I READ with amusement over a threat by the so-called Thaipusam Spraying Group on Facebook to spray any female devotee who dresses inappropriately with aerosol paint during the annual Hindu festival next month.
Many people were quick to condemn the group, including the MCA Wanita, calling them to be investigated and urging the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to shut down the page.
The group’s intention, however, may not be completely wrong.
The saree is a beautiful piece of cloth which can turn a woman into a modest creature or a sensual being, depending on how you wear it.
Unfortunately, many young women these days choose to wear it inappropriately especially when they visit places of worship.
Backless saree blouse, tube top converted into a saree blouse, low-hipped and some even choose to wear the saree by intentionally exposing their upper body are getting all too common in temples, attracting unnecessary attention and talks.
While I respect a person’s choice of attire and how they choose to wear it, they should also have a moral conscience on how to dress accordingly.
When I asked the men around me for their opinions on the matter, I was somewhat surprised when they concur with the group.
“If this was done, the girls will dress appropriately in temples. Maybe this year, there will be a major issue if they are sprayed, but the following years, they won’t dare to dress so cheaply in temples,” said one person to me.
I agree this is an issue the community faces, but is it the only issue we have? Or is it the most pressing one that require a group of people to take drastic actions?
If the group truly wants to reform the society by becoming the moral police, then it should tackle the more pressing issues related to religious affairs -- gory rituals and intoxicated men.
This is not something new; in fact, we see this every year. I am sure even the Thaipusam Spraying Group is aware of this.
Drunk men openly quarrelled among themselves; some uttering vulgar words and even harassing worshippers.
This nuisance was so great that in 2012, the authorities banned the selling of alcohol within the temple premises.
Yet, some still come intoxicated.
Some rituals performed in the name of religion will make one wonder what Hinduism is all about. I am not an expert in Hinduism and its rituals, but body-piercing with LED light sand kavadis
bearing football club logos are definitely not in the Vedas.
(To those who are not familiar with the ritual, a kavadi is usually a framework made of wood with the picture of Lord Muruga and decorated with peacock feathers. It is fixed on the worshipper’s body using small hooks or sharp chains. The bigger the kavadi, the bigger the vow.)
Let’s not forget the parking touts who charge temple-goers ridiculous amounts for spots which do not belong to them in the first place.
I call upon the 'Spraying' group (and the people who support them) to first contain these unruly men and keep alcohol out of the temple vicinity before they even think about engaging on moral policing over 'uncouth' female devotees.
The group should be ashamed for flexing its muscle to the women and turning a blind eye to all these other unruly and shameful behaviours.
* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI.