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An open letter to all Malaysians who slammed Farah Ann Abdul Hadi

Hello folks,

I think it’s incredibly important to not blow things out of proportions here. I’m not writing this to openly slam anyone and disregard anyone’s belief. I, like most Malaysians out there, am decent enough to understand that we all have our own reservations about certain things, including religion.

We have principles and concepts that we adhere to on a daily basis, and that’s perfectly understandable. But what happened yesterday, was something I struggled to comprehend, for a plethora of reasons. Sexism, is probably the first.

Athletes have worn these costumes/attire for a very long time. Abdul Malik Mydin, a renowned Malaysian swimmer, who is best known for his feat of swimming across the English Channel back in 2003, accomplished his feat by wearing bare minimum clothes. Our national football team players wear shorts that doesn’t cover their knee, according to Islamic principles. Zulfadli Zulkifli, our national badminton player, wears shorts that doesn’t cover his knee as well.

I could go on listing down examples, but you get the drill. But for added flavour, check out Mokhtar Dahari’s image below. I don’t think it covers his knee either.

mokhtardahari
Ironically though, I’ve never seen any negative comments being directed towards ‘Supermokh’. Instead, every coffee shop discussion on Malaysian football’s golden days, will not be complete without paying homage the man who is often touted as the greatest Malaysian footballer to have graced the field.

Not that Supermokh doesn’t deserve it, don’t get me wrong. He deserves every single plaudit that comes his way till today, after everything he did for Malaysia. But the double standard is something that sheds light on a deeply rooted sexism issue within the Malaysian society.

Farah Ann Abdul Hadi is no different to Mokhtar. I’m not comparing their success, but at the end of the day, they are both Malaysian athletes who went out there and made the nation proud. To a certain extent, some could even argue that it’s more difficult to achieve Farah’s success, considering she had to battle through sexism and societal expectations to be where she is today.

They wear these outfits, not for the fun of it. They do so, to allow them the opportunity to maximize their potential within the sport. It allows them to be as light as possible, to produce and manufacture the best time. It’s almost a pre-requisite to do well on the international stage.

Then comes the sport itself.

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I spoke to an individual who is within the gymnastic spectrum (wanted to remain anonymous) earlier today, and this individual had an interesting comment. “Truth be told, the severity of this incident would not be apparent if the sport involved was football or something that’s more appealing to the nation’s sporting culture. Gymnastics isn’t exactly regarded as a major sport in this country, so people don’t value the success of our talented athletes.”

While I have my own reservations on that particular comment, one can’t help but feel there may be some truth in it. Look at the discourse that has been taking place, ever since this issue exploded on social media. All attention has been focused on her outfit, instead of her sheer achievement. She didn’t edge through to win her gold medal. Farah Ann stunned the judges with her impeccable display en route to winning gold.

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 6.02.41 PM
But here’s the thing. The gold medal doesn’t mean a single thing without our support. The positive connotation that’s attached to every single success and medal out there, is derived from the support she receives from us. In clearer words, she banks on our support, every single time she heads out there on the battlefield. Every nerve-wrecking moment and butterflies in her tummy – they are all dealt with within her mind, by positive reinforcing the fact that she’s doing this for us and we’re there to back her up.

But having sacrificing hours to train and develop, before going out there to clinch a gold medal, she’s then criticized for an outfit that was merely used for her to clinch the win in the first place.

Then the ultimate question comes. Even if we disagree with her outfit, do we go out there and publicly shame her for it?

Any discussion about religious principles in sports can go on an endless path, but let’s stick to the point here, shall we. I respect your principles and disagreement, but I don’t think we need to make it public and impose our standards or expectations on other individuals. Farah Ann may not your match standards that you believe in, but standards or yardsticks are always tailored to your social and personal upbringing. It’s never the same, and can never be implemented uniformly across the board. It may be religious beliefs, but I think we Malaysians are capable of respecting boundaries and standards of other individuals. We have to be better than that.

