Gubra (Yasmin Ahmad, 2006), translated in English as ‘anxiety’, is possibly one of the most controversial films made and screened in Malaysia in the last decade. Yasmin Ahmad’s films have always been conversation pieces but Gubra did not just have people discussing, they were arguing about it on national television (Bissme S, 2006). The title of the forum itself was sensational if not condemning- ‘Sepet (the prequel movie to Gubra) dan Gubra Pencemar Budaya?’ (Sepet and Gubra corrupters of culture?) The culture here refers to the Malay Muslim culture, the dominant culture of Malaysia. Most of the panellist strongly insisted that the movies posed a threat to the Malay Muslim culture. They even had a SMS (short messaging system)-poll that had 59% of the audience agreeing with the panel (Beh, 2006: 3). For this paper, I will not be looking at the representation of Malay Muslim culture as a whole but rather just focusing on the Malay Muslim women and their sexuality. There are three reasons for this; firstly it is because most of the main characters in the films are Malay Muslim women. Secondly, phenomenon such as cultural ‘threats’ and ‘anxieties related to modernity and traditions are often projected onto women’ in Malaysia (Khoo, 2006: 126). Thirdly, according to feminist film theorists  Marjorie Rosen and Molly Haskell, ‘women is essentially a message which is being communicated in patriarchal culture, and it is in her inscription through stereotyping and myth as a sign which is being exchanged that she operates, finally in the dominant cultural forms.’ (Thornham, 1997:28) The women’s sexuality was seen as dangerous and outrageous, a threat to the kinship arrangement of the Muslim community (umma). On the flip side, the younger, more urban and racially diverse crowds applauded the depictions of these characters as brave and progressive, an outstanding portrayal of how Malaysians can be (Suanie, 31 March 2006).

Are these women that outrageous or outstanding? I am taking this opportunity to analyse which gender matrix these women have disrupted and to what extent they have rocked Malaysian conscience so. I will do so by firstly explaining the concept of gender matrix and then examined Islamic perspective of women’s sexuality. Then I will present the gender matrix in Malaysia and where the Malay Muslim women’s sexuality is situated within it. I will not be challenging the structure of the gender matrix for this paper but rather just to present the three variations and compare the three main women characters from Gubra to it. I will be using feminist film theory to conduct textual and cultural analysis of the characters. From that, I should be able to conclude if the Muslim women characters have indeed radicalized the gender matrix and that the reactions against them were uncalled for.

Gender Matrix and Women’s Sexuality

The gender matrix is the binary system of which gender is understood or is made ‘intelligible’ (Butler, 2006:23), when they ‘in some sense institute and maintain relations of coherence and continuity among sex, gender, sexual practice, and desire.’ This coherence is produced when ‘sex can be understood in some sense to necessitate gender- where gender is a psychic and/or cultural designation for the self – and desire- where desire is heterosexual and therefore differentiates itself through an oppositional relation to that other gender it desires.’ (Butler, 2006: 30).  In this parallel binary system, a woman’s sexuality would look like this: a person who is born with a vagina (lack of penis or castration threat according to feminist film theorist Mulvey, 1999: 59) is called female. She would have to or assumed to be feminine, and she would then have to or expected to express her desire in a feminine way towards men who are supposed to be masculine – an oppositional gender to her. People whose gender does not follow from sex, such as masculine women or who has sexuality that does not follow from gender, such as a women desiring another women will fall out of this matrix of intelligibility or become a subversion of the matrix itself. In most cultures, they would be called derogatory terms and be marginalized. In very few cultures, they would be elevated to a position of unique admiration. Either way, they would not be accepted as one of the norms. The limitation and arrangement of this gender intelligibility matrix would vary or be complicated further in some ways from culture to culture, depending on location, time period, believes system, class and ethnicity. Now we will look at the gender matrix in the culture of Islam.

Islam, gender and women’s sexuality

When talking about the Islamic concept of gender and women’s sexuality, Islamic intellectuals would refer to the Quran as the essential text of influence. According to Bouhdiba (1985:viii), ‘one must set out from the Quran. It is the revealed source: the primary source, chronologically and ontologically. And the ultimate source for the Muslim consciousness.’ Like all religious texts, the Quran was not written in a vacuum space and time but rather in a particular historical and geographical context- seventh century C.E. in Middle Eastern region or Arabia (Ahmed, 1992:36), which has consequences on their values:

‘Islam explicitly and discreetly affiliated itself with the traditions already in place in the region. According to Islam, Muhammad was a prophet in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and the Quran incorporated, in some form or other, many stories to be found in the Bible, those of

creation and fall among others. As a consequence, once Islam had conquered the adjacent territories, the assimilation of the scriptural and social traditions of their Christian and Jewish populations in to the corpus of Islamic life and thought occurred easily and seamlessly.’ (Ahmed, 1992:4)

