by Wan Zamzaidi Wan Zakaria

Throughout our lives, we have seen many scientific theories that has been fed to us from the big bang theory, to the Darwin theory of evolution, and many more. Moving forward into this millennium era, another theory of science has been increasingly getting the attention of the public is the ‘flat earth theory’. The flat earth theory didn’t just recently arise as a topic of belief. The flat earth theory could be identified during the dark ages where Christianity did not support the idea that the world was spherical (Allergo, 2017). However from the 7th century, monks and scholars have come up with writing on evidence to show that the world is round. The Islamic world also concurred to the same ideas with their beliefs and scholars and nobody had issues with this idea (Crindle, 1987). Beyond academics of the world, even an empty headed sailor recognized that the earth was spherical with the obvious fact that ships disappear over the horizon with the bottom first the sail to be the last of sight. The same idea applies when seeing land from ships. Evidently from these ideas, it is obvious that the surface curves continually at a certain point, making it one of the clear evidence that the world is spherical.

However, there are percentage of people from around the world who still believes that the world is flat! In a simple poll done in 2018 by the massive market research firm YouGov, results showed that;

  • 84% of respondents said they have always believed the world is round
  • 5% stated “I always thought the world is round, but more recently I am skeptical/have doubts”,
  • 2% stated “I always thought the world is flat, but more recently I am skeptical/have doubts”
  • and 2% went with “I have always believed the world is flat”.
  • The remaining 7% stated “Other/not sure”.

The results shows a small number of flat-earth believers, but is in on a rise as the power of the digital media especially the internet are increasingly showing more and more content that influence and suggest that the world is flat. People who believes in this flat earth theory are more widely known as flat-earthers, and every day, their flat earth society is convincing others with their flat earth society movements (Hiskey, 2019).

So, what does flat-earth-society believes in?

The flat earth society was formed to promote what they think is a misconception of how earth is believed to be spherical. One of the beliefs of this society is that earth is actually shaped like a disc, with the outer rings being Antarctica acts as a border of ice walls. Gravity is formed because earth is moving forward like a rocket creating downward energy, while the moon and the sun is circling on top of the earth disc. (The Flat Earth Society, 2019)

They believe that the earth’s night and day cycle happens when the moon and the sun circles the atmosphere of the earth like a spotlight, whereas gravity is an illusion. The flat earth is said to be accelerating upwards hence pushing us down creating a sense of ‘false gravity’. What lies underneath earth is unknown because there has been no exploration and they believe that the world powers (governments) are purposely avoiding people from exploring this. From their point of view, it just might be pile or soil and rocks. These are among the elaborate geometric theories that flat-earthers have come up with to supposedly make it all work.

The resurgence of the flat earth conspiracy 

We knew that the earth was round since more than 2000 years ago. How can it be possible that people are still arguing about this despite all the scientific facts and evidence that is clearly available? In our everyday life, at a certain degree we may feel like the world is flat through experience. However, this belief can only exist if the people ignore the centuries of evidence that have been accumulated showing that the earth is spherical.

With the new media especially the internet, it has helped this society to influence more people by tapping into high profile people such as celebrities and influencers in social media to slowly plant the flat earth theory into the minds of the public. Slowly, this theory is making a rise in social media platforms. The new generation that we live in nowadays consists of many social media users, but not many are actually media literate people. Online users tend to read through content that does not have research credibility with weak resources. However, because the social media platform are widely used, it creates a sense of belonging to the users and does have an effect towards their subconscious minds to believe in something even if they don’t know anything about.

Apart from that, studies have shown that people that tend to believe in conspiracy theories have the psychological need to be ‘unique’ and different from other people (Lantian, Muller, Cecile, & Douglas, 2017). What could be more unique than believeing in something that could be so outlandish? Because of a social trend that is growing like mushrooms in the social media, people tend to jump on the bandwagon to be part of something they do not know entirely. A psychologist research from University or Kent, Karen Douglas added that all conspiracy theories share a basic thrust. They present an alternative theory about an important issue or event, and construct an (often) vague explanation for why someone is covering up that “true” version of events. “One of the major points of appeal is that they explain a big event but often without going into details,” she said. “A lot of the power lies in the fact that they are vague.”

The movement of the flat-earth-society also have effects on the way the public perceives the authorities. They believes that it is just something the powerful people trying to hide, but form what? And because of these beliefs, it is indirectly cultivating people to disregard the authorities and also scientific evidence that have existed throughout of the century. In a way, it is considered dangerous as it may create more waves of conspiracy theories that will influence people to discard actual science and evidence.

So which side are you in? Is the earth is flat, or spherical?


(2019, April 12). Retrieved from The Flat Earth Society: https://www.tfes.org/

Allergo, J. J. (2017). The bottom of the universe: Flat earth science in the Age of Encounter. Sage Journals, 61-85.

Crindle. (1987, 6 25). Cosmas Indicopleustes, Christian Topography. Retrieved from Christian Topography: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/cosmas_00_1_preface.htm

Hiskey, D. (2019, April 12). Retrieved from Today I FOund Out: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2019/06/who-started-the-flat-earth-conspiracy-theory-how-many-actually-believe-this-and-what-do-they-believe-exactly/

Lantian, A., Muller, D., Cecile, N., & Douglas, K. M. (2017). “I know things they don’t know!”: The role of need for uniqueness in belief in conspiracy theories. Social Psychology 48(3), 160-173.


by Mohd Rafi Awang Senik

Japan as one of the country in the world who had enormous producing of anime and game characters. The market for its anime and games had been tremendous accepted and flourished around the globe. Furthermore, Japan as the core country existed with the advancement of technology and development (Adhikary, 2015). Hence, it could penetrate and influence other country in the perspective of cultural diplomacy.  Cultural diplomacy is a part of public diplomacy. Diplomacy itself is an effort to gain the national interest in international society and to have foreign relations (Kim, 2017).  Diplomacy is an effort to struggle its national interest through cultural dimension, such as education, science, sport, art, and other (Warsito & Kartikasari, 2007).

In this paper context, Doraemon one of the examples from many types of Japanese anime that have a popularity and famous worldwide. Doraemon is a Japanese anime series written and illustrated by Fujiko F. Fujio. In early publication, the series only in printing method and appeared for the first time in 1969 in Children’s Monthly Magazine in Japan. Before the series was took part in television series, the English translation came out for comic version. Animated series in television was debuted on 1973 by Nippon Television (Miho, 2014).

Why Doraemon anime as a part of Japanese Public Diplomacy? According to (Snow, 2009) , the countries now impress others with their soft power potential. These include of science, art, culture, sport, education and other things. If we look from the Doraemon anime series, every angle of Japanese culture been portrayed from its family relationship, varieties of food, school environment and positives side of Japan. This image portrayed as a representative image of Japan to the international world (Adhikary, 2015).

In one study conducted by (Kartikasari, 2018) stated that Doraemon as an anime ambassador through the International Anime Award in 2008. It was recognized by the Japanese Foreign Minister on that time because of the big influence of Doraemon. This recommendation and decision made by the Committee of Pop-Culture Experts and the Japanese Cartoon Association with the collaboration with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) and Ministry of Culture of Japan (Kartikasari, 2018).

The appointment of Doraemon as the anime ambassador, the Japanese government hope that the world community can know the positive side of Japan through the Japanese anime. In addition, it could promote and introduce Japan to the world since it one of successful example of creative global industry. The government of Japan also hope that the presence of Doraemon raises the attractiveness of foreign society towards Japanese culture, tradition, music and technology. All this then formed a fans community that also spread in Asia and America (Kartikasari, 2018).

