Alvin Tan’s and Vivian Lee’s ‘Selamat Berbuka Puasa’ message via FB, which landed them facing charges under the Sedition Act
Malaysians lashed against seditiously stupid social media abuser Alvin Tan who sought asylum in the United States after hoodwinking Malaysian immigration authorities for a work excuse in Singapore, who conveniently blamed UMNO and Federal Government for his troubles. He also ditched his current seditious case insulting the Muslims last year’s Ramadhan and former girlfriend Vivian Lee, to face the case alone.
Recently acquired news portal by Anwaristas story:
Malaysians flay sex blogger Alvin Tan for fleeing to US
BY ANISAH SHUKRY
Published: 28 September 2014 | Updated: 28 September 2014 6:35 PM
Alvin Tan (red t-shirt) being led to court following his arres following his alleged offensive post online last year. – The Malaysian Insider pic, September 28, 2014.
Sex blogger Alvin Tan’s decision to seek asylum in the United States has drawn flak from Malaysian social media users, many of whom believe he should face up to his actions rather than flee the country.
Tan and his former partner, Vivian Lee, had been charged under the Sedition Act for uploading a bak kut teh posting during Ramadan last year, but he violated his bail conditions while on a supposed working trip to Singapore.
Tan, 26, had insisted in a recent interview with The Malaysian Insider that leaving Malaysia was “the only rational action” as he was powerless to fight “tyranny and ignorance”.
However, most Facebook users felt otherwise, noting that Tan should have been brave enough to face the consequences of the law after knowingly breaking it.
“The reason he ‘tak suka Malaysia’ is because he’s being prosecuted for a crime under Malaysian law. In my opinion, he deserves to be punished for his puerile acts in the past,” wrote Facebook user Josh Wu.
“He openly admitted to deceiving the courts by fleeing to the United States after Malaysian courts were kind enough to allow him to go to Singapore for some film-shooting.
“The law shouldn’t protect those who misuse the law. He who seeks equity must do equity.”
Another Facebook user, Eugene Leong, said Tan had started the entire episode with his Ramadan wishes, which he said were uncalled for.
“That was indeed a silly and stupid thing to do. Yes, he was punished by the courts. Yes, he fled Malaysia via some excuses.
“But, what I would really like to know is how he feels now, knowing that he got his mum to lose the bond money of 20k when he ran away, instead of defending himself in court!” wrote Leong.
In his interview with The Malaysian Insider, Tan had defended the post, which carried a photo of a pork dish, as political satire.
He said it had highlighted the danger of using Islam “as a basis to govern other people’s life” by legislating personal morals, without making a distinction between what is immoral and what is illegal.
Tan added that he did not believe he was a coward by seeking refuge in the US, but that he was “smart, pragmatic, calculative and mercenary”.
“When the government and its institutions decide to ruin your life and jail you for years just because you hurt their feelings, you do not sit back and try to fight the overwhelming wave of emotional, irrational force coming down on you,” he had said.
But most Facebook users dismissed this, saying his actions were cowardly and idiotic.
“I think he is humiliating himself becoz of his ego! Nothing so smart, also more like childish!” wrote Vivian V. Kulasingham.
“It’s either he is a coward or he is an idiot!!!” wrote Augustin Anthony.
They also warned Tan that he would be extradited back to Malaysia and still have to face the courts.
“Don’t be confident. Soon he will realise that he will be extradited back to Malaysia. But I really pity the girl because he left her,” wrote Mohd Shafian Noordin, referring to Lee.
Anastasia Pertiwi said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was well known for “covert negotiations” and a single phone call to US President Barack Obama would have Tan on the first flight back to Malaysia.
“How long can he stay there? Unless he possess the green card, else it will be deported back. Know yourself first before the enemy,” wrote Chai KL.
However, a handful of Facebook users defended Tan, with one even hailing him a “hero”.
“He is battling the political system not race and religion. Don’t be confused,” wrote Brian Low.
Clement Leong Ern said that while he did not condone Tan’s past actions, the sex blogger was “speaking sense” now.
