"Why famous artists never come to Malaysia one?"
A common complaint among Malaysians whenever major artists announce concert dates in neighbouring cities like Singapore and Bangkok, there's no denying that there's been a significant lack of high-profile live shows and concerts in Malaysia in recent years.
While most of the blame may go to the government's strict rules and regulations when it comes to bringing in international performers, a local event organiser thinks that the live events industry in Malaysia is also suffering from lack of support from Malaysians themselves.
Livescape Group CEO Iqbal Ameer pointed out that while Malaysians are generally proud of homegrown brands and talents, we're not exactly their staunchest supporters
"Malaysia is a beautiful country. We have the best food in the world, beautiful people, and amazing beaches. We are proud of our culture, our home-grown brands like Pestle Mortar Clothing and Wanderlust + Co, and not forgetting our National Football team Harimau Malaya.
"But do we support them? Like really, really support them? I think not," he wrote.
In comparison, Iqbal noted that most Malaysians are more likely to show off photos of their trip overseas or buying "fake" branded goods instead of a "holiday in Redang Island" or buying tickets to watch a local football match
He wrote, "When was the last time you actually took a picture of your holiday in Redang Island instead of Bali?
"When was the last time you walked into a local homegrown clothing store to buy some threads instead of looking for fake Supreme or Louis Vuitton gear online?
"When was the last time you bought tickets and went for a local football match? Or watched it on television?"
Iqbal likened the phenomenon to the live events industry in Malaysia, highlighting that "Malaysians simply don't want to buy a ticket for a show" despite promoters working really hard to "promote fresh local talent or book great international artistes"
"It saddens me to see promoters that work really hard to either promote fresh local talent or even book great international artists, yet they have no choice but to give out free tickets so they can fill the room," he wrote.
"What irks me, even more, is when other promoters don't support, but spread negativity that the promoter didn't do well."
To add salt to the wound, Iqbal added that event promoters are often at the receiving end of keyboard warriors' anger and frustration as well as demands for refunds when an event gets cancelled.
The aforementioned events and barrage of criticism create "a spiral of destruction", as private corporations become wary of granting sponsorships, leading to organisers becoming reluctant to take risks
Iqbal explained, "Private corporations become weary of giving desperately needed sponsorship dollars, media laps this up as news and continue to spread, other promoters don't want to take risks anymore and the snowball continues until... there are no live events in Malaysia."
"And don't get me started about local talent. Just look at Yuna (below) - amazing performer that has gone global and is loved all around the world. Instead, we Malaysians criticise her for being 'western' and not adhering to 'true Malaysian culture'," he added.
"We don't realise that we are truly the problem here."
"We aren't lining up to buy Malaysian-curated events; instead, we are flying off to other parts of the world for our next Insta Story. We have local brands that started with the best intentions but are closing because the main market they are catering to is more interested in foreign expensive brands instead," Iqbal wrote.
He also called out people who only reach out to local promoters to "beg for free passes" in exchange for social media exposure.
In wrapping up his post, Iqbal urged Malaysians to support the local live events industry, starting with the Arts, Live Festivals and Events Association's (ALIFE) petition pushing for improvements in the current policy and regulatory framework for live events in Malaysia
The Change.org petition was established last month in light of Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir's comments about cancelled events, in which he said that "it does not represent the voice of the nation, but the people also need to make their voices heard".
Iqbal also linked a video shared by ALIFE Vice President Brian Johnson Lowe, which highlighted how difficult it is for event organisers to obtain permits in Malaysia as opposed to in Singapore: