The Gagging of Lady Gaga

Pang Khee Teik on why gay anthems are important and why Malaysian radios are cowardly and hypocritical for censoring them

http://amygrindhouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Lady-Gaga-Born-This-Way-Single-Audio-Released-500x500.jpg

My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars
She pulled my hand and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir
“There’s nothin wrong with lovin who you are”
She said, “cause he made you perfect, babe”
“So hold your head up girl and you’ll go far,
Listen to me when I say”
I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way

— Lady Gaga, Born This Way

My mama NEVER told me when I was young that we were all born superstars. It’s okay, I had my music for that. And I am happy that today’s generation of young lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs) have Lady Gaga to tell them “there’s nothing wrong with lovin who you are”. When people around you just don’t understand, the radio is your best friend.

Last week, the Associated Press asked me to comment on the censorship of the above song. It seems that the line “No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track baby” from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way has been deliberately garbled by Malaysian radio stations. I was annoyed to learn of this.

According to AP’s report: “AMP Radio Networks, Malaysia’s top private radio operator, said the precaution was due to government restrictions against songs that might violate “good taste or decency or (are) offensive to public feeling.”

“The particular lyrics in ‘Born This Way’ may be considered as offensive when viewed against Malaysia’s social and religious observances,” the company said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The issue of being gay, lesbian or (bisexual) is still considered as a ‘taboo’ by general Malaysians.”

A taboo, darling, is made and sustained precisely by such censorship. Expose it to light more often and it appears less shadowy. Sex, death, religion, interracial love, special rights, royalty — I think the real reason we have so many taboos is because Malaysians just love them taboos.

If  the companies are really worried about taboos, they shouldn’t even play the song or screen Glee or Ugly Betty. Playing these songs or shows, entertainment companies simply want to attract as many audience members as possible that they could sell to advertisers. Once they have their numbers, they really can’t be bothered about the message. It’s like running a country and editing the constitution as they please, or having a government that cannot be questioned, or allowing a holy scripture but banning the word God…

With such brilliantly arbitrary guidelines, the breaking of which results in a fine of up to RM50,000, the government effectively forces radio stations to become overzealous in interpreting what constitutes as being “offensive to public feeling” — just to be on the safe side. But how safe is safe? How much integrity will our media sacrifice in fulfilling a ridiculous guideline? The answer is: What integrity?

By claiming to be playing our songs, what these stations are doing is getting LGBTs in Malaysia to sit eagerly in front of the radio only to slap us across the face by telling us we are offensive. For that reason alone they don’t deserve our patronage. Not just from LGBTs, but all Malaysians who have friends and family members who are.


If little blue birds fly, why oh why can’t I?

http://gerard.entsoft.com/specific/images/photos/Judy_Garland.jpg

Growing up gay is, to borrow from pop songs, a one way ticket to the blues, a total eclipse of the heart, a constant craving. Friends make fun of you, family members gossip about gay relatives and church members keep reminding that people like you will go to hell.

When there was no one with whom to share the burdens of my youthful heart, I turned to the radio. Barbra assured me that “people who need people are the luckiest people in the world” while Freddie said “we are the champions, my friends, we’ll keep on fighting till the end”. Strangely enough, when I succumbed to the pressure of TRYING to be straight, I took these songs to mean: the day when I need a girl I will be the luckiest person in the world, and the day I have a wife and 2.4 kids I will be a champion. For 12 years, I kept yearning like the Little Mermaid to be “wandering free, wish I could be, part of that world.”

When turning straight was clearly impossible and pointless and utterly painful, I started to realise that perhaps I could only be free if I learned to be a part of my own world. All  of a sudden, those songs by Barbra, Queen, Elton, Madonna, ABBA, Whitney and Judy spread their little blue bird wings and flew me over the rainbow. These songs guided me back to the yellow brick road, helped me embrace my inner dancing queen, enabled me to find the greatest love of all. (Okay, I am showing my age, so what?!)

And that’s why we need gay anthems. We don’t even need the songs to spell out G-A-Y for them to be gay anthems. Years of learning to send out signals to other lifeforms of the similar emotional frequency have trained us to speak in codes. Years of having no representation in the media have trained our ears to listen to the codes (even when the codes are unintended).

Who else could Siti be singing for when she confessed “diriku hanya insan biasa, miliki naluri yang sama” but to those who had to question their insan-ness and been made to feel their naluri is TIDAK sama?

