukan ape pun..relax need to drag Islamic word to my small cynicism..go figure.

1) Well, in Azwan's vid he admits it takes time for him to undrstnd himself.dat's d one I see la..y in that period of time he didn't seeks true and reliable help?that's my proof.

2)Assuming? did i state I assume? Semua penyakit ade cure dia-Hadis Nabi.Just dont give up n don stop believing. Right person is person who has enuf knowledge n know hw to guide you. Y you see the straight guy as the bad person now?..dont judge ppl remember? All hardship in d world is God's test. Just find a way.Simple.

3)If I wasn't consider his situation, I think I have condemn him straight away and totally not asking him to seek help.So, u think u really know them? fine..let it be then.

4)My belief is-gay is wrong and that's wat I've learned.HE clearly states what is wrong. I'm just not denying what is wrong. If that is wrong, then what is right? God's verdict is HIS verdict. Its just a way to consider WE help him doing the right thing.I'm just doing my best to help depends on what I learned. Dont condemn me for that.


Ed Mcgraw said...


then pray do tell what kind of exposure that caused me, as you so eloquently put it, to turn gay? you still haven't answered that question.

i think it's easy to assume that all gays are heathens and that we don't pray 5 times a day and that we don't try to seeks guidance from Allah. and that if anything else we inflict this upon ourselves, no divine intervention necessary. what i want people to acknowledge, and this is the part that i find is hard for most heterosexuals to do including you farahD, is the fact that we don't choose this. like i said, we choose the sex, but not the feeling. i don't choose to feel this way. i'm sure the same goes for azwan and a lot of gay people out there. most people claiming to help don't acknowledge this. you can be straight, they say as if there's a switch to flip. but let me ask you, can you turn gay? do you want to turn gay? i'm sure the answer is no.

i don't claim to know it all, but from where i stand this is how i see things. have some empathy, talk to actual gay people, try to understand us, then you will see it's not as clear cut as you think it is.

Amir Muhammad said...

I think Ed and FarahD are actually having an affair. They'd make a good-looking couple!

Ed Mcgraw said...

amir darling,

i'd rather have an affair with you thank you very much. i think you can surmise as much that am not into woman. haha!

Anonymous said...

FarahD dear,

First and foremost, let's have empathy. Let's put ourselves in their shoes. Because believe me, they have fought endless internal battle between themselves, questioning their sexuality. I am a damn straight fella, but I can totally understand.

And if ever you wanted to help them, the first thing you would say wouldn't be "Hey brotha being a gay is totally wrong yaw", would it? That's like telling a cancer patient "Hey dawg you shouldn't be so sick and pale."

Society keep telling gay people what they have done wrong, and what they should do. Openness is not at all encouraged. So screams are silenced, tears are suppressed. Some resorts to end their life because at least, death isn't as confusing.

I admire your intention in helping them, sweetheart. But trust me on this, honesty is the spark of all the beautiful things in life :)

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. I wonder why the same video made by Peter Ong and the Pastor (no clue what his name) not trigged massive comment like Azwan

Is it because since they're not Malay (or bahasa kasarnya Kafir), everyone was ok, with them being gay also?

Or, Malay cannot be gay, but other races we dont care about them because they're not Malay, Muslim and will be forever banish to the Hell?

farahD said...

Dear all,

Its because of empathy, I share my views here all along. I didnt even once condemned people of any kind. Trust me I really put myself in those people shoes. Who wants to be gay or get cancer in the first place? everyone knows the answer. I also didnt say these people dont do their prayers or etc. If you always remember HIM, if you have been keeping him inside close to you so continue doing it. Never stop believing in HIM.

Talking about society. Culture is a society. We cannot change the society. Stop generalizing the society. There is good people and bad people. So take the good one and ignore the bad influence, You just gotta motivate yourself that way.

You said that its unclear on how you become gay. so now who has the responsibility to make it clear if gays dont seek help to make it clear right? You to have to help us. The problem with azwan's video is that he never stated that he needs help to clarify what makes him gay.

The point of the whole argument is nver to put aside your religion, if you have done ur part by keeping HIM inside then it is a good signal that you are still in the good course eventhough you are gay. People will never stop judging you, but just remember it this way, if you have done your part as a muslim, not to be prejudice towards each other and be kind to others, eventually things will turn around. Life is short to be thinking too much about what people think of you.

Happy holidays !

Fifa Rahman said...

I can honestly say I am devastated at the intolerance and intrusiveness out there.

Sexuality is private. Some of the people out there judging and waving their holy books (and parangs, maybe?) at Azwan are probably going home and doing some pretty nasty things to their wives. Or goats.

Anyways, my point is, quit the hypocrisy. Secondly, you're not God to judge others on their personal, private choices. You are a human being. You're supposed to be kind and charitable no matter what creed, skin colour, sexual orientation, and sports team aficionado another person is.