Source from: (MOFA, 2018)
Source from: (MOFA, 2018)

According to (Nye, 2005), in order to co-opt other groups and parties, the element of attraction is essential. Soft power is the ability to attract, and attraction often leads to acquiescence. Based on this statement, we could see how other foreign countries accepting the Japanese sources like anime, fashion, work culture and food in the local values. In Malaysia, the vision of Look East Policy has been chanted long time ago by Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia Prime Minister. This to imitate how successful Japanese work ethics could be implement and practice in Malaysia (MOFA, 2002).

In Doraemon series also we look how the father’s role in the family as a leader or someone that hardworking and dedicated to his work. This has been portrayed how the cartoon wearing the office suit and sometimes coming back home in late time because of office’s work. Japan uses its anime as their public diplomacy actually because in this modern era, people tend to see the global condition by using simple way and also communication by using modern ways as media device (Mori, 2018).

Media is the place for getting the information or issues and also media can be used or giving the responds towards issues and information. It fits with the public diplomacy theory which is said by the U.S Department of State, Dictionary of International Relations Terms 1987 (PublicDiplomacy.org, 2016), Public diplomacy refers to government-sponsored programs intended to inform or influence public opinion in other countries. Its chief instruments are publications, motion pictures, cultural exchanges, radio and television.

Even the series mostly translated into the respective language in specific country, but the environment and message from the animation could be understood and digested. This effectiveness can be seen from the number of foreign students studying Japanese language for example. According to (Mori, 2018) when the anime features particular places as locations. The locations not only get to the viewers’ heart, but also motivate their behavior to visit there. Hence, develop P2P (People to People) diplomacy through international exchange between foreigners and local people. P2P diplomacy involves all the ways in which governments and private individuals, organizations and groups influence foreign policy directly and indirectly (Mori, 2018).

To improve Japanese figures abroad, MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan) took the policy by organizing several programs to attract people in other countries. The purpose of these programs actually to enhance the image, enhance mutual trust and respect for the Japanese government and its society. MOFA and Japan Foundation as the actor of public diplomacy to executes programs and strengthening their objectives in enhancing to promote of learning Japanese and culture (MOFA, 2018).

The Doraemon series started it franchise on 2005. At this time the agreement between TV Asahi Corporation and The Walt Disney Company arranged for the series get aired in Disney XD television channel in the United States. The popularity of Doraemon not just appear in television series, but also video games, musical, merchandise and film. From Japan’s view, the acceptance of their product in foreign country not only give a positive image, but from franchising of Doraemon character will boost their economy, particularly in merchandise and copyright (Miho, 2014).

With the large of Japanese anime fans outside from Japan, certain program arranged in local area to attract and showing a positive image of Japanese culture (Kartikasari, 2018). In Malaysia, the Japanese anime fans such as Doraemon, Sailormoon or One Piece could participate and show their interest by participating in the event like Japan Expo, Comic Fiesta and World Cosplay Summit (Paidi, M. Akhir, & Ping, 2014).

These platforms provide a connection and interaction among the fans and indirectly will spread the positive image and views about Japan. The programs usually supported by the Japanese organizations by giving a grant. In Malaysia, the cultural grant aid provided by the Japan government from 1975 to 2016 approximately JPY 1,561.5 Million (MOFA, 2018). Japan Foundation as one of the organization that provide full support as it function in bridging between local people and Japan government. Moreover, its existence located in every country in the world.

In conclusion, the Japanese anime series will give a significant view in the cultural diplomacy. Even if watching the anime could not bring the audiences directly to the Japan’s policies, but in certain level, the message of positive image successfully deliverable. The formation of Japanese identities in every part of the world proved that, without a military weapon also could influence others to accept the characteristic based on the attraction that have in the cultural values.


Adhikary, R. S. (2015). Impact of Japanese Cartoons on Primary School Going Children: With Special Reference to Doraemon. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 20(6), 01-09.

Kartikasari, W. (2018). The Role of Anime and Manga in Indonesia-Japan Cultural Diplomacy. University of Tsukuba, 41-47.

Kim, H. (2017, August 2). Bridging the Theoretical Gap Between Public Diplomacy and Cultural Diplomacy. The Korean Journal of International Studies, 15(2), 293-326.

Miho, T. (2014). Educational and Technological Perspectives in Doraemon – Hope and Dreams in Doraemon’s Gadgets. International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 8(11), 3723-3728.

MOFA. (2002). Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan. Retrieved from Look East Policy – The Challenges for Japan in Globalized World: https://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/malaysia/pmv0212/speech.html

MOFA. (2018, July 25). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Retrieved from MOFA: https://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/malaysia/data.html

Mori, H. (2018). How Does Anime Realize Public Diplomacy?: The Potential and Future Prospects of Anime Pilgrimage. International Journal of Kitakyushu City University, 87-104.

Nye, S. (2005). Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. New York : Public Affairs.

Paidi, R., M. Akhir, M., & Ping, L. P. (2014, 8 5). Reviewing the Concept of Subculture: Japanese Cosplay in Malaysia. 163-181.

PublicDiplomacy.org. (2016). PublicDiplomacy.org. Retrieved from PDAA – An Association of Public Diplomacy Professionals: https://pdaa.publicdiplomacy.org/?page_id=6

Snow, N. (2009). Rethinking Public Diplomacy. New York: Routledge.

Warsito, T., & Kartikasari, W. (2007). Diplomasi Kebudayaan: Konsep dan Relevansi Bagi Negara Berkembang. Yogyakarta, Indonesia : Ombak .

Cultural Imperialism of Disney

by Shahiirah Atiqah Sharom

Nowadays, within the modern world, it can be seen that the culture of Disney has spread all over the world, aided by its popularity. But the questions that raises to our mind is what are the main cause of it? It is greatly well-known that Disney is one of the most powerful organization that owns around billions of the amount of media assets. As stated by Wantasen (n.d.), the term of “Disneyization” usually will be defined based on the bad way and it also indicates the homogenization of the emotional labour, consumption and merchandising. According to Bryman, (n.d.), there are four dimensions of cultural imperialism of Disney, which are theming, emotional labour, dedifferentiation of consumption and also merchandising.

Firstly, theming of the theme park. As nowadays, most of the leisure activities have becoming standardized and also homogenized, therefore due to the fact that it is well-known theme park, it could be the product, together with the shifting of the society’s needs. Nevertheless, they have come up with the visualized cartoon in forms of physically exist in order to attract more visitors. It can be said that one of the reason of the development of this industry is due to the high demand among society to stay away from stressful daily environment (Bryman, n.d.).

Meanwhile, as stated by Bryman (n.d.), the term dedifferentiation of consumption defines that the general trend, in which the forms of consumption associated with different institutional spheres becomes interlocked with each other and increasingly difficult to distinguish”. In other words, the main attraction is not totally focused only on the industry of theme park, but also restaurants, accommodations, shops and so on. The combination of those services may be defined as the “consumption of hybrid” that represents the merging of various kinds of the consumption. Plus, the main key objective for the organization is to attract more on the spending among visitors, therefore they can produce more profit. The higher the needs being fulfilled, the longer period of time that people will prefer to stay. Same goes to their spending. As for example, those visitor, their main idea is just to go to the theme park, however, they will still need to spend more on the food, souvenir and others as well. This is the same thing as you dropped into the airport as it can also become your shopping spots. So, your main point here is to take flight, but still you want to spend on the other things as well like foods for example.