Of course we can’t deny straight folks their straight interpretations of these songs. But neither can they deny us our clearly more fabulous interpretations. The fact that both straights and gays can adapt these songs to their diverse experiences is part of the special mutant powers of great artists. These singers have forced us to realise that seemingly irreconciliable as we may be, we are united by their music, that we are actually seeing ourselves through words meant for each other, and vice versa.

One of the important roles of the media in any society is being a platform for marginalised voices and creating understanding — not to perpetuate ignorance and hate. Lady Gaga was attempting to address this very thing in her song. How dare they play that song and cut out its shining heart.


Stop censoring the words that describe who I am

http://www.screentrip.com/images/sean-penn-in-milk1.jpg

Across the world, not merely the West but also in The Philippines, Taiwan, China, India, and Nepal, policies are slowly but surely becoming fairer to LGBTs. As artists take bolder and bolder steps to speak on behalf of the voiceless, and audiences encounter more and more gay representations in the media, the public sees there’s nothing to fear and becomes more accepting, while LGBTs sees there’s nothing to fear and become more open to live their lives.

Over the last few years, we have invited the wonderful gay characters of Glee, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Brothers & Sisters into our living rooms as if they were friends — friends whom we gag once in a while. Showing gay characters but cutting the word “gay” is, as Amir Muhammad pointed out, a typical Malaysian hypocrisy: we are okay knowing there are gays as long as they pretend not to exist (and allow us to make jokes about them, blackmail them, fire them from work, kick them out of homes).

Two years ago, when Astro cut the words “gay” and “lesbian” from the Oscar acceptance speeches of Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black for their work in the film Milk, about martyred gay rights activist Harvey Milk, I wrote:

“For me, this act of censorship defeated the very victory won by these two men. The two moments of silence rang out like the gun shots that killed Harvey Milk.

“By its act of censorship, Astro had sent a message to all Malaysians that gays and lesbians are still shameful things to be censored from the public’s ears. As a gay man, I am truly offended.

“Stop censoring the words that describe who I am. I am a Malaysian. I work hard for the right to be here, and I work hard for the right to love, just like everyone else.”

My letter was picked by AP then and received international attention. But nothing has changed since. Except that I have cancelled my Astro subscription.

The reasons for censorship have always been the same cowardly reasons: that they are protecting public sensitivities, that LGBTs are offensive to public feeling.

Are LGBTs not part of the public and don’t we have feelings too? Are minorities not citizens? Who needs protection more, the majority or the minorities?

What is truly offensive is seeing how perverted democracy is in Malaysia. Watching how some radio stations and government machinery pander to the majority at the expense of minorities makes me sick. This is what happens when “public” is conveniently defined NOT as the whole constituency but merely the major part of it. The state does not seem interested in serving the people but in serving just enough people to stay in power.

The problem is not simply homophobia. The problem is the systemic disregard for the constitution, human rights, justice and equality.

But it is not all bleak. Since running Seksualiti Merdeka, I have been interviewed on BFM radio, on local magazines, websites and newspapers, talking about LGBT issues. We thank these editors and producers for having the guts to do what is right.

Contrary to opinions, giving a platform to LGBTs is not a sign of the erosion of Malaysia’s morality. Malaysia’s morality has already been eroded beyond recognition by corrupt politicians, unjust legislators and criminal police. Playing these songs intact could however signify Malaysians rediscovering our humanity once again.

Am I being bitchy because I just want to enjoy my songs in full on the radio? No, I protest these censorships so that young LGBTs growing up in Malaysia won’t hear the silencing cuts and despair that their country hates them. I hope that they can hear instead the words meant for them and know they are not alone.

We just want the same thing as everyone else: to love, be loved and have our songs played on the radio.

No matter gay, straight, or bi,
Lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to survive
No matter black, white or beige
Chola or orient made
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to be brave

Pang Khee Teik is the co-founder of Seksualiti Merdeka and the co-editor of “Body 2 Body: A Malaysian Queer Anthology”. His first article for LoyarBurok was “For Malaysian Gays, Hope For A Better Tomorrow.


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Pang Khee Teik is a freelance arts consultant, curator and writer. He is known as the co-founder of the sexuality rights festival Seksualiti Merdeka and former Arts Programme Director for The Annexe Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. In 2013, he completed an MA in Gender, Sexuality & Culture at Birkbeck College, University of London, under the Chevening Scholarship.

Posted on 22 March 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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24 Responses to The Gagging of Lady Gaga

  1. Emeric

    Huh? I was never arguing about discrimination. I was just pondering on the insistence by the LBGT community in the USA of being allowed to go through the ceremonial rites of marriage.

    A good friend of mine is homosexual and I've never judged him differently because of it.

    Further, I quote your paragraph:-

    "And I must say, I found the above quote is the irrational and illogical speculation that one would come out with".

    Its a bit hard to understand but I think in essence what you're saying is that my comment was filled with irrational and illogical speculation. I fail to see why. I would very much appreciate if you would entertain this rebuttal/discussion to help with my understanding and enlightenment.

    Feel free to email me if you think a public discussion would not be suitable.

    Thank you.

  2. Cho Man Kit v Broadcasting Authority

  3. @AgreeToDisagree:

    "Outdated law?"=> S.377A + B of Malaysian Penal Code??!

    If I could run the MP, I would want to. But the problem is I am ineligible for my young age. Lolz!!!

    Come to Malaysia for a stay, if you miss Malaysia.

    Hahaha!

    Singapore latest decision by Tan Eng Hong v PP is killing my nerves. Locus standi?!!!?!! .= =.

    I wonder when it will be the time for

    AgreeToDisagree v PP [2011] 1 MLJ 111??

    Gaga!

    Btw, please read this : "While I support the rights of the LBGT community, my view is that it is essentially an alternative lifestyle. If the whole of the human population chose to go LBGT, the human race would die out in one generation (or maybe a few more, if you consider artificial fertilisation techniques)."

    @Emeric: Your arguments on discrimination is filled with the confusing inconsistency. Haha!

    And I must say, I found the above quote is the irrational and illogical speculation that one would come out with.

    Perhaps you might think of migrating to Mars since the latest movie, LA World Invasion is a possible scenario in future.

    I welcome no rebuttals and discussion to my further understanding to your words.

    Cheers ^^

  4. Pingback: Mana Anu? | LoyarBurok

  5. woahhhh….hahaha…as always it’s that time of the year for our regime to gag us again…wonderful…it’s just a damn song..to each his/her own interpretation….It doesn’t matter if you love HIM or Capital HIM, but remember never ever love BN…hahaha…

  6. Emeric

    I'm terribly sorry if my comment here gives offence to anyone.

    In reply to this paragraph by liam above:-

    "One needs to look no further than the US for a good example. This is the land that birthed Harvey Milk and Lady Gaga, the ideals and figures that people struggling as homosexuals in repressive countries look up to. Still in the US, however, gays in most states cannot get married, they are routinely bullied as children, marginalized from society, and left thinking “why me?” This is a societal mentality that cannot be judged by whether we hear the word “gay,” in a Gaga song, but whether you go the mamak or coffee shop and ask how the average person feels about gay’s having rights. This is where the paradigm shift must take place."

    I respect the rights of LBGTs to live their lives and love as they please. However, I have never understood their insistence on getting married.

    If your argument is that the contract of marriage protects the property rights of one partner after the deceased of the other, well, isn't that why certain states in the USA came up with civil unions? Why the insistence on marriage?

    Before anyone flays me for my conservative views, let me just put on record that one of my best friends is a LBGT. As I said earlier, I do not believe in any form of discrimination against LBGTs yet not allowing LBGTs to be married is not a form of discrimination is it?

    What is the definition of marriage? A contract between spouse and spouse made before God? A legal contract giving legitimacy to offspring?

    While I support the rights of the LBGT community, my view is that it is essentially an alternative lifestyle. If the whole of the human population chose to go LBGT, the human race would die out in one generation (or maybe a few more, if you consider artificial fertilisation techniques).

    I welcome rebuttals and comments to further my understanding.

    Thank you and I must apologise once again if I have offended anyone. That was not the aim of this post.

  7. AgreeToDisagree

    quietly forced also = psychological harrassment

  8. AgreeToDisagree

    "In fact, I hardly can see one would force literally one to take decision against his or her own will."

    How so? These are by outdated laws, even considered criteria for insanity and as thus renders the individual liable for institutionalisation! So as you said depending on the family background, the poor could get arrested, while those average may be quietly forced to CHOOSE either gender, the wealthiest of course would probably leave or society knowing they could leave wouldn't bother with them.

    "I must say, transsexual is equally discriminated under s.377A as gays. The path for a transsexual is even more excruciating." A transsexual is a post-op woman and thus effectively a woman. I think you mean transgender or intersexual rather than transsexual? The IC could show 3rd, or in Australia there was a person who actually listed as 'it'.

    "Yes, in that sense, perhaps we are ‘finished’ because the MPs overlook the needs of the gays in this society at that time."

