A group of nine Australian men have been arrested for stripping down to their ‘Jalur Gemilang’ underwear at the Sepang International Circuit. The incident happened while they were watching the Formula 1 Petronas Grand Prix on Sunday, 2nd October.
The men were rightfully arrested for public indecency and for disrespecting the national flag. Here are four reasons why their act was indubitably offensive to our ‘Jalur Gemilang’, and to all Malaysians.
Disrespectful – Stripping down at a public event is inappropriate and almost selfish. They did not care for the feelings of people around them, or how they’d feel seeing a bunch of men walking around in their briefs. Not every country is okay with you stripping down to your briefs in public, even without their national flag on it.
Cultural ignorance – When in a foreign country, it goes without saying that you should always try your best to be culturally sensitive. Be aware of what country you’re in, what are the cultural norms, do some research, read up online, or just talk to the locals. Bearing the national flag on your underwear is discourteous, and can even be blasphemous in some countries.
It’s a national flag (duh) – A national flag represents a country’s glory, pride and identity. To drape it around your nether regions is disrespectful to all that is stands for. Under the 1953 Flags Act of Australia, it states that the national flag “may be flown on every day of the year, provided it is “treated with [the] respect and dignity it deserves as the nation’s most important national symbol.”
Treating a flag with respect and dignity applies to the flag of every country in the world, and any disrespect to the national flag implies insult towards the nation and its people.
In Australia, you are advised against wearing the national flag as a cape – In Australia, if you wear your flag as a cape, you will be asked to remove it. The police even said that they will use “Tasers, pepper spray, handcuffs, whatever it takes” to handle the situation. So why would you wear the flag of another country at your private parts? While it is not illegal, it is still a contentious gesture.
In fact, read Cyclone Cindy’s blog post condemning the use of Australian flags as thongs and tank tops during Australia day. This article also explains how the Australian flag should never be worn as an apparel, bedding or drapery.
According to Channel News Asia, the men are being investigated under Section 504 (intentionally disrupt peace) and under Section 14 (indecent behaviour at a public place).
If charged under Section 294(a) of the Malaysian Penal Code (for carrying out any obscene act in any public place), they will be liable to a maximum sentence of three months in prison. If no charges are laid, they will probably be deported from the country after a few days in jail.
Did it offend you when you saw the pictures? Or you just laughed them off? Let us know.