Also, any form of public discussion doesn’t exactly help this athletes in the quest for more glory. The least we could do, in assisting their mission, is providing support and the platform within which they can thrive in and grow as sportsmen or sportswomen.

I understand that some of you may have said those things in the heat of the moment. I will respect your right to have opinions, but when it borders bigotry and misogyny, respect is the last thing you’ll get from anyone.

For what it’s worth, I hope we can move past this incident, and continue giving the support that our athletes deserve on a daily basis. You go, Farah! Keep making the nation proud!

Yours truly,

A fellow Malaysian

Keeshaanan Sundaresan
Keesh is the Chief Editor of FourthOfficial.com, and has been active in the world of sports writing since 2011. He was also part of the team that launched Goal.com Malaysia back in 2012. Some of the other platforms that he’s been published/syndicated on includes: Yahoo! Sports, Sportskeeda.com, LiveSoccerTV.com, Ipoh Echo as well as AsianFootballFeast.com

47 Comments

  • Those who comment on what they want to see in her body (or the bodies of
    other female) instead of her performance are the mentally sick who try
    to project a holy image of themselves. Given an opportunity, these are
    the same ones who cannot resist the temptation and will touch (or maybe
    worse) those who they perceived as not covering their “aurat”. Such
    perverts are proud of revealing themselves by expressing their
    uncontrolled sexual temptation. Heaven or hell she decides. Right or
    wrong is for Almighty God to decide. Pervert busybodies who pretend to
    be ‘holier than thou’ just shut up. Except perverts, Malaysians want to celebrate and rejoice with her on her achievement/success.

  • only stupid muslims who have this kind of bad idea,You assholes don’t know how to appreciate,She wear like this and you guys judge her?Deyh! ask her wear tudung and long dress and attend competition,See rather she can win golds a not!APPRECIATE please,APPRECIATE what she did for our Country,It’s enough! Brainless! for those ppl who judge her,Only Allah can judge her,you guys just shut the fuck up.Thanks

    • stupid non-muslims dont talk, advice or give concern. they just do it.. hint, try google “rape statistic” and see who is stupid?

      • Only muslims have this kind of bad ideas,your brain’s full of parasites you muslims faggots,jgn buang muka Islam lah lol, kena ppl laugh you Bodoh only,HAHAA

        • Even the Menteri Sukan has asked them to shut up! Stop acting GOD! Congratulations Farah. Please ignore negative comments from sour grapes for they are not your GOD. Maybe Demons in disguise!

          • nobody acting God my friend, just passing up what God told us to do. to give advice from another point of view. and do you think Menteri Sukan talked on God behalf? do you think he is knowledgable religiously in every aspects? he maybe just as ignorance and you my friend.. and if i want to introduce Demon to you, it is the Demon who support women’s exposure, more and more beibeh! good performance! go get the gold beibeh! etc etc…

          • Where is the demon when men expose themselves in bodybuilding ! sleeping ahhhh. Must be a sexist Demon. God gives us brains and eyes to see good when you look at evil then you are possessed by DEMON. Proud of Farah, you go girl and leave the DEMONS behind.

          • how many men got raped due to male indecent exposure? men and women are different physiology and psychology thats why men’s aurat is much much less, go read or google the sexuality psychology book. but i agree with you, what is wrong is absolutely wrong, male also should wear according to the standard (navel to knee).

            religious people tend to protect women’s dignity and security than men’s, thats why you will see more complaints towards indecent women, women are the one usually manipulated and been taken advantage by other parties. but you all ignorance got it all totally backward, it is funny that people who told them to cover up are the mentally sick retarded one, the people who told you its ok for freedom to wear less cloth, only a string or even naked are the mentally health one? how sick upside down this world has become.

            btw, its funny when people advising religious they got accused for being acting like a God, but actually they only stating what is already stated long time ago by God in the book (Quran, Bible, Torah). i think it is you all non-religious people acting like a God because you like to define rules based on what your brain think right. God decides what rules, and non-religious try to do exactly that. poor religious people only stating what they have read, not their own words, not in any case try to reinvent new things…

          • The Bible does not state anything about aurat.

