February 2006 Archives

iPod Nano: Black or White?

Taking a break from the issue of cartoons, which one do you think looks better? White or Black?

ipodwhite.jpg ipodblack.jpg

via Apple, the iPod Nano.

UPDATE: The fellas at Ars Technica have totally destroyed their test unit -- its not surprising that they did, but what is surprising is the amount of punishment the iPod Nano could take before it quit and died. A truly hilarious (and spine-tingling) read!

really_broken_nano.jpg
Click to enlarge. Via Ars Technica.

"In a final act of desperation, we decided to expose the iPod to a catastrophic event that would certainly destroy it. Lacking a really high place to drop the nano from, we decided the throw the nano as high as we could, say 40 feet into the air, and let it land—hard—on the concrete."

via Ars Technica.

Debating our hypocrisy

Voice had this to say:

"Only few ppl in NST and uninformed sympathisers are not [in agreement that the cartoons are offensive]. My personal friend quite senior in NST tells me it was wrong and most of his colleague do not share the boss's position. After friday's demo, I sat with NST reporters under a shade, they do not agree with the boss also."

via Answering Hansac and Voice.

The following is my answer:

Voice: Debating with you is tiresome because you've chosen to ignore so many of my core arguments, and haven't provided sufficient defense to my attacks on yours.

1. You claim to be in the "majority of a Muslim consensus" -- i challenged the sampling of your so-called "consensus". Speaking to friends and family and "reporters under the tree" does not form an adequate consensus; if more NGOs supported the outrage why didn't they all lodge police reports? (perhaps its because doing so would defeat the purpose of all their effort so far i.e. more press freedom). If you want to use that as an argument to prove your case, then i can easily claim the exact same thing: all my friends and family and people under that tree outside my house agree with me; but i won't use such arguments because i know their value is nil.

Please note that we are talking about the issue of the NST, and not the cartoon printed in Denmark. On that particular cartoon, i've already said that i disagree with what was published, but i am not willing to condemn their act of publishing.

Why won't i condemn them for publishing?

That brings me to the point i made that no one (including you and Hansac) have discussed at all:

2. If we were to condemn them for publishing those cartoons, then we are hypocrites. Muslims all over the world, even learned ones, frequently condemn others, their religion and their way of life -- they shout it from the tops of mosques, they publish it in newspapers (open the Harakah someday and you'll see many examples of such cases), they spread lies and disinformation via spam emails and SMS (e.g. McDonald's is haram), etc, etc, etc. The list is very, very long. I have no problems with Muslims saying these things either: we all have a right to our opinion -- if there are some amongst us who believe that the Jews should be eradicated from the earth by any means possible, well, you believe what you believe, i don't have to agree with you, and i won't force you to agree with me.

Why do we hold ourselves to a different standard and expect the West and non-Muslims to adhere to another?

Just because we're Muslims and they're not?

Answering Hansac and Voice

Hansac and Voice essentially made the same argument on why the NST cartoons were offensive:

"It mocked Muslims' reaction to their Prophet being mocked."

via Hansac.

"The cartoon is making fun (belittling) the furor of muslim over Danish cartoon incidence (sufficient visual and inference to describe that)."

via Voice.

My answer to both as follows:

Where?

The caption in the cartoon says that the cartoonist is "the most feared man in the world" -- that is a satirical jibe at the situation a cartoonist has caused rather than a jibe at Muslims in particular. How can a cartoonist and his cartoon be the cause of so much international uproar, angst, abuse and discussion? Its absurd! The educational value comes in making us reflect on the absurdity of the situation; a realization that may allow us to avoid the type of reactions that led to riots, violence and death-fatwas.

cartoon007.jpg
Click to enlarge. Via Cagle.

If you really, really want to be angry at someone for the "mocking" and "belittling" cartoon in the NST, perhaps you should blame the Malaysian education system for not teaching us the meaning of satire. No worries, just follow this link for a quick brief on the topic.

The other thing that many of us have forgotten, is when things blow out of proportion like this, its never the fault of one person.

Sure, as Aisehman rightly pointed out, the cartoonist really should have shown a bit more "politeness". But the Muslim world has also gone to extreme lengths to react: breaking off diplomatic relations, rioting, violence, etc. Yes, more "politeness" from both sides, perhaps more thoughfulness as well, would have avoided this whole mess.