Besides that, the other elements is the merchandising that also represents the franchising. As stated by Bryman (n.d.), merchandising acts as the part of the promotion of the products in the form of or holding the images and also logos of copyright, which involves those products that are made under the license. It can also mentioned that it’s one of the main reason that Disney becomes the leading and also very popular organization throughout the whole globe. Besides that, they have a lot of different kind of products for their merchandise which was sold at all of their outlet. Therefore, the key contributor of their profit comes from the sales of their merchandise like books, hats, mug and so on. As stated by Bryman (n.d.), rather than the general type of business solely, the sales of merchandising surely will encourage towards better profit.

The fourth element that was proposed by Bryman (n.d.), was the emotional labor, in which he explains that the employees are given no choice but to behave within the behavior that has been set by them. As for example, portraying the good and joyful behavior as the employee of the theme park whenever they are communicating with the visitors of the theme park. Those employees need to comply with the specific behavior that has been set by them, in terms of the helpfulness, friendliness and cleanliness. However, this kind of behavior in working was finally turn into the stereotype of contemporary culture. This is to convey the idea that the theme park employees also feeling happy as well, therefore it produces the loyalty among the visitor based on the medium of conversation among them.

As for conclusion, through the advancement of technology, it can be said that there’s no longer barrier to spread the culture all over the globe, that people can reach the information at any of their convenient time. The influence of this culture can be seen through the domination of Disney culture towards the world. Within Malaysia, it can be seen through the transformation by Malaysian make-up artist, Saraswati, through her Instagram account, Queenofluna into few characters of Disney princess (Malaymail, 2016). This was somehow shown that we actually being affected by the diffusion of culture. This is a very rigid examples of how Disney culture is being integrated into our own culture. In which, people adapted and also accepted the culture and at the same time this shows how powerful the Disney’s hegemonic across the globe nowadays. The society however, could be either negatively or positively affected by the culture of Disney. As for positive, it could be we get to learn new culture and negative effect is our own culture might lose its own original identity as mixed up with the other culture.


Bryman, A. (n.d.). The Disneyization of Society. Sociology Review, Vol 47, 125-26, 29-30.

Malaymail (2016, February 27). Malaysian makeup artist proves you can wear a tudung and be a Disney princess. Retrieved February 27, 2016, from https://www.malaymail.com/news/life/2016/02/27/malaysian-makeup-artist-proves-you-can-wear-a-tudung-and-be-a-disney-prince/1069325

Wantasen, I. (n.d.). Walt Disney as the Icon of the American Popular Culture. Sam Ratulangi University. Retrieved March 9, 2016, from http://www.niu.edu/international/_images/Isnawati%20Lydia%20Wantasen.pdf


by Siti Shafiah binti Abdul Rahim

Figure 1 – A memorial graffiti drawn under a flyover in Penang. Source: Utusan Malaysia.
Link: https://www.utusan.com.my/rencana/utama/setahun-mh370-seorang-pejalan-kaki-melintasi-grafiti-di-bawah-1.66564

Recently, we have marked the date of MH370 lost who’s now reached its 5 years of missing aircraft. Without even knowing where the aircraft or the passengers are, this is a huge mystery that leaves everybody in grief and pain. There have been maximum efforts of the Search and Rescue (SAR) mission by Malaysian Government with the cooperation of three committed countries, China and Australia.

Back to the beginning 5 years ago, The Star Online (2014) reported Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 carrying 227 passengers from 14 nations and 12 Malaysian crew members was missing on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing after departed on 8th March 2014 at 12.41am. According to Berita Harian news dated 19th of March 2014, Flight MH370 was scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 6.40 am, but the signal of Flight MH370 has disappeared from the Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation at 1.30 am. The aircraft however, did not enter Chinese airspace or contacted the Chinese controllers (Abu Bakar, Hamzah, & Muhammad, 2014).

What happens during the first few weeks of the incident was a tough time for Malaysian Government and Malaysia Airlines to deal with the press conferences and foreign media. The press conferences were conducted every half an hour after the plane disappearance was reported. The pressure comes from non-stop media coverage from various local and foreign media agencies who seek for latest information of the missing aircraft.

Those days, Malaysia steals the worlds’ attention where MAS also released statements and latest information on Facebook and Twitter allowing thousands of shares and comments praying for the passengers’ safety (Mohd Nazri Latiff Azmi, Nur Ain Afizan Abd Rahman, Zulazhan Abd. Halim & Mohd Fauzi Abdul Hamid, 2016).

The reporting has triggered many speculations and theories of the missing flight that might satisfy readers who has been demanded for answers. However, it did not the affect the efforts to continue solving the mystery and clarifications has been made towards the rumours by Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian Governments.

Mohd Nazri Latiff Azmi, Nur Ain Afizan Abd Rahman, Zulazhan Abd. Halim & Mohd Fauzi Abdul Hamid (2016) mentioned that the SAR mission was aided by aircrafts and technologies from many countries like China, the United States and Australia. Led by the Malaysian authorities, numerous surveillance planes and jets equipped with sensors and electro-optics detectors, and foreign aviation experties were on the ground to help the rescue mission at the last missing location reported, the Indian Ocean. Apart form that, the Earth-monitoring satellites provided by China giving the crew a clear overlook on the searching mission.

The mission was later joined by other foreign countries to offers further investigation and detailed satellite data analysis for the Malaysian authorities. From the situation, we have seen how leaders of involved countries deals with the international crisis until they had to learn in-depth of the aviation industry (Weaver, 2014).

Dealing with the family members of the victims was one of the challenges in this tragedy. According to Junaidi Abu Bakar, Mohd Sahandri Gani bin Hamzah, Mazura Mastura Muhammad (2014), they were given accomodation, foods and other necessities paid by Malaysian Government and also legal aid to assists burden regarding insurance, liability, procedure and et cetera by a team of lawyers from the Malaysian Bar Council. This includes councelling services for the mourning families that were provided by Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.

Mohd Nazri Latiff Azmi, Nur Ain Afizan Abd Rahman, Zulazhan Abd. Halim & Mohd Fauzi Abdul Hamid (2016) mentioned that they also received continuous support from foreign countries when the Australian Hotels Association give their accommodations to the families of Flight MH370 passengers to witness the recovery area and to be at the closest where the plane is believed to have jumped into the ocean. The victim’s familieswere transported to Perth, Australia by the Malaysia Airlines flight. “There is an agreement of the memorandum of understanding between Malaysia and Australia, in providing high technology equipment needed, during the search of MH370”,  said them.

After 327 days of searching, the Malaysian Government concluded that the aircraft exhausted its fuel over a defined area of the southern Indian Ocean, and that the aircraft is located on the sea floor close to that defined area. Therefore on 28 January 2015, the Government of Malaysia officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident and with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow, all 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives. (Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia, 2015)

As a lesson to the crossed borders tragedy like MH370, an international cooperation is necessary to be reinforced and expanded with a MoU for countries to be able to exchange information during the tough times to ease investigation and avoid any geopolitic issues. (Suparta, 2015) This case may be referred as an example of crisis management and international communication between countries and becoming one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries.

Amazingly, the search for a missing airplane has united the all knowledge, military assets and 21 satellites from Malaysia, China and Autralia. When the SAR mission was announce to stop, it came out that the total searched area for MH370 flight Boeing 777-200 covers about 7.68 million sq km equates to more than 11% of the Indian Ocean and 1.5% of the Earth surface. (Astro Awani, 2014) What an interesting fact here.

Figure 2 The total search area for missing flight MH370. Source: Astro Awani
Link: http://www.astroawani.com/berita-malaysia/mh370-apa-yang-telah-kita-belajar-daripada-kehilangan-pesawat-ini-32436

Abu Bakar, J., Hamzah, M., & Muhammad, M. (2014). Crisis Management- Malaysian Aviation Tragedies. International Conference on Innovative Trends in Multidisciplinary Academic Research, 33-46.

