Unity is not hegemony — Lyana Khairuddin

Source: The Star Online

BY LYANA KHAIRUDDIN

BY NOW, I think almost everyone is familiar with the decision by Festival Filem Malaysia (FFM) to separate the categories for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay into Bahasa Malaysia and non-Bahasa Malaysia categories. The reason given by the organisers for this move was the need to uphold Bahasa Malaysia in films, thus a film needs to have 70% of its script in the national language for it to be considered an excellent Malaysian movie.

The debacle, protests, and resignations that followed this decision then necessitated our Communications and Multimedia Minister to intervene. As of time of writing, the FFM will have an inclusive Best Picture category, but there will also be a Best Film in the National Language category (where I assume someone would have the task of finely combing through the scripts to ensure it fulfills the 70% requirement).

Confused, yet?

The online discourse that followed the FFM’s decision has made for a bigger discussion on Malaysian identity. Ironically, this discourse occurs in the Merdeka month with the recurring theme of “Sehati Sejiwa” (One Heart, One Soul).

I have lived almost 33 years as a Malaysian. Yet, the only times I have confidently stated “I am a Malaysian” without needing any further elaboration, is when I am overseas.

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Church of Assumption’s cancelled ‘buka puasa’ event — Lyana Khairuddin

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY LYANA KHAIRUDDIN

JULY 3 — Members of The Church of Assumption, Petaling Jaya recently came up with an idea to improve interfaith understanding by organising abuka puasa event. The organisers even consulted popular and influential non-governmental individual (NGI), Syed Azmi Al-Habshi on the event.

Prior to the event, the Church members sourced for halal food, prepared a prayer room by removing all Christian paraphernalia from their Sunday School classroom, provide prayer mats (sejadah), provide plastic sandals to ease ablution by Muslim attendees who wish to pray, maps of nearby mosques in the event that Muslims attendees are uncomfortable with praying in a Church, and even asked whether it would be appropriate to play raya songs for the event. The details and extend of the effort by the members of the Church should be applauded. The concern comes when Muslims ourselves do not want to extend our hands in faithful friendship. A police report was lodged, causing the organisers to cancel the event to prevent any potential violence or “trouble”. Nonetheless, to prevent food wastage, the Church urged those who have registered for the event to come and collect the foods and drinks provided. Some attendees even stayed, and berbuka puasa with the members of the Church anyway. Some may say let bygones be bygones, but this incident serves as an embarrassing lesson to Malaysian Muslims. Here we have the best opportunity to extend friendship and have conversations with fellow Malaysians who are non-Muslims, who are genuinely interested in learning more about our faith. And we, through the action of one or a few persons unknown, basically rejected their “salaam”. It is akin to refusing to shake hands and extending goodwill. Worse, it propagates our need to be cocooned within a shell of protection from evils that we ourselves have created. Read more

International Women’s Day: Recognizing One Woman’s Fight for LGBT Rights in Malaysia

Source: Human Rights Campaign

LyanaKhairuddin

Lyana Khairuddin – pic taken from The Star Online

hrc-general-blog1600In honor of International Women’s Day, HRC Global is spotlighting women who are advancing equality around the globe, including Lyana Khairuddin, a self-described “HIV & AIDS advocate” from Malaysia. Lyana, a bisexual, Muslim woman who served as an HRC global fellow last fall, is working in Malaysia to fight discrimination and the spread of HIV & AIDS in her country.

“Navigating activism around LGBT rights is an uphill struggle,” she says. “There is a multidimensional complexity to discussing these issues, especially when there is an increasingly restricted space for expression. “

Lyana’s work in Malaysia is not easy. Many human rights challenges are plaguing Malaysia, including the right to gender expression and unfortunate incidences of violence and discrimination. Read more