Would Ramadhan ruin the pleasures of a stiff drink?

Or rather, would a good stiff drink ruin your Ramadhan? Khaled Diab writes eloquently (as always) about mixing fasting with alcohol during the holy month of Ramadhan at The Guardian. Here’s a teaser: In Europe, Ramadan creeps up on you with none of the fanfare associated with the fasting season in the Muslim world, where… Continue reading Would Ramadhan ruin the pleasures of a stiff drink?

A (post)colonial love story

Read this today and nearly puked: “Ours is a classic story of forbidden love, elopement, family estrangement and reconciliation. People say it’s so romantic,” says Englishman Tim Wallace from the veranda of his home in the town of Tura in north-east India. “People say it’s so romantic”, he says. Honestly, I hate stories like this,… Continue reading A (post)colonial love story

Oh dear…

Originally posted part of the ‘Bollywood Nights’ series at The Guardian: “The most God-awful film I have ever seen in any genre, anywhere in the world” Nirpal Dhaliwal reviews ‘The Last Lear‘, the latest in the emerging English-language Bollywood film industry, starring the ubiquitous Amitabh Bachan. You’d think that Shakespeare and Bollywood would be made… Continue reading Oh dear…

Gender trouble: some thoughts on transgenderism in Malaysia

If there’s one thing about feminism that I feel proud to be identified with is its struggle for the abolishment of traditional gender roles. For the uninitiated, this means rejection of women as natural homemakers and men as pre-determined breadwinners. Rejecting the social conditioning of gender also means redefining the feminine and masculine and who… Continue reading Gender trouble: some thoughts on transgenderism in Malaysia

On big breasts and the eroticisation of power

Talking about what constitutes beauty is always important. Beauty can empower women (and even men) in ways that money and romantic love can’t. But there will always be people who say that discussing about breast implants and other forms of cosmetic surgery is a waste of time, like the few commentors of Hephzibah Anderson’s article… Continue reading On big breasts and the eroticisation of power

Cupcakes and consumerism

Malaysians love trends and food. Mix them together and you get a craze. What gets certain products/fashions popular are the symbols attached to them and their increased value when displayed in full view of the public. These symbols often signify status that conflate certain aspects of economic and social power, and constructs a particular image… Continue reading Cupcakes and consumerism

Bringing post-colonial analysis into our homes: The Indian restaurant

An excerpt from ‘Introducing Cultural Studies’ by Ziauddin Sardar: The Indian restaurant can be a useful model to study the history and legacy of post-colonialism. By studying its many symbols (name, food, location, patrons), we can have some ideas about how the race and cultures of the Other can be perceived within the context of… Continue reading Bringing post-colonial analysis into our homes: The Indian restaurant

Malaysia: talibanisation lite

The recent imposition restricting female singers/dancers from performing in a mixed-sex audience in the northern Malaysian state of Kedah is just another heartbeat away from the talibanisation of the country. Malaysia has claimed to being an example of moderate Islam against a backdrop of multiple ethnicities and religions, and there have been praise for the… Continue reading Malaysia: talibanisation lite

Unexpected sexualities: the sexual limits and trangressions of Muslim women in film

Portrayals of liberal Muslim women in film is groundbreaking on many levels. In a time where the veil is a symbol of subjugation, films about Muslim women like ‘Caramel‘ (2007) by Nadine Labaki, with a narrative composed of universal themes like love and sex can stunningly shatter stereotypes. It is an anomaly amongst the more… Continue reading Unexpected sexualities: the sexual limits and trangressions of Muslim women in film

Lipstick feminism is not feminism

There are a couple of reasons why feminism has a difficult time taking root in many places; first, it’s because there is widespread suspicion of its origins. Historically and currently (by the Bush Admin), it has been abused to spread imperialism. It has strong associations with the privileged and ironically, paternalistic women who like to… Continue reading Lipstick feminism is not feminism