Astro Awani. (2014, Mac 24). MH370: Apa yang telah kita belajar daripada kehilangan pesawat ini? Retrieved Mac 25, 2019, from Astro Awani: http://www.astroawani.com/berita-malaysia/mh370-apa-yang-telah-kita-belajar-daripada-kehilangan-pesawat-ini-32436

Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia. (2015, January 29). Announcement on MH370 by Director General Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia. Retrieved Mac 25, 2019, from http://www.mh370.gov.my/images/phocadownload/doa_announcement.pdf

Junaidi Abu Bakar, Mohd Sahandri Gani bin Hamzah, Mazura Mastura Muhammad. (2014). Crisis Management – Malaysian Aviation Tragedies. GlobalIlluminators, 86-87.

Mohd Nazri Latiff Azmi, Nur Ain Afizan Abd Rahman, Zulazhan Abd. Halim & Mohd Fauzi Abdul Hamid. (2016). Crisis Management in Communication: A Study onMH370, MH17 and QZ8501 Aviation Tragedies. Journal of Communication Media Watch, 285.

Suparta, W. (2015, Mac 7). Setahun Kehilangan MH370. Retrieved Mac 25, 2019, from Utusan Online: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Wayan_Suparta/publication/274069096_Setahun_kehilangan_MH370_-_Rencana_-_Utusan_Online/links/5513ed310cf23203199ccab9/Setahun-kehilangan-MH370-Rencana-Utusan-Online.pdf

The Star Online. (2014, Mac 8). Flight MH370 bound for Beijing goes missing. Retrieved 7 24, 2019, from The Star Online: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2014/03/08/missing-plane-mas/

Weaver, M. &. (2014, March 12). MH370: China releases satellite images of possible crash site. Retrieved July 24, 2019, from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/blog/2014/mar/12/mh370-search-extended-into-andaman-sea-live-updates

2019 Women’s March: The endless fight for women’s rights

by Puteri Sarah Hanim Mohamad Shaiful

If your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook feed was a constant stream of images and video from the recent 2019 Women’s March, you were not alone. Social movements reflect dissatisfaction with socio-political environments and are a platform for communicating dissent. In other words, by mobilising large numbers of people, collective action can be taken to address discontent. Social media pages and online platforms allow us to connect and communicate with the world. We can share what is going on within the global community and take part in emerging conversations. Women have constantly been undermined in the eyes of our society, causing them to have to fight for the equality they know they deserve. This fight is known as the feminist movement and has been in the works for centuries. Although women have gained a lot since the start of the feminist movement, the fight for equality is still nowhere near over –from fighting for the right to vote years ago to the over pricing of feminine products now. 

Photo taken from the Malay Mail on 09 March 2019
by Ida Nadirah Ibrahim “In Women’s Day march, hundreds gather to demand end to patriarchy”

Thousands march for women’s rights, gender equality in KL  by Yimie Yong by The Star Online mentioned that, More than 100 women gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to take part in the #WomensMarchMy on March 9.  The event aimed to call for greater women’s rights. This is usually an open platform for women to put forth what they are fighting for. Several groups, including Women’s Aid Organisation, Sisters in Islam, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender activists, joined the rally. The near 1km walk spread over from Sogo Shopping Mall. During the walk, social activists and individuals of various foundations conveyed notices, banners, and standards. Nonetheless, it is dismal to realize that the open did not so much handle the targets of the walk as the general population were for the most part centered around the LGBT people group who joined the occasion. The gathering, as a feature of its #PelangiCampaign, accepted the open door to advocate for LGBT equivalent rights for all LGBT individuals during the walk.

Pic taken from @KuasaSiswa (Fahmi Reza) https://twitter.com/kuasasiswa/status/1105367379800813568?s=20

It must be noted that issues that are important to one group may not affect another or may not even be important to observers outside the sphere of concern in the Women’s March, yet it does not take away the fact that these are the issues that have to be tackled.

According to Arveent Kathirtchelcan in MalaysiaKini Understanding the Women’s March article, Many felt that specific requests in the Women’s March were unpalatable. One such picture from the occasion that has since turned into a web sensation demonstrates a lady conveying a notice expressing ‘Let My Nips Be Free’ close by an illustration of naked bosoms. The objection was centered around pictures, for example, these, censuring women’s activists for not discussing appropriate issues during the walk

Photo taken from Blogspot http://khairulryezal.blogspot.com/2019/03/malaysia-baru-lgbt-berleluasa.html

If you’re one of those who ask, “what else do women want?”, bear in mind that a number of issues were raised during the march. Here’s a list of things that women are — the elimination of gender discrimination, an end to violence against women, the strengthening of women’s rights, and a push for equal opportunities and wages.

The policing of women’s bodies, from what they wear to whether or not they wish to have a child, is up for discussion and everyone seems to have an opinion about these matters. The narrative that women should wear certain clothes and act in ways that’ll keep men from sexually harassing or raping them is problematic in so many ways.
Not only does it put the responsibility and blame on women, but is also an insult to men who are perfectly capable of respecting women. The issue of child marriages is not new in Malaysia. Every time a story of a much older man marrying a child is covered in the news, outraged comments and calls for the ban of child marriages can be heard only for the noise to gradually disappear after a while. Not this time. Advocates for the ban of child marriages are taking it to streets to call for the ban, without exceptions.

It’s a new year: a chance to move beyond the mistakes of the past and build a new beginning.  Women’s rights include rights that establish the same social, economic, and political status for women as for men. Women’s rights ensure that ladies won’t stand up to isolation dependent on their sex. Women’s rights is thought little of these days, yet when one looks at the clash of women, it goes out to that there is far to go to achieve real equalization. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that laws constrained by the organization regarding ladies rights made indisputably the most basic obstructions checking Women’s rights. Since most women missed the mark on the informational and fiscal resources that would enable them to challenge the social requests, women, all around, have recognized their inferior status as their singular decision. Women drove various administrative undertakings to ensure their throwing a poll, work and conceptive rights.

Women have had numerous incredible achievements with their challenge, yet many still choose to disregard the way that there is sexual separation. Men are still more regarded than Women. In addition to the fact that they receive more significant salary, however the items that are advertised towards them are less expensive than those showcased for women. In any case, new ages are overwhelming the development with even guys supporting women in their battle. The issue of women rights close by isn’t leaving at any point in the near future, however its developing fame offers would like to each one of those battling for correspondence.


A.T.M Shahjahan, K.Chisty. (2014). “Social Media research and its effect on our society” . International journal of Information 7 communication Engineering , 2014.

Clark, Eric. . (2012). “Social Media & Social Movements: A qualitative study of Occupy Wall Street.”.

Yong, Y. (9 March, 2019). Thousands march for women’s rights, gender equality in KL. Retrieved from The Star Online : https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/03/09/thousands-march-for-womens-rights-gender-equality-in-kl/

Kathirtchelvan, A. (11 March, 2019). Understanding the Women’s March . Retrieved from MalaysiaKini : https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/467450

Remembering the victims of Christchurch shooting

by Muhammad Faiz bin Mokhtar

It has been two weeks since the event that changed the lives of not just Muslims, but to the rest of the world as well. The world is stunned by the news of the man who shot 50 people in a mosque  (ABC News New Zealand, 2019). This event will be a lasting memory in the minds of the people of the world. This act is not only devastating to the people around the world, but more importantly, the lives of their families as well as those who knew the victims personally. New Zealand, a country known for extreme sports such as bungee jumping and friendly people, is left shocked as such a crime is known to be rare in the country.in their history. As the incident is the first of its kind in New Zealand’s history, all media have been covering the incident on large scale for the few weeks.  This has given journalists a chance to inform the public about the shooting and its aftermath.

