Hosted by award-winning director, playwright, actress, comedienne Jo Kukathas, as the the irrepressible Ribena Berry, the Aiyoh… Wat Lah! Awards 2015 was held in Ipoh, the first time outside Klang Valley, to the delight of local supporters.
The annual Aiyoh… Wat Lah! internationally-acclaimed annual spoof awards ceremony was inaugurated in 2012. It highlights sexism, homophobia, transphobia and misogyny in the Malaysian public sphere for the past year.
Organised by the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG), its objective is to raise awareness on the pervasiveness of the above issues and to encourage higher standards of behaviour from public figures (for example politicians) and institutions in relation to gender and sexuality in Malaysia.
Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) comprises ten women’s rights groups, namely: All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), Association of Women Lawyers (AWL), Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER), Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS), Perak Women for Women Society (PWW), Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group (SAWO), Sisters in Islam (SIS), Tenaganita, Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) and Women’s Centre for Change, Penang (WCC)
Although the message was strong, the deserving “winners” were crowned in a light-hearted tone, which makes it even more ironic and humorous. The categories, which were developed by JAG, are:
1. Foot in Mouth
2. Insulting Intelligence
3. Policy Fail
4. Cannot Ignore
5. Least Helpful to the Sisterhood
6. Enough Already!
7. Right on Track (to recognise something done right)
This year’s awards drew votes from more than 1,300 people, not only from within the country but also abroad, to choose the winning public statements, actions and policies in the above awards categories.
And the winners are:
1. Foot in Mouth – Non-Malays are less sensitive to the rape of teenage girls (85.7%)
2. Insulting Intelligence – Mothers will fear their daughters’ spouses having bigger breasts (43.9%)
3. Policy Fail – Men being banned at netball tournaments in Kelantan and the strict and impractical dress codes for women players (42.2%)
4. Cannot Ignore -The ill-treatment of child victims of Malaysia’s largest gang rape (including remanding and handcuffing the 17-year-old victim) (54.5%)
5. Least Helpful to the Sisterhood – Women shouldn’t ask for so much as they have a secret weapon (39.7%)
6. Enough Already! – Discrimination against women in politics (48.7%)
7. Right on Track (to recognise something done right) – A Syariah law against cross-dressing was struck down and statement made acknowledging rights of transgender persons – Justice Mohd. Hishamudin Mohd. Yunus (36.8%)
In the limelight for all the wrong reasons, I have chosen not to include the names of the heroes behind the above statements for categories 1 – 6.
However, if you are up to speed with the Malaysian socio-political scene, you would know who said/did what…. and recall the time when you internally exclaimed, “Aiyoh… what lah?!” when flipping through the newspaper.
Event: Aiyoh… Wat Lah?! Awards 2015
Venue: Sarang Paloh Event Hall, Ipoh
Date: 10th May, 2015
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