For Malaysian arts to grow, the red tape must go!
February 18, 2006 in Local Politics, Social Activism & Religious Matter, TV & Theatre
Reading KakiSeni.com’s insightful and enlightening article on the taxes and permits that local arts companies are subjected to here, I could not help but feel a little miffed by the lack of effort on the government’s part to resolve these permit issues.
How can they expect us to nurture the growth of our performing arts industry when there are so many licensing and permit issues that are restricting and hampering the industry? Malaysia cannot be an arts and cultural hub with all this paperwork to do and the taxes are simply ridiculous!
While I understand that the government only intend for the red tape to prevent the staging of productions and performances that are deemed to be unsuited for Malaysian public audiences, but unfortunately, in their zeal to do so, they wield an ironfisted power over the innocent arts companies who simply want to entertain audiences, not start a revolution or riots!
This is simply another ploy for the government to “nanny” the public, ensuring that the “sensitivities of society” are “protected” and “safeguarded.” Echoes of parents telling their kids “It’s for your own good!” comes to mind.
Obviously, the government feels that Malaysia as a scoiety is still a naive society who does not know better and therefore, needs to be told what is good and what is not.
Hello, you baboons in the Internal Security Ministry, Home Affairs Ministry, Information Ministry and the Mnistry of Culture and Arts… the MALAYSIAN SOCIETY… are NOT a bunch of kindergarten children! We are perfectly capable of thinking on our own and we don’t need your incessant nannying and telling us what we can hear, see, read and say! We just want to enjoy good music, interesting dramas and plays, exciting films and imaginative stories that suit our own tastes and interests. We don’t really care about whatever hidden messages (if there are any in the first place) that are contained in films, dramas and music… leave that to the experts and professionals.
And even if there are hidden messages, more power to the people behind them for cleverly disguising them (that’s what i call creative!). Do you really expect us to do horrendous things just because we listened to songs and inspired by plays, films and books? Ridiculous! You are simply underestimating the intelligence of the collective Malaysian society!
Like KakiSeni.com’s article pointed out, these taxes and permits existed way back in the times of the British and Japanese occupation and also during the Emergency period. The British understandably imposed permits and regulations when the Malays put on their sandiwara for fear they will stoke nationalistic and patriotic feelings among the public. Similarly, the Japanese also did the same for fear these plays would give rise to anti-Japanese sentiments. Then, during the Emergency period, our own Malaysian government also imposed restrictions on Chinese opera because they feared the communists, who were predominantly Chinese in those days, would use them as a propaganda vehicle to raise support for communism.
Now, tell me, are these regulations, permits, taxes, limitations or whatever you want to call it… still workable in this time and age? We are in the 21st century now, a time when most people should be intelligent and wise enough in not going to the extreme. Let the people make their own decisions. We don’t need a government that tells us what to do and not to do, we have the law for that already thank you very much. What the government ought to do is to champion for the rights of our artistic and creative people for it is them that would bring in the revenue for the government through their performances.
The government should nurture the talents of these individuals and help them for some of them barely make ends meet while plying their trade in their arts. We are talking about the rich culture and heritage of our country, of our people. Do you really want to see it destroyed through red tape and bureaucracy shenanigans??
I long for the day when the Malaysian arts community are freed from the shackles of bureaucracy by a government that are more in tune and in favour of promoting the culture and heritage of our country. Unfortunately, that day still seems to be very, very far away.
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