Tutup

Visiting Tehran-engganu!

Visiting Tehran-engganu!
Why it is wrong for Terengganu to implement a dress code for tourist, among many other wrong things they are doing, according to Zan Azlee.
Iran is one of the most restrictive countries in the world when it comes to Islamic law. I got to see it all first hand several years ago when I went there to shoot a documentary film.

Many kinds of music (such as heavy metal) are illegal there. This I know because the documentary I shot there was about an Iranian metal band called Arsames.
They would play live at underground and illegal shows. Recordings of their songs were made in hidden basement studios deep in residential areas so as to not attract attention.

Other forms of restriction were on women. It was a law for all women whether Muslim or not to cover their heads with a scarf and were long overcoats that went down to their knees.
Even foreigners, whether tourists or those traveling for work, had to abide by these rules too. You would never see a woman's bare head out in the streets of Tehran or any other towns.

And because of these restrictions, I found it very interesting to observe how Iranian women act on planes when flying in and out of the country. They were like Transformers robots.

When I was flying into Tehran, the women in the plane were all dressed, for lack of a better word, normal. They had on jeans, t-shirts, short-sleeved blouses and some were even in tank tops.

As soon as the pilot announced our descend, these women would pull out robes and scarves and start wrapping themselves up despite the pilot announcing that the temperature of our destination was 32 celcius.

During my flight out of Tehran, the women were wrapped up from head to toe. And as soon as the plane took off and the seat belt sign went off,the robes and scarves came off and the atmosphere changed into what felt like a nightclub.

Now remember the heavy metal band I shot for my documentary film in Iran? Well, we became good friends and their frontman and drummer even came to Malaysia to visit me.

What was the first thing he wanted to do when he was out of Iran and arrived in Kuala Lumpur? He wanted to drink beer and get drunk. I don't drink so I just looked on in amusement.

And he wanted to try durian too. But due to lack of experience, he had the durian while drinking beer. That unstable concoction in his stomach soon forced him to spend the evening by his toilet bowl in the hotel room.

The point here is that most of the time, ridiculous restrictions only produces ridiculous rebellion. The more the authorities say no, the more the people will want to go against them in the most extreme way.

So when the TeganuKita website (run by the state government's communication unit) reported that the Terengganu wanted to implement a dress code for tourists so they would dress 'decently' when visiting the state, I knew it was a bad idea.

In fact, I felt that already when they announced that a man and a woman who are not married cannot ride a motorcycle together and that men who were caught skipping Friday prayers would have to ride in a hearse.

So maybe the government were shocked at the public's response when it was said that they wanted to enforce a dress code for tourists, and so they took the report down from website and denied that they were going ahead with it.

But hear me out here. Its like the popular saying goes, "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was, and always will be yours. If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with.".