    Looks like it's time to migrate for some of us? Try to win GE13 by running for MP, and change those laws Jackson, and maybe we'll be back later. Remember to end APARTHEID.

  9. @ AgreeToDisagree

    Injunction does not seem to be possible to be applied against the parties mentioned for it is impracticable. I humbly think that, it's not possible. In fact, I hardly can see one would force literally one to take decision against his or her own will. I am inclined to an optimistic view and the choices open of which I believe we are all equally entitled to under our Federal Constitution.

    I must say, transsexual is equally discriminated under s.377A as gays. The path for a transsexual is even more excruciating.

    The root question is the imperative one to be answered. Malaysia has been imposing its "quasi secular" views on its people. I dont even know if such a word is in existence. LOLz.

    One could argue Malaysia is finished in the sense when it keeps imposing Islamic views on this provision indirectly. Way back to 1989, it is shown that the legislators are lacking of critical analysis skill in debating the amendment to s.377A. It turns on condemning the so called Western values of gays, and injecting s.377A for protection of the minors from being sexually abused. Yes, in that sense, perhaps we are 'finished' because the MPs overlook the needs of the gays in this society at that time.

    But, nowadays, the society is silent on this.

    Haiz.

  10. AgreeToDisagree

    @Jackson Yee

    Thx for recommending Australia. But OZ seems to be too closely related to certain neo-colonial agendas.

    Do you mind taking a second look at paragraph 3 on 'equally valid choice'. Was not just referring to MTF FTM alone. This is the context I was asking in.

    PARA 3

    Remaining somewhere in-between (i.e. 3rd gender) is an equally valid choice these days, but Malaysian law has no provisions or identification categories, much less a removal of Section 377B.

    "Is there an injunction one can apply against parents or guardians or even the government itself from forcing decisions which interfere with free will such as these upon such individuals"

    Was asking about possibility of injunction but am wondering if the section 377B context makes it impossible. Is it possible Jackson?

    " For the right of a state or a gov. to impose such a limitation to citizens, it falls back to the fundamental yet debatable question as to whether gov. has a right to impose its view of morality to Malaysians. "

    Ah, no answer, spoken with spin into oblivion. This would easily mean Malaysia is finished.

    Lets pray is more Xian NLP but at this point I won't argue this as you have been more than helpful. Thanks and hope to see your response?

  11. @AgreeToDisagree: The answer is as I have quoted from my own words of my blog as below:

    ” The gay community in Malaysia shall work hand in hand to come up with directive principles upon consensus among themselves and approaching the society at large with a mutual understanding mentality on co-existence of the gay community and out-group of community via peaceful means.

    Gradually, one should always stay positive towards a matured society celebrating diversity in this multiracial society without further degrading the dignity, integrity and right of full expression of life of the minority.”

    The practicality of this way must be carried out provided that the roots of problems are tackled.Arghhhh, forget about the long list of problems that I may need pages to address.One of the ways, as Pang urged, is to write in to AMP for protest. But, for a long lasting sociological shift of mentality plus legal entitlements for gays in Malaysia , we need a plan, a systematic one as PT Foundation director mentioned.

    Back to your question:

    "Any legal ideas against parents or guardians or the state enforcing or forcing a person to choose either gender? Or is asylum the only way out. If so which nation would be best for asylum?"

    => It's either we change the law or we fit into a world where it fits our need. Numerous appeal cases to Australia refugee tribunals proved that Australia is one of the most favorite places where gays in Malaysia would stay in.

    "Is there an injunction one can apply against parents or guardians or even the government itself from forcing decisions which interfere with free will such as these upon such individuals?"

    => The free will you're talking is right to be a transsexual, either MTF or FTM? In a strict legal terms, it may be an unremunerated rights under our constitution, but those issues are, in practice, very much related to one's personal background. For the right of a state or a gov. to impose such a limitation to citizens, it falls back to the fundamental yet debatable question as to whether gov. has a right to impose its view of morality to Malaysians. And if it is so, the question is what morality shall we proceed upon. All these question is, however, quite prevalent and simple for any Malaysian to answer.

    By the way, I have come across a lot of comments comparing Malaysian to many Western countries. I must object and resist to agree with those views for morality and law shall be viewed in cultural relativism context, instead of merely simplifying a solution by making such direct comparison.

    The notion that LGBT Malaysians should possibly drive is the role of a government in empowering one person liberty. It must not be viewed as equating to right to privacy, and right to equality. The reason is both contains inevitable fallacies open for attack. Empowerment, as FRIDAE's strong word, shall be recognized by states to give maximum opportunity for gay man to live and express himself as a gay.

    All that, falls back only plausible if we were to elect one rational and courageous gay MP to speak up in Parliament. (*In fact, some public figure, who are also gays, are cowards for they might not have confidence and courage as Pang does.*)

    Let's pray !

  12. Pang and the other Yuki Chow blogger would be great to represent LGBT. Some of us have been too badly burnt by the system and have no recourse even for healing as fundamentalist fascists surround us. Persecution's been terrible, and strangely virtually not a soul would advise!!!

    Posing this question on someone's behalf. Any legal ideas against parents or guardians or the state enforcing or forcing a person to choose either gender? Or is asylum the only way out. If so which nation would be best for asylum?

    Remaining somewhere in-between (i.e. 3rd gender) is an equally valid choice these days, but Malaysian law has no provisions or identification categories, much less a removal of Section 377B.

    Is there an injunction one can apply against parents or guardians or even the government itself from forcing decisions which interfere with free will such as these upon such individuals? From the way Anwar's non-case is going, it looks like political asylum is the only solution.

    Perhaps Lady Gaga could fund candidates for the seats here or start a refugee fund if she really wants to fight it out for LGBT. Anyone know her publicist?

    Jackson, if you have an answer on that I'd like to hear soon, I think @June has confirmed a 3 mth window, good luck to Malaysians in the same situation, some persecuted people will likely be leaving malaysia for good if nothing changes, so do your best to run for candidacy so we may return to a free Malaysia after GE13!

  13. 50,000 MYR fine?!!! What law is that?!!!

    @AgreeToDisagree – Good idea !! Let's have Pang to be our gay MP. Fight like a Singaporean! Haha!!

    " The gay community in Malaysia shall work hand in hand to come up with directive principles upon consensus among themselves and approaching the society at large with a mutual understanding mentality on co-existence of the gay community and out-group of community via peaceful means.

    Gradually, one should always stay positive towards a matured society celebrating diversity in this multiracial society without further degrading the dignity, integrity and right of full expression of life of the minority."

    A constructive debate forum is needed for legal justification on gay issues in Malaysia.

    Let's find another The Hon. Michael Kirby speaking for the sake of Malaysia.

  14. @Pang Khee Teik

    Don't just 'keep fighting', you're wasting time and energy. Fight smart. And the best way to ensure this does not happen, lgbt discrimination (you might be a neurotech subvert to LGBT though) is to run for candidacy in your constituency.

    We don't need apartheid or nepotism or lgbt discrimination But the only way to end it is to become an MP and rubberstamp it away in accordance to the HRC is a suitable manner.

    'Keep fighting' is not the way. Becoming an MP or Assemblyman is the only way.

  15. JL

    What Malaysia really needs is openly gay political candidates standing for election. Because the fact of the matter is, you cannot hope to change a system that you have no judicial or legislative stake in.

  16. Lady Gaga Speaketh:

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Lady Gaga has urged young Malaysians to protest the censorship of lyrics in her hit song that encourage acceptance of gays.

    The Associated Press reported last week that radio stations in Muslim-majority Malaysia were playing edited versions of "Born This Way" that use garble to replace the lyrics: "No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I'm on the right track, baby."

    Lady Gaga criticized the censorship during a visit Tuesday to Google company headquarters in Mountain View, California.

    "What I would say is for all the young people in Malaysia that want those words to be played on the radio, it is your job and it is your duty as young people to have your voices heard," the pop star said in an interview that was posted on YouTube.

    "You must do everything that you can if you want to be liberated by your society. You must call, you must not stop, you must protest peaceably," she added.

    Broadcasters have said they are being cautious with Lady Gaga's song because Malaysia's government forbids offensive content.

    They risk fines of up to 50,000 ringgit ($16,000) and other penalties for breaking the rules.

