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photos by Lara Shipley

Taking a cue from the French…

December 16th, 2002 · No Comments

The Guardian reports that Malaysia is banning white folk from advertisements:

But Malaysian officials this week pulled the plug on the adverts, saying they were “an insult to Asians” and could give Malaysians an inferiority complex.

“Why must we use their faces in our advertisements? Aren’t our own people handsome enough?” the deputy information minister, Zainuddin Maidin, was quoted as saying.

Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but if a foreign face in a TV advertisement is that threatening, you’ve already got an inferiority complex. Not that this is anything new. Colleague Marian Tupy tells me that he recalls a line from dictator Mahathir Mohammad’s biography in which the despot describes the most pressing “problem” he faced upon taking power some decades ago. Ethnically Chinese entrepreneurs, you see, were offering better products at lower prices than Malaysians. Mahathir wasted no time in “correcting” this problem, but it never for an instant occurred to him that a motivated immigrant community providing lower prices and better product quality might be, you know, a good thing. Something to be grateful for, even. (Thomas Sowell wrote about this in A Conflict of Visions.) Can we conclude from these instances that Mahathir is a “self-hating Malaysian?”

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