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Sharifah Zohra Jabeen’s Tirade refers to a controversial speech given by the president of Malaysian activist organization Suara Wanita 1Malaysia (SW1M) during a student forum event at the Northern University of Malaysia (UUM) in December 2012. Sharifah’s rant, along with the quote “Listen, Listen, Listen, Listen,” subsequently went viral and spawned parodies on the Malaysian web after a video recording of the event was uploaded to YouTube in January 2013.
During a student forum event held at the Northern University of Malaysia (UUM) on December 8th, 2012, law student K.S. Bawani confronted the guest speaker and women’s rights activist Sharifah Zohra Jabeen about her pro-government stance on a number of controversial public policies. But Bawani’s question was abruptly interrupted when Sharifah snatched the microphone and cut her off mid-sentence by frantically repeating “listen, listen, listen” before digressing into a lengthy tirade against the student. In early January 2013, a video recording of the heated exchange was uploaded online by YouTuber TvMyMahasiswa.
On January 15th, 2013, the video was shared on the Facebook page Politicalgags, where it was largely met by angry reactions criticizing Sharifah’s rude remarks and her hypocritical notion that she was giving Bawani proper respect as a woman. The video also spawned quite a few image macros on the Facebook page Malaysian Gag, depicting Sharifah with a Scumbag Hat or as the The Most Interesting Woman in the World.
Others also criticized Sharifah’s speech for mongering hatred towards the opposition political parties and Bersih rally organizers, a move that was interpreted as an attempt to politicize the event. The phrase “Listen Listen Listen Listen” continued to spread through excessive usage by Malaysian Facebook users and even spawned a dedicated thread on Malaysia’s biggest forum Lowyat.
The scandal took a turn for the worse when an administrator of the SW1M Facebook page calling herself “Ms. Natrah” began accusing opposition parties as well as NGOs related to BERSIH and Bawani. Shortly thereafter, the page became flooded with comments criticizing Natrah’s rebuttal for instigating partisan divides.
Inevitably, the video went onto inspire parodies featuring Sharifah on YouTube, mostly in the form of remix songs. Even the Malaysian grilled chicken restaurant chain Nando’s took a jab at the scandal by reassuring its customers that “their chickens were fine” in reference to Sharifah’s remark that “animals also have problems.”
Malaysia Chronicle – No need for ‘Listen, listen’ woman to apologize to ‘Little Ambiga’
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