EVEN IF, both your arguments are valid (and i'm not accepting that they are) -- this proves something i said in my earlier post: Muslims have a huge chip on their shoulder. To take offense over a cartoon making fun of us? Come on -- have you even been to a Friday sermon lately? Where the imam talks about the "lecherous" ways of non-Muslims and how if we follow their path we're all going to Hell (directly implying that all our non-Muslim friends and relatives are going to Hell, no questions asked)? And that's your typical Friday sermon in Malaysia; i've heard Friday sermons from religious imams from the Middle East, and even in the USA and UK -- the vitrolic they spew out makes these cartoons look like a drawing of Mary Poppins.

cartoon008.gif
Click to enlarge. Via Cagle.

We take offense (and react so wildly) when what we do is 10x worse? That's rich. Islam prohibits hypocriticism -- we're making a fuss over cartoons? If so, what a bunch of hypocrites we are.

Answering Aisehman

Aisehman, a well-respected opinion-blogger, had this to ask of me:

"Aiz, let me start by enquiring on the standards you employ for determining whether something is offensive to your religion."

via The interesting thing about cartoons

The following is my answer:

I understand that everyone will have an opinion about religion, whether it be their own religion, the religion of the next person, or whether or not they should have a religion or be religious at all, and how to act henceforth.

Given these variables, there are many potential combinations of possibilities. You may be very religious, and feel that your religion is right and everyone else who doesn't subscribe to your faith is a sinner. You may be very religious, and care less about what everyone else believes. You may be completely irreligious (though not without a religious faith you subscribe to), and care very much about what the next person believes. Combinations ad infinitum, ad nauseum of everything in between.

Of these many types, i'm of the belief that religion is a personal matter of choice. I am free to practice the religion of my choosing, and so are you. I don't expect everyone to be like me, and i accept diversity of beliefs.

On the issue of the religion of my choosing, I imagine many people may have very erroneous perceptions about what Islam is. Whenever i can, i try to correct those perceptions. And if i can't, i don't take offence at it, "God bless you, go in peace." Say what you will, believe what you want about Islam -- if i can't convince you otherwise, i will not interfere with your right to express your beliefs; after all, you believe in my rights to express mine.

Just like everyone else, i have a line that can't be crossed before i take severe offense and that line is when you try to stop me from practising my religion. When that line is crossed, then i'll do everything i can to put things back in order, but i will never resort to violence or the bearance of arms eventhough the religion allows me to, and in some instances, insists that i do. If Allah in His wisdom sees fit to throw me into Hell because i won't kill in His name, then so be it. I believe in the forbearance of the human race to negotiate and compromise; if there is no winning solution, i trust in the Compassion of Allah to accept i have tried my best.

Furthermore, i'm of the opinion that just because Islam doesn't like it, that doesn't mean that non-Muslims shouldn't do it, especially if their laws allow for it. Laws in democracies are decided upon by the people, if those laws do not take into account religious sensitivities, then who am i to insist that they do? How would i feel if they insisted that the laws that govern me are tailored to suit them?

Taken on face value, this probably means that while i disapprove and am quite upset by the Danish cartoons of Muhammad suggesting he is the source of Muslim violence, i take a step back in my analysis of the situation and ask myself "Why?" someone felt the need to draw such things.

cartoon006.gif
Click to enlarge. Via Cagle.

Could it be because of the way terrorists invoked the name of "Allah" and "Muhammad" before they rammed jet planes into the World Trade Center? Could it be because of the way you can find literally hundreds of websites run by Muslims on the internet asking for things like the "cleansing" of Palestine i.e. extermination of the Jews in the name of Islam? Could it be because of the videos of Muslim mujahideen slitting the throats of journalists?

Perhaps.

As far as the cartoonist was concerned, is he expected to understand the difference between the actions of a person who calls himself a Muslim and Islam?

As far as we are concerned, are we expected to understand the difference between the drawings of a cartoonist and the whole Western civilization?

Jackpot! Cartoons Part Deux

FFS! Mack has hit the jackpot!

So many people writing in to Jeff's blog, leaving comments. So many people saying they support action against the NST, not a SINGLE ONE, JEFF OOI INCLUDED has been able to convincingly say WHY. The normal buzzwords are all there: "outrage", "insensitive", "Islam", "caricature", "Prophet Muhammad", "cartoons" -- for some reason people seem to think that if you put these words together in several sentences, that's enough reason to condemn a newspaper, its Editors and the Press in general. Gosh, when was i transported to Planet Paranoia?