Both Christian and Jewish traditions share a strong patriarchal system that allowed for and solidify Islam’s view on women and sexuality. As Islam incorporate all these perspectives, it also managed to label the pre-Islamic period the ‘Age of Ignorance’ or Jahilia (Ahmed, 1992). According to Ahmed, this labelling served an ideological purpose and also managed to obscure some Middle Eastern cultures where women had a better standing before being occupied by Islam. Before we go into how women’s sexuality is represented in Islam, we should identify first what is constituted as the female sex or ‘women’ in Islam. The most apparent instruction on how to distinguish the sex is interestingly located in Bouhdiba’s rephrasing of Ibrahim Halbi’s view on hermaphrodite, ‘If his beard grows, if he is able to make love, if he has nocturnal emissions, he is a man. If on the other hand, he menstruates, gets pregnant, has fairly voluminous breasts and can give milk, if one can have sexual intercourse with him, he is a woman.’ (1985:41)

The definition of the sex is expectedly biological, a man is someone with facial hair and a woman is someone who is able to give birth. What then would be the gender criteria that follow the female sex?  How can she express her sexuality and desires?

‘The bipolarity of the world rests on the strict separation of the two ‘orders’, the feminine and the masculine. The unity of the world can be achieved only in the harmony of the sexes realised with full knowledge. The best way of realizing the harmony intended by God is for the man to assume his masculinity and for a woman to assume her full femininity. The Islamic view of the world removes any guilt form the sexes, but it does so in order to make them available to one another and to realize a ‘dialogue of the sexes’ in a context of mutual respect and joie de vivre.’ (Bouhdiba, 1985:30)

In other words, a Muslim woman is feminine and is available only to men.  Muslims who look for examples of femininity would look toward the wives of Prophet Muhammad. However, two of the most prominent wives of the Muhammad – Khadija and Aisha were presented to have different standards of femininity. Although Khadija was very important to Muhammad as his employer and as his first wife, she was said to be practicing a pre-Islamic or Jahilia custom as she was already well in her middle age when she married Muhammad

who was in his twenties. ‘Her economic independence; her marriage overture, apparently without a male guardian to act as intermediary; her marriage to a man many years younger than herself; and her monogamous marriage all reflect Jahilia rather than Islamic practice.’ (Leila Ahmed, 1992:42) It was different when it comes to Aishah, she was married to Muhammad whom already have a few wives, around age 9 or 10. Aishah and all the wives were secluded and started to wear veils. It is also important to note that Khadija proposed to Muhammad, signifying autonomy over her own sexuality while Aishah was married off by her parents as a child. These changes that happened since Muhammad marriage to his first wife until the time he was married to Aishah included rulings that endowed men control over women’s rights and sexuality. The rulings are ‘total and absolute’ said Bouhdiba (1985:11) as he highlighted verse 38 of Sura IV of the Quran:

‘Men are the managers of the affairs of women, for that God has preferred in bounty, one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding a secret for God’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious, admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; God is All-High, All-great.’

What would have been considered ‘feminine’ and therefore intelligible as the gender ‘woman’ during Khadija’s time, such as a woman who was in control of her livelihood and who chose the person of her own desire to marry, would be considered ‘unfeminine’ or subversive according to the gender matrix of Aishah’s time. By the time it comes to Aishah, Muslim women were to adhere to this ruling of complete submission to their husband and his will. This is the impression of women’s sexuality that became the model of gender matrix in subsequent Islamic societies, not just in the Middle East but also other parts of the world including Malaysia.

Islam, Malay and Gender in Malaysia

It is impossible to talk about Islam in Malaysia without talking about the Malay ‘race’. The race here is a category phrased by the British during colonization of the Malayan Peninsula (1930s-1950s) to set the people from the Malay archipelago apart from migrants from China and India (Ong, 1990: 259). The Malays constitute the majority of the population and are all Muslims. However they were not always Muslims, here Khoo (2006:6) summarized the history of the Malay beliefs system:

‘At their cultural historical base, the indigenous peoples of the Malay archipelago were animists, who believed that the universe was populated by spirits (jinn, roh, hantu) and that all animate and inanimate objects held a spiritual essence (semangat). Later, when Hinduism-Buddhism came to the region, it was adapted to fit with this existing system of beliefs. At the same time, elements of Hindu culture such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata were retained through oral transmission and performative art forms like wayang kulit (shadow puppetry). In 1414, Megat Iskandar Shah, the son of the founder of the Malay empire Melaka (1400-1511), became the first Malay ruler to convert to Islam thereby ensuring, among other things, Melaka’s viability as a trading centre. Sufi Islamic mystical teachings (brought by Indian Muslims and/or religious teachers from Aceh) helped cement existing beliefs with Islamic monotheism and subsequently produced a syncretic Islamic tradition. Thus, adat, as symbolized by the ruler, feudal society, the bomoh (traditional healer) and life-cycle rituals, was retained and regarded as a living tradition that complemented Islam.’

