Malaysian ‘dangdut’ singer feels the wrath of conservatives after shirtless man cameo in music vid

Can you hear it? Yes, the sweet, symphonic, synthesized sounds of dangdut, Indonesia’s pop folk genre that’s lies somewhere in the tabla and drum machine wasteland between Hindustani and Arabic music.

Popular not only in Indonesia, but also throughout Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and other Malay-speaking areas, it’s kinda hard to explain other than to call the genre flamboyant, and an integral part of the region’s pop culture landscape.

Shiha Zikir is a Malaysian singer of dangdut who has found fame in Indonesia, with her latest effort Pipiyama, and its accompanying video, garnering a fair amount of press – not all of it positive.

Behold, five minutes of your life you will never get back, and we’ll warn you this has been stuck in our heads all day:

Can you guess which element of the video was most offending? No, not Shiha’s saccharine whine. And no, not the confusing plotline that has two guys vying for her love, only to be usurped by a taller babe who came out of nowhere to tickle Ms. Zikir’s fancy.

It was this:

Freeing the nipple indeed.

Local Malay-language daily Harian Metro is reporting that Shiha’s more conservative listeners were offended by the image of a shirtless man in the beginning of the clip.

However, the songstress is sticking to her pop guns, and told the paper that the video merely illustrated the difference between a bachelor (Mr. Six-Pack) and a divorcee (Mr. Money Bags).

“A bachelor is usually assumed to have good looks and physique, while those who are married or divorced may not be so, but with money,” she told them.

Great, but that still doesn’t explain the third heat dude who won you heart.

While we’re no connoisseur of the genre, modesty has never been a word that struck us when it came to dangdut – not here, in a novel dance clip (with 22 million and counting views):

Nor here, in the genre’s 2018 smash hit (shout-out to our pantless hockey fan — a woman after our own heart):

Critics, you may be barking up the wrong tree on this one.


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