Nothing to apologise lah!

Nothing to apologise, says punk rock band
July 08, 2008 UPDATED
By Wan Hamidi Hamid and Shannon Teoh

from: Malaysian Insider

Carburetor Dung gave a ‘lively’ performance at the rally.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — For Malaysia’s seminal punk rock band Carburetor Dung, the ruckus during its performance at the anti-fuel price increase rally in Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya yesterday was just a misunderstanding.

Band leader Joe Kidd explained that there was no need for them to apologise over the song “Mari Nyanyi Menjilat” or lead singer Alak pulling down his jeans to show off his boxer shorts to the mainly Malay audience at the Kelana Jaya Stadium.

“The song which is well known among our fans is about anti-corruption. It has nothing to do with the current political issue such as the allegation of sodomy against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“We’ve always played that song without any incidents. I guess to people who’ve never seen us, it’s a culture shock for them. But for us, we’ve been writing and performing anti-establishment songs for many years,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Arguably the first punk rock band in the country, Carburetor Dung was formed in 1991. The 43-year-old Joe Kidd is also regarded as a veteran of the alternative music scene in Malaysia, paving the way for hundreds of young bands to emerge a decade later.

Writing in the band’s website yesterday, he explained: “Some reports I saw also misquoted the title as ‘Liwat’ instead of ‘Jilat’, so if some bloggers made the mistake, I’m sure a lot of the people in the stadium misunderstood too. So many took umbrage lah, thinking that we were making fun of Anwar. Actually I even explained to the crowd the gist of the song before we played it.”

The band’s bass player Fendi said that the singer would explain every song before blasting into their three-chord frenzy.

“I guess it is up to the political parties and their supporters to think about the whole issue. If freedom of expression is on the agenda, if the parties are supposed to be different from that of the ruling coalition, they have to decide the future of freedom,” he said.

PKR Youth’s Balik Pulau MP Yusmadi Yusoff defended the band’s right to freedom of expression, saying that from this the organisers — Coalition Against Inflation (Protes) — could learn how to prepare their events with more coherence.

“There is no standard form of expression for everyone. But the organisers need a coherent strategy to have an effective campaign. We must encourage a conducive environment for all stakeholders, and for an underground band, perhaps we should have agreed on a song or songs that most resonated with our agenda,” he said.

PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub, however, said it would be unfair to lay all the blame solely on Protes, noting that activist Hishamuddin Rais who had engaged performers for the event had taken responsibility for the mishap.

“Everyone has a right to freedom of expression but we still need to look at the sensitivities of people. As we can all agree, the singer pulling down his pants was an embarrassing event,” he said.

Yusmadi stressed that in the end everyone came back to hear Pakatan supremo Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speak, showing that there was common ground for all. “I guess we learnt that as a society, we still need to learn how to negotiate our plurality.”

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim yesterday remarked that it was all done in the spirit of the “protest event. So while we protested fuel prices, members of the audience were also protesting against the behaviour of the band.”

Meanwhile, the band will continue to play whenever and wherever it is needed, without having to compromise its stance, Fendi added. For example, crowd favourites like “Oppression” and “Boo Hoo Clapping Song” offer their take on social issues such as political hypocrisy and lack of freedom in the country.

Carburetor Dung has been involved in social causes over the years, working with Food Not Bombs which helps to feed the homeless in the city and performing at the annual Press Freedom Day concert.


Joe Kidd


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