Ed Mcgraw said...

MK and Fifa, agree with you guys. i love how farahD's argument seems to be stuck on an endless loop. talk about thinking out of the box.

honey, we muslim gays pray, we always remember Allah ok. but as with human nature, sometimes we fail. sometimes we fail, sometimes we fail hard.

and also let me quote you: We cannot change the society. if we cannot change society then women will still be subjected to duduk rumah and buat keje rumah sayang oi. no master's degree for you honey, go scrub floor and pots and pans at the kitchen. belajar tinggi2 for what? so yes, we can change society, like it has changed for you.

and as i pointed out again and again, we don't become gay. aiyo, why do i have to bring up this point repeatedly? penat ok! this is not something that you become. we were made this way. if you call us defective then basically you're saying God made mistakes la. seriously i don't know why God made me this way, but i have come to think of it as a test. let me give you one of the greatest test ever and see how you cope. straight people don't have this test, so they don't understand. so they keep on repeating, why must you take this test, why?

so first step honey, acknowledge that we don't become gay, we were born with it, just like that Maybelline ads says.

merry xmas people and a happy new year.

p/s amir, thanks for allowing me to turn your blog ni into a soapbox, haha!

Unknown said...

Its not just the "openness" that is the issue here. I agree that it may be one of the many factors why the outrage has occurred, but it is not the only reason. Its more to do with the blatant, matter-of-fact statement from the guy, as though being open about his (homo)sexuality makes it right and that its "okay" for it to be accepted once the "truth" is out.

Its not, has never been and never will be. Homosexuality is against the order of nature and religion. Being "truthful" about that is not going to change this.


Amir Muhammad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amir Muhammad said...

And yet, MENJ, you are a big fan of the lesbian (or bisexual) named Lindsay Lohan! Isn't it great how God frustrates the plans of any humans who think they have understood the world in stark terms? Alhamdulillah.

Amir Hafizi said...

MENJ said:

"Homosexuality is against the order of nature and religion. Being "truthful" about that is not going to change this."

I'm sorry, but as a Discovery Channel addict, I must say that homosexuality exists in nature, and I am not talking about gays having sex in the woods, or 'bird-watching'.

Most dolphins, if not all, are gay. They have same-sex life partners and only meet up once in a while with opposite sex 'couples' to mate.

And they actually jump in the air, take their dicks out, and play some sort of aerial dick-fencing.

Bonobos are the real fuck-anything-that-walks kind of party animals.

So, yes, homosexuality exists in nature.

muz said...

Hye All

I just read thru all the interesting comments regard to Azwan video...
My opinion is how nice if u guys that i believe is well educated..
think how to make this world become better.. instead of keep on thinking that openess is gud.. well done azwan u done a gud job..every malaysian muslim not only malay... i clearly mention malaysian muslim bcoz some of the malays as well dsnt practice a muslim ways of life (am i right Fifa) ....shuld protess this gay life... its clearly stated in quran and hadis..
even u r a gay.. n u cook sometg.. as a muslim we cant eat it.. Think outside the box is always be an excuse to deny the truth.. everybody keep on fight for justice.. openess.. thruthness... but have u ever fight for ur own religious.. dsnt matter if u r muslim. buddha or christ.. i do believe all the religious do have their rule and regulations.. what can be done.. and what cant be done.. non of the religious will ask their follower to do the bad things...
only a freethinker will said tt. ok u can do whatever u want.. as long as u think tt u r right.. and in this page i can see there is a freethinker altho they assume tt they r muslim.. coz as a muslim u will not say something like tt..

To Ed.. dont tell the world .. ur born to be gay... u dont have any choice .. u had been destine to be gay... its another foolish excuse made by freethinker.. if u really want to change... u can.. maybe u forget what makes you wanna had sex... NAFSU.. and how u want to control it... be a good muslim Ed if u are a muslim.. but dont tell the world.. that I am Muslim and i am a gay and its ok... as in Islam there is no room for a gay.. If u really wanna change.. u can do it.. just set in ur mind.. tt u wanna change.. i do belive u can do it..

"Tiada orang yang dapat mengubah kamu melainkan kamu sendiri"

This not an issue that ur a muslim u cnt be a gay.. if there is a budhist and christ follower.. show me the prove that ur religious allowed u become a gay... check wth ur priest if u r not sure and show us the prove if there is.. I am sure it will not stated anywhere... Dont tell us that this is an issue of freedom.. Only a freethinker.. will use that words as an excuse.. be a gud follower to ur religious.. this world will become better

Amir Muhammad said...

"its clearly stated in quran and hadis..even u r a gay.. n u cook sometg.. as a muslim we cant eat it.."

This is hilarious, Muz. You must be hungry often, I gather. Shalom!

Unknown said...

