Malaysian cartoonist Kazimir Lee documents the oppression faced by trans women in Malaysia, particularly touching on the 17 women arrested at a wedding last year as well as the landmark victory for the declaration of the 'cross-dressing' ban as unconstitutional, the first time Syariah law was challenged and defeated in civil court.
The Department of Immigration and Border Patrol of Australia's secret blacklist of immigration lawyers and agents has been discovered. DIBP claims that the list is used for "risk assessment" for partner visas and has "no impact" on assessing cases. The Migration Alliance, the lobby group of Australian migration agents that broke the news of the list, is not convinced.
If it weren't for the 1976 Copyright Act, copyright on work would expire after 56 years - which would have meant that Kerouac's On The Road, the original 12 Angry Men, and Elvis's All Shook Up would be public domain by today.
Malaysia is proposing a Computing Professionals Bill, based on the Registration of Engineers Act [.PDF] which makes it mandatory for all practicing "computing professionals" to be registered with a government body. Dealing in the IT industry, including sending “proposals, plans, designs, drawings, schemes, reports, studies or others to be determined by the Board to any person or authority in Malaysia” without being registered will incur a fine not exceeding RM20,000 (~US$6380) or 6 months in jail. Malaysian IT professionals and geeks are up in arms, and similarities have been drawn to Nigeria's law on computing professionals.
I will not Tweet indiscriminately. I will not Tweet indiscriminately. I will not Tweet indiscriminately. I will not...
Malaysian performer and social activist Fahmi Fadzil was sued for defamation by media company Blu Inc after a Tweet in January alleging that the company maltreated a pregnant friend who was an employee. His punishment? To tweet 100 times over 3 days:
I've DEFAMED Blu Inc Media & Female Magazine. My tweets on their HR Policies are untrue. I retract those words & hereby apologize.Responses from other Malaysian Twitter users, mostly on Fahmi's side, have been interesting.
"Melissa" (name changed for privacy) is a transwoman who was badly injured in a car accident and is in hospital in critical condition. While in treatment, some of the medical staff and her family decided that since she still had a "male" body, to make things "less confusing", they will erase 4 years of her female identity by referring to her as a man and taking her off her hormone therapy. (Warning: possible triggers) As little light puts it:
And if she woke up as from a deep sleep, she’d wake up into a world where her best friend was dead, where her body had been forcibly edited back to its pre-transition state and given a few more years of the influence of testosterone to boot, where her memory and self were hazy and confusing and nobody was calling her by the right name and pronouns, they were in fact pretending four years of her life, the four years she finally got to be honest and true to herself, those had never happened, and shh, she’s just confused, shhhh, calm down, let’s work on fixing your memory some more.[more inside]
Queer female webzine Autostraddle, who interviewed media celebrity Tila Tequila shortly before the death of her fiancée, socialite Casey Johnson, uses the aftermath to discuss the complications of not having legal rights as a gay couple when the relationship becomes dysfunctional:
We don’t look at those crazy-ass toxic relationships that were so intense they carved a hole in your heart and you knew, no matter how deep the emotional connection, that at any minute your loved one could get up, walk out the door, and never speak to you again, and that it wouldn’t matter if you’d paid their bills or built a life around their demands. There is nothing tying you together besides your feelings. And that’s really frightening.
An Indonesian TV crew was invited to Malaysia for their Visit Malaysia Year 2007 campaign but encountered many problems. They write up about it - and start a flurry of comments and controversy across the Malaysian government about blogging. [more inside]
Malaysian bookstore Silverfish Books recently pubhlished a list of books restricted by the Malaysian Home Ministry (confiscated at the border by Customs) - a list that includes Chinese teapots, children's prayers, and Dora the Explorer. Banned books & magazines aren't exactly news in Malaysia; indeed, possession of said books can lead to severe penalties, even jail time.The Opposition has made a statement before, but that hasn't led anywhere. However, since Silverfish's list, Malaysian bloggers have had enough with the arbitrary and Kafka-esque bans and restrictions, and have come together to form Manuscripts Don't Burn, to protest and talk about banned books and the larger issue of freedom of speech in Malaysia.