Thursday, April 7, 2011

Malaysia — Truly Asia?

Boy, I hope not. It would be a shame if Asia — the region that's supposed to lead the world out of the doldrums and into a bright, shiny 21st century — was led by people like this.
Malaysian men have extramarital sex because of “wives who neglect their responsibilities” to their husbands, a Malaysian lawmaker told Parliament on Thursday, outraging women’s groups.

“Husbands driving home after work see things that are sexually arousing and go to their wives to ease their urges,” said independent lawmaker Ibrahim Ali, according to online portal Malaysiakini.

“But when they come home to their wives, they will say, ‘wait, I’m cooking,’ or ‘wait, I’m getting ready to visit relatives’,” Ibrahim said.

“In Islam, wives are supposed to stop everything to fulfill their husband’s demands.”
Let me see if I've got this straight. While unmarried, women are supposed to remain chaste and covered up, preferably from head to toe. When married, they are supposed to tend to the children and household duties but drop everything when The Man of the House is at half-mast because he saw a racy ad (or whatever passes as such in Malaysia) on the way home from work.

If I didn't know any better, I'd say Islam didn't have a high opinion of women.
His strident comments came as he asked about plans by the government’s religious development department to educate wives on their responsibilities.

Wives failing in their duties pushed men to go to “private places to satisfy their urges”, he said.
See? If it wasn't for you stupid women and your "education" and your demands for "equal rights," Malaysia would be a pure, upstanding nation with no need for those unmentionable sex workers. For shame, women!

Lest you think Ibrahim Ali is a lone crackpot, though, Malaysian MPs have previous in the Misogyny Sweepstakes.
Women drivers are “slow” at the wheel and “oblivious” on the roads, a Malaysian ruling party MP told parliament, prompting outrage among women’s groups on Tuesday.

“Some women drivers drive slowly and seem oblivious to traffic,” Bung Mokhtar Radin was quoted as saying by the Star daily, while urging the government to set up a body to monitor new motorists.

“When you honk at them, they get agitated with some even showing hand gestures to other drivers,” he added. An aide to the lawmaker confirmed the remarks but declined further comment.

It is not the first time Bung has made controversial comments about women.

In 2007 he brought up menstruation in a debate about parliament’s leaking roofs, responding to a female opposition MP by stating: “Where is the leak? (She) leaks every month too.” He later apologized.
You stay classy, Kuala Lumpur.

It would be unfair to paint all of Asia with the same brush, though. A number of countries have elected female heads of state, many of whom distinguished themselves as leaders. Look at the likes of Corazon Aquino, Roza Otunbayeva, Benazir Bhutto — why, even Indonesia's own Megawati has had the honor of leading her nation. She was appointed rather than elected, sure, but the point still stands.

Who will be the next Asian nation to elect a female leader? It's probably a safe bet she won't come from the Arab world or Iran. Japan is also unlikely, given how entrenched the old boy network is there, and I don't know enough about Korean politics to speculate. Audrey Eu would be interesting, especially with how she wiped the floor with Donald "The Big Bowtie" Tsang in a televised debate last year, but she's too feisty and opposition-y for Beijing's tastes, I'm sure.

Wherever Asia's next female leader comes from, it won't be a minute too soon.

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