Alvin Tan has made the wise decision to seek asylum in the USA after being charged in Malaysia for sedition over a joke on his blog.
Happy Breaking Fast with Bak Kut Teh (a pork dish), aromatic, tasty and appetizing
Tan and his former partner, Vivian Lee, had been charged under the Sedition Act for uploading a joke about eating pork during Ramadan last year, but he violated his bail conditions while on a supposed working trip to Singapore.
Tan explained 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 .
He doesn't seem to have attracted much sympathy from fellow Malaysians who feel he should have accepted whatever punishment was due to him. Press reports quoted a few Facebook posters giving him a hard time.
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.
Update: Passport revoked
8th December 2014. See article
Malaysia's Immigration Department has revoked the passports of blogger Alvin Tan and activist Ali Abd Jalil, both of whom have sought refuge in foreign countries.
The vengeful Immigration Department director-general Datuk Mustafa Ibrahim claimed the move was necessary so as to serve as a warning to those who insult the courts, the rulers and Islam. In fact the 'offence' was a trivial joke about enjoying pork.
Tan says he is currently in California and applying for asylum status in the United States.
Update: Vivian Lee sentenced
29th September 2016. From EconomicTimes
A Malaysian woman known for her ties to a sexually explicit blog was handed a suspended six-month jail sentence on Friday for posting a Ramadan greeting on Facebook in 2013 that showed her and a former partner eating pork.
Vivian Lee and former blogging partner Alvin Tan were charged in 2013 under the Sedition Act for uploading the photo that sparked 'outrage' in the Muslim-majority nation.
Following the sentencing Judge Abdul Rashid Daud granted Lee a stay pending an appeal.