Pepper Lim is the father of two adorable children named Paprika and Saffron. “Dear Paprika” is a series of letters written for posterity. When Paprika is 20 years old, he will be 61.
What would you say if you heard these two stories below?
Well, what do you think? I bet you would think the doctor and teacher are out of their minds. And thank goodness, I have never heard of a doctor nor a teacher recommend beatings as a cure for anything. Yet, in Malaysia, there are those who think violence is an answer to their problems.
A few years ago, a group of LGBT advocates came up with a campaign called It Gets Better. This campaign sought to address the mistreatment and discrimination of people who identify themselves as LGBT. One of them, a gay Malay man who made a video entitled “Saya Gay, Saya Okay” to encourage other mistreated gay men was threatened with bodily harm and death! Yeah, right, why not threaten someone who is trying to give a little bit of hope to those mistreated for being themselves? Duh!
Last year, a group of six men attacked a transsexual person with chains, steel bars and motorcycle helmets. When her friend tried to help her, the friend was beaten up too.
I talked to Uncle Aston who was defending the rights of a group of mak nyahs in court last year. He said his clients were picked up by the authorities for the crime of being who they are. Yes, you read that right, their crime was being who they are: mak nyahs! He told me his clients were told to strip in front of the male authorities and stand in their underwear; no clothes, no bra, just them in their panties.
Uncle Aston has also told me of many cases of mak nyahs complaining of being sexually molested by the authorities. They fondled the mak nyahs’ breasts and berated them. Some were even told to strip naked completely to display their genitals. Others have been beaten by the authorities. Furthermore, when mak nyahs are detained, they are sent to male detention centres. You can imagine how humiliating that is not to mention the suffering they face in the hands of the male inmates.
This seems to be the alarming trend: violence as a legitimate method to cure or teach a person.
What, you’re a pengkid? Answer: Jom, kita rogol dia ramai-ramai! Kita ajar dia jadi perempuan betul!
Huh, you’re a mak nyah? Answer: Jom, kita rogol dia ramai-ramai! Kita ajar dia jadi laki betul!
Oh, you identify your sexuality as lesbian? Answer: Jom, kita pukul dia sampai dia sedar lesbian tak natural.
I am not making these statements up! I read them on anti-LGBT Facebook pages and local blogs! There are hundreds of such comments that I think it is at a worrying level.
The problem is not the LGBT person but the people who cannot accept the LGBT person. If a person has a problem with LGBTs and if he thinks violence is the answer, shouldn’t s/he beat himself instead of others?
How would you feel if you were molested for wearing a pink dress? How would you feel if you were beaten up because you enjoy eating vegetables? You are who you are and no one should be able to make you change just because they disagree with you.
Dear Paprika, to think someone could think it is okay to hurt someone else is beyond me. To think a Malaysian could think that simply blows my mind! My parents have taught me well; violence is not a means to an end. I will teach you to take a stand against violence too.
Your loving father,
Watch Pepper as a co-host on the Siti and Pepper Show. For more information, please click here.