            I suggest you read up other religious texts before you mouth off here and show us what an ignoramus you are.

            In addition to being a bigot and a sexist.

            Take you so-called moralistic stance on clothing and shove it up where the sun doesn’t shine, Safri Ibn Umar Al-Alee!

          • lu Tuhan ye sekarang? Atau sangka sendiri Nabi? mampulah mengatakan sendiri bersuara untuk Tuhan. Inikah Islam? Sombong sampai boleh ingat sendiri Tuhan?

            tak boleh tahan nafsu sendiri, itu akidah lu sendiri saja. asyik saja nak lagak Tuhan, sebenarnya otak penuh dengan benda tak senonoh.

            inikah Muslim? Inikah Islam?

          • ya betul. mari kita layan nafsu tengok gambar, siapa mau block itu gambar nasihat agama etc, kita shoot dia. sebab yg suka tengok gambar ni memang suka layan nafsu…

          • lu buat peraturan sendiri bole tunjuk itu ini, lu la fikir lu tuhan or nabi. jangan tuduh kita orang, kita orang cakap apa yg tuhan cakap dalam buku, kita sudah baca, lu belum baca. bukan kitaorang punya ayat or decision.

          • you’re not advising religion, you’re just showing how religious you are compared to every one us.

            you claim God here God there, claim you speak for God, claim you better than everyone because you claim you state the words of God.

            have you read the entire Quran? have you read the entire Bibile? have you read the entire Torah? Such arrogance.

            you even used the God over and over and over again just to show how much God in your words, God in your tone, God in your person.

            as if you and you alone are the PERFECT human being just because you say God here, and say God there.

            yeah, i’m stating what i’ve read which is what you’re written here.

          • lu yang buat peraturan sendiri. lu sudah baca? artikel pun tak mampu baca, asyik tengok gambar je. sanggup ke baca buku?

            tipu leh

          • lu bacalah artikel layan nafsu lu lah… lu baca saja artikel pun boleh fikir benda tak senonoh, lu otak lagi miang liao…

          • artikel ni layan nafsu? wah, bang, lu imaginasi hebat jugak. oh bukan. sekadar lu otak miang.

            orang Muslim lah ni. sendiri yang miang, cakap orang lain pulak.

          • You are not God either, Farah is an individual and can do as she pleases. it you not happy just use a patch over your eyes ok

      • so her outfit provoke ppl to rape her? well, ur face provoke me to punch u..can i punch u n say its ur fault because ure not wearing a mask to hide ur face?

        • 1st point) God doesnt ask to cover women’s or men’s face because God knows only very2 very2 little people are so sick like you who got provoked by the face.

          2nd point) her outfit probably will not encourage the sick people to rape her, but other decent girls near to him.

          3rd point) God doesnt ask man to cover his face because if another man like you get provoked to punch another man’s face like me, then go for it we can figure out later who’s going to be the victim 😉

          4th point) the so called “Rational Thinking Godless” people like you should not talk out of your ass, show me statistics how many men/women got punched in the face due to their provoking looking face…. here are others point of view to prove i’m not talking out of my ass…. where is yours? dont just be an ignorant keyboard warrior fool, get yourself educated…

          http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomchiversscience/100219595/does-porn-cause-sexual-violence-probably-not-but-were-allowed-to-want-to-protect-children-from-it-anyway/

          http://reason.com/archives/2007/11/05/is-pornography-a-catalyst-of-s

          http://www.ricestandard.org/authors-sp-authorspornography-creating-rapists-and-abusers/

          http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/proceedings/20/goldsmith.pdf

          albeit with all these human studies, people seemed to failed to correlate between those studies and what God asked us to do, how ironic…

        • 1st point) God doesnt ask to cover women’s or men’s face because God knows only very2 very2 little people are so sick like you who got provoked by the face.

          2nd point) her outfit probably will not encourage the sick people to rape her, but other decent girls near to him.

