Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kosmo! Vs Yasmin Ahmad's Friends

Oh. My. God.

They are turning it into a circus.

A day after Yasmin Ahmad's death, Kosmo! ran a story on Yasmin's past - how she was a good football player and model student, a famed singer and liked assam pedas. Oh, by the way, Kosmo! also revealed that she was once known as a man called Zulkifli Ahmad. Read it here.

Cue righteous uproar from Marina Mahathir and journalists.

Look, guys, they can spin this. Kosmo! can perhaps say that:

1. They were only reporting facts.

2. They did not and do not assume that being a man and then a woman is something bad. These 'friends' of hers believe it is a shameful thing - a bad thing. They don't.

3. Free speech. Free Press. Yadda yadda yadda.

Then the friends will probably say that Kosmo! had malicious intent, wanting to smear her good name, because they were jealous of Yasmin's achievement. Or even jealous that she was well-accepted by people when they - some whom might wish to be women themselves - are not.

He said. She said. Bada bing. Bada boom.

In all this ruckus, what would Yasmin say? Would she have hounded Kosmo! reporters? Would she have chastised the other side for being overzealous?

If I know Yasmin, she would perhaps say a motto that was tattooed on another football player's ribs - Zlatan Ibrahimovic - during his own match-fixing scandal in Serie A.

"Only God can judge me."

And she'd leave it at that.

Whatever she was, Yasmin made such a huge impact on Malaysia. An impact of such magnitude that one - be he or she or it are detractors or fans - could only hope to emulate in 1000 lifetimes.

I believe in Kosmo!'s right for freedom of speech. And the bad thing with freedom of speech is that you also have to defend freedom of speech that you don't agree with. I also find it unseemly that they should run the article, not for Yasmin's sake. She has passed away and probably wouldn't care one iota. However, her family might be disturbed, as I have seen when another friend of mine had his medical records circulated during his funeral.

And that whatever other people say from now on, Kosmo! also has to respect their freedom of speech.

There will be no victor. Or victoria. So may the best man - or woman - win. Good luck!