“Bravo Alvin Tan!” wrote Rosa Rosa.
Tan and Lee are facing criminal charges under Malaysia’s Sedition Act as well as the Film Censorship Act for their controversial online uploads, including a photo deemed insulting to Islam on Facebook.
They were both allowed a total bail of RM30,000 each, with two sureties, by the High Court in Kuala Lumpur in July last year. – September 28, 2014.
The Malaysian Insider published an exchane of e mail interview with Tan, to explain himself:
Sex blogger Alvin Tan says not a coward, but smart to seek asylum
Whatever one thinks about sex blogger Alvin Tan, the controversial Singapore scholar has rather opinionated views of politics, Malaysian society and religion. The 26-year-old is seeking asylum in the United States but told The Malaysian Insider that his decision to flee his homeland was to escape the government’s “tyranny” as well as the…
Whatever one thinks about sex blogger Alvin Tan, the controversial Singapore scholar has rather opinionated views of politics, Malaysian society and religion.
The 26-year-old is seeking asylum in the United States but told The Malaysian Insider that his decision to flee his homeland was to escape the government’s “tyranny” as well as the “ignorance” of ordinary Malaysians.
The butt of criticism by many Malaysians after his offensive and controversial Ramadan greeting on Facebook in July last year, Tan defended the post, which carried a photo of a pork dish, as political satire.
He revealed that this entire episode highlighted the danger of using Islam “as a basis to govern other people’s life” by legislating personal morals, without making a distinction between what is immoral and what is illegal.
The former law student at the National University of Singapore, and his then partner Vivian Lee, first came under the spotlight after uploading raunchy sex postings on their blog.
But it was their bak kut teh posting during Ramadan last year that landed them in hot water, and even in jail briefly – after they were charged under the Sedition Act and the Film Censorship Act.
Tan violated his bail conditions while on a supposed working trip to Singapore and is now on Interpol’s wanted list.
After lying low for a while, he recently emerged on social media to make known his plans for asylum in the US.
In this bare all e-mail interview, Tan admits that he may even have been “young and stupid” once, but is determined now to face the consequences as a man, and in a strange and unexpected way, adds to the debate over Malaysia’s ongoing struggle to define its secular-Islamist identity.
TMI: What are your feelings now compared to when you were charged on July 18 last year, given what you have been through?
Tan: My focus now is to start afresh and pursue my dreams in the greatest country in the world, now that there is no tyrannical government in the way. Upon leaving Malaysia, I felt a huge burden being lifted off my back, and I feel safe enough, because I know that extradition between USA and Malaysia will not be an easy task.
Dr Wan Junaidi (Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar) himself said that an extraditable offence is an offence that is a crime in both Malaysia and the US, otherwise the extradition request will fail.
Remember how the A-G’s Chambers tried to extradite Raja Petra Kamaruddin in 2009 and the UK government essentially told them to sod off? Either way, just because I am in a better position to speak up now does not mean that I will.
The last thing I want to be is one of those exiled dissidents who is forever attacking his home country from abroad, bitter and jaded and never really settling down and starting a new life overseas.
TMI: What can you say about the Malaysian approach to freedom of speech and expression?
Tan: The underlying problem is that we’re somehow brainwashed into genuinely believing that words are dangerous and can cause riots, killings, etc. With this belief permeating every average Malaysian’s mind, they find themselves supporting laws like the Sedition Act with a straight face “in order to keep the peace.”
With the people’s support of so-called hate speech laws as justification, the government thus keeps the Sedition Act around and uses it whenever it sees fit.
But history has taught us that any hate speech law will eventually be abused by the government for unjust censorship, 100% of the time, which is why the American founding fathers stressed that all forms of speech, ESPECIALLY offensive speech, should be immune to prosecution with Article 1 of the 1791 Bill of Rights.
They understood this idea more than 200 years ago, and look where it has led them politically, economically, culturally, and militarily today. The correct way to deal with a difference in opinion, particularly when it is a moral opinion, is education or, at most, social condemnation in the form of disassociation or boycotts, not jailing people.