In adat or Malay customs, sons and daughters are awarded equal shares of land, mothers are given priority in guardianships of children in cases of divorce and women are custodians of the art of sexual charms and pleasures (Ong, 1990:260-262). That does not mean that adat is not patriarchal, it is just ‘more open to sensual or sexual matters than resurgent Islam.’(Khoo, 2006: 137). The current Islamic resurgent movement could be traced back to 1970s and it is led by ABIM (Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia or Islamic Youth Movement of Malaysia) and other dakwa (proselytizing) groups who have ‘invented practices harking back to a mythic, homogenous Islamic past, while rejecting their Malay-Muslim cultural heritage. The Arabization of Malay society depended in large part on implementing a rigid separation between male public roles and female domestic ones, a separation quite contrary to indigenous arrangements.’(Ong, 1990:268-269) The Arabization that started as a cultural process became institutionalised by the state:

‘This powerful Islamic claim on women’s moral agency was met by the state’s launching an Islamization campaign of its own. In 1983, the government co-opted the charismatic ABIM leader Anwar Ibrahim and set up special Islamic institutions for banking, education and missionizing programs. More rigorous efforts were made to punish Muslims who broke religious rules forbidding gambling, drinking, and sex out of wedlock. On television, Islamic programs promoted an image of an “ideal mother” who would put her husband and children before anything else.’ (Ong, 1990:272)

Other than the ‘ideal mother’ as a feminine trait to define ‘women’, another increasingly common formation of Muslim Malay woman identity is the veil.  According to Mohamed Al Amin, ‘issues such as a woman’s aurah which is an Islamic concept, is also essential in forming the proper Malay identity. In a Muslim woman’s case, her aurah is her whole body except for her palms and face. While not every Malay woman covers her head in a hijab or Muslim head scarf (also known as tudung in Malay), most of them would want to be seen dressed decently. Any over-exposure of her aurah would be heavily criticized as being morally indecent’ (bracket is mine). With conflation of adat and Islam (as well as multiculturalism, modernity and other variables of globalization that is not able to be accommodated in this paper), Malaysian Muslim women are represented as submissive albeit charming, modestly attired if not tudung, obedient to her husband and the ultimate sacrificial mother.  This sexuality has to be protected by the men, to maintain ‘the boundaries between male and female spaces, as well as between Muslims and the wider, multiethnic society’ (Ong, 1990:262). We shall now look at the representations of women in Gubra.

Muslim women in Gubra

(a)Textual analysis

There are 2 parallel stories presented in Gubra. One of the stories is set in an urban area and features a young female protagonist called Orked. Orked is married to an older Malay Muslim man. They have a house, a car and a big bike which reflect a middle class lifestyle. Orked’s family is possibly middle to upper class as they have a lived-in maid and driver. English is spoken fluently and intermixed with Malay among Orked’s family; this is another sign of a more affluent status. Orked is shown to be filial daughter to her parents; she rushed over immediately when her mother called her to say that her father is dying. In her rush, she did not manage to change out of her pyjamas which consist of a spaghetti strap singlet and loose pants. This attire is forgivable due to the desperate nature of the situation.

In the hospital, Orked meets Alan, the brother of an old flame (Jason who died in Sepet), where Orked whimsically dares Alan to change into each other’s father’s clothes after cleaning up from a comedic fight against each other. The conservatives would say that wearing men’s clothes are unwomanly or unfeminine, but I would argue that Orked actually covers more of her body with the loose long sleeve shirts and pants compared to her earlier feminine pyjamas.

After Orked caught her husband cheating on her, she goes home to pack. When her husband tries to persuade her to stay and hugs her, she pushes him away, in tears and continues to pack. It can be said that in this situation, she is not obedient to her husband, however, her husband has been adulterous, which is against Malay Muslim value and therefore her disobedience is justified.

What might not sit so comfortably with Muslim conservatives is when Orked cries into Alan’s arms after he showed her Jason’s photographs and letters for her that was never sent out. If being charming and friendly to non-Muslim Malay man already gets on a conservative’s nerves, then this close physical contact will send their nerves to a boil. However the conservatives would be glad to know that Orked did not end up sleeping with Alan and she was sent home to her parents instead. Overall, it can be said that Orked has pushed the envelope of the Muslim Malay gender matrix by some of her unfeminine behaviour; but she did not challenged the matrix drastically because she was faithful to her husband (she did not submit her body and herself to anyone else) and she keeps the boundary between Muslim and non-Muslim by not getting involved with Alan.