Muz: can you plis state which hadith/Quranic verse are you talking about? if you have no strong dalil (valid Quranic verse/authentic hadith) to support your point, i'd be tempted to call you a liar :|

Unknown said...

@Muz: guess what, Muz. I checked with my USTAZAH, she validated that NO SUCH QURANIC VERSE/AUTHENTIC HADITH EXISTED. which Quran did you refer to?

Putra Bertam said...

it really shock me on his daring confession. I know him very well. A lonely guy but brilliant. I know it really hurt his family and not sure whether they know about it. It not easy to be gay specially as a muslim but there is always way out of it and it's a part of Ujian from Almighty God. He can say that ok to be gay when in young age but when it come to 40 to 50 ties the feeling of guiltiness will be greater. My dear nehpew it still not to late for you to put your self on the right path even though it will take some time. I will talk with you personally.We are not living in the country with open minded society but some time we need to keep our secret within ourself. Even though I not agree with your confession but I really understand your feeling. Take care and be strong.

Unknown said...

Penulisan yang tidak ada ciri-ciri ilmiah langsung!
Hanya berlandaskan akal dari 'tin kosong'.
Jika anda muslim, Anda dilihat seperti menjual agama anda sendiri.

Ini hak saya sebagai muslim untuk membela agama Islam yang saya anuti.

Saya juga akan lakukan apa sahaja untuk membela Agama saya ini.

Ed Mcgraw said...

aiyo, obviously another person who chose to selectively read what i wrote konon2 to "prove" their points and yet keep going in circle.

muz, did i say gay sex is permitted by islam? did i? because i said i was born gay, as in being attracted to the same sex. so let me ask you, what makes a person gay? having the attraction to the same sex, or having intercourse with the same sex? what i'm trying to say is that you have to acknowledge that i am a muslim and that i'm attracted to the same sex. you don't even have to say it's ok, you don't even have to put a label on it but just acknowledge that it's some sort of test from God, and not some perversion of nature that i inflicted upon myself which makes me look all dirty and immoral. and you wonder why gay muslims don't ask for help.

sikit2 freethinker, sikit2 you can change if you want to, sikit2 my status as a muslim is questioned because i dare to bring up the unmentionables. takde argument lain ke? why don't you start by telling me why i have this feeling in the first place? why this happened when i didn't ask for it? and how can i not have this feeling anymore? nobody seems to be answering the questions that really need answers.

Unknown said...

kalau "ilmiah" pada anda bermaksud "mengada-adakan ayat Quran dan hadis yang tidak wujud sebagai rujukan", anda boleh join Muz.

by the way, when you said "apa saja" somehow reminded me of the Jack 'n' Jill advert in the 90's :p

apa saja untuk mempertahankan agama, termasuk mencipta ayat Quran yang tidak wujud untuk menyokong hujah2 sendiri. besok sila laporkan diri ke jabatan agama, mujur2, anda dilantik sebagai mufti :D

Unknown said...

Sebelum sy berhujah menggunakan hadith & ayat al-Qur'an.
Sy ingin bertanya, adakah anda muslim dan beriman kpd al-Qur'an dan Hadith serta sunnahnya?

Jika tidak, sy akn mengatakan "Utk anda agama anda, dan bg sy agama sy... "

Anonymous said...

Dear FaraH D

are you that stupid? If you claim homosexuality is a 'learning mechanism' through experiences and exposures, this argument validates for heterosexuality. You are born to be a heterosexual and your sexual desire to be attracted to the opposite sex is also due to 'learning mechanism'. This goes back to the argument versus nature of nurture. The problem with your assertion that is both homo and hetero are sexuality. The difference, one likes cock and one likes pussy and only a small percentage of human population is homosexuals.

You want to argue that homosexuality is a choice.

but did you choose Islam or religion the day you were born? You don't remember shit when you were in the womb let alone once your mother delivered you. But you think you know because you are brainwashed by your parents,religious leaders or others and telling you all these fancy stories about what happens before life and after life - to which, nor science or rationality can't explain.

Stop being a sanctimonious little twat and accept the fact gays and straight exists and we both are product of nature to CO-EXIST.

Jentayu said...

if I'm not mistaken, some compared human with animals? err, you can't actually compare animals with human as human and animals have different genetic make up. human genomes are definitely not the same as animal's.

allow me to put a little bit of scientific views for this issue.

homosexuality: nature or nurture?
undoubtedly, some became gay because of nurture (environment etc). but for some people, it was because of the nature. there are some defects in their genetic. ohh, and do you know that the Y chromosome is actually shrinking by time because of high mutation rate?

there are many aspects and perspectives to be considered before putting the blame solely on gays. peace!

Unknown said...

