Monday, February 13, 2012

The Valentine’s Day equation

One Man's Meat
By Philip Golingai

Why is PAS so against Valentine’s Day? It has equated the day to: roses + candlelight dinner + love = sex.

FROM what I’ve been reading, PAS has been equating Valentine’s Day to: roses + candlelight dinner + love = sex.

Curious to know how Feb 14 can lead to sex, I met PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan at-Tantawi at the party’s headquarters in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. I thought the secret would be revealed.

“Why is PAS so against Valentine’s Day?” I asked Nasrudin.

“We don’t want to ban Valentine’s Day. What we want is to state that Muslims cannot celebrate it as it is not a day which is celebrated by Muslims,” he said in Malay.

“Non-Muslims are free to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Why can’t Muslims celebrate Valentine’s Day?” I asked.

“It is not a Muslim activity. It is from another religion. I am not clear about it.

“Some say it is from the Christians or other ...” he said, stopping abruptly as he probably decided not to speculate on the origin of Valentine’s Day so as not to offend non-Muslims.

“But it is usual in Malaysia that it encourages couple to go for date at a suspicious, quiet and dark place like a hotel, a park or a beach. And that is wrong.”

“Religion aside,” I said, “what’s wrong with Valentine’s Day?”

“For example, I read in the newspaper a few years ago that a hotel in Terengganu had a promotion for its Valentine’s Day dinner where the first 10 couples to register would get a free night stay,” Nasrudin said.

“Doesn’t that show that Valentine’s Day leads to immoral activities?”

“Is it true that PAS thinks that Valentine’s Day will lead to ... ermm...,” I said, and because I couldn’t find the right word for “sex” in Malay, I fluffed my question.

I decided on zina (illicit sex).

“We are taking pre-emptive measures,” explained Nasrudin.

“Usually when Valentine’s Day is celebrated a couple will go for a date and we don’t want that date to lead to zina and etc.”

“We have three conditions for a Muslim couple who wants to go on a date. First, they can’t be berdua-duaan (going out as a couple), they must be chaperoned by a mahram (a close relative).

“Second, the woman can’t wear clothes that show her aurat (parts of the body that should not be exposed according to Islamic belief) and that is menjolok mata (in Defence Ministry lingo: poke eye).

“Third, the couple cannot do activities prohibited by their religion. (i.e. khalwat and zina).

“But when I say that couple can date with these three conditions I don’t mean they can celebrate Valentine’s Day. They can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.”

The PAS Youth chief explained that it was not only zina which was salah (wrong) but also berdua-duaan.

Berdua-duaan is the mukadimah (prelude) to zina,” he said. “That is why a couple can’t be berdua-duaan. They must be accompanied by a mahram.”

“What is the percentage of berdua-duan couple ending up having sex?” I asked.

“It is not impossible (that they would end up having sex). But I don’t have the statistics. But when a couple berdua-duaan in a room, there is a third party,” he said.

“Interesting,” I thought, “threesome with the mahram.”

“Who?” I asked.

Syaitan (devil),” he said. “We have to worry about syaitan.”

Syaitan, according to the Ustaz, will seduce the couple into doing the nasty.

“In most rape cases, the perpetrator is known to the victim. And this is because when the couple is in a place where they are alone, the perpetrator will succumb to his desire,” the politician known as Tantawi explained.

“That is the danger of berdua-duaan. It will lead to other social problems such as rape and baby dumping.”

But it is not only Valentine’s Day that PAS thinks encourages free sex.

“We know pergaulan bebas (free association) happens on public holidays even on Hari Merdeka,” Nasrudin said.

“How?” I asked, surprised to learn that celebrating Hari Merdeka can lead to sex. Must be something to do with the word “independence” I thought.

On the eve of Hari Merdeka, according to the ustaz, there were couples who waited for the clock to strike midnight in a dark and secluded place.

And they would be drinking alcohol and eventually (to use a visual metaphor in Malay movies) the champagne cork would pop.

I can’t wait for PAS to ban romantic celebrations of Hari Merdeka.