There is a dispute between Indonesia and Malaysia about the origin of the Pendek dance and batik cloth. Indonesians write to their newspapers to complain about the use of the dance and batik in the Malaysian tourism advertisement. Some Indonesians even search for Malaysians on the roads in Jakarta to abuse them.
This matter has now been taken at top levels of the two governments, in an attempt to solve the dispute over the claim of "ownership".
Malaysia now claim that the laksa, Hainanese chicken rice and chili crab is "owned" by them. This has implication on Singapore, as they are promoted as the cuisine of Singapore.
These disputes are a sign of the times and the weakening of the moral fibre of our society. People have become too selfish and think only of their own interest, and not the welfare of others.
There is no need for neighboring countries to compete for tourists. We can work together to promote several countries at the same time. Tourists going to one country is likely to stay a day or two in a neighboring country. We need to think of "win-win", "cooperation" instead of "competition".
We need a better way to handle disputes, rather than to have the negative aspects broadcast in the media or on the streets.
Tan Kin Lian
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