I have said that I am more Sarawakian than Malaysian previously, and today, or more accurately, yesterday, I would love to reaffirm my stand on this.
Like many of those kids who shift into their child years in the early 90’s, I grew up watching Ultraman (photo above).
I remember dad and mom unwilling to buy a video cassette of Ultraman because they believed money was better spent with stories like Mrs Doubtfire, The Lion King or Seseme Street.
Regardless, I was allowed to watch Ultraman when I please on free TV, and even had an Ultraman collectors card set. Yep, huge fan here!
Even when I was only like 7 years of age, I knew Ultraman was mere fiction. So was Kastria Baja Hitam, Gaban, Superman, Voltron, Captain Planet and later own Power Rangers.
But that didn’t stop me from tying my blanket around my neck and assuming I was saving the world. At times, I’d be Ultraman with my younger sister sometimes playing the ‘evil monster’ with the pillows working wonders at pillow fights which normally followed.
As I entered school, the shouts of ‘BERTUKAR!’ (Change!) echoed through my classroom as my friends and I ran through the corridors in our imaginary costumes. No one could be the same superhero, so there was Gaban, Ultraman, Kastri Baja Hitam, Batman, Superman and more. You name it. We were like the justice league of the school! I personally favoured the moment Ultraman got weak, and had the chest indicator blink non-stop with that beep beep beep beep sound, which I imitated succesfully. – That gesture, although pure imagination, was useful to tell your friends that you were tired, and the most practical way to say ‘colop’ or pause from any running.
It was just fun and games with everyone, aged below 13-years, were well aware it was just imagination and fun. We knew none of us could fly, what more to say change, or burst flames out of our hands like Ultraman. Regardless, it was fun imagining we could do so.
As I grew up, the memories remained, but I no longer tie a blanket around my neck, nor do I shout ‘betukar’. I enjoy the shows every now and then, but that’s as far as it gets.
Despite not showing many moral values, these superheroes gave my buddies and I a silent lesson of life which was that there is always hope for good, no matter how overwhelming the evil.
Yesterday, I read that the Malaysian government had decided to ban an Ultraman comic book because it depicted the superhero as ‘Allah’. The claim is that such referral would confuse ‘young Muslim children’ because in Malaysia, Allah is said to be owned by the Muslims.
But here we have fictional superheroes which are said to be ‘God like’, or ‘Allah like’. It was a reference to show how powerful a superhero was, and we understood it then, and still do understand it now.
As far as I recall, no one of my friends (Muslim, Christian and other religion) was confused then, nor is any of them confused now.
Perhaps it is different now because the action by the Home Ministry shows that our young kids are always confused, but I honestly do not see such thing happening here in Kuching, nor have I heard any reports on such confusion among others in Sarawak.
Maybe the confusion is already happening in the Peninsular because from what I observe, people like Ibrahim Ali are already yelling that sharing the word ‘Allah’ can confuse them indefinitely.
If that is true, then perhaps banning the comic was a good move. I mean, why should the Malaysian government tell the entire world that their people are idiots for no apparent reason, right? There must be a very valid reason, which I believe is backed by Scientific facts and statistics.
So is it a good move to ban the ‘confusing’ Ultraman comic? I don’t know. – You feel our kids would be confused? You tell me, unless of course, you are confused already too.