Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 26th, 2006
A new article out of Malaysia betrays the underlying war between newspapers in the country over who "owns" the Johor Bigfoot story. Today’s editions of The Star are subtle in how they are using quotations and paraphrases from government officials to distance themselves from Vincent Chow, new books, and possible photographs of the Mawas.
Here’s the back story.
Two newspapers, The New Straits Times and The Star, have been in the forefront of the developing story and reporting of the "Bigfoot" sightings since December 2005. Now a change in coverage and treatment has been clearly demonstrated by The Star today, in their dismissive treatment of Dr. Vincent Chow. A story written in Friday’s editions of The Star has paraphrased the governor of Johor State as, more or less, calling Dr. Chow unreliable. Could the governor not meant this and the newspaper is merely adding this meaning?
Cryptomundo reveals today for the first time the probable source of this conflict. It’s nothing more than an old-fashioned newspaper war.
As it turns out, the forthcoming books Chow will be writing are a joint project involving mainly three others: reporter Sittamparam of The New Starits Times and Lee Hoi Chin of Sin Chew, a Chinese Daily, plus the contribution of a preface by Loren Coleman, your Cryptomundo correspondent. Sittam and Chow will co-author the English version while Lee will tackle the edition for the Chinese readers.
This single project of two books, as we mentioned previously here at Cryptomundo, was the source of the confusion that there would be two entirely and totally separate Johor Mawas volumes. The news mentioning this as "two" books was released, intriguingly, by Bernama, the Malaysian National News Agency. Please note, this one book project of the same group of authors, via two languages, has no one from The Star associated with it.
Once again, as appears to happen in Malaysia, this all has developed, not in any formal statements, but as casual remarks that are keys to other information.
According to government leader Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, two teams of ten researchers each will be going into the Malaysian rainforests soon "to gather proof of the existence of Bigfoot." When this will happen, however, is a little vague.
"But the time and place have yet to be determined," according to The Star.
“Since talk of the Bigfoot started, we have been compiling additional information for the past three months,” said Abdul Ghani after launching the Johor Baru International Orchid Show 2006, yesterday, May 25th. He also mentioned that cryptotourism has picked up, with 30-40 visitors per weekend, going to the village where footprints were found in recent months.
The entire topic came up, more or less, as a side comment: "When asked about the publication of books on the existence of the Bigfoot, he said the state government did not prohibit such work."
The tone of the article from The Star, a newspaper competing against The New Straits Times, appears to be decidedly editorial in the next passage:
One of the upcoming books would be by local biodiversity and environment expert Vincent Chow collaborating with other writers.
However, Abdul Ghani said the state government is gathering information from more reliable sources (Cryptomundo emphasis).
“While these sort of books are published, we are also working with a team of experts in gathering important information regarding the existence of the creature,” he said adding that the information obtained would be vital for the upcoming expedition.
The article in The Star was "Teams to Seek Proof of Bigfoot", published Friday, May 26, 2006.
It will be recalled, in surveying past articles in The Star that their subtle skeptical treatment of Vincent Chow has been difficult to understand, as for example in their "Bigfoot Still In Doubt" article of February 19th, on the possible finding of hair samples.
It seems rather apparent that more is going on than the obvious from first view in Malaysia with the Mawas, and part of it has to do with where you happen to read about the latest "Bigfoot" news.