The Rasa Sayang(e) Threads

Welcome back from the Idul Fitri holidays.

Unspun was quite thrilled when the Rasa Sayang(e) postings (here, here, here, here, here and here) generated long and often heated threads of discussions, not only in Unspun‘s blogs but also in the blog of one of Malaysia’s most popular bloggers (see Rocky’s Bru‘s posting here).

After all that’s been said so far in these threads are there and insigts to be gleaned from them? Or were they just so much entertainment as Malaysians and Indonesians flamed each other and vented their frustrations.

Ever the optimist and the skeptic, here are some of  Unspun‘s thoughts arising from the Rasa Sayang(e) threads are (many of these are generalizations so nitpickers hold your horses):

  1. Malaysians and Indonesians are frustrated with their respective governments – Indonesians are frustrated with a government that does not seem to have its act together to protect their heritage and provide a focal point for their national pride. Malaysians are frustrated with their government. Period.
  2. Culturally Indonesia is a treasure house, Malaysia has only ersatz jewels – Indonesia is so rich in history and culture while Malaysia is so bankrupt. Malaysia’s bankruptcy arises from its insistence of making “Malay culture” the predominant cultural overlay while paying lip service to their other cultures. Yadda Yadda about melting pot, confluence of three main cultures etc. The problem is that “Malay” culture is rather thin on the ground because of Point 3.
  3. Malay is a big deal and is a political construct in Malaysia; it refers to a small ethnic group in Indonesia – This, Unspun feels, was at the root of the heated discussions surrounding the Rasa Sayang(e) controversy. Outside of Malaysia the concept of Malay has very little cache. Unfortunately, most of the decision makers in Malaysia are so cocooned in the Malaysian milieu as to realize this.
  4. There is actually still a lot of goodwill and affinity among many Indonesians and Malaysians – The comments on Now to Rasa Some Sayang (and a mirror posting in Rocky’s Bru) attest to the potential amount of goodwill and affinity between the serumpun neighbors. If politicians on both sides were smart they would build on this rather than to emphasize the differences and make stupid  statements that are hurtful to each other. Just a parting thought: could the feelings of goodwill and the beginnings of a closer relationship as expressed in this and Rocky’s blog (here and here) could have been achieved by the governments themselves and their Tourism/propaganda arms? If not perhaps it is time for the governments to turn to blogs/bloggers to bridge the divide.

Rasa this!

This (clip below) looks like another cultural time bomb for Malaysia.Perhaps the Malaysian government should just step aside, shut up and let Indonesia and and Malaysian bloggers set the relationship right.

Malaysian Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan, on the off chance that you even even get debriefed on blogs, please see the posting Now to Rasa Some Sayang (and here too) to see how much Indonesians and Malaysians admire about each others’ countries and peoples. And how much potential goodwill there can be between serumpun countries if only the politicians would take a reality check, get off their high horses, park their egos somewhere the sun don’t shine and stop living in denial.

Also read Bleu, an Indonesian expat living in Indonesia for perspective on serumpun sentiments here.

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“Bw putih Bw merah” cerita Malay?

Terserah mau dianggap nge-flame apa engga, tp gw mau tarik perhatian ke sini lagi: cerita itu dari malay (melayu)? Setahu gw versi Jawanya adalah “brambang bawang” dan ini udah dikenal dari jaman duluuuu banget (nyokap gw ceritain pas masih kecil). Kenapa gw rada nyolot? Karena ini mulai diaku2 lagi sebagai cerita Malaysia, lihat:

“I think the minister should also look into their recent Sinetron called Bawang Merah Bawang Putih which is a copycat of our folklore as well. Their TV series was produced in 2004-2005 while we make a film titled Bawang Putih Bawang Merah way back during the Cathay Keris era in 1959 starring the late Latifah Omar and Umi Kalthom.”

Diambil dari salah satu komentar di weblog ini:
By: kersani on October 6th, 2007
at 4:53 am.

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A tale of two rumpuns

Interesting to see the different reactions to the Rasa Sayang(e) controversy both in Malaysia (see comments here) and in Indonesia (see comments here). On both sides of the Straits we have nationalism come to the fore, good sense go out the window, fear and loathing of the other.

