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Here’s to the end of Timah… and confusion?

Why is it that so many people are so easily confused?

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Now that Winepak Corporation has declared it will change the name of its Timah whisky following a storm of Muslim protests, one would seem to be flogging a dead horse to still be quibbling over it.

The whisky manufacturer’s decision should put to rest any remaining confusion over whether Timah in Malay refers to tin (as in the tin industry in Malaysia) or worse, the shortened version of the name of the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter, to whom Muslims usually refer by her full name of Fatimah.

At the very least, this transformation in the whisky should satisfy Tangga Batu MP Rusnah Aluai, who recently expressed fears that if the whisky’s label is not changed, anyone who drinks it would feel as if he or she is “drinking a Malay woman”.

Not that anyone in the country has ever been reported to have “drunk a woman”, let alone a Malay-Muslim one, whether from a bottle, a flask or a jar.

One would otherwise quiver at the thought of a drinker, particularly a woman, downing a glass of Johnnie Walker. God forbid she should suddenly sprout whiskers, among other male characteristics.

Not that we are implying that the makers of the whisky should be compelled to change a name that is well established the world over. It is in the interest of women that they must try to stay away from drinking it.

In the same vein, would a sip of Bloody Mary make a woman chaste?

The name change of the Timah whisky should also resolve any confusion over the Ethiopian skull cap donned by the bearded Captain Tristam Speedy on the label jacket.

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To follow the argument of the critics to its logical conclusion, sporting beards should be the preserve of Muslims. Yes, the skull cap is also theirs to wear and no one else’s.

It is, therefore, hoped that in his reincarnation, Captain Speedy would instead wear headgear that befits a westerner, such as a hat. Better still, Speedy should change his entire wardrobe so he could be easily identified as a Westerner without a shadow of doubt.As fo

Worse comes to worst, the Islamic authorities in the country should be able to provide manufacturers with guidelines on how Muslims look should there be any doubt.

Incidentally, local manufacturers should also try in future to avoid making bottles whose shape may suggest a phallic symbol, which could arouse unsavoury emotions. This is to avoid unnecessary moral dilemmas.

The takeaway from this unfortunate controversy is that local manufacturers should be sensitive to the fact that many Malaysians, particularly Muslims, tend to become confused over many things. Root beer and hotdogs are a few examples.

As for Timah, the complainants need to be convinced that whisky by any other name remains whisky, which can only be consumed and enjoyed by people of faiths other than Islam. Any iota of confusion must be crushed here. – The Malaysian Insight

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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Dr Mustafa K Anuar, a longtime executive committee member and former honorary secretary of Aliran, is, co-editor of our newsletter. He obtained his PhD from City, University of London and is particularly interested in press freedom and freedom of expression issues. These days, he is a a senior journalist with an online media portal
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