Wednesday, April 19, 2006Lately there were questions flung from various directions questioning the right of local councils enacting by-laws on decency.
I am not questioning the right of those people asking questions. You get educated by asking questions provided that your questions are answered. My own question is: Do we need laws to define decency?
I am assuming that everyone in Malaysia has a mother and again, I am assuming that decency is learnt at the mother's knee. The rest is learnt at other joints. So what happened to the mother's child that he/she can ran afoul of the law with his/her excessive PDA? PDA here is not the palm top but Public Display of Affection.
Mores are decided by society or a community. In some societies considered primitive, female human beings can go about bare-breasted without raising eyebrows or any other parts of the onlookers anatomy. In advanced societies, women are only allowed to display their mammary glands in restricted areas such as the beach. Advanced societies sometimes have weird mores. For example, you can wear the skimpiest of bikinis in public but you are not supposed to appear in public in your pyjamas or in hair-rollers. Weird but true.
I guess the explosion of messages in the media helps to change the way we think and the way we behave, publicly or privately. We watch TV programmes from other cultures and somehow we assimilate part of their cultures. After the initial shock, we tend to accept what people in other cultures do as normal. We think it is modern because it is commonplace in modern societies. Is this the First Class Mentality that we strive hard to achieve? Have we forgotten our religion and our own culture? Are we so weak as to accept wholesale the norms and mores of other people? Do we know who we are? If we do, we should not be like them. We be ourselves.
Maybe I should remind you of what a wise man once said: A living fish swimming in the briny sea will not get its flesh salty. The flesh will will only get salty once the fish is dead.