First there was Halimah Jongang. Despite criticism and disgruntlement by many in protest of the degrading nickname used in a TV series, the drama is continuing with its second season. And now, there is Dollah Hapak!!!
Comedy should be entertainingly educational. Slapsticks and laughing at the expense of others' shortcomings are rather outdated. Doesn't anyone care anymore about what should and should not be on national TV?
Instilling moral values can be done in numerous ways. Why choose to be ethically wrong to be morally right? Name-calling and giving others nicknames based on their physical blemish should never be encouraged. It degrades those labelled and brings a lot of shame and embarassment to those concerned. Although this habit is common among the Malaysian society, this practice has become less popular. But with those two new TV series, its popularity is picking up very quickly once again.
I have come across many nicknames and I always wonder who actually started them. According to my late grandfather, due to so many "Ahmad" in my Kampung, the Kampung folks have given them each a nickname so that they can be distinguished from one another. Subsequently, there is a Mat Lantui because of the way he speaks is convulsive; a Mat Letup because of his strong plosives when speaking; a Mat Labi because he resembles the Labi-labi; a Mat Batik because he wears batik shirt even on Sundays; a Mat Timun because he likes the cucumber a great deal; a Mat Kokak and Mat Kukuk - where no explanation was given apart from the reason they live next door to each other and therefore the kampung folks gave them a rhyming nicknames. What a creative society! Unfortunately, demeaning creativity.
My cousin who was born with a pair of big ears (actually just slightly bigger than the normal size) is nicknamed Gajah as long as I can remember. He is married with children and a few grandchildren now and no one in the family seems awkward whenever people address him as Gajah. Friends at times will impishly call him Gaj (short for Gajah) or Ele (short for Elephant) and he responds to all with a smile. Ah well...I guess he is just too used to it.
No matter what, I am still with the stand that giving people degrading nicknames are ethically wrong!