Much has been debated about the recent dress code announced by the
Terengganu government on those who wishes to spend time in the beaches
We have on one side people like Mr. Karpal Singh and Dr. Chen Man Hin
labeling such act as going back to the middle ages. They also express
their concern about how such decision will effect the tourist industry
I am interested in commenting on the two points raised by the two DAP
leaders and I shall start with the first one and that is the point on
going back to the middle ages.
Why has such idea came to the minds of people like Mr.Karpal Singh and
Dr. Chen Man Hin.
If one were to study the history of bathing suits of western women, one
will see that in the early days, western women have bathing suits that
covers most of their bodies. It's probably designed so due to the
strong Judeo-Christian values of that time.
But when the West started to embark on the modern Sexual Revolution
bandwagon, the culture of "body exposure" also comes into being. We
know that the Sexual Revolution of the west is a by product of their
godless, materialistic and secular way of life that we all know by now
So as the values of the west change from traditional, spiritual values
to secular, materialistic values, so does the way they dress especially
what they wear at the beach and for swimming.
What use to be considered as indecent exposure became a norm due to the
Sexual Revolution of the west.
Now, Mr Karpal and Dr. Chen themselves state that such ruling is
actually a step backwards towards the middle ages. What they actually
imply is that such a step is towards a time when people are govern with
morality and spirituality rather than to embark on a secular, godless,
materialistic way of life.
In other words, should the Terengganu government allows public nudity
beaches and swimming pools in Terengganu, then Mr Karpal and Dr Chen
Hin will laud the move as being in line with progress. By progress I
mean being in line with the current developments and trends of the
Western Sexual Revolution.
But is this the kind of progress that we want in our country?. Needless
to say of the social diseases associated with the western sexual
revolution i.e. AIDS, high rates of divorce, single mothers, rapes,
incest, pornography and the last but most saddening of them all is the
destruction of the family institution.
To allow public exposure of most of one's body in the name of wearing
swimming suits and bikini's is allowing a small element of the western
sexual revolution to enter our society thus exposing us to the various
harms that entails such actions.
It's sadden me how zealous certain Malaysians can be to the moral
that gave birth to the Sexual Revolution of the West. Should not we as
Malaysians practice caution when it comes to foreign values and filter
anything external to our culture and heritage from entering our society
thus destroying our culture and heritage?.
Mr Karpal and Dr Chen Man Hin's notion of progress is clearly derived
from that of the west without any form of filtering or caution in mind.
I am starting to doubt Mr Karpal's commitment to the Malaysian culture
and heritage. To me it seems that the two actors of Malaysian politics
is more committed to western liberalism and western culture that that
Just because the West is advance in economics, science and technology
doesn't make them an example in terms of values and culture.
In fact the Terengganu government should be commended for their bravery
and sacrifice in ensuring that our way of life is preserved and
protected from the negative aspect of Western culture. Without the
clear dedication and sacrifice of the Terengganu government, whose to
stop more of the diseases from the Western culture from creeping into
our society. What's next, gay marriages?.
Also by doing so, they are also risking one of their source of income
i.e. tourism while at the same time having their rights denied
completely by an oppressive Federal government i.e. The denial of their
rights to the petroleum royalty. Their sacrifice should be commended by
all Malaysian that has complete faith in our culture and heritage.
Unlike some people that we know!!.
Logically, for any man or women to swim in the beaches of Terengganu
where it is known for it's vast coral reefs, the more covered one is
safer one is from thorns, cuts, bruises and also from harmful animals
that lurks in the waters of Terengganu. Personally I would not like to
wear just a swimming trunks when swimming in Terengganu beaches because
of the large amount of reefs that might give me minor cuts and not to
mention the pain when pain should be the last thing on your mind when
you're on a holiday.
On the point of hurting the tourism industry. I also would like to
differ. This is because there is no hard evidence accompanying such
claim made by Mr. Karpal Singh and Dr Chen Man Hin which was later
echoed by the Culture and Arts Minister, YB Datuk Kadir Sheikh Fadzir.
What bothers me is that such a statement would not have been true if
issue was not blown out of proportion for no reason at all. Such action
for blowing up this issue is a either a deliberate or undeliberate
effort towards sabotaging the Terengganu tourism industry. Already in
effect for more than two years now that TDC has stopped promoting
Terengganu as a tourist destination from any of it's campaign
worldwide. By blowing up this issue it would make the effort to ruin
Terenngganu tourism industry more sucsessful even though it is coming
from figures of the opposition parties.
And such going on is very saddenung considering that the absence of any
empirical evidence suggesting the negative effect of Terengganu tourism
industry due to the dress code.
As mentioned by Dr Syed Azman in his statement on May 8th 2002 that
" Syed Azman said such a policy of segregation of sexes has also been
suggested by the Penang hotelier association to cater for Middle
tourists who are increasingly visiting the country after the Sept 11
terrorist attacks on America."( unquote)
Ideas like separate swimming pools and to a large extent the dress code
could in the other hand attract tourists from Middle Eastern states
as Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan etc. The Middle Eastern market for Terengganu
is more than enough to cover the losses ( if any) of western tourists.
Such policies would definitely put Terengganu as the favorite spot for
tourism among the Middle Easterners.
Especially now when the campaign to boycott the West and America is
running so aggresively, for those middle easterners who usually spend
one or two months touring Europe and the US, to change their normal
tourist destination to Terengganu will not be a big problem. In fact,
is an opportunity knocking for the Terengganu government and the timing
for the dress code is ever so perfect.
Open minded tourists from the West should not find such ruling as
offensive and restrictive as normal tourists are always respectful of
the local culture and codes. Therefore, Terengganu would not lost out
all of the western tourists because not all of them are as fanatical as
Mr Karpal Singh and Dr Chen Man Hin of the Western Sexual Revolution
In the final analysis, with a not-so-bad reduction of western tourists
and with a large influx of middle eastern and northern Africa tourists,
the Terengganu government stands to gain from such policies. In my
opinion, there is a good business plan behind the dress-code policy
many are not aware of.
I personally was e-mailed by a friend from Kuwait asking me about the
story of the policy and it really interests him to spend his holidays
Terengganu. To me tourists from the Middle East are more safe in terms
of they do not carry with them the diseases associated with the Sexual
Revolution of the West.
I also believe that a government should not make exceptions to tourists
when it comes to rules and regulations. If a tourist is found to have
comitted murder, then he or she must be punished according to our laws.
The same goes to dress codes and rule related to mingling of sexes. If
the locals is prohibited from doing so, then those outside are also
prohibited as well.
There shouldn't be any double standard at all.
Lastly, there must not be a negative impression given to the Terengganu
government for this effort of theirs because in my opinion what they
have done is in the interest of preserving our culture and heritage
being corrupted by the secular, materialistic system of morality of the
Abdul Rahman Abdul Talib
Terbitan : 12 Mei 2002