Social media presents a medium that is a cost-effective, which means it is interactive,  association and co-formation above communication that is one-to-many; integrates communication and distribution channels, provides customization opportunities, and delivers greater speed to the information communication and feedback (Shilbury, Westerbeck, Quick, Funk, & Karg, 2014) . Social media has given the platform for people to voice their concerns and it is a way that news can travel instantaneously into the minds of the citizens of the world. Internet presents a virtual public community allowing citizens to discuss public issues and make their voices heard (Zhou & Moy, 2007). When comparing with the traditional Internet and communication technologies (ICTs), social media manages the conversation content or interaction as an artifact of information in an online environment (Yates & Paquette, 2010). 

However, social media has become a message channel for the shooter to livestream his actions for the world to see. The shooter, armed with automatic rifle, gunned down 50 patrons of the mosque and he filmed the shooting live-streamed on Facebook (Wakefield, 2019). The video has been shared on social media through all platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, in which millions have watched this act of terror through their phones, laptops and tablets. Social media, despite its reach to reach millions of the world, has showcased to the users themselves what kind of content that they might see. Impressionable people may follow suit and some would be fearful of the world due to the fact that it is shown by the social media itself. Online media allows netizens to share their opinions, retorts, or pass remarks about a certain phenomenon (Ekawati, 2018).

Jacinda Ardern, a leader that sets the example

The world is left shocked and astonished by the act of the shooter, but one woman stood out among them all, the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Being a leader, one must show compassion towards the victims, strength for the people to look upon and wisdom for her actions. Ardern is an example of how a leader should act. Rather than just offer condolences and sympathy, she showed compassion for the victims’ families. A disaster or an event that changes the perception of a nation will make the people around the world to shift their focus on her. As a leader, she must be an example to other leaders on how to act in times of distress and chaos. The picture below shows that she’s wearing a headscarf, which depicts her respect towards the victims’ religion and culture.

“You may have chosen us,” said Ardern, referring to the killer, anger in her voice. “But we utterly reject and condemn you.” (Roy, 2019)

“She has shown a quiet, strong leadership, and been very focused on looking after the people who are most affected straight away. The killer has barely been mentioned.” (Roy, 2019)

In The Guardian’s article, Roy interviewed Paul Buchanan, a security expert in the 36th Parallel.  Buchanan commented that:

“Saying that her strength was her empathy, and she has “excelled” in this arena during a time of crisis. She is also an expert delegator, Buchanan says, and has delegated security reviews and inquiries about how the killer was missed to senior, trusted colleagues, allowing her to focus on healing a traumatized country.

“She is like the mother of the nation. When it comes to events like this, I think her touch is near perfect,” says Buchanan.

“The way Trump and others talk, tough talk, after terror attacks, all that is posturing. And sometimes it is designed to mask weakness, sometimes it is a thirst for revenge. Ardern is doing none of that.”

“It is a leadership style that particularly suits New Zealand. New Zealand does have a serious dark side, it does have racism. But what she is doing is giving us a moment to confront these demons, this darkness and change our ways.”

Extracted from (Roy, 2019) article when interviewed Paul Buchanan, security expert in the 36th Parallel.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/19/real-leaders-do-exist-jacinda-ardern-uses-solace-and-steel-to-guide-a-broken-nation

The traits that a true leader should have exhibited under intense situation which are Compassion, truthfulness and composure. Therefore, it is no surprise that the world is lauding her and giving her positive comments along with support for her stance on the subject. People worldwide have been commending Arden’s actions throughout the whole ordeal.

A leader should always be quick in responding to critical or emergency situations such as the mass shooting. This can be seen in Arden’s decision to push for the ban on semi-automatic and automatic rifles in New Zealand. Not only that, owners of rifles too have resorted to relinquishing their own rifles in wake of the shooting out of respect (Graham-McLay, 2019).

New Zealand: Citizen’s response

New Zealand, a small nation east of Australia, known for agriculture and extreme sports was tested with an event that has changed the way people see the world nowadays – that the world is indeed full of violence and hatred. As covered in the article, the world is shocked by the actions of one man who went into a place of worship and had committed a massacre. What is astonishing is the level of solidarity among New Zealanders post-shooting. They have been offering victims sympathy, empathy, as well as have been helping the victims to overcome trauma and grief.  Social media has become a tool used by people all over the world to send messages of support and love to the victims. Hashtags have been used on Twitter to discuss the mass shooting. One can easily find the messages for the victims posted under hashtags related to the incident.

The New Zealanders have shown solidarity by standing outside the mosques in a line to which can represents that they are willing to protect what they considered to be their brothers and sisters despite the difference in religion, culture and skin color.  Not only that, the incident also prompted some of the New Zealanders to learn more about Islam. Some of them even converted to Islam after the incident. Sonny Bill Williams, a New Zealand All-Blacks Rugby Star is one of the famous names in the Islam and he even visited the victims who were being treated to provide support. Recently, his mother and teammate, Offa Tuungafasi, converted to Islam as well (Astro , 2019).

In conclusion, the media has the power to shape the perception of the people in the world. Along with that, the media could lead to people thinking that the world might be a dangerous place to live in, but there is kindness in this world and the people of New Zealand along with their leader, Ardern, have exhibited those traits. In memory of the victims, I would like to ask for all of us to pray for the fallen victims.


ABC News New Zealand. (2019, March 19). Christchurch shooting death toll rises to 50 after one more victim discovered at mosque. Retrieved from ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-17/christchurch-shooting-death-toll-rises-to-50-new-zealand/10909288

Astro , A. (2019, March 27). Beberapa hari susulan tragedi Christchurch, ibu serta rakan baik Sonny Bill Williams masuk Islam. Retrieved from Astro Awani: http://www.astroawani.com/berita-dunia/beberapa-hari-susulan-tragedi-christchurch-ibu-serta-rakan-baik-sonny-bill-williams-masuk-islam-202370

Ekawati, R. (2018). PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF ANGER EXPRESSION USED BY NETIZEN ON ROHINGYA REFUGEES IN WEBSITE . Skripsi thesis, Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta., 1-16.

Graham-McLay, C. (2019, July 13). New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks. Retrieved from NYTimes.com: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/13/world/asia/new-zealand-guns.html

Roy, E. A. (2019, March 19). ‘Real leaders do exist’: Jacinda Ardern uses solace and steel to guide a broken nation. Retrieved from The Guardian Online: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/19/real-leaders-do-exist-jacinda-ardern-uses-solace-and-steel-to-guide-a-broken-nation

Shilbury, D., Westerbeck, H., Quick, S., Funk, D., & Karg, A. (2014). Strategic sport marketing Fourth Edition. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Wakefield, J. (2019, March 19). Christchurch shootings: Social media races to stop attack footage. Retrieved from BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-47583393

Yates, D., & Paquette, S. (2010). Emergency Knowledge Management and Social Media Technologies: A Case Study of the 2010 Haitian Earthquake. ASIS&T ’10 Proceedings of the 73rd ASIS&T Annual Meeting on Navigating Streams in an Information Ecosystem – Volume 47 (pp. 1-9). Pittsburgh: American Society for Information Science .

Zhou, Y., & Moy, P. (2007). Parsing Framing Processes: The Interplay Between Online Public Opinion and Media Coverage. Journal of Communication ISSN 0021-9916, 78-98.