@Zamri: standard statement nak lari dari discussion bile dah takde idea. my counter statement for you on that matter is: Let Allah and His Prophet be my Judges on my Faith. kalau anda nak berhujah dengan ayat2 Quran dan hadith, sila kemukakan yang sahih. jangan main serkap jarang macam cik Muz kite, lepastu senyap bile kantoi :|

Fifa Rahman said...

Mojito, I second your arguments.

Just for certain ignoramuses who just don't get the message we're trying to put forth, the message is: --> YOU HAVE NO POWER TO JUDGE.

What you do have the power to do is to TRY to understand.


sid sienna said...

There is a new brand meaning for honesty - you are honest when you are damn brave even when you are damn hell wrong… there is also a new brand meaning of right – the west is always right and justification base on my whatever belief. In the end, who gets the last laugh??

Amir Muhammad said...

No one's bringing the West into this. By the way, how are your Italian lessons coming along? :-) said...

I don't get why he's the one who gets to speak up for the campaign. :))

Can't someone at least pick a more attractive Malay guy as a torchbearer (or guinea pig or ceremonial ayam).

Sorry, that's just my genes talking.

Kepada mereka yg kata homoseksualiti is a choice, can you choose to sleep with a fat hairy dark guy with forearm the size of two babies legs?

If I could choose my sexuality, I'd rather be asexual or into cats, at least. People are vile.

But seriously, this is Malaysia. It's not Indiasia or Chinesia or lain-laina and I doubt homosexuals are that lovable over there either. I'm not surprised that malays, even the ones who moonlights in dark rooms every fortnight won't dream of showing open support for Azwan Ismail.

Too many well meaning myopic utopian gayboys are currently in the cement mixer on the pavement to hell. In azwan's case, mostly people think he's just being arrogant. I just think he's stupid. Whatever fights he's fighting for, it doesnt apply here in Malaysia. Which parts of gay rights do anyone who frequents the gay bars in Bukit Bintang need again? Do you really want to see a million gay boys lining up the street of Bukit Bintang every weekedn enjoying their gay rights. Wait, it's already happening. No one cares. Surprise. And thank you for stirring up the pot of shit, azwan ismail.

Also, it gets better doesnt apply in Malaysia if you went to boarding school in your teen. It went downhill and into the hell hole of malaysian gay scene.

Mohd Amli bin Abdullah @ Baharum said...

As Salam

Everyone is putting up their whole ideas, value, moral and bla bla bla...good for a though

I had alots of experience with men like azwan...but to cynically criticized ...i think it is wrong...

just say something good...and just pray someday he will be a good muslim...insyallah

Allah s.w.t will always love their "umatNya"....insyallah

anna said...

It's not really about his sexual orientation that appalled me. Say, if he's heterosexual. Muslim. Single.. And went on air being proud of committing zina. Look everybody! I'm a ****er!! Hi, mom.. Ain't u proud of me?
Heterosexual don't go and announced publicly that they sleep around you see. There are innocent children out there. Paedophiles don't do it so he should keep his big mouth shut.
Being silent and trying to be normal is just hypocrisy? How about trying to avoid hell? Avoid Allah swt's wrath?
I used to know a pondan. He got married and has 3 children now. Screwed up people might accuse him of being living in sham but I don't think so. I think he fear Allah swt more than anything.
Repent, guys. If you got a dick that's can only mean you're a man. Even animals understand that.

Unknown said...

If you got a dick that's can only mean you're a man. Even animals understand that.

go watch animal planet or discovery channel or national geography. enough said

and getting married makes you a good muslim? don't make me laugh. so you're saying that you can read his heart and be confident that the feminine guy married because he fears Allah? wow, even the Prophet does not claim to be able to read people's heart, and here you are claiming to have such skill. you know what i think? i think you make a good comedian

Teoh Han Hui said...

Agree with previous commenters that change is indeed possible. If people become comfortable with the mindset of accepting (unjust) things as they are then we as a society will never move forward. Do you want to see the future of our beloved country filled with hatred and judgementalist sentiments?

Try to look at things from a wider perspective and you'll realize that it's not just about gays. Religious fundamentalism / extremism is a dangerous thing to have. Do we want to become another Iran or Uganda?

P/S: I am gay.

soren said...

i am gay and this whole discussion is making me depressed. i got no rest from shit like this. come on people. lay off. take a break from fighting and go do something fun for yourself.

bukan orang pinkish said...

Pernah tak nampak maknyah pakai tudung menutup aurat tutup litup atau gay yang sembahyang cukup 5 waktu?

Just curious.

Amir Muhammad said...


ceritaku said...

Hi, It might be late to post this comment, better late than never,I have experienced watching gay guy sembahyang lima waktu, fasih berbahasa Arab, fasih Al-Quran dan Hafaz half of it, suka berpakain seperti seorang Malay Muslim, and he's gay but that doesn't make him any less muslim. The only One that can judge him is Allah. Period.