          3rd point) God doesnt ask man to cover his face because if another man like you get provoked to punch another man’s face like me, then go for it we can figure out later who’s going to be the victim 😉

          4th point) the so called “Rational Thinking Godless” people like you should not talk out of your ass, show me statistics how many men/women got punched in the face due to their provoking looking face…. here are others point of view to prove i’m not talking out of my ass…. where is yours? dont just be an ignorant keyboard warrior fool, get yourself educated…

          http://reason.com/archives/2007/11/05/is-pornography-a-catalyst-of-s
          http://www.ricestandard.org/authors-sp-authorspornography-creating-rapists-and-abusers/
          http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/proceedings/20/goldsmith.pdf

          albeit with all these human studies, people seemed to failed to correlate between those studies and what God asked us to do, how ironic…

          • You don’t get my metaphor, do you? Seems like ppl like you always took words too literally and eventually misinterpreted every meaning of it.
            Well, as you said, if I punched you because you’re not wearing a mask, by all means I am wrong, obviously. Wearing a mask or not is your freedom of choice. Likewise, everyone have the freedom to wear what they want as long as the outfit is decent. Seeing you used the word “decent” in the reply, I’ll assume you know what decent means.
            Now tell me, Farah is wearing the same outfit as other contestants. It is some sort of the “uniform” for gymnastic. She’s not wearing it to go shopping, school etc. How can someone who dress the proper attire be called not decent?
            If you want to claim that God doesn’t allow wearing in such manner, why none of you make noise when so many Muslim male athletics wearing shorts shorter than knee length? Why is it OK for men but not for women?
            Wearing outfit doesn’t even hurt anyone yet you ppl are making noise. So many Muslims out there drinking and smoking, which definitive bring more harm to the ppl yet you guys did not care about it. Talking bout God? I think you ppl only use God to discriminate women.

          • how many men got raped due to male indecent exposure? men and women are differentr phisyology and psychology thats why men’s aurat is much much less. but i agree with you, what is wrong is absolutely wrong, male also should wear according to the standard (navel to knee). btw, its funny when people advising religious they got accused for being acting a God, but actually only stating what stated by God in the book. i think it is you all non-religious people acting like a God because you like to define rules based on what you think right. God decides what rules, and non-religious try to do exactly that. poor religious people only stating what they have read, not their own words, not in any case try to reinvent new things…

          • Safri, I appreciate the links you attached for us to read, I understand the concern behind covering aurat, is to reduce seduction and rape cases.

            Unfortunately, human beings became civilised after many years of evolution, we are not animals anymore, we are human beings that can control our own desire towards other beings. Instead of blaming many girls, man should control their own feelings, because still, many innocent girls who is not sexy, not wearing something short got raped including old granny and kids. So does it mean, most of the man are still uncivilised who has the animal wildness in them?

            And true that, if one sees gymnastic as a sport and art, it shall be graceful. If one sees the performer as a sexy being dancing showing her private part, then obviously that person is desperate. Nobody nowadays notices her private part until people started to stir up this issue. She’s just wearing that during the competition anyway, not like she’s wearing that out to mamak.

            If farah needs to cover her aurat, then others too, including man. I bet your religion didn’t teach you about unfair treatment and sexism. 🙂 If our country continues to be close minded, and restricting people joining their favorite sport, how are we going to capai wawasan 2020? Do entrepreneurs are to invest in Malaysia?

            * I saw you saying demon made women expose themselves, then I shall say, demons, devil, satan made man an animal and conduct rape : ) *

            Every race should be treated fairly, do not forget, every race here are not perfect, in fact, never been perfect. All races have good and bad people, do no race can decide who’s better who’s not. We are not God, let God judge then while us make ourself useful for the community and improve ourself for family and country.

        • ya betul. mari kita layan nafsu tengok gambar, siapa mau block itu gambar kita shoot dia. sebab yg suka tengok gambar ni memang suka layan nafsu…

          • siapa yang asyik tengok gambar? lu ke? ini artikel, bukan instagram, apa lu tengok? otak lu miang sangat lah.

