From Flood to Kangkung: What went viral in January

By Patricia Hului

WE’VE COME TO THE end of the first week of February after a long weekend of Chinese New Year festivities! Before we slowly settle into the second month of 2014, let us recap what went viral in January:


Down Came the Rain and High Tides

A woman wading through chest deep flood water at Kampung Sikog on January 2.

A woman wading through chest deep flood water at Kampung Sikog on January 2.


2013 ended with heavy rains and high tide in several divisions of Sarawak and continued to usher us into the brand new year. Miri, Bintulu, Betong and Sri Aman were among the areas flooded last month.


Many citizens affected posted photos of their waterlogged homes online. Some to update their loved ones from afar on their situations, some to warn others on which roads were flooded during the rainy season, and of course some to complain about their difficulties.


Despite sunny days in most areas of Sarawak recently, the Ministry of Welfare, Women and Family is still on the lookout for emergencies till Chap Gop Mei, February 14.


Chairing, or ‘Tersepit Celah Kerusi’


For those of us in their 20s and 30s, aren’t you glad that social media was not part of our childhood? My heart goes out to all the kids nowadays because any wrong or silly moves would be captured, posted and parodied online.


Look what went viral when the 2014 school term started? Photos of a little girl whose head was stuck between the back and the seat of a wooden chair and a crying little boy with a chair stuck around his waist as a teacher looked on trying her best to look sympathetic.


As far as the story behind these ‘chairing’ photos go, they were Primary 1 students having temper tantrums on their first day of school.


You would be lying if you never threw a tantrum when you were young. Before long, though that episode was parodied by Facebook users.


Pity these children for being born in the wrong era when posting and spreading news is just one click away!


‘Bahagiamu Deritaku’

Hafiz Suip after making a clean sweep in three categories.

Hafiz Suip after making a clean sweep in three categories.


Hafiz Suip won three major categories with the song ‘Bahagiamu Deritaku’ in the 28th edition of Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL). The song was composed by LY with the lyrics by Baiduri.


The former Akademi Fantasia winner from Kuching walked away with the title of Champion, Best Song and Best Performance awards.


Hafiz was hoping to bag the Best Vocal award but it was given to songstress, Jaclyn Victor.


The ongoing debate


Sarawakians are free to use the word ‘Allah’ in prayers and songs on homeground, although the battle on the word ‘Allah’ continues in January across the South China Sea.


On Jan 2, Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) raided the Bible Society of Malaysia premises and confiscated bibles and books in Malay and Iban.


Since then, the state government has assured Sarawakians that what happened in Selangor would not happen in Sarawak.


This sparked different reactions across our nation as news of the incident went viral.


Let us just hope and pray that Sarawak continues to set an example that peace and unity is possible despite the different races and beliefs.


Hide Those Pigs’ Faces!


For starters, there is no law in Malaysia against publishing pigs’ faces.


On Jan 22, the Malaysian edition of the International New York Times became online amusement after images of pig faces were blacked out in the front and middle pages.


The alleged reason behind this censorship by the printing company is because Malaysia is a Muslim country.


Malaysian netizens once again jumped into this opportunity to comment on how relevant  censoring these animal’s faces.


What went very viral usually made it into international news. Aljazeera, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal were among the non-local news centres that reported on the black-out pigs’ faces.


The Winner Goes To…


Oh yes, you saw it coming. The most viral thing that happened in January was none other than the ‘kangkung’ or water spinach.


Who couldn’t forget the day their Facebook’s newsfeeds were flooded with the word and images of ‘kangkung’?


A part of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s speech on recent price hikes at Kemaman, Terengganu, on Jan 12 sparked headlines when he cited that the price of kangkung had dropped:


“Sawi ada naik, kangkung ada naik. Ada masa dia naik, ada masa dia turun. Hari ini dalam surat khabar saya baca, ada yang nak turun. Kangkung dulu naik, sekali dah turun.”


Even those who don’t keep updated with politics or policy-making were curious about what what the big deal was behind this vegetable, posting kangkung-related statuses online.


From actual floods to being flooded online with kangkung, what does February have in stored for Malaysian netizens?

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