SEA Games: Oops! Malaysia upsets Indonesia with flag blunder

The Indonesian flag printed upside-down in a copy of the souvenir magazine for the Southeast Asian Games. (AFP)
Updated 20 August 2017

SEA Games: Oops! Malaysia upsets Indonesia with flag blunder

KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesia’s president expressed concern on Sunday after Malaysia’s Southeast Asian Games organizers mistakenly published the Indonesian flag upside-down in a commemorative magazine, prompting anger among fans.
Malaysia’s foreign ministry and the Games organizers apologized profusely for the gaffe but it was not enough to quell a wave of complaints online, with #ShameOnYouMalaysia becoming Indonesia’s top trending topic on Twitter.
The blunder came to light at Saturday’s opening ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, where the souvenir magazine was handed out to dignitaries — including Indonesia’s Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, who tweeted a picture of the offending page.
Indonesia’s flag has a red stripe above a white stripe, but it was printed with the white stripe on top, making it look like the flag of Poland.
Malaysian organizers were quick to apologize and the country’s Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin visited Nahrawi at his hotel to explain in person.
But it was not the only incident, as a SEA Games booklet also mixed up Indonesia and Thailand’s flags in a reprint of the medals table from 2011.
A Malaysian daily newspaper also printed Indonesia’s flag upside-down, while Games organizers were caught using the wrong flag for two Brunei athletes at the synchronized swimming.
The swimmers, Jacqueline Lim and Nur Hafizah Ahmad, were shown next to what appeared to be a flag for Brunei’s armed forces, rather than the national emblem.
SEA Games organizers told Indonesia they “very much regret the mistake” and the foreign ministry also said sorry for the “inadvertent error.”
“We would like to extend our apology to the government and the people of the Republic of Indonesia,” the foreign ministry statement said.
“In this regard, we wish to assure the government of the Republic of Indonesia that all measures have been taken to address this unfortunate situation.”
The incident grabbed attention on the first full day of action at the biennial SEA Games, which mix Olympic sports with Asian favorites like pencak silat and wushu.
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said it was a matter of “national pride” for the country, which is the biggest in Southeast Asia with about 260 million people.
“We deeply regret the incident but do not exaggerate it,” he said. “We are waiting for the apology from the Malaysian government because this concerns the national pride of our country.”
Indonesia’s Olympic committee chief, Inter Milan president Erick Thohir, earlier criticized Malaysia’s “negligence.”
“Of course, I am expressing my deep regret on this fault, which shows negligence and absent-mindedness,” he said in a statement.
“Friendship is the greatest legacy in sports, but a mistake in presenting a national identity of a nation is not justified.”
Malaysia’s SEA Games organizers are not alone in making mistakes with competitors’ flags — and receiving strong complaints afterwards.
Last year at the Rio Olympics, China complained bitterly that the flag used at medal ceremonies had its small gold stars pointing at the wrong angle.
At the 2012 Olympics North Korea’s women’s footballers refused to play, delaying the start of their game with Colombia, when they were shown next to the South Korean flag on a stadium screen.


Oil up after drone attack on Saudi field, but OPEC report caps gains

Updated 35 min 2 sec ago

Oil up after drone attack on Saudi field, but OPEC report caps gains

LONDON: Crude oil prices rose on Monday following a weekend attack on a Saudi oil facility by Yemen’s Houthi militia and as traders looked for signs of progress in US-China trade negotiations.
Price gains were, however, capped to some degree by an unusually downbeat OPEC report that stoked concerns about growth in oil demand.
Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, was up 85 cents, or about 1.4%, at $59.49 a barrel at 1225 GMT.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up $1.01, or 1.8%, at $55.88 a barrel.
A drone attack by the Iran-backed Houthi militia on an oilfield in eastern Saudi Arabia on Saturday caused a fire at a gas plant, adding to Middle East tensions, but state-run Saudi Aramco said oil production was not affected.
“The oil market seems to be pricing in again a geopolitical risk premium following the weekend drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, but the premium might not sustain if it does not result in any supply disruptions,” said Giovanni Staunovo, oil analyst for UBS.
Iran-related tensions appeared to ease after Gibraltar released an Iranian tanker it seized in July, though Tehran warned the United States against any new attempt to seize the tanker in open seas.
Concerns about a recession also limited crude price gains.
Meanwhile, China’s announcement of key interest rate reforms over the weekend has fueled expectations of an imminent reduction in corporate borrowing costs in the struggling economy, boosting share prices on Monday.
US energy firms this week increased the number of oil rigs operating for the first time in seven weeks despite plans by most producers to cut spending on new drilling this year.
“WTI in recent weeks has performed relatively better than Brent... Pipeline start ups in the United States have been supportive for WTI, while the ongoing trade war has had more of an impact on Brent,” said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at Dutch bank ING.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut its forecast for global oil demand growth in 2019 by 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.10 million bpd and indicated the market would be in slight surplus in 2020.
It is rare for OPEC to give a bearish forward view on the market outlook.
“Such a bearish prognosis will heap more pressure on OPEC to take further measures to support the market,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.