Why is Feminism popular? Look at the way we treat our women

by Muhammad Naim Muhamad Ali

As of 2013, the world population is estimated to be around 7, 162, 119. 434 people, with 49.5 percent of the population are women (United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2019). According to the statistics provided, Malaysia accounted 31.97 million as of 2017, with 48.60 percent is female, yet their every action is still scrutinized, which in turn influences their being and livelihood (Masika & Joekes, 1996). Women, regardless of age, face society’s discrimination when doing the same things that men got away with. Women today are working together to fight for equal treatment, rights, and privileges enjoyed by their male counterparts. However, such efforts showed slow progress due to some factors.

Women generally have fewer rights and opportunities than men (Peace Corps, 2017). The report by Peace Corps highlighted that women have fewer opportunities for economic participation than men, following less access to basic and higher education, health, and safety risks and political representation. Women often assumed the role of wifehood and motherhood which were regarded as women’s most noble – if not only, professions in the early centuries. In the 20th century, for the first time in history, women in most nations, the United Kingdom for instance, finally won the right to vote, as well as to get an education and better job opportunities (Lethbridge, 2018). Perhaps most importantly, what they have fought for accomplished a reevaluation of traditional views of their roles in society

Source: Financial Times

Men are generally perceived as the head of the family. As such, a man is seen as his family’s breadwinner, while his wife will be staying at home to raise their children and take care of the household. In the past, this was considered as a norm for women – to be housewives — but as time goes by, living expenses hiked due to changes in developments and policies. To cushion the rising cost of living, women then started to look for ways to contribute to their families. To do this, they started working — it doesn’t matter how much they were getting paid as long as they could help their husbands.

A year or so ago, I found an article published in The Star newspaper titled “Gender-wage bias still raging”. The article focused on the wage gap in Malaysia. In 2015, women generally earned 8.4 percent less than men. Data retrieved from the National Statistics Department’s Salaries and Wages Survey Report 2013 showed that men typically earn RM2,260 a month, while women earn RM2, 071 for doing the same job. Issues concerning the wage gap between men and women gave rise to the question: why do governments have such biased policies when it comes to salaries for men and women? Don’t women deserve to be paid as much as men? The wage gap is real, as shown in studies done throughout the years. The article too highlighted that despite being skilled, women are paid less than their male colleagues, who are paid 39.7 percent more than them (around RM588).

I recalled watching a movie based on a true event, Made in Dagenham, which dabbled about semi-skilled Ford women machinist who went on strike due to denied pay raise by the management. It may seem a cliché to some people, but this is the reality. Women hardly get pay raise because most of the time they are deemed less capable and productive than men in their work performance due to their childrearing and other related women-related roles (Masika & Joekes, 1996).

Another issue concerning women that should be addressed is, “Are women being taxed for being women?” Yes! The New York Times (2018) highlighted that women are not aware that they are paying more for certain products and services. This is due to the Pink Tax which is additional charges for certain items targeted at women. A lot of research on the pink tax found that women have been paying more than 42 percent than men, on average $1,351 a year of extra costs (Elliot, 2019). Tampons are considered a luxury and not a necessity in many countries. In the United States, some states abide by the tampon tax. The razor is, however, zero-rated in tax because it is used by men who believe that their need to be cleanly shaven is a human right. As such, it is interesting to note that whatever that is used and considered a necessity by men (in order to maintain their hygiene health) is usually zero-rated, unlike items that are needed by women for the same purpose. Is the use of tampons, not a human right? Women must pay at least US$7 for tampons for at least 40 years of their lives and as such, it is now considered a luxury that can’t even be afforded by those from poor countries.

Women did not demand to be treated like men. They demand to be treated equally – because the idea is both genders are equal, but not identical. There are things women are not supposed to do unless in circumstances that they could not afford to avoid. Society, especially men, must end the stigma and discriminations towards women because the world has evolved, and this is no longer a man’s world. Women are not second-class citizens. They do not deserve to be treated with discrimination and prejudice. Not all women are damsels in distress.

Feminism is not a dangerous word as some men would think (some might think that women are going for global domination). It is also not a dangerous movement. It only means the advocacy of women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes (Offen, 1988). People – especially men – need to understand the concept of advocating for women’s rights. They may not have to support the cause, but showing respect to it, is more than enough because how would we feel if we are treated unfairly on a daily basis? This topic might seem petty compared with racial inequality faced by some races for many years. But, in any culture and race, there are men and women who live together and each one of them should embrace and celebrate diversity and differences with respect and harmony.


Elliot, C. (2019). The Pink Tax- The Cost of Being a Female Consumer. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from Listen: Money Matters: https://www.listenmoneymatters.com/the-pink-tax/

Lethbridge, L. (2018, February 2). The women’s march: how the Suffragettes changed Britain. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/22776930-05f6-11e8-9e12-af73e8db3c71

Masika, R., & Joekes, S. (1996). Employment and sustainable livelihoods: A gender perspectives. Institute of Development Studies, Gender Office of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Brighton. Retrieved July 22, 2019

Offen, K. (1988). Defining Feminism: A Comparative Historical Approach (Vol. 14). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/3174664

Peace Corps. (2017). Global Issues: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from Peace Corps – Educator Resources: https://www.peacecorps.gov/educators/resources/global-issues-gender-equality-and-womens-empowerment/

Salt, K. (2018, March 2). The Hidden Taxes on Women. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/02/business/women-hidden-taxes.html

United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2019). World Population Prospects 2019. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from United Nations Population Division: https://population.un.org/wpp/DataQuery/


by Noor Amirah Asraf

I was recently asked about what it feels like to be the third generation member from my family working at the New Straits Times (NST). I have never really thought about this before. Why? Maybe… I needed a job and had seen an NST ad for sub-editors, I applied, went for the interview and got the job.

But this question made me recall the times when my father, Asraf Dahari, who was an NST photographer for 15 years, used to tell us, his children, about the joy he had working here. For as long as I can remember, my father has always described the years he spent at NST as the best time of his life. Even to this day, whenever we talk about NST or when people ask him about his experience working here, he would have nothing but good things to say.

When I told him that I wanted to apply to be a sub-editor at NST, he immediately supported my decision. He even went the extra mile in making sure that I prepared all the documents needed to apply for the position.

When I told him that I got the job that I wanted, he was overjoyed. He kept telling me how he was happy that his daughter chose to continue the family tradition of working here. He was beaming with pride when he sent me off on my first day of work. He told me how he wished my late grandfather, or Tok Ayah, was around to see his granddaughter serve the same English daily they once worked for.

My Tok Ayah, Dahari Ali, first joined NST as a reporter before he was appointed as chief reporter. The last post he held before he retired in 1982 was assistant group editor. My dad idolised his father. I remember well how he used to tell me great stories about Tok Ayah.

Tok Ayah was one of the very few people who supported my father’s decision to become a photographer instead of the engineer that his family wanted him to be. It was him who inspired my father to take pride in what he did for a living. It was him who taught my father to appreciate the hard work put in publishing newspapers — from writing, finding pictures that fit the stories to editing — Tok Ayah taught him not to take even the smallest details for granted. It was Tok Ayah who taught my father that working for a newspaper is a job that comes with great responsibilities –we are responsible for informing people about the things that are happening around us. 

Amid mounting excitement to embark on a new adventure in my first real, serious job, I suddenly felt like I had a huge burden to bear.

My father’s and Tok Ayah’s stories that I’ve kept close to my heart all these years, somehow, made me doubt myself when I first started working here.