    • Special indicated to Andrian Yap
      Hey bro, I advice you better to delete this comment.
      This is too RUDE and UNRESPECTABLE.
      You are here to ask people respect Farah Ann but instead you were being RUDE to the people, how you gonna gain other’s respect?
      and so, please behave and mind your words, here is Malaysia, a multi-racial country, we should respect each other and you should never ever spit up such sensitive comments over here. It is not part of our cultures, dont shame your race here!
      If you wanna tell or regard something, please through a proper and manner way, definitely not like this. Please dont let other peoples think that you are far- beyond -worst and horrible than the peoples who criticized Farah. Thanks
      .

    • I don’t mind u being angry at the people criticizing her but please don’t say Muslims are stupid.. Not all of us are like that. We disagree with what she wore but shaming her publicly is not the true Islamic way.

  • the mentally sick one will not give negative comment. they will either give positive comment, like the rest of normal people, or just simply shut up and enjoying the stroke. people who commented the so called negatively are concerned about where our country is heading. yes i can post you some picture of western country but it will be too “exposing”. the definition of “metally sick” now comes to your hand. you either define it yourself as you wish, or let God make the definition… dont get me wrong, gold medalist should be applaused, but exposing a selfie picture outside the ring with less covering is a disturbance to some society culture. you can selfie whatever you want, even naked, but do it in your own room, dont put it into public view that may disturb some people… fwiw…

      • you google “public nudism” la fren its all over the internet, nowadays no need to keep personally la thats the old day. kura2 dalam perahu pura2 tidak tahu. its the ignorant people like this that will make the country heading this way. go google and enjoy the view, the so called freedom without religious nuts. KL is leading the way in this respect, i’m not in KL and i have no interest in living there, but i know la how KL is built up, how famous it is.

        • The only sicko here is you, Safri!

          You must be one of those who molests and rapes your siblings while preaching your version of “Islamic values”.

          Go migrate to Afghanistan and get yourself bombed to pieces by the Taliban – Malaysia doesn’t need fanatical SICKOS like you!

      • Cheebye kia like Safri act holier than thou yet wank off to online porno all the time. Cut from the same cloth as that pervert hoarding all those child porn in his hard disks.

        Kick them all out of Malaysia, I say!

    • otak tak senonoh betul, tengok wanita saja pikir seks seks seks. Pastu nak sembunyikan pemikiran lucah dengan berlagak tuhan.

      inikah Muslim? Inikah Islam?

      • mana gambar wanita seks liao? lu otak kotor la… itu artikel atas komplen pasal kenapa lelaki boleh buat tada komplen, kenapa farah selfie tidak boleh. lu cari balik sebab kenapa artikel atas published, saya rasa lu tau juga sebab lu letak itu gambar dalam u punya timeline. lu suka la itu gambar liao, saya tidak mau share itu gambar lu otak kotor…

        • lu saja yang asyik nak cakap pasal gambar tu. pas tu nak pulit belit pulak.

          orang Muslim semua cam ni ke? cakap satu kena hantam, pergi cakap lain pulak.

          • ah har. tengok ni. lagi nak “tolong google utk you this disgusting stuff”, siapa otak miang? orang Muslim lah.

          • ahahahhaa hypocrites nude with no sex your shithead. if really no sex, you cut your dick la and walk naked nobody will bother.

          • oh tak cukup lagi, tengok lah kata-kata lucah dari mulutmu.

            lagi nak hinakan orang Muslim?

          • You should take your own advice and emasculate yourself with a blunt instrument since you can’t control your animal urges when you see a gymnast’s outfit.

            Become a pondan lah, your fcuking fanatic!

  • All those people are just hypocrites whom, I am sure who watched porn on a regular basis and jerked off at the computer screen shamelessly, but yet they won’t give a second thought before criticizing someone because of the shape of the private part. I am sorry but don’t turn your shamefulness to hypocritical criticism.

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