An open letter to Lord Bobo by some jaded minions
This open letter comes in response to the recent shitstorm on LoyarBurok. This was chiefly caused by your poor reaction to being called out for a sexist and tasteless column. This letter is addressed to you and all who support you in the name of freedom of expression.
The FellatioGate had happened under the guise of a “satire”, and when that guise failed, you employed the defence of ‘freedom of expression’ and claimed critics were using personal attacks to silence you. Sigh, if your piece was indeed intended to poke fun at sexism rather than being sexist, why could you not have defended yourself so from the beginning, uprightly, loudly against your critics? Why the need to resort to the last, feeble defence of freedom of expression? Is it really okay for a platform that claims to promote equality and human rights to be sexist in the name of freedom of expression?
While you published two articles critiquing the said sexist article on LoyarBurok, you effectively dismissed other angry voices on Facebook and Twitter. If other people are upset after reading the article, it’s their fault for being too sensitive, not yours. Indeed, if the powers that be are pissed off after reading your columns, you should open a bottle of champagne and celebrate for you are exposing injustice and their hypocrisies. However, if the human rights defenders you claim to represent are pissed off after reading your piece, perhaps it is time to take a step back and reflect. Does your piece challenge unjust systemic power structures or does it perpetuate patriarchy, stepping on both males and females in the name of “satire”?
You tried to make a joke but now you have become the joke. Lord Bobo pretends to be omnipotent, but we know its columns are written by mortals just like the rest of us. Everybody screws up once in a while, it’s okay, we humans learned by making mistakes. Or have those who speak on behalf of Lord Bobo bought into the myth they themselves created that Lord Bobo is almighty and thus can never write anything wrong? Has Lord Bobo’s pride grown bigger than its conscience?
Meanwhile, we have also witnessed passive aggressive behaviour on Twitter with different Lord Bobo personas. We are very troubled that those who supported the article hid behind the persona of Lord Bobo to deflect criticisms, refusing to address critics publicly, transparently about the matter. While Lord Bobo attempts to hold governments and the public institutions in Malaysia accountable, who holds Lord Bobo to account? Who does Lord Bobo represent: a sexist writer? Those who write on behalf of Lord Bobo that don’t give a fuck what the rest of the world thinks about them? What about the rest of us in the LoyarBurok movement?
Lord Bobo, you no longer speak for us.
This debacle has alienated and disappointed your allies and loyal supporters including us. We believe this FellatioGate has far-reaching implications beyond LoyarBurok, damaging the credibility of LoyarBurok-linked initiatives including MCCHR and UndiMsia!, bodies advocating human rights yet implicitly, by their silence, condone sexism. Many of us, previously strong advocates for LoyarBurok, feel confused and jaded by the path LoyarBurok has decided to take. We refuse to be affiliated with a sexist ape.
It used to be a joy for us to read Lord Bobo’s columns: you would poke fun at the powers that be and hold them accountable for the people. Through your column, you educate the rakyat about their constitutional rights and help them make sense of current socio-political affairs. You speak for equality and justice. You champion the downtrodden: the rakyat, migrants, refugees, indigenous people. We do not need you to be funny. We would rather have a human rights platform that is inclusive to all including feminists and women, and a Lord Bobo that ferociously pushes back against any form or manifestation of discrimination, on the basis of gender, race or ethnicity, social class, nationality, age or other identity.
We are not demanding a retraction of the article, or censorship of any kind, we’re asking for a better reaction to being called out than FoE. We sincerely hope that the Ask Lord Bobo team will address the issues we have brought up.
Your jaded minions,
Louise Tan, Rebecca Choong, Yap Jin Rui, Chang Mei Yen, Pei Ling Gan, Wong Chee Yern
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