On Making Out in Malaysia

An interesting read…

â??Kuala Lumpur’s mayor has reassured tourists they will not face harassment if found kissing in public.

The comment comes after Malaysia’s highest court said city officials were right to prosecute a local couple for allegedly holding hands and kissing. The couple’s lawyer warned foreigners may face up to a year in prison if they too behaved affectionately in public.

…Officials claimed the couple were locked in an amorous embrace in a park beside the landmark Petronas Twin Towers. Ms Siow said she was playing the violin while Mr Ooi read her a letter.

…Mayor Roslin Hassan told the BBC that officials would simply advise people rather than arrest them if their behaviour was inappropriate. He says holding hands is OK, but couples should not kiss too passionately in public.

…The Malaysian government has had to step in to stop a number of organisations from forming private snoop squads to spy on the public and report immoral behaviour. [source]â?

This brings up a few interesting thoughts. Some countries like Singapore are internationally known for their laws when it comes to tourists. So why shouldn’t tourists respect those laws?

I sometimes think many of these nations sacrifice everything to get tourists in the door: their culture, their traditions, and their religion. Is a tourist a guest and the country simply the humble and gracious host? Or is a tourist a customer; a person with money looking to spend it in exchange for entertainment?

On the other hand you have to forces at work: society and the courts. Which is more conservative? Are the people that offended when two tourists kiss in public? Maybe. So why shouldn’t they ask that tourists respect their laws, after all, it’s their country.

Such stories are bad publicity and the views of the Mayor are an obvious attempt to smooth things over. I wonder however if such stories are a blow to the tourist economy of a country.

Perhaps tourists should just take some time to familiarize themselves with the country they intend on visiting. The way I see it is if they don’t like it then they don’t have to go. It’s their money, their vacation; they can invest it wherever they want. I don’t have to invest my money in a bank that I think has unfair policies that overcharge me.

Lastly, I hate “private snoop squads” and “moral police”. The very idea is frustrating to me. If people want to squander their cultural identites or live in moral disintegration, let them.


  • Well, I’m not going to Malasyia any time soon!

    In solidarity with local couples who are not allowed to kiss in public.

    ***If people want to squander their cultural identites or live in moral disintegration, let them.***

    Does a local Malasyain couple found kissing in public automatically squander their “cultural identity”? Are they morally disintegrated?

  • Natalia, I am refering to “snoop squads” as a seperate topic. As for what constitutes moral disintegration, that’s not for me to say, it’s a subjective thing. Depends on the society and how conservative they are. If there are are snoop squads in existance this is a sign that the society is pre-dominantly conservative to begin with and therefore the example you gave does constitute moral disintegration. 🙂

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