In our December Dubious Achievements 2011 Issue, we asked prominent writers to give their take on some of the more memorable events of the year. Here, we asked Marina Mahathir to give us her take on the society that got everyone talking - The Obedient Wives Club. With a fiery interview with one of their members on radio, she has a unique perspective on this club:
There are probably few things more bizarre and improbable than getting sex lessons from a bunch of women covered up from head to toe. But perhaps this is the new porn. The ladies at the Obedient Wives Club have entertained us all this year with their jaw-dropping pronouncements wrapped in what they claim is the purest religious mantle. First they insisted that a woman’s core role in life is to obey her husband. This, according to the articulate doctor on an infamous radio show with me, is the only way to serve God. Obedience also includes having sex “even when you don’t feel like it” and smiling tightly when hubby decides to spend the family budget on a hot little sports car rather than a more practical M.P.V.
Then they declared that in order to keep your husband, you have to be a whore in bed, which of course created ripples of excitement among men and not a small amount of consternation among women. As incongruous as it may seem to have the word “whore” come out of the mouths of otherwise demure-looking women, they boldly insisted that you have to learn all sorts of sexual tricks in order to keep husbands from straying. It didn’t, however, escape the more sharp-eyed among us that most of these women were in polygamous marriages. Thus begs the question: what did wife number-one do wrong in bed that she had to be followed up by wife number-two, and then subsequent wives?
Faced with this question, the obedient doctor, the first of three wives, simply says that as a good Muslim, she has to accept polygamy. She did not look happy saying this. It didn’t take long before the O.W.C. came out with its own sex manual. Curiously titled Fighting Jews to Bring Islamic Sex to the World, it is not about becoming religious Mata Haris and going off to bed, say, Jake Gyllenhaal. Instead it’s about how your own husband gets to have sex with all his wives at the same time. Minds were boggling on overtime. How do a man and his four wives all fit in one bed? In what order do you do it? Do you start with wife number-one and work your way down the line? Clockwise? Counter-clockwise?
The O.W.C. was quick to retort that they did not mean that a man could physically have sex with all his wives at once. They meant “spiritual sex” where a man could be in one place and his wives in four other places, and his spirit travels to have sex with them simultaneously. Kind of like a sexual conference call. I’d like to know whether the heavy breathing gets synchronised and then leads to a simultaneous five-way conclusion. Given that the book is largely authored by one of the widows of the founder of Al-Arqam, Ashaari (known to them as Abuya), one can only take her word that sex with him was pretty earth-shaking.
Curiously, despite this being purportedly a how-to manual for devout wives, she seems to take great pains to emphasise that not everyone can achieve this high state of “Islamic sex”. Indeed none of the O.W.C. members at the book launch owned up to ever experiencing it. They’re still trying, they said. Nor does she explain what exactly is Islamic about it. Clearly she hasn’t heard of tantric sex and all the other claims to prolonged ecstasy. Nor does she seem to realise that just about everybody who has ever written about sex insists it’s a spiritual experience anyway.
We certainly don’t get any explanation on how Islamic sex helps to fight Jews. Unless it means having as much sex as possible in order to populate the world with lots of anti-Semitic babies. Someone should tell O.W.C. that there are currently only eighteen million Jews in the world, and 1.7 billion Muslims. To be fair, I haven’t read the book. But then, apart from a few reporters, neither has anyone else. The book is for sale “only to members” and even then not in Malaysia, which makes you wonder, why launch it at all? Bunch of teasers!
What it is, and probably why the O.W.C. so deserves a Dubious Achievement Award, is a great marketing and rebranding exercise. Once upon a time, Al-Arqam was seen as a bunch of loonies living in one big polygamous commune. Arqam women were seen as the epitome of the submissive Muslim woman, staying home to service their men and breed children. But with O.W.C. we get a whole new Arqam woman: articulate, professional, and well-dressed. She travels the world for her career but she never forgets her primary duty: to serve hubby. And what better way to serve him than by mastering telegraphic sex?
Read more stories from our other writers - Fahmi Fadzil on the social media-led movements, Niki Cheong on the boy in the London mob, and Shelah!!! on the Sexualiti Merdeka ban - in our December Issue, out now in newsstands.