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An Officer and his gentlemen: Yes or no?

Some women find men in uniform attractive. They will stop, stare and feel weak at the knees. What do women find alluring? Is it the straight back, the posture, the puffed-out chest, the shiny badges, or the tilt of the beret? Is it because a man in uniform symbolises safety, strength and discipline?

One uniformed Malaysian has the opposite effect on many Malaysians. He is the Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah Malaysia (MJMM) president, Abdul Rani Kulup Abdullah. He is often photographed in a dark olive uniform, with a red beret and sunglasses. Some men look good in uniform, but Abdul Rani makes us laugh.

Abdul Rani is often seen with loads of shiny badges on his chest. He looks like a poor copy of former Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, or Ugandan President Idi Amin, both of whom had chests decorated with numerous medals and orders.

One person wondered if Abdul Rani’s sunglasses were used to hide his small, nondescript eyes. When he gestures, while talking, we cannot miss the large rings on his fingers. Only one other person in Malaysia has the same obsession with obscenely large rings. She is the self-styled First Lady of Malaysia (FLOM), Rosmah Mansor.

Most military men have a crew cut or short hair, but Abdul Rani has long, dank, shoulder-length hair. Another critic wondered if the beret was used to hide a bald patch. Some vain men who are troubled by their loss of hair will do this.

A uniform gives us an identity and should always be worn with pride. Our identity is not just defined by our appearance. The causes which we uphold also contribute to our identity.

The stupidity of many of the Malaysian Muslim NGOs is hard to beat. Last month, several Islamic groups including Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) condemned an international school in Seremban because the school was holding a Halloween event on Oct 31. The NGOs were furious that “western culture” which goes against Islamic culture, was being spread.

Halloween is just the short form of ‘All Hallows’ Eve’ and its origins began as a celebration to remember the dead. Even Christians are divided on Halloween having religious significance so, what are Isma’s motives in attacking this international school?

Incidentally, would Isma dare to hold a protest preventing the Chinese from celebrating the Tomb Sweeping Day (Cheng Beng Festival)?

In the west, Halloween is just another opportunity for merry-making, with fancy dress parties, bonfire gatherings, having fun and eating toffee apples. Some people may light candles in church, in memory of the dead, but on the whole Halloween is another commercial exploit. Shops make money and people party.

In 2012, Foreign Minister, Anifah Aman told Bernama that Malaysians should not protest because protesting is a western attribute. If Isma hates western influence, then why is it being hypocritical, and copying western culture, by protesting?

A really concerned NGO would have focused on the terrible influence of western culture on our youngsters, like cheap cigarettes, cheap junk food (fast-food) and 24-hour television.

These Muslim NGOs have too much time on their hands. Is their full time job to protest, disturb the peace and make countless police reports? A few weeks ago, they complained that the planned construction of a church in Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya was an “insult to Muslims”. Pro-Umno Baru blogs hinted that there was possibly a covert reason, like converting Muslims to Christianity, by building the church beside low-cost flats. Unsurprisingly, Abdul Rani was present at the protest.

Today, Abdul Rani and his uniformed friends were out in force, on another protest. Their complaint was that Najib Razak’s photo had been photoshopped, to look like a Hindu priest.

Abdul Rani and his men are not bothered about Najib’s handling of the economy, or the corruption or the breakdown of law and order. The photo is the least of our worries. One critic suggested that the image was an improvement on Najib’s looks.

Abdul Rani demanded that the authorities take action because “issues like the photoshopped picture, would cause religious unrest in the country”.

Hitler once said, “What luck for the rulers that men do not think.”

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