TMI: How is your family back home taking all this, in particular the fact that you are seeking asylum, are they supportive? What about your friends?
Tan: My family is trying to live their lives as normally as possible. They have ceased to offer opinions on my life decisions at this stage, because, really, they are ill-equipped to understand and advise on what I am up to, considering the depth of the mess that I have got myself into thus far.
My friends seem to believe that my only and best option, for someone of my temperament, is to get out of Malaysia, and undoubtedly I have taken their advice seriously.
TMI: Why are you seeking asylum, is it because you do not have trust in the local justice system?
Tan: I am seeking asylum not only from the tyranny of Umno, but from the ignorance of ordinary Malaysians. The tyranny of Umno is obvious: they want to jail me to show how much of a stalwart of Islam they are. They control the police force, the A-G’s Chambers, the lower courts, the media, and, via the media and the education system, the minds of the people.
The ignorance of ordinary Malaysians is more stealthy but equally lethal. When people believe that it is okay to jail people just because they are immoral or objectionable or offensive, even though they never harmed anyone, you know that this is a primitive country which does not know that immorality and illegality are two different things.
When they call for Ibrahim Ali to be jailed for saying things, I knew it was time to get out as soon as possible.
It is often said that we deserve the government that we get. In Malaysia, Umno manages to stay in power precisely because many people actually subscribe to the Umno mindset, at least in part, without even realising it.
Put simply, the reason I left to seek asylum is that I am powerless to fight against such tyranny and ignorance. The only rational action for me is to leave, instead of wasting my precious life to fight a Sisyphean battle.
TMI: This might mean that you will be remembered among those who do not know you here in Malaysia as a fugitive. Does this bother you in any way?
Tan: Many Malaysians claim that I was a coward for running away. I do not think so at all. When the government and its institutions decide to ruin your life and jail you for years just because you hurt their feelings, you do not sit back and try to fight the overwhelming wave of emotional, irrational force coming down on you.
That is a very unfair situation to expect me to put up any type of fight. I was alone, and even those heartless mercenaries known as Pakatan Rakyat leaders (Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng) called for my imprisonment in Parliament just so that they did not lose the Muslim vote. Imagine fighting literally the entire country just on your own and your lawyer.
The only rational thing to do is to leave in an act of self-preservation. First, I was stupid for inviting Muslims to break fast with pork during Ramadan. Now, I am a coward for running away from a trial that will be anything but fair.
Either way, they will have something to criticise me about. What I know is that I am done being stupid. The current Alvin Tan is smart, pragmatic, calculative and mercenary.
TMI: At what point did you decide to seek asylum?
Tan: I first knew about the concept of political asylum when I was in Sungai Buloh prison in July 2013. My Iranian cellmate urged me to apply to the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) for asylum after hearing about my situation. When I was released on court bail, the court, however, took away my passport.
I waited for the right time for almost a year, slowly cutting off my ties in Malaysia (eg liquidating assets, ending contracts), and, when the court approved my going to Singapore to supposedly film a documentary in Singapore in May this year, I seized the opportunity and fled.
TMI: Is there a possibility that your asylum application to the US will not succeed? What happens then?
Tan: I have two layers of appeals, should my initial asylum claim fail. I am still free to put in similar claims in Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, England, etc, if I happen to fail in my bid in America.
TMI: Your rebuke appears to be targeted at the government and Muslims, can you explain why this is so?
Tan: The reason I target Muslims is that they do not seem to understand the concept of separation of church and state. They seem to want to legislate every single religious principle or rule into the law book, and they seem to be especially blind to the distinction between immorality and illegality. In any country with such a situation, Islam is really a political idea, not merely personal faith.
If they insist on applying Islam in politics and governance, they should also know that criticism to Islam would be inevitable and part and parcel of political discourse. They can no longer say it is something sacred and untouchable and impervious to flak, because Islam is now used as a basis to govern other people’s lives.