    Malaysian gay rights advocates complain that the censorship is part of discrimination they face in everyday life.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110324/ap_en_mu/as_m

  17. Pang Khee Teik

    If you guys want to, you can write in to the heads of AMP and demand they respect the song and play it in full:

    BORHANUDDIN OSMAN (executive director of AMP): http://www.facebook.com/people/Borhanuddin-Osman/

    K. SREE PATHMANATHAN (chief operating officer of AMP) http://www.facebook.com/people/Sree-Pathmanathan/

    Hitz.fm Facebook page if you'd like to post on their wall: http://www.facebook.com/hitzdotfm?sk=wall

  18. Pang Khee Teik

    Thanks fellas for your love! Lady Gaga has responded to this in her interview with Google here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNa_-1d_0tA

    When asked what she thought about the censorship, she said:

    "Well obviously I diasgreed with it, otherwise I wouldn't have specifically put those words in a song that I know would be played on Top 40 radio. What I would say is for all the young people in Malaysia that want those words to be played …on the radio, it is your job and it is your duty as young people to have your voices heard. You must do everything that you can, and if you want to be liberated by your society, you must call, you must not stop, you must protest …peacefully. I don't believe in violence, I don't believein negativity. There's no reason for deragotary. You just need to keep fighting for what you believe in. And to be honest, honesty and the truth is what will always set you free. I can't tell you how many times I get phonecalls from TV stations, telling me "they want you to edit out this section of the video…" And I'll say just tell them I'm not doing it and if they don't want to play it then they don't have to. *shrugs* That's it."

  19. Pang, excellent dissection of the hypocrisy of our government and culture. Homosexuality has been recorded in some of the earliest historical documents and I have no doubt that they have been around so long as human beings have been around. I'd wager it has outlasted almost all the religions that are being practised today. Some of these folks need to put it in perspective i.e. pull their heads out of their arses.

  20. liam

    Stellar article and it is undoubtedly a travesty of epic proportions that the malaysian government still feels so ashamed of its homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and transgender populations that they can't even utter the fucking word on the radio. It's not like greek myth of Medusa – simply hearing the word is not going to swing anyone gay or straight, or undermine some alleged moral sanctity.

    two things i want to raise.

    1) While censorship within the media surrounding homosexuality is indeed a detestable act, even if the word is allowed, it should not be a significant indicator of progress and/or acceptance. More often than not, a country's "hollywood" industries – music, movies, television, fashion etc. – reflect a much more liberal demographic of the population. They encompass the views of a relatively small percentage of the population, spread out via the means of mass communication. So, while it is a first step, i wouldn't get my panties in a bunch if censorship was diminished.

    One needs to look no further than the US for a good example. This is the land that birthed Harvey Milk and Lady Gaga, the ideals and figures that people struggling as homosexuals in repressive countries look up to. Still in the US, however, gays in most states cannot get married, they are routinely bullied as children, marginalized from society, and left thinking "why me?" This is a societal mentality that cannot be judged by whether we hear the word "gay," in a Gaga song, but whether you go the mamak or coffee shop and ask how the average person feels about gay's having rights. This is where the paradigm shift must take place.

    2) Secondly, and a bit unrelated, your article made me think of the recent Huckleberry Fin controversy in the US, where a publishing house has removed the word "nigger" from the text and replaced it with "slave," to make the classic piece of american literature more "teachable" in certain schools that shy away from that infamous word. People say it gives them a chance to talk about race with the word gone, and make it "teachable". But how can that issue be addressed if people won't even discuss race without removing the word? The "teachable" moment is when students first see that word and go "oh shit," and their stomachs suck in. That is the teachable moment because it forces students to deal with the tough issue at hand, one that has pervaded american culture since its inception. As soon as you remove the word, the teachable moment is lost, and the word continues to carry its negative power.

    Same with the word "gay". As long as it is censored, genuine and progressive discussion has no chance of ever happening, and it will continue to carry this ominous, hair-raising connotation. Once it is out on the table, that is when the "teachable" moment happens, and people can begin accept homosexuality.

  21. nikolai

    They BEEPED gaga when she thanked her *gays* at the VMAs,Jane Lynch when she thanked her *girlfriend* at the Globes,but unknowingly allowed both Glee and Gaga,arguably two of the proudest,most unabashedly gay things to have come into the entertainment industry,to be aired and played here,those idiots.

    Born this Way is a gay anthem that I and many others have and will continue to play in our lowest,and proudest moments,its a shame that they censored that one verse that explicitly outlines that this is A SONG FOR THE GAYS but its alright,we know the song for what it truly and wonderfully is.

    We have a very discriminate,racist and hateful government but in the long-term,the short-sightedness and stupidity will allow many gay things and creatures to find themselves on our shores unharmed.

    Good job Pang,I'm so proud to be a Malaysian because of people as brave,outspoken and loving as you.

  22. Chen Mian Kuang

    Great article Pang! U're not missing anything if u don't listen to the radio. I haven't done it in more than 10 years

  23. Pei Ling

    LIKE! [FB has robbed me of my ability to express more sophisticated forms of affection/praise]

  24. Loved this, Pang.