Avril Lavigne’s only concert in South-East Asia as part of her world tour was announced way back in June. For 2008, Lavigne is arguably the 2nd biggest superstar to perform in Malaysia after Celine Dion earlier. She’s supposed to perform 29th August at Stadium Merdeka. Cheapest ticket: RM98. Most expensive: RM338.
Hogging the limelight is the bewildering flip-flops, which I think would turn out to be more entertaining than the concert itself.
A timeline, in reverse chronological order:
29th August 2008
The concert went on as planned, no disruption. The Kelana Jaya MP, Loh Gwo Burne was part of the crowd.
Lavigne had only one costume change (she’s no Madonna) during her 90-minute, 17-song show which was reportedly devoid of an encore.
PAS members distributed 2,000 flyers to Malays outside the stadium which explained “concept of entertainment in Islam”, while there was at least one “spy” inside the stadium itself.
According to The Star, everything was smooth-running, but only 15K people? I thought it would be jam-packed.
However, according to at least one independent review the concert sucked.
As expected, there are many bootleg videos on youtube. I think the ones posted by “kitjordan” are the best – in the others Avril looked as big as an ant.
22nd August 2008
“Final decision“: senior officials of the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry met, and decided that the concert should go ahead. Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal was quoted to have said that “the ministry’s earlier decision to call off the concert was in response to PAS Youth’s call for the ban.”
And this was done only a week before the event? I have been involved in organising much smaller events, and if something like this ever happened a mere week before the big day, I would definitely recommend to cancel the whole thing.
21st August 2008
Organisers of concert, Galaxy Productions expected to meet officials of the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry to appeal for green light to be given “as there is support for the concert.” Apparently, no official cancellation notice was sent to the organisers despite media reports that the concert had been called off.
20th August 2008
The media reported that the concert has been cancelled, and that Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage said:
The concert falls during the nation’s independence period and was not a suitable time to hold such a concert. There are a lot of events on Aug 29 and the Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage does not want the independence and the near Ramadan month to be filled with such pop and rock culture. As the Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, we should be instilling good culture in the young but here we are allowing other parties to organise things. Moreover, the organisers were promoting the event even before they got approval from the relevant agencies. All organisers, local and foreign, should adhere to the rules and regulations before promoting the concert and selling tickets to the public. The organisers should have sought advice from the Kuala Lumpur City Council or the Ministry. I don’t know why they had promoted the concert before it was approved. The Ministry’s decision is not in response to PAS Youth’s call for its cancellation.
16th August 2008
Concert organisers said the show “is definitely on“:
Everything is moving very positively. We have spoken to the authorities involved and things look good. We’ve organised the show according to the rules. There is nothing wrong. We’ve received positive and assuring feedback from the authorities.
13th August 2008
Engku Emran Engku Zainal Abidin, the vice-president of the association of local radio stations Commercial Radio Malaysia (CRM):
PAS Youth should see the concert as an opportunity to reach out to youths and work with the Government. PAS Youth is apparently all about sending out positive messages and I understand their (PAS) role and concerns but they should see this as a path to reach out to the youths. Banning the concert will not make things better or address the root of social ills. The young people will not listen to us but to their idol, someone who is world famous. People like Avril have a better chance to address social issues especially since she is of similar age to the crowd.
PAS Youth should see more of Avril’s talent and discipline that got her to where she is now. It boils down to the saying ‘do not judge a book by its cover.’ Even foreign organisations acknowledge her as a good ambassador for various charitable causes, including Amnesty International, the US Campaign for Burma, the Make A Wish Foundation, YouthAIDS and War Child.
Amy Search said:
People kept looking at the negative side of rock bands when we must remember there are positive sides to it too. Her (Avril) music and video clips do not suggest negativity. Avril came across as an easygoing girl. All religions preach good values. It is entirely up to us to take the good and leave the bad. Feelings and judgments are within our own control. You cannot expect us to wear a tie and suit to perform. Members of rock bands also have families and children.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said:
I have no objection so long as she observes the Eastern culture. If they [PAS] have grounds that the artistes are against the acceptable Eastern norm, they can voice it out.
12th August 2008
The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is still undecided whether to allow the show to go on or not: it was still getting feedback from various agencies including the police, Central Committee for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artiste (Puspal) and Arts, Culture and National Heritage Department (Kekwa).
11th August 2008
Women’s Aid Organisation executive director Ivy Josiah said:
The issue was not that of decency but one involving freedom of expression. Decency is very relative. This is the issue of the rights to freedom of expression and for people, especially the youths, to choose what they want to see and hear. The society’s morality and values are not shaped by concerts and music. Insidious attempts by certain quarters to shut down or restrict the people’s freedom of expression were not acceptable in a democratic Malaysia.
Sisters In Islam said:
PAS has said many times that it would never infringe on the rights of non-Muslims but in reality, it is in fact denying non-Muslims their rights. Is this call limited only to Muslims or to everyone? Since PAS is a component party of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, then what are PKR and DAP’s position on this (banning of concerts)? It seems like PAS is making all the decisions. Is this within the Pakatan’s manifesto? PAS should focus on bigger issues like urban poverty instead. None of Lavigne’s concerts had come across as violent or of bad influence.
MCA Youth secretary-general Dr Wee Ka Siong said:
This is clearly an infringement of the people’s rights. It is very unbecoming. PAS Youth should not try to impose their values on people of other races. We must uphold the right of the citizens as enshrined in the Constitution.
10th August 2008
Malaysian Artistes’ Association (Karyawan) president Freddie Fernandez:
This is the most ridiculous thing to do – to ask for a cancellation of such a decent performer like Avril Lavigne. Avril’s music is very popular here. PAS Youth should never deprive Malaysians of the chance to watch the concert. PAS Youth is trying to impose their narrow values on the country, forgetting that Malaysia is a multicultural nation. PAS Youth should really take a good look at themselves and examine whether what they are doing is correct. Their narrow-mindedness will definitely not get the support of the rakyat. They are always looking at the world through blinkers. They cannot see any other point of view except theirs. He said Karyawan would be calling for a meeting with all concert promoters to have a stand once and for all to ask for the Government not to entertain ridiculous requests and demands of such unreasonable people.
9th August 2008
The Federal Territory PAS Youth through its chief, Kamaruzaman Mohamed handed over a memorandum to Kuala Lumpur Datuk Bandar Datuk Hakim Borhan and the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry asking that the concert be cancelled, because “rock and punk is not suitable for the young generation and especially so during Merdeka month.”
19th July 2008
Concert date fixed to 29th August.
26th June 2008
Lavigne’s Malaysian leg of her world tour dubbed “The Best Damn Tour: world tour” announced.