In the parallel story that interweaves concurrently with Orked’s tells the story of Kak Maz, who is the wife a bilal (the muezzin that calls Muslim to prayer). This story is set in a rural village. The first scene shows Kak Maz teasing her husband him as he searches for his lost keys. She makes breakfast for him and feed him. Although playful, she is charming and obedient to her husband. She wears tudung in public. She is kind and compassionate to her neighbours, always ready to help.

Temah, neighbour to Kak Maz is a sex worker. She is also a single mother. She dresses sexily for work, but she wears a baju kurung (traditional Malay attire) to send her son to school. She is a dedicated mother, carrying her son on her back after the first day of school. She fights off the son’s estranged father who comes to steal her money which is not feminine but what a protective mother would do. She worries about what is going to happen to her son after she was diagnosed with AIDs, upon which she starts learning to read the Quran and doing the prayers with Kak Maz which could be read as repenting. Even with the sacrificial mother image and the repenting, Temah and her other sex worker friend dies by end of the film. This is because sex work or sex outside of marriage is a transgression of Muslim Malay values, the penalties lies heavier with the woman and ‘transgressions of patriarchal law in mainstream cinema are always either prevented, or punished if they occur.’ (Mohamed Al Amin, 2008:11)

In the end, only Kak Maz seems to have a fulfilling and happy life compared to Orked and Temah which point at the film’s ideology that being a good religious woman leads to a better life. Albeit a wonderfully told film, I would argue that according to my textual analysis the Muslim women’s sexuality represented in the film is just a romanticized take on conservative notions of gender.

Mulvey’s psychoanalytic analysis of traditional cinema says that woman ‘stands in patriarchal culture as signifier for the male other, bound by a symbolic order in which man can live out his fantasies and obsessions through linguistic command by imposing them on the silent image of woman still tied to her place as bearer, not maker, of meaning’ (1999:59). However, this is not that case in Gubra where the women do the active looking and are maker of meaning: in the opening scene Kak Maz interrupts her husband’s search for his keys and she insists he has his breakfast before he goes to the mosque to which he obliges her. Although things seem to happen to Orked, there are many occasions where she actively takes lead; first when she flirts with Alan by pulling hair off his chest. Then she asks to dance on the back of his lorry. After that she demands her husband to send the mistress home and when she packs her bags and leaves the house. To make her life better, Temah attempts to seek solace from God so she requests Kak Maz to teach her about Islam. This shows that this is not the conventional patriarchal film that relies on female image as a one dimensional castration threat thus requiring something different than a conventional psychoanalytic approach to the narrative of the film. Furthermore, many other feminist film theorists argue that this approach is not appropriate as it simplifies ideology and does not take into account the specific context of the female spectator

‘Psychoanalytic film theory leads to a universalist and reductionist approach to subjectivity. It conceives of ideology as monolithic, leaving no room for contradictions in cinematic practices. One of the main omissions of such a transhistorical approach, argues Pribham, is the disregard for the socio-historical context in which female spectators actually watch movies or television.’ (Smelik, 1998:24)

Understanding that texts are also the sites of struggles over meanings, where there will be ‘meanings which are ‘preferred’ by the dominant ideology, but the meanings will also be contested by subordinate groups within society and often wrenched from their original connotations’(Thornham, 1997:70), therefore spurred me to look at Muslim Malay women spectator’s negotiated readings of Gubra.

(b)Audience Textual Negotiations

These reviews and comments are by Malay Muslim women and quoted from available sources online, such as blogs and press articles. I could not use comments posted on youtube or forums as their identity were not clearly stated. The most widely viewed is Raja Azmi who was one the panellist on the Fenomena Seni TV forum. She was reported in the press as taking ‘exception to the display of affection between the bilal and his wife in a kitchen scene that showed the bilal cooking. A pious woman, according to Raja Azmi, would not allow her husband to cook.’(Ann Surin, 2006) This statement opposed my own analysis that Kak Maz is conservative by saying that she is not because she allowed her husband to perform a household task that is accorded as a women’s role in an Islamic viewpoint. Raja Azmi’s opinion on pious women would fit right in the alley of the resurgent Islam, where roles accorded to the gender binary are strictly separated. One would be surprised that the speaker, Raja Azmi is a well-known film producer who does not wear tudung publicly and recently has been in the news for a scandal involving a former Malaysian badminton player (AsiaOne News, 2010).

Sisters in Islam (SIS) programme manager Norhayati Kaprawi responded to Raja Azmi’s statement through a press interview that ‘it was incorrect to say that in Islam, only women should do the housework. “It is not stated in the Quran or the Hadith that it is only the wife’s duty. In fact, the Prophet sewed his own clothes,” she said’ (Bissme S., 26 April 2006) SIS is a ‘group of Muslim women committed to promoting the rights of women within the framework of Islam’ (Sisters In Islam website). SIS’s Islamic stance about women’s role and

housework based on the Prophet’s life affirm my analysis that Kak Maz’s performance of her gender do fall within Islamic framework and thus, is conventional.

