Monday, August 30, 2010


I don't know about you guys, but what's happening in Jakarta recently, with the burning and the defecating on our Jalur Gemilang by a group called Bendera is quite humiliating for us Malaysians.
I know for some of our politicians, we should try and practice the adage of turning the other cheek, but sometime enough is enough. We don't have to be bullied by our neighbours all the time.
This isn't the first time. Even the fiasco about who owns the cultural rights to batik, satay, silat and some dance forms a few months ago was a little too much to take, especially when the Indonesian media took pot shots at us.
So how do we react to this? Our leaders say that it is not the fault of the Indonesian government and is the work of a few radicals trying to destroy the relationship between Malaysia and Indonesia.
So whose fault is it?
How many times do we have to endure the photos of our beautiful flag being abused in broad daylight without the Indonesian authorities doing anything?
Is it really true the Indonesian government do not condone these humiliating acts by Bendera? I think not because from media reports, the Indonesian parliament has also voiced out their anger against us detaining fishermen (depending on which media you read) or maritime officers who had entered our territory thus giving license for the Bendera bozos to continue their attack on our proud symbols of nationhood.
After our flag what else? Pictures of our King? Effigies of our leaders?
From what I have seen in our media, we have not been very vocal about it.
Yes, of course there's some very diplomatic noise made by our leaders, but what about us as a people? Aren't you outraged by what is happening?
In Facebook or Twitter, there's hardly any outrage shown by my friends.
Do you think you are not affected by all these? Well I am.
Let me remind you that because of a few idiot Malaysian employers who abused their maids, other families who need Indonesian maids have to suffer. Do you really want to pay RM800 and RM10,000 deposit and administrative fees to get a legal Indonesian maid? Who is negotiating these terms for us? It looks as if we are always on the losing end, and the one who has to pay for it are us.
So think again...because this row between Malaysia and Indonesia, our lives are affected.
In the film and TV industry, Indonesians has caused the local industry much heartache to say the least.
Whilst our TV stations spend millions every year in buying Indonesian movies and TV series, the Indonesians do not reciprocate saying that our productions do not meet acceptable standards in terms of technical quality and content, and that our fare is tame and outdated.
Yet, our stations programme Indonesian fare like there's no tomorrow.
About twenty years ago, the reasoning behind buying Indonesian content held water because an hour of Indonesian programming is cheap. It used to be about US500-US1000 an hour. But because the Indonesians are better salesmen than us, today's Indonesians series are bought by TV stations here at nothing less than US5,000 each. In fact, I have heard of some ridiculous fee of US10,000 per hour being paid for an Indonesian series.
And this are second hand series. Furthermore the TV stations do not obtain full rights to the series. It is usually only for one or two screenings. That's all. The rights of the TV series are retained by the Indonesians.
Local producers who get around US15,000 per hour from local TV stations sell ALL rights to local TV stations.
Does that sound fair to you?
Nevermind, maybe the local TV stations do agree with Indonesian TV stations that our quality lack ooomph. How to add oomph when you only get US15,000 per hour.
In Indonesia, TV series are paid US20,000 to US30,000 per hour and the producer still maintain rights to their productions. After being screened on local Indonesian TV they dump their programmes in countries like ours for bonus revenue.
Therefore, the Indonesians are looking at a revenue of US40,000 to US50,000 from one hour of TV production. Of course they can have better sets, locations and top ranking stars in their series.
Let's just calculate how much an Indonesian producer stand to earn from us.
If they sell 52 hours (an hour a week for one year), they stand to receive a minimum of US10,000 x 52 which totals US520,000. Even if the US Dollar goes down to RM3 the amount is RM1,500,000 plus. That's just one slot.
How many slots do you think the Indonesian series fill our TV stations? (Let's not even talk about the fully Indonesian channels on Astro).
I believe, in a week, at least 7 hours (I am being very very conservative) are filled by Indonesian fare. This means more than RM10,000,000 are given to the Indonesians for their second hand products per year. Is that a small number?
You want to double the number?
So, we are enriching the Indonesian producers every year, and what do they do? They belittle us, they don't voice out that what is happening in Jakarta is something they do not condone.
If they are earning millions from us, not to mention taking away slots and hours from local TV stations from local producers, shouldn't they be grateful and thankful?
Personally, I don't like to use the term boycott.
For example, for the past couple of days, I broke my fast with the family at two Indonesian owned franchises - Bumbu Desa and Sari Ratu. I abhor boycotting these restaurants or even telling my friends to forget going to Jakarta for golf anymore.
But then again, if Bendera keeps humiliating us, and if their government don't act against them for such stupidity, maybe I should start boycotting anything and everything Indonesian.
If I do that and everyone else do that, maybe the Indonesians who make their living off Malaysia would at least raise their voices and tell their government to shut down Bendera.
Heck, I am still waiting for the local film industry Associations - PROFIMA, FDAM, Seniman and Karyawan to voice out against these acts by Bendera. What are they doing? Nothing.
They must be oblivious to the hurt other Malaysians are feeling when the Jalur Gemilang is abused during Ramadhan and in the month when we celebrate our Merdeka.
As for the stations, all I can say is that maybe they should relook at their policy of enriching the Indonesian producers for the time being.
Pump the money domestically and see what happens.
Meanwhile, be outraged. Twitter your anger. Email your frustrations. Facebook your feelings against the abuse of our flag. Don't keep quiet. Don't let our neighbours kick us in the balls again and again and again.
Enough is enough.

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