Monday, May 14, 2007

Neanderthals In Parliament

“Mana ada bocor, Batu Gajah pun tiap-tiap bulan bocor juga”

Some say, this is just men behaving like men. Others say, this is men behaving like cavemen. I tend to agree with the latter.

The MP who said it says it is just a joke and that there’s nothing wrong with it.

Really? A joke? Do you see me laughing?

Sadly, this type of insult disguised as a joke has existed for ages and men have been getting away with this for so long. Maybe it’s time that they all wake up and watch what they say.

No, it’s not about women being overly sensitive. It is about people respecting people enough not to make jokes about the physical appearances or bodily functions of the opposite gender, whichever it is.

And the fact that it happened in the august house that is the Parliament just saddens me to no end. Does the Parliament consist of Neanderthals?

During one of my shopping trips recently, I encountered two boys who were practically laughing to tears at the sanitary pads aisle. They were making some jokes about the womanly cycle and obviously thought that that was very funny.

I told them off and they ran away. Looking back now, I wonder if they are the MP's sons?

As we all know, Neanderthals breed Neanderthals.

Meanwhile, here’s the Press Statement made by the Bar Council Chairman over this issue.

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In 2006, Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution was amended to prohibit discrimination against anyone on the grounds of gender. Prior to this Malaysia had acceded to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1995.

As Malaysians, we have every reason to be proud that there was recognition by us as a nation that any discrimination on the grounds of gender was unacceptable and now in fact expressly prohibited. These moves were wholly in keeping with international human rights norms.

Against this background, the sexist statements reported to have been made by members of Parliament to the effect that another member of Parliament who is a woman "also leaks once a month" are most unfortunate. Worse,those who spoke the words apparently saw no fault in them, thus adding insult to injury.

The remarks made are offensive, distasteful and wholly unbecoming of members of Parliament. Unfortunately it reflects a mindset that remains despite the Government's official position of gender equality. Enacting laws is one way to ensure equality but no amount of legislating canremove deep-rooted prejudices that lie in the hearts and minds of the people.

Gender equality is a responsibility of all Malaysians. It is a responsibility that manifests in many ways. One is to work towards removing gender bias from our laws. Another is to ensure that gender bias does not exist in our conduct and that gender insensitive comments are eradicated from our vocabulary. If made, they should not be tolerated. We expect our Parliamentarians to lead the way in being gender sensitive in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Federal Constitution.

We must seriously pursue our desired objective that women may participate fully in the political, economic, cultural and social life of thiscountry, without having to tolerate discrimination.

Dated 11 May 2007

Ambiga Sreenevasan
Bar Council


Hjh Esah Jolie said...

Literally, what does 'Batu Gajah Tiap Bulan Bocor' mean?

This sexist insinuation of pompuan punya bodily function masih wujud ke dikalangan laki-laki Malaya tak guna ni?

Hats off for telling the boys is about time girls make jokes abt the size of condom, where those with the size of 'chips' tapi ada hati nak beli size German Sausage...or worse, don't know what size to buy and tak reti pakai!!

Eeee..jahat nya I...

J.T. said...

So disgusting. I read the report in The StarOnline.

An excerpt of the report: "IT WAS not the first time sexist remarks were uttered in the august house. But what irked the Opposition this time was the fact that the two backbenchers who made the remarks got off without even an apology.
What was more appalling for the DAP MPs, who left the Dewan in disgust and anger, was that Barisan Nasional backbenchers cheered and thumped the tables when their colleagues escaped unscathed as if sanctioning what the two did.
On Wednesday, Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN – Kinabatangan) and “Close-One-Eye” Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (BN – Jasin), uttered a remark against Fong Poh Kuan (DAP – Batu Gajah) while they were in a heated argument over the ceiling leakage in the Parliament building.
“Mana ada bocor? Batu Gajah pun bocor tiap-tiap bulan juga (Where is the leak? The Batu Gajah MP leaks every month too),” they said. ......"