But what should the real issue be in the Rasa Sayang(e) issue where different countries have many things in common like food, culture and sometimes even history?

Is the issue one of rights or of marketing savvy?

If it is one of rights then Indonesia wins hands down. Rasa Sayang(e), Unspun is willing to bet, almost certainly originated from Maluku, Negara Ku is probably a spinoff from Terang Bulan, Batik was probably developed and refined in Pekalongan long before Malaysia got its hands on it, Orang Utans are more plentiful in Indonesia, Sate Padang was probably being fanned on the fire longer than the satay in Kajang.

If, however, the issue is one of marketing savvy, then Indonesia losses big time to Malaysia. It falls flat in packaging its cultural icons so that they come to be associated with the country. This is nothing new.

Continue reading “A tale of two rumpuns”

More on funny logic: Adam Air strikes again

Adam Air corporate communications head Danke Dradjat on why customers are coming back to Adam Air in spite of how they fouled up over their air crash earlier this year:

“There wasn’t any special campaign to get the passengers back. We only emphasized the fact that our aircraft were maintained and serviced by the same technicians as Garuda Indonesia.”

And it gets better:

“Well, eventually people were able to accept the fact that it was an unexpected tragedy, after all, especially since accidents have also affected major carriers.”

Man, what do they smoke at Adam Air?

Kabelvision sucks II: Analyze this, James

We all know Kabelvision‘s service sucks. It sucks so bad that Unspun‘s office decided to pay substantially more to Uninet. They came and installed their service over the weekend and this morning they were still tweaking it as the foreign hosted domains were still slow to download, even thought the locally hosted ones were blisteringly fast.

By the afternoon they got it right and we now enjoy internet service without interruption and without the dreaded thought of having to deal with the obtuse customer service people in Kabelvision. AND IT FEELS SOOOOOOO GOOD!

So the lesson in all this is that if you have a monopoly better get your act in order fast, or at least don’t piss customers off. Pissed customers would rather go somewhere else, even though they may cost more, than to help you make and extra rupiah.

So James, analyze this:

Spin City

spin.jpgTalk about Spin Doctors. In this Bisnis Indonesia article today, President SBY is being asked to take advantage of a gathering of Spin Doctors in Bali to overcome the negative international image of Indonesia as a result of the EU’s bank on Indonesian airlines.

The occasion is a regional conference of the International PR Associations in Bali between September 4-6 themed Building Bridges Through Dialogue and boasts an attendance of “senior PR practitioners from 110 countries and 250 communication experts.”

One doubts the calibre of people attending this talkshop. You know about what they say: those who can, do. Those who can’t teach or attend seminars where PR people talk about paradigm shifts and practice the latest buzzwords to gratify each others Spinning Urges.

At any rate, Unspun seriously doubts if SBY can get any benefit out of speaking to the cackle of Spin Doctors. Sure, they can carry the message to the 110 countries and beyond, but would they? Experience suggests that nobody will move a muscle unless promised fat fees or speaking engagements with fat honorariums at, well, conferences.

Good thing Unspun is not attending that gabfest or there’ll be no end of unspinning to do!

Advertorial boomerang

Earlier Unspun remarked about the questionable worth of advertorials.

Today there is a blog posting which makes one question not only the worth of advertorials but the downside of them, especially when you cannot do them well.

Get a chuckle as Jakarta-based Jakartass takes issue with Master Card’s advertorial. So, are advertorials worth it afterall? Who do they really influence? And are they worth the ridicule you could possibly receive when its done badly, as is inevitable gien the talent pool here?

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In today’s Jakarta Post there’s a fullpage ad which I’ve just realised is a regular weekly waste of space. Today was the first time I’d bothered with it, but then I always need something to read for my morning ritual. It’s supposedly a ‘Hotels Supplement’ but is actually an advertorial for MasterCard ~ and a lavatorial for me.
With MC you gain exclusive access to a world of opportunities and wonder. Now you can start packing for that non-stop shopping spree in Hong Kong.

But there’s more. Empy Effendy has written a column which simply beggars belief with its utter vacuity.
Sometimes when travelling, a friend might ask, “Why should we stay at a luxury hotel and spend hundreds of dollars when we can still get a good night’s sleep at a budget hotel?”

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