A more comprehensive review by Niza, a feminist, writes about ‘“New Malaysian Femininity’ in the films of Yasmin Ahmad’, praised Orked as being a powerful female character in Gubra:

‘In Gubra (2006), we see Orked now married not to Jason but a Malay man who ultimately cheats on her. Orked’s husband, upon being discovered of his extramarital affair, tries to soothe Orked by saying that the other woman is stupid, and not worth bothering over as she means nothing to him. Orked retorts, “That’s the problem with you Malay men, you think women are stupid!” This is both a powerful female assertion of her sexual rights and a scathing critique of Malay/Muslim patriarchy. Grief-stricken, Orked leaves her marriage.’

The article was presented as showing ‘a Malay womanhood that contrasts squarely with the misogyny and whore/virgin stereotypes typically found in Malaysian cinema.’ It did not state which Malaysian films she was comparing to and since this paper is not about Malaysian cinema; I am not able to confirm or deny her finding here. However, I can agree with her that Orked does not fit the whore nor virgin stereotypes in general but stating that Orked is asserting her sexual rights and critiquing patriarchy by leaving her cheating husband is more of ‘redemptive reading’ of the text. Such readings that ‘seek to identity the progressive potential of the popular text’ may end up ‘reproducing and elaborating the dominant paradigm’ (Thronham, 1997: 79-80), which in this case, did not question the dominant ideology about patriarchal and heteronormative structure of the marriage institution  but rather put the blame largely on ‘the wrong man’.

Ijannina, who identified herself on her blog as a ‘mummy to an adorable son. A wife to a loving hubby’ found Kak Maz and her husband to be the role model of a loving couple. She wrote in a mix of Malay and English which is common among middle class Muslim Malay women (similar to how Orked speaks in the film):

Mesej lain yang paling jelas ialah nilai kasih sayang antara suami isteri. Ini jelas disampaikan melalui bilal dan isterinya. (Another very clear message is the love between husband and wife. It was shown clearly through the bilal and his wife.) They are very sweet and loving to each other. Ini tidak ditunjukkan melalui dialog ter-over jiwang (This was not presented through overtly cheesy dialogue) / dinner di restoran mahal ditemani cahaya lilin (in an expensive restaurant accompanied by candle lights) / mengukir nama di batu (carving names on rocks) / bunuh membunuh demi cinta (murdering over love). Ia ditunjukkan dengan begitu normal (it was shown as something really normal). Isteri menyediakan roti untuk sarapan suami (the wife preparing bread for her husband’s breakfast). Suami sibuk mencari kunci yg hilang dan isteri sibuk berleter (the husband is busy looking for lost keys while the wife nags at him). It is so genuine that they are so much in love with each other. When I see how loving they are, it makes me wants to be like them.’ (Translations in bracket are mine) (14 April 2006)

Ijannina’s opinion reflects the opinion of average Muslim Malay women in Malaysia. As someone who clearly places her family in the foreground, she found the portrayal of a loving gender relation between husband and wife within the Islamic context a positive trait. It is an identification that she can use to carve a ‘loving’ space within her marriage and her religious life. Although this reading is empowering for her, it does not contradict my analysis of the text as conventional because it reinforces the fact that this ‘role model’ serves only to further the agenda of being a virtuous woman, wife and mother is the premise of being an ‘intelligible’ woman.

The final review by Toni Kasim has the most reasonable observation on Gubra:

‘And there are characters and plots that are almost too nice and neat, like the muezzin and his wife, who are sweet to the point of being too perfect, as well as the lives of the sex workers they come in contact with – one who mends her ways and wants to be closer to her religion again while the other who is just trying to save up money faces a tragic end…

Granted, Gubra doesn’t go so far so as to deconstruct the intertwining of Malay and Islam which forms the unfortunate bedrock of Malaysian identity politics, but it raises the potential for discourse by providing an effective platform for the many other bits and bobs that are too often hidden away in the ‘too sensitive’ basket. And you really have to give it that.’ (2006)

This reading, albeit redemptive, also admits that Gubra does not deconstruct much of identity politics, which I will add, especially gender politics. As a summary of the textual negotiated readings, it is clear that most Muslim Malay women find the representation of women in Gubra quite positive, pleasurable and even powerful (not submissive enough in the case of Raja Azmi).


The audience negotiated readings clearly contradict my textual analysis. Each of the audience seemed to have their own version of gender matrix to measure to, be it Islamic or Malaysian. These findings baffled me. If I am to side with my textual analysis that Gubra’s women are conservative and traditional, I would be deemed ‘recruitist’ in trying to make ‘ordinary women’ more like feminists (Thornham, 1997:77). If I agree with the negotiated readings that the text portrayed powerful and progressive women, I could be accused of being ‘redemptive’ and making safe ‘disturbing or oppositional discourses’ (Thornham, 1997:85).

