By TK Chua
I refer to the news article, “Axing of beer fest won’t affect tourism, says Matta”. Is the beer festival just about tourism? I think Matta is implying that if axing the beer festival affected tourism, then the authorities should have allowed it.
I was one of the few who have argued that consuming alcohol while on long flights is not a good idea. Creating a potentially volatile situation in a confined space may not be in the best interest of all passengers. Those sitting near to passengers who are “high on drink” have no opportunity to walk away.

But what about having a beer festival in a properly defined place? What arguments can be used against it?
I believe the organisers of the proposed beer festival would never force anyone to attend. I believe neither would they force anyone attending to become drunk or rowdy. I believe there are adequate laws in force governing alcohol sale and consumption. Equally, I believe there are adequate laws governing public drunkenness.

As for crimes caused by drinking, I think it is dangerous to link the two. How many cases of free sex and rape (as claimed) are caused by drinking?
It is convenient to single out alcohol for causing crimes. But what about human trafficking, prostitution, drugs, corruption, greed, poverty, broken homes, laziness, glamorous living, spending beyond your means, and extremist and terrorist ideologies and influences? Do these not cause crimes?
I think axing the beer festival has more to do with bigotry and a “holier than thou” attitude than crime. It is a wanton imposition of one’s moral standards on others.
To me, Matta has used the wrong argument to justify the cancellation of the proposed beer fest in Kuala Lumpur. It does not matter that the cancellation will not affect tourism. The cancellation has infringed on multiculturalism and the rights of others who practise different beliefs and possess different values.
I guess in Malaysia, we don’t use cogent arguments anymore. All that is needed is power and authority. Don’t worry, the next minute, the bigots will claim that Malaysia is ever-inclusive and respectful of all religions and cultures.
TK Chua is a FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

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