In a heartwarming display of gubernatorial good taste, Muslims are now allowed to go and see an upcoming Guinness-sponsored concert by the Black Eyed Peas at a Kuala Lumpur theme park on September 25, after being at first banned from attending by that country's government. Ethnic Malays comprise approximately 55-60% of Malaysia's citizenship and, as Muslims, are subject to shariah law, thus prohibiting them from the partaking of alcohol. There was no official explanation as to why the ban was lifted, but a number of government delegates were seen walking around in a dazed state warbling "Money Money Money" by ABBA (currently sitting at #4 after spending over 1,700 weeks atop the Malay "Hot 30" chart).
[Note: other high-ranking officials of the Malaysian government were spotted singing "Mony Mony" (the Vital Idol version) as they ran through their daily routines. This was not a mistake nor a coincidence and had absolutely nothing to do with the B.E.P. concert announcement; "Mony Mony" (the Idol Songs version) is the unofficial national anthem and workers playsong of Malaysia. It is kinda like how people in the state of Maryland "Whistle While They Work" or hum "Mr. Roboto" (the Jingle Cats version) as they fastidiously pluck thistles from their yards.]
The original Black Eyed Peas forbiddance was not the first instance of this type of prohibitive religious restriction for public behavior in Malaysia, but it garnered a great deal of national and worldwide media exposure. This recent attempt at banning citizens comes after a general increase in native Malays flouting shariah law and, in particular, a cracking down on alcohol consumption after a Malaysian Islamic court sentenced a Muslim woman named Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarnor to a caning after being found guilty of drinking beer at a hotel. The sentence is now being upheld as it was considered too harsh at the time (ya think?).
The Black Eyed Peas show is part of Guinness' 250th anniversary celebrations. Normally, alcohol companies are not allowed to sponsor or organize music events, but an exception was given by the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry of Malaysia due to the historic anniversary and the potential boost to the tourism economy. Guinness will not be allowed to sell its products or display its logo in publicity material for the September 25 show.
Apart from this suds-sponsored shindig, concerts of some shapes and sizes (mostly large-scale shows by female-fronted acts) are often up against stiff resistance in Malaysia. Since 2007, the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), Malaysia's second strongest political party, has protested scheduled performances by scantily-clad hip-swingers like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, and Avril Lavigne. And to show that it is not just young hot women that are being targeted, as recently the PAS party attempted to ban a concert by "big in Malaysia" Danish man-band Michael Learns to Rock on issues of immorality. The squeaky clean group were unavailable for comment, as they were holed up in the Chelsea Hotel snorting coke off porn bellies, eating babies, and defecating on the Jalur Gemilang while getting plastercasted.