I’ve written enough about why the yoga fatwas is wrong, and that I have a right to make that admonishment – the privilege of being part of a nation-state.
I want to delve into why a traditional organisation like the fatwa council wants to put wedges into our singular community and to place limitations on civil liberties – which are quite substantial. Man is only limited by his obligation to the state.
Let me clarify.
Person X can dance whenever and however he wishes. He cannot be allowed to dance in a walkway, because he impedes on other people’s right of passage. He cannot dance in the nude, because he would offend the sensibilities of others. But when we use subjective terms like ‘sensibilities’ we have to be careful, in overextending ourselves.
We can’t start saying girls in leotards are too much for a dance. Which explains the grotesque dresses on Malaysian TV. None of the dancers want to look like a fashion retard, but they have to in order to meet the moral gurus of the country.
So yes some subjective limitations, but be careful with them. Universal does not mean your taste that eventually everyone will adopt.
What do they fear?
I have a sneaky feeling modern living is freaking them out.
Our urban kids rather more distant from the old ways. There are more girls in tudungs than ever in the history of local history, but a frightening number of them take it off for when they are going out or go for a swim.
Going to Redang cannot be just a foreign thing, when you are a middle executive in your late twenties and still single.
There are boys who are willing to play their play-station till the sun is out, but not really worried about praying five times.
Everyone is willing to say ok to rules in public, and in their private retreat become more and more the materialistic people they are.
The local newspapers serving their political masters will have articles on how people have denounced yoga, but is yoga just not another word?
I mean a clever entrepreneur can rename the yoga course to goya or any other name. What can the fatwa people do? Since the yoga done now has no chanting, and is about physical movement, the only way you can pin it to pagan practice is by the name. So how about it?
How do you regulate lifestyle in a heavily capitalist society – it is a losing battle.
They’ll pledge their soul to secure a hereafter – but in their own simplistic way treat that passage as a game – and do what they can to the absolute limit of the game.
So as governors of the game, the fatwa council will end up chasing shadows, because their kids are in a borderless world.
You can make your daughters stay home after five, but through the internet they are traveling into museums in Rome, psychology theory classes and frolic in deep dungeons of desire.
That is why they have ideas beyond what you repeat to them. In very short time, they will find courage and the dissent is going to become more pronounced.
This is not rocket science, this is just the experience of all nations moving into the materialistically developed stage.
How they respond
By passing edicts.
What else can they do?
The whole bringing more religion to classrooms and work space is reaching is zenith, yet the obedience levels have not risen too.
Indiscipline, sub-cultures and the breakdown of the traditional family are realities that will only grow.
I have moms who force their city daughters to marry young because they do not want them to live in sin. The mothers do not fathom that unlike their own mothers, marrying early does not mean you stay the course.
The number of single mothers, and children raised in single parent homes has increased substantially.
Many government events try to include single mother events, and my council is looking at ways to help single mothers since they are a real concern.
So what edict do you want to pass to reduce divorce?
Classes before marriage are already in tow, so maybe now more classes during marriage?
And how about taking it to the next level?
Since there are so many sexual positions from the kama sutra which is decidedly from the Hindu period, why not ban those sexual positions?
Where does all of these end?
Maya – yes more Indian words – refers to looking to what is unreal or illusion.
The concept of control of your people in a rapidly developing Malaysia is an illusion at best.
But the idea of stalling a globalising world – in Malaysia at least – will remain the wish and hope of the council.
The modern world, is a marketplace of ideas. If you have a certain way of life, sell it to my fellow citizens as much as you want. But don’t think you can have the monopoly of people based on authority.
This is not the end of the yoga ban, as there will be a few more developments – and maybe an escalation.