When a wombat gets mistaken for a pig, it results in the most curious (and somewhat embarrassing) case of mistaken identity.
Yesterday, the Friends of BN Facebook page shared a video recording of an advertisement from an electronic billboard at Bukit Bintang which purportedly showed a pig wearing a baju melayu and a songkok (traditional Malay costume), wishing Malaysians “Selamat Hari Raya”.
The caption for Friends of BN’s post read:
Tidak menghormati umat Islam apabila iklan raya di billboard memaparkan seekor khinzir berpakaian baju melayu dan bersongkok dengan ucapan Selamat Hari Raya. Lokasi di sekitar kawasan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Dimaklumkan, iklan ini sudah ditarik balik.
Translation: This highway billboard ad shows no respect for Muslims as it features a pig wearing a baju melayu and a songkok accompanied by a Selamat Hari Raya greeting. The ad is located within the vicinity of Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. It has been withdrawn.
It caused a public uproar as Malaysian netizens assumed that it was a pig. As such, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had no choice but to temporarily remove the ad. This was later confirmed by Mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib.
Plot twist: Ahmad Phesal also said that the animal in the advertisement wasn’t a pig, but a wombat.
Anyone who has been to Australia would’ve seen or at least heard of the wombat. Wombats are short-legged, muscular quadrupedal marsupials native to Australia and are about 1 m (40 in) in length, with small, stubby tails. They are adaptable and habitat tolerant, and are found in forested, mountainous, and heathland areas of south-eastern Australia, including Tasmania.
In this case, the cartoon wombat seen on the billboard is the mascot of Servcorp, an Australia-based company offering serviced offices in the region. And that’s not all. It even has a name – Sidney. Sidney has been touted by Servcorp as the “world’s wisest wombat”, and it even has its own Facebook page.
Here’s Sidney introducing himself:
As seen in the picture above, Sidney is normally depicted wearing a hat with a cream-coloured coat and brown pants.
Servcorp, which used the same mascot in the digital advertisement in a promotional video in 2012, could not be contacted yesterday. But Servcorp Malaysia has since release a statement via its Facebook page to apologise for the misunderstanding. The international company explained that it wasn’t their intention to offend any race nor religion as they had no prior issues globally with the use of their mascot i.e. Middle East, Saudi Arabia. ServCorp Malaysia also clarified that the ad was earlier approved by DBKL but has now been removed.
Full statement as follows:
Meanwhile, DBKL director-general Datuk Mohd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz said the instruction to remove the Sidney ad was issued to overcome public misperceptions about the advertisement. According to TMI, he further added in a statement, “City Hall would like to stress that the image displayed on the billboard is the image of a wombat, which is the mascot of the Australia-based company.”
What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think that a simple Google search could’ve avoided the unnecessary tension and embarrassment? Was Servcorp done horribly wrong just because some Malaysian netizens were quick to jump into conclusions?