I'm going to go against the grain, i'm going to publish MORE CARTOONS about this issue, then i'm going to give you LINKS to where you can find EVEN MORE CARTOONS. (no pics of the Prophet on my blog, i promise, i'm a Muslim)

What you'll find is that a great majority of these cartoons make satirical comments about Muslims, rather than Islam. While all Muslims (myself included) have a duty till death to defend Islam, there is no such promise to defend other Muslims, especially when there is something wrong with us that needs changing. If you view these cartoons from that perspective, the only reason why you may think they are offensive is because the cartoon is talking about YOU.

cartoon001.gif
Click to enlarge. Via Cagle.

cartoon002.gif
Click to enlarge. Via Cagle.

cartoon003.gif
Click to enlarge. Via Cagle.

cartoon004.gif
Click to enlarge. Via Cagle.

What i want people to understand is that its only a closed mind that shrugs off legitimate questions that if, asked and answered, can help us improve and grow as a people, society, religion and nation. While it seems almost absurd that cartoons can help us achieve that goal, its the total absurdity of cartoons that is often required to make us open our eyes, take a moment to chuckle, reflect, understand, and apply.

UPDATE: How much do we even know about the cartoonist, Wiley Miller? Multi-award winning cartoonist. Interesting. A cartoonist receives awards not because he can draw, but because he offers perspectives.

The interesting thing about cartoons

| 4 TrackBacks

The interesting thing about cartoons is that the very best of them have so many meanings, so many interpretations, and very many tangents. The same can be said about comedy, Jane Austen literature, and any piece of art by Picasso.

So what do you see in this cartoon printed in the comic section of the NST yesterday and reprinted today in a "column of defence":

pbuh1.jpg

pbuh2.jpg

I find it amusing that this cartoon strip has caused such an uproar: its rare that the NST dedicates a long writeup explaining something it published a day before; current events worldwide aside, its rare that people lodge police reports over a drawing.

What's wrong with the picture?

It doesn't depict the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in any way. It shows a man, on a street, drawing pictures of the Prophet. A play is made with the word "caricature", as a sign of the times, referring to the recent uproar surrounding pictures of the Prophet appearing in a newspaper in Europe, and in a newspaper in East Malaysia.

UPDATE: This is worthy of a laugh -- some people have said the cartoon is offensive because it has "Prophet Muhammad" (the words) in it. The Prophet's name appears everywhere, reprinted millions of times over hundreds of years. Just because his name appears in a cartoon doesn't mean it was being used in vain or as an insult to his name; the subject of the cartoon itself is a serious and current matter.

"The most feared man in the world..." is satire, indicating the absurdity of events: how mere pictures can cause so much grief, riots, killings and mayhem. The cartoon in its entirety is showing us how ridiculous the whole situation has become. People have lost their lives, livelihood and reputation over pictures of the Prophet. It seems that Jeff Ooi, et al want the same to be removed from the leadership of the NST because of the picture above.

Comedy, art, satire, even cartoons exist for a reason: to children, its a form of entertainment, invoking laughter and smiles, to adults, its supposed to make us think and reflect about issues that are important to society. The NST's cartoon accomplished those goals, and the leadership of the newspaper shouldn't be punished for doing their jobs.

The Silly Season Cometh

For a short period each year, a bouquet of 99-stalks of roses can be sold for RM800, a nice dinner at a 5-star hotel can cost you RM1200 and people fall over themselves to say, "I love you."

The Silly Season has arrived, people.

Second Life

This is the sort of things that blows the mind: Second Life.

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by nearly 100,000 people from around the globe.

Wired reported that more and more people are abandoning their "real lives" to live and make a living in the virtual world offered by Second Life. That is absolutely mind-boggling.

Within a month, Grinnell was making more in Second Life than in her real-world job as a dispatcher. And after three months she realized she could quit her day job altogether. Now Second Life is her primary source of income, and Grinnell, whose avatar answers to the name Janie Marlowe, claims she earns more than four times her previous salary.

via Wired.

Buy and sell online using Linden Dollars, the official currency of the Second Life world. Exchange Linden Dollars into real-world cash, USD.

The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions. This commerce is handled with the in-world currency, the Linden dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online currency exchanges.

Incredible, unbelievable.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2006 is the previous archive.

March 2006 is the next archive.

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