One country’s sexy is another’s cute and angsty

Avril Lavigne is a threat to the youth of Malaysia. The 23-year-old pop singer is so smoking hot that members of a Malaysian Islamic opposition party do not want any of their impressionable youth seeing her in concert. Lavigne will have to shake her moneymaker in front of some other country’s young pliable minds because this opposition party isn’t having any of it. The Malaysian conservative group is convinced that her moves are “too sexy” for their teenagers, and they believe her August performance must be stopped.

The group appealed to the Malaysian Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Heritage to cancel the concert and the Ministry agreed. “It is not timely. It’s not in the good spirit of our National Day. If we go ahead with the concert, it is contrary to what we are preparing for,” said a senior official from the Ministry. Apparently, National Day is a countrywide day set aside to prepare against the evils of wristbands and tube socks.

Malaysia has a history of strict guidelines, which have led many female performers to cancel their shows. The Malaysian government’s rules require that all female performers wear conservative clothing that do not bear any “obscene” images. Additionally, all clothing must cover you from the chest to the knee. (Why am I getting flashbacks of “dress-down days” at my Catholic elementary school?) Beyonce moved her scheduled concert to Indonesia as a result of these mandates, and Christina Aguilera opted to not perform there at all. Gwen Stefani decided to perform, agreeing to cover up her trademark washboard stomach. She called her decision to wear a bit more clothing on stage “a major sacrifice” (and I will add, a terrible loss to that nation).

In 2006, the Malaysian government censured The Pussycat Dolls, though not for their singing. The band was fined $3,400 back in July for “unbecoming behavior” during their concert in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia’s Minister of Culture, Rais Yatim, said the Dolls’ concert featured “scantily dressed performers” and “sensuous elements.” Not to speak ill of the Dolls, but let’s get real here: If you take all that away from the Dolls, you really don’t have much left, so why invite them to perform?

Other strange rules for performing in Malaysia are that the artist must refrain from jumping, shouting, hugging and kissing. (I can only imagine that a bad experience with the Barney and Friends Tour led to the decision enforce these mandates.) It seems that countries with such strict conditions leave very little to the art of live performance, limiting the performer to well, singing — in absolute stillness, while wearing a curtain. With all these rules, why even buy concert tickets in Malaysia? Why not just sit in front of your brand new radio that you bought with your ticket money and imagine Avril in whatever you want?

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