1 month has gone by since TV3, through Wanita Hari Ini first insulted Transgender Women in Malaysia with their ‘Pondan Ancaman Wanita’(Transgender Women a threat to Women). It was then followed by Berita Harian with ‘Salah MakanPunca Pondan? – Genetik Tak Normal Makin Meningkat’ (Wrongful food consumption cause of Transgender Women? – Genetic Abnormalities On the Rise).
The article itself claimed ‘though to date neither fact nor specific study was carried out to prove this, the theory of we are what we eat can lead us to think rationally in regards to this phenomenon (Transgender is now a phenomenon?). The assault then continues 2 weeks later with ‘Wanita Ancaman Pondan’ (Women a threat to Transgender Women) from Wanita Hari Ini again.
After the 1st assault by Wanita Hari Ini on 04thOct 2011, Malaysia Kini published ‘TV3 under fire for disparaging talk show’ and Marina Mahathir through her column, ‘Musings by Marina Mahathir’ wrote : ‘Enough of softie bashing’.
An open letter sent by Jellene Eva (as mentioned in Malaysia Kini) to TV3 and other major newspaper reads:
By Jellene Eva
After viewing the talkshow programme hosted by TV3 – Wanita Hari Ini “Pondan Ancaman Wanita” on 4th October 2011, I was utterly disgusted in the way the station has portrayed women and transsexuals in Malaysia. Not only has the programme stereotyped women as only working as Makeup Artists or Wedding Planners, but also suggested that women are weak and whiny when faced with the competitive working industry. In attempt to raise viewer rating, I felt TV3 has chosen a topic that is unethical and unnecessary. It does not educate but rather ridicule the public.
It is very unprofessional for the hosts themselves to be not educated in the area of discussion before the show. By combining both the terms “Pondan” and “MakNyah”, they confuse everyone about the issue and incite hate towards the prejudiced. “Pondan” refers to effeminate MEN, which are Lelaki Lembut. Whereas “MakNyah” refers to Transsexuals which are males that desire to be totally female, usually undergoing surgery to alter the body. Pondan or Lelaki Lembut are usually flamboyant men that IDENTIFY themselves as MEN/LELAKI.
A point that was brought forward in the show was, “women are threatened because the pondans are monopolizing the makeup industry”. This is wrong as Culinary Arts, Makeup and Hairstyling industries are dominated by men. Masculine men in fact. The title instead should be “Lelaki Ancaman Wanita”, because these men are doing what used to be thought as women’s job. We have come a long way to recognize that women no longer are subjected to careers in beauty only, but also very capable in previously male-dominated careers like police force, entrepreneurship, civil engineering… etc. Equal career opportunities are given and the best person gets the job, there is no grounds for women in complaining that their work is being taken from them. This violates the Malaysian Constitution that guarantees equality and non-discrimination on the basis of gender.
I am also appalled when pondan/maknyah are accused of “stealing” the husbands from women. Blaming others of the unfaithfulness of ones husband is very childish and illogical. Happiness and trust between man and wife requires more than just sex and food, there is so much more to marriage. Both sides should seek family counselors when faced with cheating, instead of putting the blame on some innocent person. It is the husband that is cheating, not the transsexual, and so she does not deserve to be held responsible for the men’s actions.
Pondans/MakNyahs were then further insulted by being accused of backstabbing their closest girl friends to achieve better careers or having affairs with their husbands. Such baseless accusation are tasteless and should not appear on national television. A statement like this without factual support is considered a serious defamation and blatant discriminatory against the pondan/maknyah community.
Equally inappropriate are the panel for discussion. Fatin Sarjat, a university student; Dr. Edward Chan, who is an unqualified psychologist; and Azwan Ali, who is a crossdresser.I have checked with Dr. Alvin Ng, President of Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology (MSCP), that “Dr.” Edward Chan is not a registered clinical psychologist of the association, and is NOT QUALIFIED to explain the situation to the mass public. According to The British Psychological Society newsletter “The Psychologist” Vol 19 No 10 on October 2006, Mr. Chan has been denounced of his qualification as a clinical psychologist since 2001. Mr. Chan was then ordered by the conduct committee to “refrain from practising as an independent psychologist until he obtains appropriate postgraduate qualifications that are recognised by the society and must stop representing himself as a qualified practitioner”. Due to the reasons above, he’s views are not to be taken as reference for the issue discussed.
Azwan Ali, is a crossdresser. He is a pondan in all its definition – a soft BOY/effeminate MEN. Crossdressers are people that dress up as the opposite sex for the thrills of it, but is totally comfortable with their sexual organs. He cannot represent the maknyah community because he never had the need to be a woman. He was having fun being flamboyant, which he still is adorning large golden rings and bracelets on the show.
Cik Fatin Sarjat is included i believe for the views from the younger generation, but it is not appropriate for her to tell her views about religion on this issue, when she herself is not well versed in her religion and do not show a good example. Her hair is let loose, and dyed golden, in tight clothes, whilst commenting on how pondan is wrong in the words of the Quran – foolish!
All citizens of Malaysia are protected under the Federal Constitution and Defamation Act 1957. Under no circumstances should any discrimination or defamation be broadcast to incite hate towards Malaysians, regardless of gender. I believe it’s necessary that TV3 release a public apology for the slanderous broadcast made.
(To date, no reply has been received from TV3 on this – unless you count Wanita Ancaman Pondan as a reply.)
Given Malaysian’s population of 28 million and if the common belief that LGBTIQPAs make up 10% of the population is true (I firmly believe the percentage is higher), we would have ourselves a community of 2.8 million people and it’s a big number, isn’t it?
Imagine 2.8 million Malaysians who are not given voices, are constantly harassed mentally, emotionally and physically (which includes sexual harassment and abuse) on a daily basis and being sent death threats due to their sexual orientation, gender identity and self-expression. They are living their daily lives being denied by their own families & were kicked out from homes, humane love, housing needs, proper education, access to healthcare, equal job opportunities, safe spaces, legal protection and basic needs granted to the rest of us without a blink of an eye (which we take for granted, daily).
If one day you should lose your basic needs such as family, food, clothing, housing, right to live & love, job, money and all the luxuries that life offers you, how would you feel? Do reach within and hold on to your humanity. Think for a second; not too long ago, women were being treated as less than a minority, if not for suffrage and feminist movements, we might still remain as cooking, washing, breeding and sex slaves to a patriarchal society.
Now if we could only stop judging and start loving for a change, please place your signature for ‘Petition againstslander and defamation by the media towards transgenders in Malaysia’.
Your signature help save lives!