Friday, August 10, 2007

Malaysian....Today?

It's ironic how despite being the two largest states in the country, my home Sabah and our neighbour Sarawak remain so insignificant to West Malaysians. I mean think about it... how often do you hear people mistaking Pahang for Johor, or Kedah for Kelantan, or Malacca for Negri Sembilan?

Certainly not as often as people mistaking Sabah for Sarawak, or vice versa.

Which brings me to my topic for today.

I was having dinner at Burger King just now when I picked up a copy of Malaysian Today, a paper that I don't read often but which I think is quite safe for me to call a "weekly sports and lifestyle paper." (correct me if I'm wrong)

Anyway, I turned to page three (there's an online version at http://www.malaysiantoday.com.my/ as well) and went through the "Week in Review" column which pretty much selects certain news items from the mainstream papers in the past week. Then, when I finally reached the news item in the middle of the page, once again, the KL-based paper made the ever popular boo-boo that I've just mentioned.

Here, see for yourself:


And for a close up:



Now compare that with what The Star wrote on Sunday (which subsequently had several follow-ups a couple of days later). The heading and the first two paras read as follows:

Youths languishing in prison for minor offences
By LOH FOON FONG, M. MAGESWARI and RASHVINJEET S. BEDI

KUALA LUMPUR: A 19-year-old youth from Sabah has been languishing in prison for six months because his single mother is unable to post the court bail of RM1,000.

For his offence of not carrying his MyKad, Jeff Lee Kwong Yeung faces a fine of between RM3,000 and RM20,000 but his case has been postponed several times since he was first charged in court on Feb 5.

(for the full story. click here - hope the link still works).

Do you see it?

Here's another picture just to make things clearer:

So there you go... a perfectly simple story about a 19-year-old youth from Sabah being transformed into a Sarawakian overnight. So much for being "Malaysians today" huh?
And the usual excuses that I get when I point this out?
"Aiya... Sabah, Sarawak all the same la..."
"You guys are a different 'country' anyway."
Jokes? Perhaps...
Truths? not really, but some might argue that they are.
Reality? Here's the reality... we're celebrating our country's 50th birthday this month. This just illustrates how much we really know about one another.
And I'm not just single-ing out Peninsular Malaysians... I think many Sabahans and Sarawakians are pretty ignorant about each other and the peninsula as well.
This writer included.
Again, that's why I decided to start this blog in the first place... to cast away or explain the stereotypes that Sabahans face (and vent out our frustrations as well... hehehe). I think of this as my little contribution towards national unity (or national divide depending how you look at it ;-P ).
But let's be optimistic. It's good to laugh at ourselves and each other once in a while.
As for Malaysian Today, keep up the good work and try not to repeat mistakes like this again. Being a paper bearing the name "Malaysian Today", the burden is greater on you to make sure you get things right about this country of ours. But I must say, you guys have a nice e-paper there.
To everyone, selamat bulan kemerdekaan!

4 comments:

Stylin' in Sabah said...

Post more! I would love to be able to link to you from my blog, if you would let me. Always nice to educate people more about what Sabahans are all about.

In the meantime, you might find this interesting. Not sure if you're a Gwen fan, but I just wanted to help clear up the controversy over her not covering up for the KL concert.

Hope to hear from you soon, buds. Keep on truckin'.

The Sabahan said...

Link away friend... link away!

Sopok said...

Hey Sabahan,
looks like you haven't updated in a long time. Anyway, this is the second time I've come across sth like this. The first time was in the paper we work for (memalukan kan?) which stated that Amber Chia was from Sarawak.. U know-- Sarawakian model, Amber Chia.... If my facts serve me correctly, Chia was born in Ipoh and grew up in Tawau. Not sure where the Sarawak part fits in.
But seriously, as a journalist, this person should not have thought (if he did).."ah, Sabah and Sarawak same thing lah" It's not the bloody same thing. That's like saying North America, South America same thing la...If I were the editor I'd chop him into little pieces. But cannot la! sigh

emelda said...

Some kl'ian" think we are not Malaysian!! Celaka ka tidak tu???

Anyway, stumble over your blog from google search!:)

keep it up!