The same old cycle is here again. And now it’s Rihanna’s turn to take the ride. One side tried to justify the need to bring in such a person into the country. To add colours to the entertainment industry in Malaysia and to stimulate the local economy they may say. Another detested the idea wholly arguing from the social, cultural and moral point of views. An ideological tussle ensued and eventually one side would definitely rise above the other. The public is the judge in some cases, determining the outcome. More often however, money or influence weighed in as in the case of Avril Lavigne not too long ago.
As in the case of Rihanna’s planned concert, it comes at the worst of time. In fact, there is no time that can be deemed as proper for a singer of her reputation to set foot in this country. Skimpy outfit and raunchy dances are the trademark of her performance. Even the title of the tour (Good Girl Gone Bad) does not suggest any positive values that the concert may bring to the people of Malaysia. Some may even question the timing of such a concert after the recent war on Gaza which has moved so many people in Malaysia emotionally and has garnered support countrywide. The organisers are detached from the happenings and on goings in the country, or so it seems.
Bringing in Rihanna is a step backward when the nation aspires to develop a reputable human capital especially the youth. What Rihanna has to offer so far seems to have the negative connotation associated with it (except for the possibly hefty gate collection, which may be the reason some people really want to bring her in). When we expect bad things to happen resulting from an action, logically the action should be avoided. This is not only from the perspective of Islam but Malaysian people in general. Corrupted youth, regardless of their racial and religious background, is a problem that will affect everybody. While we are said to have a sound youth development plan through numerous programs established around, it is disappointing to see that we are also providing avenues for them to corrupt through morally questionable activities such as this concert. This is unacceptable and counterproductive all at the same time. To use an analogy, you cannot say you are going to bake the most delicious cake ever just because you have the best grade of flour while at the same time you are also using rotten eggs as an ingredient.
The need to keep our youth from this bad influence is critical and must not make way to satisfy a group of people chasing a quick buck and cheap publicity. It is hoped that the authority will take a firm and consistent stand on this and make a ruling which cater the concerns of the larger community and not the interest of the elite few. Reasoning that there are performance rules and regulations already in place that will keep things in check is not good enough. There had been cases where performers deliberately ignored these regulations and did what they normally do onstage. When the damage is done, the damage is done. Islam does not prohibit entertainment but it must be selective as well as carried out in line with all necessary conducts and guidelines.
While the need to have the show to be called off (not just a mere postponement) is a necessary short term solution, efforts must be put in for the long run to educate the youth. The youth must be made aware of the social predicament that awaits them when involved in such activities. It is also only fair to the youth to be provided with alternatives for them to channel their interest besides a much more proper role model that they can look up to. Definitely not someone of Rihanna’s reputation. This is a challenge to all NGOs that care about youth and their future and surely it is an issue right within the PEMBINA core concern.
To the organisers and sponsors, if you have to make money this way, please keep in mind that you also have a part to play in keeping the society fiber intact. Please act responsibly before a good community gone bad right before our own eyes.
Umar Hakim M Tajuddin