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I read with a heaviness in my heart about the unfortunate cancellation of Erykah Badu’s concert at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. At a stroke of a pen, her 1,500 fans who had paid to see her perform were unceremoniously deprived of that moment and that pleasure of her music. All because her photo with a certain symbol was featured in a local mainstream newspaper.

And worse still Erykah, a Grammy Award winner, was already in Malaysia and eager to catch up with her fans. I saw her photo in today’s NST with strained emotion as if she had been crying. My heart goes out to her. It must have been a great frustration for her having traveled so far to come to Malaysia to do her thing, singing her music only to be banned at the last minute. Lord, so high-handed and so final,so arrogant, so gleeful and so mindless!

No doubt it is another herd mentality phenomenon and a case of playing to the gallery.

It could have been managed differently, I had hoped.

An emotional Erykah at the press conference on 29 Feb 2012

Erykah did not have the power to stop anybody from publishing her photo. There must have been hundreds of Erykah’s photos that could be featured but unfortunately that very photo was chosen by the newspaper. It is not Erykah’s fault. How would she know that one day she would be invited to perform in Malaysia? How could she have stopped that photo which is available on the internet? I cannot understand this blatant use of power to punish and humiliate. All they know is to punish and punish, humiliate and humiliate! What kind of country are we living in? It’s a desperate question with a likely frightening answer.

I have heard of Erykah Badu but must admit I have never heard her music unlike Lady Gaga or Christina Aguilera who are more well known. All the same, I feel she should not be treated this way. It is a humiliation and God, yes, the universal God will deal with these people who humiliate His innocent creature. Call me a crackpot if you will but I believe in natural justice. I believe we should not act unjustly because if we do, retribution will come our way, maybe not to us but to our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren…..

Imagine what the world is saying about us? And Someone said our country’s image would not be tarnished by the last minute’s ban on Erykah’s concert!! Do I laugh or cry at this paranoid man’s nonchalant statement? In reality, it is most likely we would not be seeing many international singers coming our way in the near future. Silap hari bulan (out- of – the blue bad luck), their concerts might be banned at the last minute for whatever reasons on moral or cultural ground. Imagine the huge financial losses to them and to the organizers!

Guys, let’s face it, we might have to hop to Singapore or Jakarta to see them perform.

Erykah, I am sorry about what happened to your concert but please do not think that all Malaysians agree to that decision. And you were so gracious in your response to the cancellation that I am truly awed at the amount of control you professionally displayed at your last press conference on 29 Feb 2012 before departing for Jakarta. I wish you well.

At least Erykah can take comfort that 29 February comes only every four years!

(And for the first time, I have broken my new year resolution not to blog past midnight!)


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