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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! The Caning Of Kartika, The Malaysian Muslim Woman Who Had A Beer

October 2nd, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

In December 2007, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32 year-old Malaysian Muslim woman, was at a hotel bar in the beach town of Cherating and had a beer.

Kartika with her two children (AP)

She was busted by Islamic enforcement officers, because Malaysia has a dual law system, and Muslims are subject to not only federal law but to sharia (syariah), or Islamic religious law, and according to the latter, it’s illegal to drink. She was then handed a caning sentence by the religious court last month.

After both an international and domestic outcry over the severity of this punishment–Malaysia wants to present itself as a “moderate” Islamic nation and Kartika would be the first woman to be caned under sharia law–the religious court decided to halt the caning and review their decision. But Monday, an appeals panel upheld the decision, and the caning of the married mother of two will be carried out after Ramadan.

One fascinating aspect of this legal case is Kartika’s decision not to appeal her sentence. Malaysia’s own Prime Minister, Najib Razak, urged her to appeal back in August, presumably to avoid international embarrassment. But Kartika refused. On what grounds depends on what source you believe.

Bernama, the official Malaysian government news agency, reported that her refusal to appeal was rooted in shame over her “crime”:

“I feel ashamed of myself for showing disrespect to my own religion. I want to respect (the court’s) decision and go through the punishment…I respect the law and Islam. Even before the sentence was passed in court, I had already made up my mind to accept the punishment and go through the ordeal,” she said.

International news agency AFP had a radically different spin on the matter, however:

Kartika, a part-time model and mother-of-two, has stared down religious authorities by refusing to appeal against her sentence, and challenging them to cane her in public.

So what cause is Kartika a martyr for (in the colloquial and not the crazazy extremist sense)? Islam or human rights? It’s hard to say, but one thing’s for sure–accepting being caned for drinking a beer on whatever grounds is some Hardass Asian shit right there.

Kartika with her sister after the caning was postponed in August (AP)

[USA Today: Court upholds caning of Malaysian woman for drinking beer]

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Kid Nasian

October 11th, 2007 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

I regretfully admit that I’ve suffered through four full episodes of CBS’ Kid Nation–a clumsy, abhorrent reality mindfuck dripping with heavy-handed producing, “preditorial” cobbling of thin storylines, forced moral dilemmas, hackneyed challenges, and cheesy emotional final acts. I HATE this show–something I’m not inclined to say about any program on television (having myself slaved to make ‘em for years)–it’s cruel (40 days out on the prairie? We could have broken them down in 14), abusive (freezing cold temperatures and no visible chapstick), prosaic (I’ve seen plenty of Jeff Probst imitations in my day, but this is ridiculous), and likely to scar the cast members who are actually “kids” (they range from way-too-young 8 to old-ass 15 in age) for life.

There is, however, a sick and twisted part of me that watches the show every week, if only to wonder and wonder and wonder what kind of parents signed their offspring up for this horribly executed social experiment. If you look closely, you can see and hear them pretty clearly:

“Now Taylor, y’all don’t have to do things like work and study
’cause you’re pretty. Let all them poor and ugly folk take care of that nonsense.
You protect yer face. If they don’t like it they can DEAL WITH IT!”


This most recent episode, titled “Bless Us and Keep Us Safe,” centered around the heavy-handed and divisive topic of religion, which made me cringe at every step–from one kid not seeing the big deal about oils and candles and Hanukkah, to the feel-good prize of various Holy Books that the kids were guilted into choosing.

But again, I found myself watching the whole thing, dreaming about the parents that were responsible for the tiny voices and words coming out of these characters. And for the first time all season, some of these kids were Asian.

Kelsey, a fun and spazzy 9-year old, bumped fists with another Christian kid to settle the debate over “the Jew Crew.” Guess she’s been rocking the church parties with her parents.

And little 9-year old Alex, the cherub with the one big tooth, finally got to speak after being rendered mute in 3 previous episodes. When he did, he made an incredibly articulate speech to the group about finding religious similarities– before collecting data detailing on the groups various religions and sub-religions. He’s obviously been doing his homework. If his Mom and Dad are anything like them, I totally wanna hang.

That said, who the hell signs their 9-year old to be on this damn show?!?!?

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