They say the Malaysian mainstream media is bias. I used to say, well show me media in the country that isn’t. People who gather their information from mainstream media and the independent news portals online can see that each channel is as unjust as each other, both bias promoting the positives of their leaders and parties while degrading and discrediting the opposing leaders and parties. FAIR ENOUGH.
And so I thought it was equally balanced, both furiously working for their ‘bosses’.
Boy was I wrong.
Coming to Kelantan for the first time has possibly opened my eyes further to the complete disregard the mainstream media has to truth. I have never been so heartbroken, disappointed in the lies of my own country. Lies about situations in states just like Kelantan.
I arrived in Kota Bharu a few days ago in my own mission to see what it is like in a state that is often ‘not-visited’ when Malaysians make travel plans. And so I found out that most of what I have read on blogs are true, “People are polite and humble” and “You will often be greeted by smiles”. But what I was expecting to also see was unhappy Chinese people, as generously highlighted by the Mainstream Media.
Kota Bahru has a decent Chinese community, in fact more than Terengganu. (A fact that I never bothered to consider)
I asked a random Chinese guy working in a mall in Kota Bharu about his political choice, life as a minority in the state and his thoughts of freedom for a Chinese Buddhist in a predominantly Islamic Kota Bharu.
“The Chinese community here is quite relaxed. We are even allowed to serve pork and alcohol in Chinatown here.
“The PAS led government hardly meddles with our affairs. In our area (Chinatown) we have our freedom and I think that is fair. Life here is peaceful and we love it,” he said.
I was delightfully surprised because we were led to believe that Chinese here were unhappy, not allowed to openly display their culture and limited because of the Islamic ruling of the PAS led government.
Blatant lies, there is no such thing.
Not only that, I saw very open communities of all races here. I do not see or maybe I just don’t feel the ‘extremist’ vibe that I was searching for to match what I had read in mainstream newspapers before this.
This saddens me because although I knew of the unjust journalism that is the Malaysian media, I had slowly accepted that as just a battle with BARISAN NATIONAL and PAKATAN RAKYAT. But this is too much. To grow up believing that Kelantan was a place ‘you just don’t visit’ because of certain stigmas attached to it and coming here myself to see it DOESN’T EXIST is just … well sad.
If you are as blind as I was, whatever you assume of the EAST COAST states, forget what you know, go there and see it for yourself.
Oh yeah and Kelantan Umno chief Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed can wait another 5 years if he hopes to be Kelantan Menteri Besar as far as I know this is one state that can’t be swayed by handing out goodies just days before the General Elections.