Within the last week, I checked my Yahoo! email to find this ad promoting tourism in Malaysia (main site here) on the main post-login page:
This automatically raises some eyebrows, but following said directions brings up several further examples of flagrant sugar-coating of reality in Malaysia, which beg to be deconstructed.
Commentary will have to suffice in lieu of a pre-recorded laugh-track, with respect to the bit about "the value of family life and peace." Note also the gender-mixing and lack of veiling. This display of "moderation" belies the increasing Arabization of the Muslim world, driven in part by ideological exports from Saudi Arabia.
An interesting contrast to this bit of sugarcoating is at Malaysia Today, in an article entitled ‘Muslim moderates’ are not for hire, which notes that the alleged "majority of moderate Muslims" could not speak out if it wanted to (per the request of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi), as doing so would run afoul of the militant, authoritarian government, and land one in prison without trial under Malaysia's Internal Security Act. That, of course, was somehow omitted from this ad. Somehow.
And now for minorities in Malaysia:
Where to start? How about the Bumiputra system? They may look happy and equally-valued in the ad, but as non-Bumiputra ("Sons of the Soil," i.e., Muslim Malays), they face discrimination in business, real estate, university admissions, and much more.
Then, of course, there's the general climate of fear under which non-Muslims live in an officially Islamic country, which only seems to get worse, where criticizing Islam can land one a jail sentence or a nearly $2000 fine-- this in a country where the per capita income is US $10,400, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Those are only a few examples of holes one can poke in this presentation by Tourism Malaysia. I shudder to think of how much they spent on this particular ad campaign, but for at least one reader, the exercise in taqqiya was for naught.