Malaysia is blessed with a multi-racial community which, to most of us is an opportunity to learn more about other religions, beliefs, norms and customs. Unlike most developed western country however, we rarely discuss on sensitive subject matter openly. Even the authorities don’t even condone Presidential debate what more an intellectual debate on taboos or social activities which are not commonly attributed to Asian countries particularly in Malaysia or Indonesia. Little is spoken about it until early November 2011 when Seksualiti Merdeka took place and several prominent figures such the high-profile daughter of ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad, Marina Mahathir had a say to it as well as Bersih Chief Ambiga Sreenevasan.
We live in a community whereby speaking on sensitive subject matter is a big NO.The irony is that we allow and create an environment that ostracizes or ridicule this minority only because we have the upper hand to dismiss some of their unique self discovery. We refuse in admitting the fact that even back in the 90’s, these minority has been growing ever since. True enough that majority agrees that it shouldn’t be promoted on mainstream media but we need to face the fact that they are part of us, as a Malaysian. The way to deal with it is not to isolate them but to embrace them as part of our community. Yes, we understand very well that it’s against the norm and in no particular way that we are encouraging any of this to be honest, but truth be told, we are somewhat ignorant of what’s happening around us.
Recently, a print screen of a Whatsapp conversation between a potential tenant and an owner went viral. The potential tenant told the owner that she wants to rent a room but openly informed the owner that she will be staying there with her boyfriend and also told the owner that it is already a trend in Bangi. That conversation sparked public outrage especially in the Malay community. It’s awkward really when obviously the fact that many do know there are plenty of couples who are not yet married but are staying together here in Kuala Lumpur.
Lola (not her real name), a 28 years old pharmacist working in a local private hospital is sharing a house with another housemates of which one them is a guy. What caught our attention is that the guy she’s sharing the house with is not only a man – which that alone is not acceptable here – but is also a homosexual. They’ve been living there for well over 4 years.
“I am well aware that he is a Homosexual prior to agreeing to share this apartment with him. Yes, at first it was a little bit awkward but moving forward I got used to it and we led our own lives”, Lola said in the interview. “ It was a little bit uncomfortable at first when he brings his partner back home and they slept together, but he reassured me that no one would do any harm to me”, she added and recognizing that gay community locally has been growing for quite some time already now and they also have their own parties and gathering.
Flat sharing amongst people of different background, personalities is really an intriguing and exciting topic. This is just an example of how two or more people with a totally different sexual orientation or personalities cope with each other when they share an apartment and live together. Lola added the only that bothered her more is that another housemate of hers did not take care of her pet and that it brought lice to her home and not that her housemate is a gay that annoyed her.
People renting a room in a shared apartment indeed have different personal preferences. We strongly believe that we provide the best platform for everyone to communicate both direct and indirectly using the profile they created on our website. Lola is a great example of a kind of person who would only mind her own business and not others. That’s what we call MYOB here – Mind Your Own Business. Some demands total privacy and some just wants neighbors would be concern of their well being – both are your own preferences and we celebrate differences.
The issue of Lesbian, Transsexual, Gay and Transgender is an interesting topic. We are in no way implying that social problems are an inescapable part of being gay or lesbian – they are just something that can happen. We do believe that it is a harmful stereotype that this minority group of people are “damaged goods”. More and more these days if someone is from a liberal accepting environment they may come out as a younger teenager with little incident and happily go on with their lives. If this is a taboo here in Malaysia, we however must seek relevant approaches to deal with this and not to be in denial of what’s happening around us.