The second annual Aiyoh… Wat Lah?! awards were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last night.
The annual awards ‘celebrate’ the worst examples of sexism, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia in Malaysian public life, and there is plenty to choose from.
Former law minister Nazri Aziz won the Foot in Mouth category for saying ‘I don’t sleep with my son, I’m not gay’ as a bizarre defense to accusations he accepted a car as a gift from a corrupt businessman.
Aziz won the Insulting Intelligence in that Aiyoh… Wat Lah?! Awards last year by saying that homosexuality is against Malaysia’s constitution because it is against Islam.
In this year’s Enough Already category, in which many of the nominations were homophobic statements that are heard again and again in Malaysia, the harassment of Ambiga Sreenevasan won.
Sreenevasan, a human rights lawyer, was persecuted after organizing the Bersih 2.0 protest for clean and fair elections.
The harassment included posters put up in her neighborhood saying ‘vote for Ambiga, vote for free sex’ and men from the Malay Armed Forces Veterans Association performing ‘bottom exercises’ in front of her house.
The organizers of Seksualiti Merdeka LGBT rights festival which was banned in 2011 think that the government objected to them inviting Sreenevasan to the event.
‘The Enough Already! category aims to highlight a public statement, act or policy that displays sexism, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia that is repeated over a period of time,’ said Tashia Peterson, EXCO member of Women’s Aid Organisation.
‘It is apt that the public recognized the severity of the vicious, sexist, racist and homophobic attacks made against a respected woman human rights defender such as Ambiga.’
In an interview with Gay Star News last year one of the awards’ organizers, Smita Sharma, said they were set-up as ‘a more creative way of reaching out to the media and the public’.
More that 1,700 people voted in this year’s Aiyoh… Wat Lah?! Awards and the rich pickings of sexist, misogynist, homophobic and transphobic public statements shows that the awards will be around for a while. Members of the public can already nominate for next year’s awards on the website.
‘We’re just saying, look, this is ridiculous. It’s a bad, bad joke. And one with horrible implications for women and others who are discriminated against on a daily basis,’ said Sharma.