So to what extent do the Muslim women’s desires in Gubra disrupted the gender matrix? If I compare the textual analysis and the audience negotiated readings to the three gender matrix that I have presented, the disruption is not very evident. All the women are portrayed as heterosexuals with desires for men. They are submissive to their husband as long as the husband does not commit adultery. They are dedicated mothers who perform household duties and child-raising. Temah, the sex worker who has a child out of wedlock is the most radical representation of a Muslim Malay woman in the film yet she is shown to repent and is still punished by death. I would argue that the audience negotiated positive readings of these women to appropriate some part of equality and justice from within the

presented gender matrix. As it is difficult to imagine a completely different culture that is outside of dominant ideology like patriarchy, Islam and gender binary; these women seek to reclaim spaces within it to improve their lives. Even though I am in agreement that women should reclaim all these spaces within the given dominant framework, I believe that revolutionary representation of women that confound dominant ideology is crucial for us to imagine a more equal world.


Ahmed, Leila (1992), Women and Gender in Islam, New Haven and London: Yale University Press

Ann Surin, Jacquline. ‘One reality to rule us all’. The Sun. 4 May 2006, <>  (2 Jan. 2011)

AsiaOne News, ‘Former M’sian national badminton player in scandal’. 20 August 2010 <> (4 Jan 2011)

Beh, Chun Chee (2006), “The Portrayal of Multiculturalism in Malaysian National Cinema: A Case Study of Yasmin Ahmad’s Sepet”, Asia Culture Forum 2006-Whither the Orient, < >  (2 Jan. 2011)

Bissme S., “’Sepet’ and ‘Gubra’ draw controversy”. The Sun. 26 April 2006. <> (2 Jan.2011)

Boudhiba, Abdelwahab (1985) Sexuality in Islam. Translated from French by Alan Sheridan. UK: Routledge. (Originally published in 1975)

Butler, Judith (2006) Gender Trouble, New York and London: Routledge

Gubra (2006). Directed by Yasmin Ahmad. Malaysia: Nusan Bakti

Ijannina, ‘Tentang Gubra’. Enter with a Happy Heart. 14 April 2006. <> (5 Jan. 2011)

Kasim, Toni.‘Where Muftis Fear to Thread’. Kakiseni.14 April 2006. <> (5 Jan 2011)

Khoo, Gaik Cheng (2006) Reclaiming Adat: Contemporary Malaysian Film and Literature, Canada: UBC Press

Mohamed Al Amin, Farah Azalea (2008) ‘Controversies Surrounding Malaysian Independent Female Director Yasmin Ahmad’s First Film, Sepet’, 17th Biennial Conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia, <> (4 Jan. 2011)

Mulvey, Laura (1999) ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, pp. 58-69 in Sue Thornham (ed.) Feminist Film Theory: A Reader, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Niza, Mohani. “New Malaysian Femininity’ in the films of Yasmin Ahmad’. 12 April 2009. <> (5 Jan. 2011)

Ong, Aihwa (1990) ‘State versus Islam: Malay families, women’s bodies and the body politic in Malaysia’, pp. 258-276 in American Ethnologist, < > (3 Jan. 2011)

Smelik, Anneke M. (1998) And the Mirror Cracked: Feminist Cinema and Film Theory, UK: Palgrave

Sisters in Islam <> (5 Jan. 2011)

Suanie. “Gubra – love and faith in the face of adversity”. As Suanie Sees It. 31 March 2006.  <> (3 Jan. 2011)

Thornham, Sue (1997) Passionate Detachments: An Introduction to Feminist Film Theory, UK: Arnold



Anugerah Annoying “Activist” 2010

Posted: October 7, 2010 by Anastacia Bieverhausen in bitchy/bitching columns

Recently I have been in and around several NGO and civil society initiatives. So kan I thought I’d share my views and ask readers to do the same regarding the general reluctance to “rock the boat” towards greater advocacy that ultimately works towards changing mindsets in favour of “survival” working around the laws and resistance efforts.

But wait a minute… this is Mindfuxxx and my name is Anastacia Bieverhausen! So fuck that, these people will probably never budge from their camps, so what more of those zealots and narrow minded Steve Ohs we’re trying to fighting against?!?

So kan instead I Mindfuxxx will be giving out Anugerah Annoying “Activist”!(Real like FFF doco but bitchier) The quotation marks are not because I think less of this person’s activism but really, she/he/it isn’t an activist but happens to run in the circle… and I suspect think of itself as one.

I’ll give you my hate list in Top Ten format:

10. Dia like to hog the mic – kalau ada cerita menarik atau isi kandungan penting tak pe jugak. Tapi dia akan cerita something that has to do with dia sendiri and NOTHING to do with the topic of discussion! Salah frekeunsi siul!