This is, in fact, the basis of my political asylum claim. My satirical attempts at ridiculing Muslims is an expression of my political disapproval of Muslims and Islam. Given how pervasive the influence of Islam is in our government institutions, ridiculing Muslims is tantamount to, say, ridiculing conservatives or socialists. It is the same thing.
The American courts know it. Even my San Francisco asylum officer in his independent assessment agrees that my Ramadan pork photograph was political satire, nothing more.
TMI: On hindsight, do you have any regrets over your Ramadan greeting or do you think it all happened for a reason?
Tan: This is too early to say. If my asylum claim succeeds, I am on track to become a US citizen in five years, an awesome dream come true. If not, well, I just have to be content in knowing that I was once young and stupid, and deal with the consequences like a man. My life is now in the hands of the immigration judge hearing my asylum case.
TMI: What about Vivian, are you concerned about her having to face the charges alone now?
Tan: I did convince her to flee, but she did not see the point of it. I already applied to the court to get our passports released using my personal funds, at no expense to her. What more does she want? What I did not do was to fund her escape, because, why should I? We are both independent adults who are supposed to be able to take care of ourselves.
She has a lot of growing up to do if she believes that it is my responsibility to take her along. I mean, hello, she is the university graduate here, not me. She should be more than capable – much more than me – to take care of herself. – September 27, 2014.
Alvin Tan’s and Vivian Lee’s sexual exhibitionism, which video has been deleted from public consumption
The above said video landed Alvin Tan into much trouble. Singapore Minister of Education Heng Swee Keat spoke of the matter in Parliament, “The conduct of the student is reprehensible and unbecoming as a scholar”. National University of Singapore withdrew their ASEAN scholarship which Tan benefitted.
Singaporeans are not shy to criticise Tan, for his conduct which is deemed unacceptable even by the values of modern and dynamic society and western-wannabe Singaporeans.
Vivian Lee, who was Alvin Tan’s girlfriend and co-sexual exhibitionist faced a lot of flak from her family for her private acts with Tan being made explicitly public on purpose via social media network.
Tan has since be called a ‘coward’ in bold letters since he abandoned his former girlfriend and co-conspirator in their sexual exhibitionism and insults against the predominantly Malay-Muslim Malaysia in the most holiest month for Muslims, to face the music all by herself.
Another story by recently acquired news portal by Anwaristas
Alvin Tan’s second act – Hanna TGV
Published: 27 September 2014 | Updated: 28 September 2014 12:11 AM
The fugitive and coward is now thriving in the land of the free and home of the brave.
He has upped his homogeneous firebrand of lashing out against the Malaysian authorities by taunting political leaders and the head of police to come at him.
In the current political atmosphere, Alvin knows that’s a fast track to gain popularity.
He thinks he deserves to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Adam Adli, Ali Abd Jalil, Edmond Bon and the resilient few who actually mattered in making a change in Malaysia.
But what has he done, besides uploading raunchy sex postings on their blog and not being able to respect the Muslims during their holy fasting month?
When faced with a fight-or-flight situation – Alvin chose the latter, and not without leaving behind collateral damage. His partner, Vivian Lee, continues to face the charges alone.
He has stated before that he created a new personal Facebook account to disassociate himself from Vivian, on the basis to protect her.
If he really wants to be respected – by doing something more concrete and not merely symbolic for Vivian’s well-being – he should immediately make a Statutory Declaration to absolve her from any and all responsibilities that got them into trouble in the first place.
Such gesture, would earn him even more respect from Malaysians – including myself.
Owing to the fact that if he aspires to start afresh and pursue his dreams in the greatest country in the world, he should not leave a trail of mess for the people who still care for him to clean up. – September 27, 2014.
*Hanna TGV reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/alvin-tans-second-act-hanna-tgv#sthash.r7YDsniu.dpuf
It is clearly Tan was charged for his seditious posting, intended to hurt the feelings and insult the sensitivities of Muslims in predominantly Malay-Muslim Malaysia in Ramadhan last year. Ramadhan is Muslims’ holiest month.
That makes his charge criminal in nature as his seditious posting Facebook posting had malice intention.