On my first day of work, I couldn’t help but feel scared. Truth be told, as I was nervously walking to my desk for the first time, I could feel a tight knot forming in the pit of my stomach. I had so many thoughts running through my head. I remember asking myself whether I made the right decision to work here. What if I’m not good enough? What if I can’t live up to my Tok Ayah’s or my father’s good name and reputation? What if people expect me to be as good or even better than them?

As I did not know much about the roles of a sub-editor (except for the basic information about the job that I found on the Internet), I spent the first few weeks trying to adapt and learn as much as I could. I would get anxious whenever some of my father’s colleagues and senior employees who once worked with my Tok Ayah came up to me and greeted me (all thanks to my father who excitedly told his friends on Facebook about his daughter joining NST).

The fact that some people knew my father and Tok Ayah made me feel like I had to prove that I deserve to be here because of my skills, and not because I was someone’s daughter or granddaughter.

The first few months were tough. The nature of my work, which requires me to stay cool, calm and collected, however, left me little time for self-doubt.

My colleagues, too, have been helpful in guiding me as I learn the fundamentals of my job. I slowly learnt to stop comparing myself with my father and Tok Ayah, but instead, make them as my inspiration to keep on improving myself as a sub-editor. I’ve learnt to find joy in completing my tasks the way my father always did when he was working here and emulate my Tok Ayah’s passion and dedication to his job. I’ve discovered that by doing so, I no longer feel the need to prove myself to anyone. The only thing that I should be doing is to have faith in myself and trust my capabilities.

Working here for the past three and a half years has taught me a lot about life and myself. I’ve learnt to appreciate the beauty of language, get out of my comfort zone and be more open to learning new things, and along the way, I’ve not only made new friends but also found a new family.  Working here means I get to learn new things every day.  Being the third generation working here has only given me the privilege to know why this place holds a special place in my father’s heart.  And for that, I will forever feel grateful and lucky to be part of the big NST family.

The Present and Future for LGBT Youth in Malaysia

by Wan Allef Elfi Danial bin Wan Sukeri

Lights. Gone. Before. Time. This is not the actual acronym for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual) but rather an interesting analogy that perfectly describes the LGBT youth in Malaysia. The LGBT community is often considered as the scourge of the society due its members’ lifestyle, which was perceived as immoral and unnatural. Malaysia is notorious for its ban on homosexuality in which any sexual acts involving same sex individuals are heavily frowned upon and in some cases, punishable by law. A popular case involving the public caning of two lesbians who were caught committing sexual acts in a car (Lamb, 2018) is a distinguishable example. But rather than dwelling on the past, I would like to talk about the present and future concerning the LGBT youth in Malaysia.

From showing signs of conflicting qualities, such as men femininity or women masculinity to dressing up differently from the norms of fashion, Malaysian LGBT youths are constantly under attack in Malaysia. However, a study titled How Race and Religion Shape Millennial Attitudes on Sexual and Reproductive Health conducted by Dan Cox and Robert P. Jones from the Public Religion Research Institute indicated that millennials are more accepting towards homosexuality compared with the people of the previous generation (Felicetti, 2015). Furthermore, they also find it difficult to express themselves within a safe space. Even posting any LGBT-related matters on social media platforms warrants them full-fledged discrimination and hatred from society. This fear is the main reason of why many people from the LGBT community are discreet on their sexuality and refuse to further showcase their talents and abilities to the world. Without a proper platform and support from the society, LGBT youth will fade into the background, their talents grow unpolished and their confidence turned nil. Eventually, the spark that once resides in them will grow weaker, as well and their dreams become forgotten.

It is depressing to know that Malaysia is oblivious from the creativity, achievements and amazing ideas that can be produced by the LGBT youth. LGBT youth can never find the opportunity to shine and display their talents properly. The LGBT community in Malaysia should come together and strive for the similar purpose and goals, not fighting for the rights that obviously go beyond the tolerance of religion, such as same-sex marriage and gender change, but instead for the protection against being discriminated, bullied and abused. Hopefully, the future generation is inspired to open their eyes and mind to see the suffering and torment faced by the LGBT community whilst providing protection to them when needed. Empathy is a treasure that needs to be nurtured within the younger generation. Aside from that, I also hope that young LGBT representatives are given a fair and equal chance to be featured in various fields, such as entertainment, economy and politics. In my opinion, everyone should have the same rights to contribute to this blessed land.

It is very crucial to note that the chances of LGBT youth exposed to all types of bullying are fairly high. These bullying activities if not prevented at a young age, can lead to worse repercussions in the future, such as physical abuse and murder. However, it is upsetting to consider a person getting murdered just for loving another person. It is sad and frightening to see people justifying these horrible acts for the sake of preserving Islam sanctity. As days past by and we are inching closer to the year of 2020, the cases of LGBT misfortunes seem to be rising at an alarming rate. In 2018, a video of two men being beaten up by a group of people for allegedly having sex in a car in Kuala Lumpur went viral and caused uproar among the Malaysian society (Adam, 2018). Such similar incidents are likely to occur again if no safety is guaranteed for the LGBT community. Apart from that, this issue can sprout other concerns, such as the increasing cases of LGBT youth affected by mental health risks, often leading to suicidal thoughts and self-harm. A study done by Meyer (2003) showed that stigma, prejudice, and discrimination towards the LGBT community create a hostile and stressful social environment for them that lead to mental health problems. To make things worse, the society seems to be satisfied in pushing them, the LGBT community, to the edge of the cliff.

Islam is a religion of peace and perfection. But the Muslims are not. There have been guidelines and proper methods in handling a phenomenon like this. Unfortunately, some people took matters into their own hands in dealing with homosexuality issues. To many, inflicting pain and abuse upon the LGBT community is a justifiable act. If this behaviour is made into common tradition and hatred is spread, the LGBT youth will face a bleak future. In June 2017, a teenager from Penang was beaten and raped by a gang of young men for having effeminate traits (Thiagarajan, 2017). 18-year-old T. Nhaveen was brutally assaulted and ended up being brain-dead from the various wounds that he sustained on his head, hips and multiple burn marks on his back (Thiagarajan, 2017). Unfortunately, Nhaveen did not survive from the incident and died later on, which led to the case being reclassified as murder (Logeiswary & Sekaran, 2017). Is this the life that the LGBT community has to endure? It seems like being a heterosexual is a privilege.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister of Malaysia has released his statement on LGBT rights in Malaysia by stating that their lifestyle will not be part of the nation’s value system (Pillai, 2018). In order to find solace within the society, LGBT community depends on the millennial’s perception and acceptance towards their rights as those millennials are the future of the country. This is where the upcoming generation, regardless of their sexuality differences, plays a vital part in securing a better future for their homosexual allies. Decades ago, homosexuality topics are considered as a strong taboo and are often refrained from being discussed in households and school settings. Undoubtedly, this has resulted in various repercussions, such as parents of LGBT individuals not knowing the correct way to show support, the society finding it enjoyable to bully effeminate boys, ridiculing masculine girls and many more.

In Western countries, such as the United States, LGBT communities are given rights to be represented in media and entertainment although the appearances are still rather marginal. Some LGBT youth consisting of celebrities are sculpted into icons and followed by millions of fans across the globe. However, this situation is non-existent in Malaysia. This is due to the discrimination woven through decades of fear mongering towards the LGBT community the second their sexuality is revealed. This further pushes the possibilities of LGBT community hiding behind masks and suppressing their skills. Aside from that, a survey conducted by the trend forecasting agency, J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, young Americans aged 13 to 20 were discovered to be far more open-minded and tolerant than the older millennial groups regarding the issues of gender and sexuality (Zing, 2016). Lastly, the millennials provide their support in increasing government funding towards the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS and accept more LGBT immigrants from other countries that criminalize sexuality (Cohen, 2018).

