How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Saturday, January 07, 2017

A good take on the McDonald's halal birthday cake controversy

Not sure if this was from Dr Wong Chin Huat or Chang Lih Kang (as his name below appears), in Chin Huat's post in Facebook...

"Normally not a big fan of burger, but I decided to patron My Burgerlab to make a point.

I am rightly reminded by my friend Sow Meng Keong that Myburgerlab is only a Muslim-friendly restaurant without the halal certificate, hence it is free to serve any cake. It is different from Nando's, KFC or Burger King which also are under the halal certificate and hence cannot exploit McDonald's PR disasters.

The point I want to make is about McDonald's claim of innocence. For some, its fault is only poor public relationship skill.

I beg to differ. While such demand is indeed part of Jakim's halal requirement, why aren't the likes of KFC and Burger King not put up such notice?

Besides "legality" (合法性), there is always the question of "legitimacy" (正当性). Would it be legitimate if McDonald's turns away a Muslim mother who brings in her home-baked cake? This is the question we must first ask.

I doubt McDonald's would ever do that. And if they won't, they would not be punished by Jakim either. Otherwise, Jakim would be slammed harshly by the Muslim community.

Now, do you think Jakim will make a fuss over McDonald's allowing non-Muslims bringing their own cake for birthday celebration? Do you think there in the first place would be nosy Muslim customers who walk to the next table and ask to check if the bakery is halal-certified? Clearly not, not even in Malaysia today.

There are grey areas that even Jakim would have to tolerate. Jakim tries to persuade Muslim small traders into their halal certificate by offering them a lower fee but most nasi lemak sellers in our neighbourhood dont give a damn.

Why? Common sense dictates that Muslims wont serve non-halal food.

Before the halal red tapes, our defense is common sense.

The question we must put to McDonald's is: why has it lost its common sense?

Whether if its loss of common sense is applied to all customers (Muslims included) or just to non-Muslim customers (which constitutes discrimination it denies), lessons need to be learned.

McDonald's over-enthusiasm -- which reminds me of Hannah Arrendt's notion of "banality" -- to please Jakim if not the religious gratification (so-called "duty") of whoever that issued the notice causes them to lose common sense.

And it is this loss of common sense, this unquestionable acceptance of rules and regulations, not just an expansionist bureaucracy of Jakim, that are causing the endless expansion of "halal" certificate.

However, the solution is not to turn this into a bashing of Muslims. Muslims wanting to live a halal life is as legitimate as practicing Buddhists and Hindus want to be vegetarian. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Being religious is compatible with common sense.

Defending common sense cannot be a non-Muslim backlash. If it is turned into a campaign of non-Muslim angst, it will only backfire. It is therefore more important to question McDonald's than to just call for a boycott.

Common sense in Malaysia can only be defended when enough Muslims and non-Muslims come together. Ultimately, Malaysia needs more Muslims who see halalness beyond the labels and who can see through the economics of monopoly behind a single certification body.

I wish I was bringing a Muslim friend at Myburgerlab last night but it happened to be my good friend who is a high priest of FSM Hong-Yee Seah.

Chang Lih Kang

No comments: