MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, August 5, 2022

How does Oktoberfest challenge the position of Islam?


With cash-strapped families demanding immediate government action to help with the cost-of-living crisis, PAS’ top priority is Oktoberfest, while Ismail Sabri’s is the promotion of silat.

Are these men aware of the rakyat’s suffering? One has yet to hear a meaningful statement from PAS and Umno-Baru about helping families who have been hardest hit in their pockets.

Perhaps Oktoberfest and the promotion of silat are mere distractions because both parties have nothing to offer the rakyat to help them weather this crisis.

Or are they flexing their electoral muscles with the 15th general election (GE15) around the corner, and each wants to be the first to start the ball rolling with political point-scoring?

So, are we ready to admit that beer drinkers constitute a serious threat to Islam?

Apparently, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Idris Ahmad and PAS central committee member Nasrudin Hasan think so.

Would Nasrudin care to explain how the boozers can challenge the position of Islam in Malaysia?

Both Nasrudin and Idris’ remarks reflect badly on the Malay/Muslim community, who will be seen as weak and insecure, whose faith is so easily shaken.

The Malay/Muslim community make up at least 60 percent of the nation. The heads of the various government departments, the ministers, leaders of government-linked companies, schools, universities, police, and armed forces are mostly Malay.

Every residential area has many mosques and surau within shouting distance of one another. Mat Rempits who are repeat offenders are told to attend religious classes.

Widespread Islamic influence

Even things like root beer or hot dogs have to be renamed. Muslim converts, the born-again Muslims, act more Muslim than most Muslims.

At one time, in a conservative state on the east coast, Malay men who were absent thrice for Friday prayers, were paraded around town in a hearse.

There is no escaping the Islamic influence, and yet PAS’ claim that the annual presence of some beer guzzlers poses a serious threat to Islam in Malaysia. Really?

Idris said alcohol affects Malaysia's harmony, tranquillity, and public security. He is a perfect example of Dr Mahathir Mohamad's "Melayu mudah lupa".

The ‘cow head’ incident involved racist Malay/Muslims who threatened the peace. However, no beer was involved.

When some Malays were furious that bumiputera Christians use the word Allah in their prayers, no one consumed any beer; nevertheless, these hot-headed thugs caused public disorder.

Idris said alcohol was responsible for domestic violence, traffic accidents, poverty, fights, health problems, and poor work performance.

He sounds like he is describing a drunk person based solely on how he's seen them portrayed on television shows and movies, but has never actually encountered a drunk person in real-life.

Thankfully, Idris has provided a possible explanation for the poor work performance and belligerence of the annoying Little Napoleons in some government departments.

Drunk drivers may cause traffic accidents, but why did PAS omit the fact that drinking is responsible for relatively fewer road deaths compared to other causes?

In some Malay households, it is not alcohol which causes domestic violence, but a bullying, possessive, and jealous husband, or one who is under financial strain and deals with his stress by beating his wife.

The herd mentality is strongest when GE15 is imminent. Amanah’s Permatang Pasir state assemblyperson Faiz Fadzil joined the bandwagon and agreed that Oktoberfest should be banned.

Amanah should learn to be original. Trying to ape PAS will not get them more votes.

Alcohol for new Malay mothers

Some people may remember Wincarnis, a tonic wine. Older Malaysians know this drink as a blend of fortified wine, malt extract, and a combination of botanicals.

When I was a child, Wincarnis was consumed by nursing mothers during confinement, including in many Malay households. A small glass helped stimulate the appetite before the new mothers ate their herb-infused sup ayam kampung (village chicken soup).

The tonic was popular in Malaysia, Singapore, the Caribbean, and the Gulf. It is said to be rich in vitamins, especially energy-giving Vitamin B complex, and has beneficial effects on the circulation system and blood pressure.

The alcoholic content for Wincarnis is 17 percent. Most German beers have an alcoholic content by volume (ABV) of between 4 to 7 percent.

For comparison, Tiger beer has an ABV of 4.8 percent, Anchor is 5.0 percent, Carlsberg Special Brew is 7.5 percent, and Foster's is a mere 4 percent.

When the older makciks (aunties) met the new mothers in our extended family, the bottle of Wincarnis was produced, and the air was thick with cries of “It's good for your blood”, “It's heaty and will do your circulation good”, or “Drink up! It will get your strength back.” And the new mothers did not drink alone.

There was no talk of domestic violence, of maksiat (immorality), or of the liquor being a gateway to crime and evil. It didn't promote alcoholism among family members and did not destroy the mind.

More importantly, the alcoholic drink did not challenge the role of Islam in the family, or nation. Family members continued with the prayers and rituals expected of a Muslim.

If only PAS would realise that at a time when jobs are scarce, Oktoberfest may provide much-needed employment for many Malays in several industries, like food and beverage, hospitality, tourism, warehousing, bottling factories, transport, and sales and marketing.

Every little bit helps and Oktoberfest could give a much-needed boost to the economy. - Mkini

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army, and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). BlogTwitter.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.

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