Censoring life

A close friend confides on his sexual orientation to columnist JAGDESH SINGH. Did it affect their friendship? How did he react? What did is friend fear most?

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| Opinion | 18 March 2017 | Asia Samachar |

Once again, we debate who plays God for cinema censorship. Locals are asking questions about the decision by the Censorship Board to initially ban Disney’s latest love story adaption of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Following an uproar, they settled with snipping a small scene.

The board has the right to censor a part of the movie as it is part of its mandate. And, like it or not, there are sections of our society in Malaysia that agrees with the censor. The scene was supposedly a subtle one that displayed affection from a man to the main male character. This somehow was magnified as Disney’s agenda to enhance the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender (LGBT) cause.

First, the disclaimer. I have yet to study the texts from our holy spiritual Guides and Gurus to decipher if gays are an abomination or a natural condition of the human species. So, these views are personal and does not represent how Sikhs treat the gay community.

Although I’ve hardly scratched the surface from our Guru’s teachings regarding the gay community, I’m comfortable to fall back on the basis of our Gurus’ teachings. You know, the one very basic teaching to treat, to care, to not fear and to love another human being as an equal, regardless the background. This belief I have is unwavering even if I sometimes poorly practice it.

A close friend had admitted to me a few years ago about his sexual orientation. Since then, we’ve had intimate conversations on how he had hidden it since the time we’ve met 20 years ago. He confided how he was so afraid to be shunned by the ones close to him. I thank the Grace of the Guru that my reaction to this very personal sharing was one of calm acceptance. I honestly wouldn’t have expected a younger version of me to have behaved in such a manner. Perhaps the times are changing.

His sharing made me realise and further fortify my belief that him being gay wasn’t really his choice. He is what he is, and it was as natural as me being attracted to the fairer sex. It’s biological. He wasn’t conditioned by his ‘strong uncontrollable’ urges like many have been led to believe. More importantly, he was still the same caring, humane and spiritual human being I’ve known since. His contributions to society, to the poor and the weak, hasn’t decreased in any way. He is still my dear friend.

During dinner last night, I mused loudly about the ‘Beauty and The Beast’ debacle with my wife and my 2 tween girls, their ages at the precipice of being teenagers. My wife had asked my eldest about what she knew and thought of gays. To our surprise, her maturity shone through again. She made it clear that there was nothing wrong with gays, and that they’re as natural as her. “They only like the same sex, they’re still apart of us (our society), no biggie,” she shrugged. And her younger sister by a year nodded in agreement as they went about with their delicious thosay.

Their views might change as they grow up. But I take comfort in knowing that they don’t harbour fears or inhabitations towards the LGBT community and have built strong foundations in treating every one they encounter as equals. And treat these equals with compassion and fairness. But more important to me, I hope they will come to realise, from our dinner conversations like last night, that they won’t have to hide from me and my wife if they grow into atypical adults with differences of their own. I hope they don’t have to hide their true selves for fear of being shunned by their beloved family members, especially me and my wife.

Our futures are never foretold to us, and life is unpredictable. But the one thing in our control is the ability to accept life as it comes to us hard and fast. Acceptance of those close to us, as who they truly are, is one of the greatest lessons we would need to learn. I sincerely hope my daughters will always know that I will accept them as they are. But more importantly, I hope I learn to accept them as they are. Life can’t be censored by any one of us. It can only be accepted.

 

jagdesh-1Jagdesh Singh, a Kuala Lumpur-based executive with a US multinational company, is a father of three girls who are as opinionated as their mother

 

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

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1 COMMENT

  1. Inter religious and inter csste marriages were considered taboo and unacceptable for centuries but are now common and acceptable in the Sikh community as in many other communities though there still may be some with old views.
    The change came about in the last four to five decades.
    The B & B case may also be only in some cases as the movie has been shown worldwide without changes and if Disney approves it for cyber viewing then the cut may make the Censor Board decision a mockery.

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