PETALING JAYA - BERITA Harian has issued a public apology over its publication of a cartoon depicting the devastating tsunami and earthquake that swept Japan and killed thousands.
The Malay daily published the apology on its website, Twitter and Facebook accounts on Sunday after several quarters demanded that the newspaper apologise for the publication.
'We apologise for the publication of the cartoon in Berita Minggu. We had no intention of poking fun at the disaster that has befallen the nation of Japan and its people. In fact, we greatly sympathise with their plight and share the sorrow of the Japanese people,' the daily's editor wrote.
The cartoon, drawn by Mohd Zohri Sukimi or more popularly known as Zoy, showed the popular Japanese icon Ultraman running away from an oncoming tsunami. The publication created a buzz on social networking sites with politicians and the public criticising the daily's poor judgment, describing the cartoon as 'distasteful' and 'insensitive'.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted that the paper must apologise for publishing the cartoon which was 'totally insensitive towards the Japanese'. 'It is unfortunate that it was published below Berita Harian Sdn Bhd group editor (Datuk Mior Kamarul Shahid's column),' he tweeted.
Bukit Lanjan assemblyman cum Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong tweeted that 'the matter was not funny'. Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Azmi encouraged the public to sign an online petition to protest against the 'inappropriate cartoon'. -- THE STAR/ANN
[I've included the cartoon. One comment is that it's just not funny. Offensive? Yes, because it belittles the suffering of the Japanese and their need to rebuild their lives. Instead of standing with the Japanese in this difficult and dangerous times, someone tried to make fun of it, and it wasn't even funny.
The words of BBC’s reports are so moving they make me cry. They were praising us with words of admiration! “One of the worst earthquakes in recorded history has hit the world’s most well-prepared, well-trained nations. The strength of its government and its people are put to the test. While there have been casualties, in no other country could the government and the people have worked together in such an accurate and coordinated way in the face of such tragedy. The Japanese people have shown their cultural ability to remain calm in the face of adversity.”
A goth youth with white hair and body piercings walked into my store and shoved several hundred dollars (several tens of thousands of yen) into the disaster relief fund donation box. As he walked out, I and people around me heard him saying to his buddies, “I mean, we can buy those games anytime!” At that, we all opened our wallets and put our money into the donation box. Really, you cannot judge people by their appearances.
Not enough money!
At the store where I work, a huge group of young men suddenly came in to buy booze. One of them suddenly said, “Oops, I only have enough money to buy booze, I can’t donate! Forget the booze, maybe next time!” and instead put ALL his money into the disaster relief donation box. One by one, every single one of the army of youths threw all their money into the box after him. What a heart-warming sight that was!
Last night, I decided, rather than stay at the office, I should try walking home. So I slowly made my way west on Koshu freeway on foot. It was around 9PM when I saw an office building that had a sign that said “Please use our office’s bathrooms! Please rest here!” The employees of the office were loudly shouting out the same to all the people trying to walk home. I was so touch I felt like crying. Well, I guess I was too tense yesterday to cry, but now the tension is wearing off and am very much in tears.
From a German friend
A German friend of mine was in Shibuya (downtown Tokyo shopping district) when the earthquake hit. He was panicking when a Japanese passerby saved him, taking him into a building. My friend was blown away at how calm and disciplined this Japanese man was. He went out of the building with firm, unfaltering steps, did everything he was trained to do and came back. My German friend was deeply impressed by the Japanese people’s actions during the earthquake, saying they looked like a trained army.
Japan is a wonderful nation!
Both the government and the people, everyone is helping one another today. There are truck drivers helping evacuees move. I even heard that the “yakuza” (gangsters, organized crime groups) are helping to direct traffic in the Tohoku region! There have been many recent developments that have made me lose my sense of pride in my country, but not anymore. Japan is an amazing place! I’m just simply touched. Go Japan!