Mutakhir (Dec 7): Emma West ditahan pihak berkuasa tanpa bicara sehingga Jan 3, 2011. Ini bermakna beliau akan dikurung lebih satu bulan di pusat tahanan walaupun tidak bersabit apa-apa kesalahan ataupun menghadapi tuduhan jenayah serius (umpamanya mengganas atau merompak).
Wanita itu hanya membebel sewaktu menaiki tram dan itupun beliau sedang menimang anak kecilnya di atas riba — setakat itulah sahaja kesalahannya yang didakwa perbuatan ‘rasis’. Alasan diberikan bahawa Emma ditahan demi keselamatan dirinya, lebih kurang dakyah yang pernah diberi Menteri Dalam Negeri kita untuk menjelaskan kenapa wartawan Sinchew Tan Hoon Cheng ditahan ISA suatu ketika dulu.
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A white woman had to appear before the Croydon Magistrates Court yesterday for ranting, “What has this country [the UK] come to?…with loads of black people and a load of f**king Polish”.
Her tirade was captured on a 2:25-minute video clip which has garnered 2.5 million views since it was uploaded to YouTube on Sunday. It was also brought to the attention of the British Transport Police which was super duper efficient in identifying and arresting Emma West, 34.
The BBC has reported that Emma is accused of “a racially/religiously aggravated intentional harassment”. A local paper additionally reported that she is being remanded in custody for a week pending psychiatric reports.
The British law enforcement and other authorities have gone way, way overboard in tackling her case. Such swift and stern action taken against her is simply symptomatic of European political correctness gone stark, raving mad.
So Emma doesn’t like blacks. Is that a crime? Would the pious posse be pontificating in equal measure if it was Emmet a black man who dislikes whites?
She’s also unhappy there are so many Poles in her country. Yet the Polish guest workers are white like her.
Basically, the issue is about coping with immigration.
Brits who use public transport – in her case the Croydon-to-Wimbledon Tramlink – are surrounded by people whom they think are unlike themselves (the tribal instinct). Brits driving their own cars, i.e. the more privileged class, would not have shared Emma’s experience of up close-and-personal encounters with foreign strangers.
Paralleling the Emma situation to home, it would be like this: If you’re a Bangsar Malaysian, you would not have the experience of riding a public bus where most of the passengers are Bangladeshi, Myanmarese and Indonesians.
A Malaysian version of Emma would be complaining about ‘pendatang’, not necessarily only Chinese and Indians but Indonesians as well.
Her behaviour would not be socially sanctioned here either or but over there, they’re criminalizing it — which is too much. If folks were to be penalized for using expletive-laden language, then a good number of the readers commenting in Malaysia’s top ranked news portal would be paying fines daily.
What’s most/almost unbelievable is the part about the psychiatric assessment of Emma’s state of mind. Is Great Britain running a police state and indicting her for Thought Crime?
An incident of three women raising their voices and swearing at each other on a tram was greeted by the all too predictable chest-beating. Piers Morgan – a judge on Britain’s Got Talent contest as well as CNN talk show host – raged on Twitter (screenshot below).
Some called for Emma to be locked up while some said her child should be taken away, and others demanding harsher punishment. I suppose it makes them feel superior and above the petty race consciousness that afflicts lesser mortals but really, the ones who declare she’s an unfit mother and should be made to give up her toddler are beyond belief.
Some of the commentators in this blog have half-jokingly noted that anything they say which implies their Malayness will be used against them to brand them racists. I understand the frustration as DAP is criminalizing those of us who prefer to acknowledge our Chinese and Indian identities too.
This word ‘racist’ is overused, and projecting one’s self as ‘un-racist’ is an overrated virtue.
A mualaf once wrote in his Utusan column about how “matanya begitu sepet” referring to me, and saying “kalau tak puas hati bagus balik ke tempat asal-usulmu la” which makes him no different from Emma West except that the patriotic posturing is kind of wobbly when his own eyes are more sepet than mine.
I don’t lose any sleep if he (that prolific newspaper columnist) or anyone else calls me ‘sepet’. Nor do I believe that the law should be involved when people name call each other by ethnic slurs on our racial features.
However I do believe in social censure-cum-pressure so that the act does not come across as acceptable. It was appropriate that the prime minister’s special officer Nasir Safar, who reportedly uttered the remarks that the Chinese forebears had come to this country as prostitutes and Indians as beggars, resigned his post.
You can’t legislate so that people be forced to like each other through allowing the law to invade every inch of public space — dictating our vocabulary and monitoring our verbal tiffs.
Exposure and a spirit of accommodation willingly embraced is the better and less intrusive, less suffocating alternative. For example, take the rather unusual circumstances that I find myself in now — where the readership here is predominantly Malay.
Although I wouldn’t in the first place colour my language with racism but due to the environment of this blog, I do keep in mind more to ‘jaga hati’. If a greater number of Malaysians were placed in these same shoes, say a Malay working in a Chinese office or a Chinese having a predominantly Indian clientele, more of us would be making a conscious effort to avoid offending sensitivities.
Related to my discussion above, there’s an article by FMT columnist Zaidel Baharuddin that I’d like to recommend. It regards his questioning of the adoration that Bangsar Malaysia showers on popular ad producer Yasmin Ahmad and their favourite movie of hers, Sepet.
Zaidel wrote: “I know some of you really like the fact that it is about a Malay girl and a Chinese dude and fantasize about it [interracial relationships]. … The thing is, though the preset of the whole story seems like a great idea, yet the movie itself, the scenes and plot feel fake.”
“I felt like I was watching a propaganda movie but unlike North Korea, this one is filled with untold yearnings and dreams of a director who is altering the reality to fit her definition of how things should be, it is like our reality is being overdosed with sugar, spice and everything nice,” Zaidel continued.
“I have this shallow hypothesis that those who love Sepet are people who never really mingled around. They wish they had the chance to do it and fantasize about it when they watch Yasmin’s movies. So when people tell me that Malaysia should be what Yasmin portrays in her movies, I tend to disagree.” (To read the rest of Zaidel’s column, click here.)
I am concerned about racism, and with DAP people being called ‘DAPpigs’, Chinese slappped the ‘kafir harbi’ label and worse epithets or Indians rudely stereotyped.
Nevertheless, I would at the same time caution against overreacting. The David Nga Kor Ming YouTube where he says “Menteri Besar hitam metallic” is one instance.
While I don’t disagree that there is hypocrisy in the attitudes of some DAP evangelist politicians, party members and their supporters, I feel the police reports and inviting police interference are unnecessary and taking it too far.
Updated (7.45am) Screenshots of the Emma West Twitter lynch mob grabbed from ‘Anorak‘ article about how they want her “raped, shot and knifed”.
Does the tone of the Tweets remind you of any of our own group of self-righteous Malaysians? Compare what they’re saying and see if they’re not themselves worse than the woman they’re casting stones at.
What’s most interesting is that the indignant tweeters sampled below, judging by their avatars, are white. Think about this.
These postings might interest you: