Wow, I knew that I no longer watched local television for a reason. However, even I got a bit stunned when I read this piece of news, first things this morning, on the BBC – “Malaysian Eid advert axed for resembling Christmas”. According to the article:
Malaysia’s TV3 has apologised for airing the festive clip, which wished Muslims a happy Eid al-Fitr, the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
The advert showed an elderly man taking children aboard his flying carriage and travelling across a star-filled sky.
Critics said it was too akin to the tale of Santa Claus and his sleigh.
The clip provoked considerable criticism, much of it from internet and blogging sites, which deemed it insensitive and in poor taste.
It also depicted lotuses, which some complained have links to Buddhism and Hinduism.
This is just sad. I want to think that the majority of Malaysia is far more tolerant than this. However, the bigots are usually the vocal ones. I think that, in the spirit of celebrations, the silent majority should voice out our displeasure at such stupidity.
The ad was probably just an attempt, and even possibly an experiment, to integrate different aspects of Malaysian life and culture into a single ad. Someone probably thought that it was cute and creative because nobody has ever done something like this before.
We are probably one of the few countries in the world where it actually makes sense to integrated every religious symbol into everything that we do because we have so many kinds of people around. That is our strength and that is our uniqueness.
Unfortunately, we are now being show-cased as an intolerant bunch of ignorant people.
I miss Yasmin Ahmad.