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Avril Lavigne’s Malaysian Malaise

Stop The Presses!

Up until this week, the most controversial thing anyone could probably come up with concerning pop-punk (or should that be punk-pop?) princess Avril Lavigne would have been the question of whether or not she ripped off her 2007 hit song "Girlfriend" from the 1979 Rubinoos song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." And even though she clearly would have been found innocent in any copyright infringement case, if for no other reason than the fact that the Rubinoos song was itself a ripoff of the old Rolling Stones hit "Get Off Of My Cloud," the record shows that Lavigne, seeking to spare everyone getting dragged through the mud, simply settled out of court and that was that. Let's just say then that unless you're the eyemakeup police, you're not figuring Avril Lavigne for much of a troublemaker.

This week, however, the girl once known for the straightest hair (like, ever) has found herself entangled in the political affairs of, of all places, Malaysia. Lavigne was scheduled to kick off a month-long Asian tour in Kuala Lumpur on August 29, but the youth wing of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (if you're keeping score at home, that's the country's opposition faction) sent a protest letter to Malaysia's Culture Arts and Heritage Ministry as well as the Kuala Lumpur mayor, saying that Lavigne's concert would promote "wrong values" ahead of the country's August 31 independence day. "Too sexy for us," said a party official. "We want clean artists, artists that are good role models."

It should be noted that, even without possible protests, arranging for a gig in Malaysia can get a trifle complicated. For instance, clothing worn by performers cannot carry any drug-related or obscene images and must cover the entire torso from chest to knees. Additionally, performers are asked to refrain from jumping, shouting, hugging, or kissing onstage. Some can handle it, some can't: last year, Gwen Stefani agreed to cover up (a "major sacrifice," she called it), while the Pussycat Dolls did at least some of their usual bumping and grinding — I guess that falls under the "jumping" category — and thus incurred a fine of 10,000 ringgit (again, if you're scoring at home, that's a little under $3,000).

Lavigne knew all this and yet, good sport that she is, was apparently ready to suffer for her art — and this, mind you, just as her Abbey Dawn line of Junior Fashions is just getting introduced at Kohl's! But Malaysia's Culture Art and Heritage Ministry succumbed to the pressure, and has denied a permit for the concert. This to the girl with not only the cleanest hair (like, ever), but also possibly the cleanest image of any punk-pop (or is that pop-punk?) princess currently out there.

Then again, she is from Canada.

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