They have been doing it time and again. They epitomise the word 'cavemen'.
Unfortunately, this lot won't go away. They think it is okay to joke that way. When their children see them do it and the parents are not corrected, they ultimately breed another generation of cavemen. Change must begin from within.

Typhoon Sue said...

hjh esah:-

eeee.... jahatnya you...

ya la. it's about time women give them a taste of their own medicine. but then again, although some women have already been daring enough to do that, the rest of us are maybe to shy to be making references like that. so how?


ya, disgusting innit?
and they did it in Parliament! if the law-making body itself exhibits this type of behaviour, then what can we expect from the entire male population of the general public?

elviza said...

Sue Dear,

Eiiiiii!!! ni I dah malas dah nak cakap pasal dua orang nih. But still, since you brought it up, I must say something.

Honestly, are they not educated at all? Have their senses left them completely?

Why are they so devoid of compassions? Beat me...

&*%#@$$$$$$&*#$%& (marah nih)

Their voters need serious thinking.

And what about the other members of parliament who reportedly thumbed their tables? Funny huh?

Okay, off to calm down, this emotional thing in me cant be good

A Babe Of Very Little Brain said...

those two MPs have the loudest voices in Dewan Rakyat and think they are funny too at times.

pugly said...

What's even more amusing is his gall at denying the (obvious) insinuation. He actually thinks people are stupid enough to buy his `it didn't mean anything' bullcrap. I mean, apa lagi yang bocor bulan2? Doing2 betul.

Kak Teh said...

sue, one minister who shall remain nameless came here and spoke about our virgin jungles and went on and on about virgins,wink, wink ,nudge,nudge. None of us were amused and the international press, needless to say felt most disgusted as such display of sexist remarks. It was quite embarrassing for us.

chubby said...

Sue, maybe they are influenced by the cartoon 'Cavemen' when they were young...Too much of cartoons...

The Blueberry said...

Sue, diorang tu semua still live in the Flinstone age lah. They just happened to travel forward in time (probably got zapped by some lighting) and just got lucky. Dan memang ramai orang-orang lelaki zaman diorang tu di dunia ni. Biasanya orang-orang ni ialah mereka yang bila cikgu ajar buat bo layan, parents diorang pulak tak ajar bab gender sensitivity ni, kena pulak bapa sendiri pun macam tu jugak (male chauvinist pig).

Menteri Wanita kena lah work doubly hard about this matter. jangan dok cakap retorik saja. Apa guna ofis yang lawa kat Jalan Raja Laut tu kalau tak work hard.

I memang pantang orang lelaki zaman batu macam ni tau. I panggil diorang ni Jantan KZ (ketinggalan zaman).

Typhoon Sue said...

sabar je lah. jgn marah2, nanti diaorg kata PMS plak; u know lah, those men and their stupid jokes.

u know what they say, big mouth, small ****.
(errr...they say or i say?)

memang bongok punya org itu mamat 2 ekor.

really? which idiot minister was that? OMG. what an embarassment!

tak tau le. maybe that's the only thing they can relate to. the rest of the TV shows are too smart for their small brains

ya, mmg ramai lagi yg bongok camni. and there are so many other instances of sexist remarks like this.

i was at a meeting earlier today when a client said in reference to a declaration of assets, "Property here means real pty only ok; condo or houses, not (made a hand gesture of a woman's body)..."
I quickly told him, in front of everybody, that THAT (the gesture) is NOT 'property'.

It didn't go any further than that, thankfully, but I think he got my message.

Anonymous said...

It's disgusting how the Malaysian political scene is constantly and consistently politically incorrect.

In my opinion, we need to start at addressing the simple concept of R-E-S-P-E-C-T towards women before anything else. Let's not confuse it with gender equality.

kimster said...

the only real leakage is the leakage of intellectual capacity/bandwidth among them wakil rakyats.