So there I was minding my own business when I saw an article on The Jakarta Post about the rap/hip-hop band NERD canceling their Jakarta gig hours before they were scheduled to perform. Apparently the band was not given the green light by certain authorities (whichever authorities that give out performance permits) to perform at Sunbust ’09, yet they went ahead and performed anyway. From what I read, it was a pretty good show.
After their show, the band members were detained by certain Malaysian authorities for performing without a permit. If you know anything about our authorities, you could guess for yourself the tone they might employ as well as the potential… uh, gentle warnings they might articulate to bring across the message that you do not do things in our country without proper permissions and such. According to Organisers 1, the band members were threatened with prolonged detention and had their passports taken from them. According to Organisers 2, no such thing happened. Do I care? Let me go think about it… no. I am already spending way too much time and effort on this blog post.
Apparently the incident left the band members traumatised and depressed. To quote Organiser 1, “This has never happened before in the music industry” (uhuh). So NERD packed up and headed for home, back to the good ol’ US of A and in the process, ditching their Jakarta gig because they were afraid of the same reception by the Indonesian authorities. This despite the Indonesian Embassy in KL reassuring the band that they would not face the same problem in Indonesia. I imagined the scenario to go like this:
Indonesian Embassy: Please, we implore you, sing in Jakarta!
NERD: Nahh we’s iz afraid dat da authorities will hold us in custody sho ’nuff!
Indonesian Embassy: We promise that we will never do to you what the Malaysians did to you!
NERD: Ah don’ believe uh werd dat ya say don’t make me shank ya!
Indonesian Embassy: Please kind sirs, 3000 fans are eagerly awaiting your presence on our humble shores! Do not let them down!
NERD: Tell dem ta migrate ta America, land o’ da free home o’ da brave all ye damn hood ratz..
Like I said, it was all a figment of my fertile imagination, thanks to Da Ebonics Translator.
Anyway that was not what got to me. What got to me was, a commenter on The Jakarta Post by the name of ‘chak’ apologising on behalf of all Malaysians to all NERD fans, good Malaysians and Indonesians and Organiser 1. No shit. I, a Malaysian citizen, a Malaysian birth certificate and identity card holder am highly affronted that I was unknowingly and unwittingly dragged into apologising for something that does not concern me nor give two fuck about. Neither did I have any intentions or feel compelled to say sorry for something that does not concern me nor give two fucks about. I am miffed! Piqued! Nettled! Outraged! Shift+F7 for more synonyms.
Curiosity got the better of me. I googled for more information, news, discussions, forums on this issue and found similar ‘chak’ sentiments by Malaysians who really should swap their citizenships with the thousands waiting in line for one. Go, just go live elsewhere. Go live long and prosper in America, Australia, Europe, Africa, wherever your heart’s desire. It’s going to be tough, but I (along with a selected few) will just have to carry on being the future leaders of the nation without you.
First of all, the team responsible for obtaining the permits should be the one apologising to whoever that matters. Apparently they applied for the permits twice, and kena rejected twice. Apparently said Malaysian authorities disagreed with NERD’s dressing sense. Then? I don’t know, write endless appeal letters, blow up the issue big big in the media, make NERD or their management write a letter promising heaven and earth to comply with whatever rules and regulations, beg till your knees drop. If you really wanted NERD to legally perform, you do whatever you have to do. In other words, be prepared to blow them if needed. Gwen Stefani managed to sing here, did she not? Shaggy, Flo-rida, herro?!?
Secondly, the team responsible for obtaining the permits should be the one apologising to whoever that matters. Said Malaysian authorities were ill-informed and incorrect in their decision? Said Malaysian authorities do not ‘get’ pop/ rap/ hip-hop music? Said Malaysian authorities are out-of-touch with Malaysian youths? Boo fucking hoo. Bottom line – permits denied. Fuck said authorities and proceed with the performance? Go ahead; just make sure that your crisis management is top of the game (but looks like it wasn’t, hah!).
Thirdly to ‘chak’, maybe I am naive. Maybe I should open my eyes big big. Maybe I should have a massive dose of reality injected right up my arse. But I have hope that the world is smarter than to think that Malaysians are a bunch of AK-47-wielding raving lunatics just because NERD was not given permission to perform in Malaysia.
Lastly, NERD is a bunch of spoilt, cry-babies. Organiser 1 going to sue you? Good. I hope they win.