9. Dia like to quote philosophers – tapi tersalah quote lah apa lagi! Ajaran sesat mana ni?!?!

8. Dia also like to inform everyone that dia tau akan a new big ass terminology jargon word – padahal cannot even spell the word or give the definition. And yang best sekali – this big jargon word totally tak kena mengena dengan discussion!

7. Dia datang lewat, lepas tu nak lagak gaya lagi. Podah! Baju pun terover-over, kau ingat ini party kah?!? Konon lah tak sempat bangun, tapi sempat nak berdandan.

6. Lepas tu cabut awal… Cabut diam-diam pun tak pe, nak buat cerekarama – kamera, lights, action, EXIT! *ptui*

5. Dia ingat volunteer tu kuli dia yang dari kelas bawahan. Hoi! Ini human rights ka?!? Volunteer tu in the first place bukan assigned to you. Secondly hape dengan condescending tone? You can even instruct objectively without taking that tone, but of course most people actually discuss and delegate with volunteers who are there to help facilitate. Thirdly aku ingat volunteer tu lebih pandai dari kamu! Cis!

4. Budak kecik pun dia tak lepaskan. Dahlah kalau you tu pernah masuk forum macam ni, biarlah yang muda dan first time buat presentation. Balik-balik nak dengar suara sendiri. Fed up la!

3. Pandai nak voice out suggestions and plans, tapi bila nak organise kelam-kabut dan put the the task onto other without first asking them or informing then even that they are going to responsible for said task. Ini dia pandai la.

2. OMG that fake accent!!! Kantoi lah beb. It’s like taking a cheese grater to my ear drums and 100rpm.

1. Your polyester outfit. But I guess it matches your fake accent.

The Witch and The Bitch -ep 1.

Posted: September 10, 2010 by mienly in gila babi stories
Tags: , ,

The witch and the bitch- a fairy tale your father warn you against, your mother whispers of in her dreams, one that you build with every lunar bleed. Started in 2006 .


the world is doomed.
doesn’t take an expert to see that.
but for the idealist in me,
for the longest time, wouldn’t and couldn’t see it.
i thought seeing it would be my fall.

but the forces are just getting greater and greater-
stenches of capitalism, corruptions, fanaticsm,
is not just sliming about us but are walking tall,
even revered as nobles, wise and Godly.
even the Pope gave his ass to keep his place.
Let’s not even start about George Bush.
it has devoured souls, left, right and centre
around me, near and far.
it’s impossible now to detect the evil and the good.
even my left arm has been taken over,
i’ve subjected to capitalist ideas and values that takes so much effort and constant mindfuck to keep it at bay, keep it contained in just my arm.
Getting rid of it will require me to chop my arm off and
Having some capitalism in me means I adhere to some sense of vanity and beauty and thus could not do that.

i’m fighting a lost cause.

the buildings of values are crumbling.
And I’m running around like a mad old woman,
Dodging fallings bolders and gun shots and bombs,
Screaming and shouting
‘Transparent Government! Bring down petrol price! Woman is human!’
And of cos the popular ‘ No more war!’ (oops, excuse me, there comes another bomb)
To people who are already dead, converted to evil or pretend to be dead and converted for strategically survival purposes.
( I don’t blame you, what can the closet good people do against er, Incredibly Satanic Assholes )

I’m fighting a lost cause and now I know it.
Sitting myself down at the pavement,
Catching some breath so that I can
Sigh a proper ‘I give up’ sigh.
I don’t give a fucking shit anymore if these bodies around me are truly dead or not.
Or if that fucking bolder gonna drop on my fucking head.
Or the ISA gonna come that corner and devour me.

I’m gonna take a nap.

Then I’ll have more energy to continue my journey of depression.

And just as the gunshots and bombing and screaming seems to fade into background…
And the mass produced chicken burger seems to appear more and more real…
My left hand edge towards the capitalist iconic burger…
And felt something furry instead.

I jumped. It yelps.

I open my eyes, thinking this it, they got me!
(the least they could do is let me sink my teeth into that burger first! I know, I know, the largest chain of hamburger fastfood restaurant is the ones that invested in those bombs that are hitting us but its just a dream and it’s bloody ok to have the most sadistic dreams!)

But instead of ISA in blue suits
I saw a furry little pup,
I’m not so sure of its breed,
At this age, every one of us is mixed breed.
it’s small, the size of Nokia first original hand phone (another capitalist product I enjoy)
But it had it’s tongue out, as do all its species, panting.
Eyes so big, it’s bulging out of its small head- not exactly very endearing but I’m sure it’ll grow into it.
The problem lies in inside the eyes,
Deep misty pools of- fuck- something that is often in grey area, I can never be sure anymore, even with my woman gifted instinct-goodness.
Yes, in this pup’s eyes lie a pool of goodness that is NOT grey but beautifully colorful.
Rainbow eyes.

It can’t be true. But it cannot be mistaken.

