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PELANGI Campaign condemns Minister Nazri Aziz’s ‘pondan’ slur

Pelangi Campaign condemns Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz’s recent remark using the word pondan (sissy) as an insult. We denounce the use of all forms of abusive and homophobic language, especially from public officials.

The minister who gave the speech in his constituency challenged the Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok, “don’t be a pondan. Don’t be a hen which hides behind the wall in Hong Kong.” When speaking to the reporter, the minister also referred the billionaire as a “coward with no testicles”.

Most life-threatening social disease

It is appaling the minister used such unpleasant language when speaking to his constituency. Femininity is not negative and we need to stop devaluing it. We need to keep interrogate patriarchal norms – perpetuates toxic masculinity. American author Bell Hooks refers patriarchy as “the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation”.

We witness the chilling effect of bullies using such slur in our society. Teenager T. Nhaveen – who tragically passed away last year after being brutally mutilated and sexually assaulted, subjected to bullying and name calling like pondan because of their gender expression and perceived sexual orientation. We also see the rise of hate crime against trans people simply for their gender identity. Justice For Sisters documented 12 murder cases of trans women 2007 to 2017. Traditionally, hate crime and violence are underreported.

People see people do

Patriarchy is a system that creates social and institutional hierarchy, which base on one’s gender. In which result in inequality and concentration of power with privilege group, traditionally men and favours masculinity. Because of patriarchal system deeply embedded in our society, we are still lagging behind having only 24 women MPs out of 222 parliamentary seats. Let alone minority like Orang Asal, youth, working class, LGBTIQ, and other marginalised groups.

Words do matter

Evidently more works need to be done in this country. As a first step we should be more mindful the language that we use everyday. Words do matter and we need to resist the normalisation of such harmful language. Instead of abusive language and name calling, we encourage the minister and others to use gender sensitive language and to engage in civic dialogue. The use of gender-biased terms influences attitudes and expectations of the listeners, especially young people growing up in such environment. We have had too many deaths in this country, it is time to put a stop to it. It is time for us to have a healthier environment for young people of all gender and sexuality to grow up in our country.

About PELANGI Campaign
PELANGI Campaign was founded as one of the first LGBTQ civil society organizations in Malaysia. PELANGI Campaign seeks to advocate for LGBTQ rights in Malaysia through outreach and bringing awareness to the general public as well as mobilizing grassroot action among its community. We envision an inclusive Malaysia that embraces and celebrates sexual and gender pluralism, with equal rights for all LGBTQ people.

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