Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Not Without My Daughter

I finished this book yesterday night, using only 2 days, in French version (Jamais sans ma fille). It's a book written by Betty Mahmoody. It describes how an American woman, Betty, who married an Iranian, went to Iran with her husband and daughter for a 2 weeks vacation, later realised that she was keeping hostage and might never leave Iran. Over 18 months in Iran, she was planning on her plan to escape with her daughter, in which she succeeded by crossing illegally to Turkey, and returned to US from there.

I have a lot of doubts about certain things she decribed about Iran. But the most unbelievable fact is that the Swiss Embassy, representing also USA, or even the US government, didn't manage to help her returning to her own country from Iran. She was not being kept by any terrorist organization, but by her husband. The family managed to call her and send letters to her, so they know where she lived. I remember a teenager American was littering in Singapore, and the Clinton government was making a fuss about the punishment imposed by the Singaporean government to him. And when their citizen was kept under hostage, they could do nothing about it?

Anyway, this book led me to understand how crazy a muslim country can be. I'm so glad that Malaysia is not like that. We have like 55% muslim population, already the constitutions are there to ensure respecting each other's religion and culture. The muslim population in Malaysia do not force the non-muslim to cover themselves like them. The Islamic laws do not apply to non-muslim. In fact, a lot of us non-muslim like to wear the Malay clothes. The school uniform for muslim and non-muslim are different, but you can see the non-muslim wearing the muslim uniform, by choice, but without the veil. In certain occasion we are asked to wear the Malay traditional clothes, like when meeting the Sultan or the royal family or during public Universities' commencemence. But in all of these occasions, a veil to cover the hairs is not imposed.

We were laughing and even enjoying some of the jokes the Islamic party leaders said. From time to time, these leaders want to execute Islamic rules to our daily life, but we always treat them as jokes. For example, one of the leader mentioned that employers should hire ugly women Vs the beautiful one as the later will be taken care of by their husbands. Then one suggested to change the Malaysian Airlines' stewardess' uniform, as sometime the male passengers accidentally see their breasts and this leads to sexual desire which will result in girls being rapped once these passengers touch down in somewhere. Ever time these kind of comments are published, we doubted these leaders are well equipped with enough intelligence in this rich Malaysian culture.

I hope Malaysia will never go under these stupid fundamentalists.


  1. Anonymous7:01 PM

    I read this book before, interesting on how she try escape the country.It outrages when one try to impose religion law to some unimagine extend.

  2. Anonymous8:54 PM

    hi Tbeean,

    You may want to refer to,Asian News Network,,Lim Kit Siang's blog for more current events in Malaysia.

    While Malaysians in the bigger cities may enjoy their religious freedoms, it is much more difficult when there are no clear rules and no separation between religion and government.

    There have been more cases where non-Malays convert to Islam through marriage and later change their minds after so many years. If they decide to convert back, they are threatened spiritually,physically,legally and will lose any of their children.

    There are cases where Indian temples are torn down in the rural areas to make way for 'development' even when there are communities settled around the temples.
    Churches cannot be simply be built - they have to be delayed years and years and not built at all.

    There are two views to every story but believe me, the law is only on the side who holds power in this country.
    We may wear each other's national clothing, be muhibbah and all that, but a lot of things are not fair in Malaysia unless one has money and power, espcially if religion is concerned.

  3. Chevy,

    I know that Malaysia still need to improve a lot of things, but we can't deny that it has achieved certain level of harmony between races. At least, the Indian and the Chinese are able to find job and live like a Malaysian. In France, the descendants of immigrants are still considered immigrants eventhought they are borned in France, and having problem finding a job. At this point, I'm just glad that there are certain tolerances between races, like the Chinese education. The French who visited Malaysia, are so impressed that we can live in a country with multicultures and languages. The Indonesians I met here are so jealous that I can speak Mandarin. My MIL was surprised with all the CNY decorations in KLCC, she asked me:"the government allowed all this?" Yes I told her, that Malaysia is consisted of Chinese too. For me those are achievements.

  4. Hi Bee,

    Your reply to Chevy is right. Yes, there are many things that we still need to look at for one, our education system and our people's mental aptitude but Malaysia in general is really heaven to live in. We have a lot of freedom that even Singaporean can be jealous of.

  5. Anonymous3:12 PM

    hi tbeean,

    we'll have to agree to disagree.
    I"m not too familiar with France and its very long history.
    Maybe it's to do that France is secular, used to be a coloniser and is facing a refugee/immigration crisis it hasn't experienced before.

    It took Malaysia centuries and centuries before the various races can call themselves 'Malaysian'. Maybe the same needs to happen to France.Even then we all still think 'race' first, nationality second. :(

    Compromising goes two ways. A country accepts new immigrants hoping that the new immigrants will integrate. When they don't, things start going to pieces.Employers need to practice positive discrimination when it comes to job seekers, etc. This needs political will and people power and i think the French people are ready for change.

    Heaven means different things to different people. If heaven means you like to live in uncertainty then i salute you.

  6. Are u for real ? :"but Malaysia in general is really heaven to live in."

    Do u think if it is heaven, there are so many people who migrate ? (to look for better future for them and their future generation ?)

    Yes, a heaven for the corrupt, rich and privilege, how about the ordinary (middle class) people ?

    Ok, lets put it into figure and we will debate on facts and figure :

    1.How much does an enginner earn per mth (without any connection to any rich people or taking any suap money)

    2. How much is a semi detach hse cost ?

    3. How much is a Toyota car cost ?

    Just these 2 items could let him bleed without any blood left.

    Plse don't be so naive, check this blog out, u will know more abt Malaysian politics.