This is a video about a transgender called Erra. Since at the end of the video she “repented”, then I will address Erra by the original name Mohammad Shukri. The video is basically about how he found peace in Islam, and after visiting his mother’s grave, he decided not to be a mak nyah (transgender) anymore. Throughout the video are Shukri’s thoughts as he shares and answers questions; he constantly believes his life as being all about lust, and he feels compelled to “change” because he believes he is going to hell for his “sins”.
We get to see where he used to be a sex-worker, and his family’s rejection of him and of course, the normal discrimination faced by transgenders in Malaysia in terms of jobs and housing. But having said it, this is where I have to part ways with this video's mood. The message is covered with shallowness and it is unbearable to watch for a positive person who would probably ask him to “Hey! Stand up straight!”. Seriously, I have met a lot of mak nyahs (transgenders) in Malaysia. I have never seen one so engrossed in his “sin” like him.
I also find this video puzzling. It seems too “directed” and attempts to impose a certain message that mak nyahs (transgenders) like him can “change”. At the end of the video he is seen dramatically swiping away all his make-up, facial cleansers and shampoos from the table, then the room dramatically changes from a room full of posters, to a room with Islamic Art; later a Quran is seen with its pages blowing in the wind. This shows a very stereotypical mask of a transgender in Malaysia (mind you, I have very few facial cleansers, and men use them as well. And I do not have feminine posters in my room).
The Quran scene in the middle of the night is perhaps sending a tacit message of “change or you will go to hell”. But looking at Shukri, I would certainly encourage him to change. Why? Because transgenders are comfortable with who they are, but Shukri (with all due respect, I am trying to be truthful) looks like a lost transvestite who got floated away into being somebody he may not have been born as in the first place. He looks lost, confused and without direction to really be a transgender. If being "yourself" clouds you with these negative thoughts then maybe you are not yourself at all. And I certainly do not walk with such slouching shame as if I am riddled with guilt and am going to hell like him.
It is fine that he has “changed”, and I wish him all happiness because I feel he is not a transgender in the first place. Kind of like Edmund Smith (RLM) who used to cross-dress and while he is a still a man (but they are total opposites in terms of personality; this Shukri seems so extremely humbled he may have some serious inferiority complex issues). While I certainly do not like the idea of him being part of this video that strongly feeds the confirmation bias of a society like Malaysia, I bid him well and all the best. Sadly still, he may have been manipulated into doing this documentary in which its producers clearly is trying to compile another bad, negative, depressing life picture gallery about transgenders. Hey, why not interview a girl and a trans survivor like me? Because I am pretty?