In short, the LGBT community, especially those from the younger generation, should not be hindered from expressing their true self and showcasing their talents, abilities and ideas. Hopefully, Malaysians will learn to be more understanding and accepting towards the LGBT community. This is easier in the current proliferation of media technology. With the help of the Internet, the younger generation nowadays is broadly exposed to differences of race, religion and culture, feminism, gay rights and other pertaining global issues (DiSabito, 2014). Additionally, LGBT youths need to be assured that the future can hold a bright prospect for them. Thus, Malaysians must come together to achieve undisputable harmony and democracy.


Adam, M. (28 December, 2018). Malaysian men beaten up and dragged out of car for ‘having gay sex’. Retrieved 10 January, 2019, from Pink News: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/12/27/malaysian-men-beaten-up-gay-sex/

Cohen, C. J. (10 July, 2018). Millennials Support LGBT Rights But Take Issue With ‘Homosexuality’. Retrieved 11 January, 2019, from Advocate: https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2018/7/10/millennials-support-lgbt-rights-take-issue-homosexuality

DiSabito, A. (4 March, 2014). Millennials are making the world a better place. Retrieved 10 January, 2019, from Daily Collegian: https://dailycollegian.com/2014/03/millennials-are-making-the-world-a-better-place/

Felicetti, R. (15 April, 2015). Millennials: More Accepting of Homosexuality? Retrieved 10 January, 2019, from The Outlook: https://outlook.monmouth.edu/news/30-volume-86-fall-2014-spring-2015/2578-millennials-more-accepting-of-homosexuality

Lamb, K. (2018, September 3). Women caned in Malaysia for attempting to have lesbian sex. Retrieved from TheGuardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/03/women-caned-in-malaysia-for-attempting-to-have-lesbian-sex

Logeiswary, T., & Sekaran, R. (16 June, 2017). Teen bully victim Nhaveen dies. Retrieved 11 January, 2019, from The Star: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/06/16/teen-bully-victim-nhaveen-dies-family-and-friends-fill-hospital-grounds-grieving-and-fuming-over-boy/

Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, Social Stress, and Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual. American Psychological Association, 674-692.

Pillai, V. (21 September, 2018). No way we’ll recognise gay rights in Malaysia, says Dr M. Retrieved 20 December, 2018, from freemalaysiatoday.com: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/09/21/no-way-well-recognise-gay-rights-in-malaysia-says-dr-m/

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The Curious Mind on Trial by Media in Malaysia and India

by Nurul Ezzati Aisya Mohd Zaki    

Article 10 (a) of the Malaysia’s Federal Constitution stated that “every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression”. Media is a form of speech and expression in the manner which they transmit information to be consumed by society. The dissemination of information assists society in comprehending issues and molding viewpoints. It is every citizen’s right to freedom of information in order to make informed decisions. However, the freedom is not absolute as stated in Clause (1) of Article 10 – “Subject to Clauses (2), (3) and (4)” whereby Parliament may impose law and restriction on said freedom. Guided by the notion that media is the check and balance for society, freedom of speech and expression is practiced either carefully or provokingly in Malaysia.

In order to understand the media take on freedom of speech and information, this paper will look into cases of trial by media in Malaysia and India. Trial by media is a “dynamic, impact-driven, news media-led process by which individuals—who may or may not be publicly known—are tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion” (Greer & McLaughlin, 2010). The process and object of fascination in any trial by media can be varied, from pre-determine outcome of an actual court proceedings against average everyday people, to the ruthless quest of high-profile personalities and public figures “deemed to have offended in some way against an assumed common morality”.

For a nation to function like clockwork, media has to take its seat as the fourth estate. Developing nations require media to be the watchdog – becoming the eyes and ears of citizen. As part of its power of distribution, media not only can attain information easily but also disseminate them to citizen beyond the restriction of accessibility. Media as watchdog is advantageous for society as they take the role as an agent of change, including making known and educating public of litigation. Trial by media in this sense is a welcoming act whereby media probe into marginalized issues and push them into the limelight. One of the common ways into which media probe an issue or individual, is through investigative journalism. Investigative journalism in its entirety as watchdog monitors authority and capitalist conglomerate, serving society as its stakeholder (Ismail, Ahmad, & Mustaffa, 2017).

Source from www.rage.com.my/predator/

The discussion will explore the investigative journalism championed by a group of young journalists for a Malaysia’s English newspaper, The Star. In light of worsening sex crime against children in the country, the team known as R.AGE, trialed men accused of grooming young girls into sexual acts. The 2016 extensive campaign, code name “Predator in My Phone”, includes online petition and a documentary film, is a six months intrepid investigative journalism exposé on pedophiles and the push for anti-grooming law. Sex crime against children is regulated in Malaysia, yet grooming or inviting children to sex act was not criminalized. The R.AGE team saw loop holes in the dire situation and took up the stand as agent of change and played a substantial role in the newly gazette Sexual Offences Against Child Act 2017.

Despite the expedient role media play in uncovering marginalized issues, trial by media can took a distasteful turn into sensationalizing court proceedings. Concurrently with the ongoing court proceedings, some media took to their hand the responsibility to meddle in the actual legal process. This include a separate investigation being run by editorial team related to the case in focus, building ‘a public opinion against the accused’, striping the accused of their dignity and right to privacy. The excessive publicity on suspects on trial may interfere with the administration of justice, due to prejudice and pro-plaintiff bias (Effect of Trial by Media before Courts, 2013).

Source from The Newshour Debate

Prejudice and pro-plaintiff bias are starkly apparent in litigation involving major capitalist conglomerates, public figures or celebrity status individuals. The star power of these proceedings increase viewership and readership which unethical media outlet devoured whole-heartedly. One prominent trialed by media example is the 2008 Noida double murder case, where a 13-year-old girl, Aarushi Talwar and her family live in 45 years old domestic helper, Hemraj Banjade, were found murdered in the Talwar residence. The long trial against Aarushi’s parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar as the accused was resolved, though killers still undetermined, as both accused were acquitted of all charges in October 2017. With the encouraging exposure by the media, the Talwar became and still to this day a household name in India. Both Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were trialed by media viciously due to the fact that they are from an affluent physician family in the county. In a recent HBO Asia documentary titled The Talwars: Behind the Closed Doors, the Talwar was still heavily distraught by the loss of their only daughter and the public judgment against them. Since the proceeding and media attack, the Talwar had to shut operation of their clinic and no longer able to practice medicine.

Media without a doubt possess a prevailing ability to reach out and shape public opinion. The power is a mandate by society that needed to be practiced with high ethical and moral stance. It is vital for media organization or individual journalist to write, record or edit with the public interest in mind. Guided by the urge to thrive for truth and unwitty curiosity, media are free to practice their freedom of speech and expression. However, cautious is the name of the game as freedom can be strip off as easily as it is given.



Effect of Trial by Media before Courts. (2013, November). Retrieved from Law Teacher: https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/commercial-law/effect-of-trial-by-media-beforecourts-

Greer, C., & McLaughlin, E. (2010). ‘Trial by media’: Policing the 24-7 news mediasphere and the ‘politics of outrage’. Theoretical Criminilogy, 15(1), 23-46. doi:10.1177/1362480610387461

Ismail, A., Ahmad, M., & Mustaffa, C. (2017). Investigative Journalism in Malaysia: The Battle between Outside and Inside Newsroom Challenges. 33, pp. 1-5. SHS Web of Conferences. doi:10.1051/ 73300079