Tuesday, September 18, 2007

He knows his art

You couldn't make this one up!

Reading through old newspapers is like taking a peek at another age, another social climate, another set of values. Yet it all looks so familiar – the towns, the names (even if the spelling is rather quaint), the bits and pieces of clothing. We laugh, we cry, we’re in despair, and sometimes we’re freaking disgusted at what went before and what we’ve become.

But enough of the soap-opera psychology. Let’s roll the tape. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a little snippet from Page 4, The Malay Mail, Wednesday October 17, 1956.

(Full text below pix)

Stripping can be an art – says magistrate

IPOH, Tuesday. STATING that a strip-tease act cannot be indecent merely because it is shocking and objectionable to certain people, the Ipoh Magistrate, Inche Abdul Kadir bin Yusuf, today acquitted three of four strippers who claimed trial to a charge of indecent behaviour during their performance.

The three who were acquitted without their defence being called were Wong Fun, 20, Lee Pui Fong, 30, and Leung Mei 21.

Kong Koh Yum, 20, who appeared with the other girls, was asked to make her defence on the charge that she behaved indecently during her performance at the Hong Kong Au Yong Hoong Revue at the Capitol Theatre here last Thursday night.

The Magistrate, in his long judgement, said that his decision was made difficult because he had to determine what was indecent behaviour. The dictionary was not much help, he said.

The test

Inche Kadir said: “I think that the test of whether certain acts are indecent or not is to find out whether the alleged act as described by the witnesses tend to corrupt the minds of those who saw the act.

“An act cannot be said to be indecent merely because it is shocking or disgusting or is in bad taste or because certain people think it undesirable. The act must have a tendency to corrupt.”

He acquitted Lee and Leung because there were “serious discrepancies: as to which of them took part in the acts that were described in court.

As for Wong and Kong, the magistrate said he was satisfied that they had been identified in connection with their dances.

But he would also acquit Wong without calling on her defence because, he said, he did not consider the lifting and lowering of her G-string indecent as it was part of her strip-tease act.

The Magistrate said: “strip-tease is an art and by a clever actress it can be amusing. It cannot be indecent and it cannot be obscene.”

Kong is defended by Mr. F. C. Arulanandom, who also represented the other three girls.


z said...

hmmm, so what exactly are you researching??? :p

Aromatic Beans said...

Liminal morality, truth regimes and public performance in 1950s Malaysia ;-)