But its cheeky too, yes quite the naughty one, staring hard at me,
Checking me out if I am one of those cowards that will just ignore it and leave it on the street,
Or do I have the guts to acknowledge its existence in my world.

Do i?
Fuck it! I already gave up on the world so I have plenty of energy left to spend on this one pup. 

I will spend whatever energy I have left, nurturing, protecting and defending this pup of rainbow eyes, just cos I got nothing better to do k.
No I would not dare to hope that this pup will grow into a might Wolf of Equality; whom will call forth all Hounds of Justice; that will prepare the way for the Prophetess of Peace
As what the Most Thoughtful Vision-MTV has prophesized.( more like lambasted through our television)

I dare not hope. I won’t even think about it. I’m just gonna give that damm bitch some bones.

So the witch and bitch walk silently back, as they dodge more bullets and bombs to her 3 bed-room Ampang Mewah condominium- another semi-capitalistic product.
As they say, a bitch is a witch best friend.

A tree

Posted: September 9, 2010 by Anastacia Bieverhausen in rants

Drawn and quartered, my very own pot of basil

Out of date, pass my sell by date

Arm outstretched, but a shiny red apple was never in your eyes

You undressed me, like I wanted you to

I thought I looked pretty darn good, the way you wanted me to

You took my hand, lead me into your wavelength

We went to the fairground, spinning teacups and merry go rounds

I walked the road home alone, I kissed your shadow sweet goodbye

The next day, you burned the fairground down.

I’m neither sad nor red, just a Daphne rooted.

Porn makes u dump babies, TV makes you gay. Serious.

Posted: September 7, 2010 by Anastacia Bieverhausen in gila babi stories

Recently the Royal Merajukking Pigs informed its good citizens that pornography is a major cause of the increase in baby dumping. Before this useful piece of reporting, I thought porn only caused an increase in semen dumping on sites against the order of nature such as a woman’s face or tits.

As a concerned citizen, I am here to tell you that there is another meandering evil quietly rearing it’s ugly head in our very own homes – television programming. TV shows are responsible for the rise in the spread of homosexuality.

These gay shows and shows depicting gay leading character encourages immoral behaviour by depicting it as “cool” and “edgy.” It tricked me into believing that this abhorrent lifestyle is normal. Gay shows advocate gayness. I am also sickened by the amount of nudity and sex in gay shows. This passing off of soft-core pornography as entertainment or art simply compounds its deviant nature. REPENT!

Just after 8 hours of gay tv shows, I have recorded diminished arousal by the male body. I’d much rather masturbate to lesbian sex scenes. According to my church chart, I will soon want to sleep with women. I am dirty, impure, unchaste (Ok, so I was already all that since 1979… but I was half the sinner that I am today because god hates homosexuals!).

I am now sucked into this life of depravity.

Another threat to the very fabric of society.

Woe is the world that is being threatened by my lust for a body with genitalia similar to my own.

Shame on me.

I’m gonna sue that DVD seller who sold me this filthy box set… Come to think of it she looked kinda gay too. YOU’LL BURN IN HELL!

They’re out to convert us all! Burn the internet! Sue Hollywood! Put a cross or a cow head in front of your tv to warn the evil spirits that are out to tempt you. Pray and pray harder.

come to Daddy

Posted: September 7, 2010 by mindfuxxx in Uncategorized

For the moments when i am unable to breathe,  for the moments of eternity when i have your hands in mine, I am reborn and I am free again. For all the time spent waiting to pick me up from work, for all the time spent scrubbing the stains on my pants, for wiping pieces of dinner and lunch off the tip of my mouth, for all the time spent shopping for the guys’ drinks and grubs on football nights, for being patient with me when time never is, for every ache left estranged at the corner of your heart and every tear collected in a bucket because of me, i would like to tell you how much i love you.

But it annoys me that it only takes me 2 seconds to express my affections and i feel very bad, actually, so i have found a new way of repaying you….



… because i know that all you really want from me is a little attention, you dirty little slut, you.

“Balik China! Balik India!”

I will not raise the issue of how many of the “majority” really did originate from here.

I will not even raise the mention of how much right the “majority” has to tell the Cina India Punjabi DLL to balik in comparison to how much right the the Orang Asal has to tell the “majority” that same shit.

I will not even raise how fucking hilarious it is to be told to go back to some place that you’ve never been before, much less to be told that is where you (yes, you individualist, you) originate from.

I will not even raise the poor fact that increasingly many of the “minority” do not speak the language, share the same culture or shit the same way as those who are supposedly their fellow sidekicks.

Nah, I will not raise how great it feels to be so included in this lovely country.

Instead, let me tell you how grateful I am that I’ve never been told in my face that I should “Balik _____” and live where I came from (according to this people).

Yes, I am utterly beyond grateful.

I am humbled.

Would you like to sodomise me now?