Renown human rights lawyer Edmund Bon opined that escaping criminal charges may not be sufficient grounds for United States or any other countries to grant someone like Tan an asylum.
Rakyat Post story:
‘Political asylum not a way out of a criminal charge’
Human rights lawyer Edmund Bon says the success of applying for political asylum depended entirely on the country where refiuge was sought. — TRP file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27, 2014:
The grounds for applying for political asylum are important and the success depends on the country where refuge is sought.
Human rights lawyer Edmund Bon said a person could seek asylum when he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution, based on sexual, political, religious or racial orientation, as this is permitted by international law.
He told The Rakyat Post that the success of the application, for instance the one said to have been made by sex blogger Alvin Tan recently, depended on the country he applied to.
Bon said Malaysia had also accepted people under political asylum, saying that a very good example of cases of political asylum in Malaysia were the refugees.
“Refugees who are prosecuted, like the Rohingya community from Myanmar, are given political asylum in Malaysia and are protected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“However, this is granted only after a strict assessment of the case.”
Bon said for Tan’s application to be successful. there must be evidence of well-founded fear and truth.
“The application can’t be applied just to run away from a criminal charge.”
When asked if Tan had a strong case, Bon said it depended on the facts of the case which, at this time, he was not familiar with.
Bon said Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had the right to request the government for Tan to be returned from where he was seeking asylum to stand trial..
It was reported earlier that Tan was currently in the United States and that he was seeking for political asylum.
Speaking to a Singaporean blogger, Tan detailed his journey from Singapore to Mexico, after which he made it to the US-Mexico border and expressed his desire to be granted political asylum there.
Tan had gone missing after he failed to return his passport to the Sessions Court on June 3, which was the date set to enable him and his then girlfriend, Vivian Lee, to be allowed to go to Singapore.
Both were undergoing trial for two charges under the Film Censorship Act and the Sedition Act.
Lee, who returned to Malaysia, was reported to have surrendered her passport. However, Tan failed to do so, following which an arrest warrant was issued for him.
His last known Facebook and Twitter update was in late May before “resurfacing” recently, with Facebook postings indicating he was in Los Angeles, California.
He then began taunting the government, Umno and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, among others.
Read more: http://www.therakyatpost.com/news/2014/09/27/political-asylum-way-criminal-charge/#ixzz3EdNXpCEW
Tan is not so smart for blaming the Malaysian Government for the troubles that he is currently facing by his own misconducts against the law. Especially, when President Barack H. Obama regarded Malaysia as a progressive Muslim state where “positive change need not come at the expense of tradition and faith”, in his United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) speech on 24 September 2014.
Excerpts of the speech:
And such positive change need not come at the expense of tradition and faith. We see this in Iraq, where a young man started a library for his peers. “We link Iraq’s heritage to their hearts,” he said, and “give them a reason to stay.” We see it in Tunisia, where secular and Islamist parties worked together through a political process to produce a new constitution. We see it in Senegal, where civil society thrives alongside a strong democratic government. We see it in Malaysia, where vibrant entrepreneurship is propelling a former colony into the ranks of advanced economies. And we see it in Indonesia, where what began as a violent transition has evolved into a genuine democracy.
Americans also regard Malaysia as a ‘moderate Muslim nation’ and Islam drives predominantly Malay-Muslim forward and towards progress, on top of being tolerant. Until recent times, Non Muslims are free to carry on with their daily lives without any of the majority predominantly Malay-Muslims encroaching into their belief and cultural system.
It is social rogues like Tan and Lee who are interpreting and taking their opinion on the ‘freedom of speech and expression’ beyond the extreme end, especially at the gross displeasure within the value system of the majority of middle Malaysia.
It is obvious for Alvin Tan was a very stupid young man for attempting to gain attention for his abuses of social media, which include postings of his sexual relationship act and deliberately insulting the Muslims in Ramadhan.
Now, it seems that he is making a bigger fool of himself by seeking asylum instead of being a man and standing by his former girlfriend and face the music, like what a responsible and accountable gentleman should be expected to do.