‘Abominable’ won’t be screened in Malaysia over South China Sea map

Abominable was released in Vietnam, above, on October 4 but the country’s main cinema franchise CGV said it would no longer show the film after it was notified about the map. (AFP)
Updated 20 October 2019

‘Abominable’ won’t be screened in Malaysia over South China Sea map

  • The decision comes after Vietnam pulled the Universal Pictures movie from theaters days ago
  • The Philippines’ foreign secretary also called for the segment to be excised

KUALA LUMPUR: Animated film “Abominable” will not be shown in Malaysia after its distributor Sunday said it could not comply with censors’ demands to cut a controversial scene showing Beijing’s disputed claims in the South China Sea.
The decision comes after Vietnam pulled the Universal Pictures movie from theaters days ago and the Philippines’ foreign secretary called for the segment to be excised.
“Universal has decided not to make the censor cut required by the Malaysian censor board and as such will not be able to release the film in Malaysia,” United International Pictures Malaysia said in an email to AFP.
The animated film about a Chinese teenager helping a yeti return to his home shows a chart featuring the “nine-dash” line which sets out Beijing’s expansive claims to the flashpoint waters.
By including the U-shaped line, the movie — a joint production by Universal Pictures subsidiary DreamWorks and China’s Pearl Studio — has stumbled into a festering row that has long been a source of friction between Beijing and Southeast Asia.
Malaysia’s film censorship board chief Mohamad Zamberi Abdul Aziz had said that the movie — due for release on November 7 — could be screened in the country “with the condition that the map, which has become controversial, is removed.”
Beijing has based its claims to almost all the resource-rich South China Sea, which is home to important shipping routes, on historic documents. As well as the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan are rival claimants.
The movie was released in Vietnam on October 4 but the country’s main cinema franchise CGV said it would no longer show the film after it was notified about the map.
The cartoon also opened in Philippine cinemas earlier this month, with the adverse reaction not surfacing until later.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said that “of course they should cut out the offending scene.”
A 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling said China’s claim was without basis, something Beijing has ignored.


Australian man survives croc attack by gouging its eye

Updated 16 November 2019

Australian man survives croc attack by gouging its eye

  • Wildlife ranger Craig Dickmann made a split-second decision to go fishing in a remote part of Northern Australia known as ‘croc country.’
  • ‘That noise will haunt me forever I think, the sound of the snap of its jaws’

CAIRNS, Australia: An Australian wildlife ranger has recounted his terrifying escape from the clutches of a “particularly cunning” crocodile, after wrestling with the reptile and sticking a finger in its eye.
Craig Dickmann, who made a split-second decision to go fishing last Sunday in a remote part of Northern Australia known as “croc country” last Sunday, said a 2.8-meter (nine-foot) crocodile came up from behind him as he was leaving the beach.
“As I’ve turned to go, the first thing I see is its head just come at me,” he told reporters on Friday from his hospital bed in the town of Cairns in Queensland state.
Dickmann said the animal latched on to his thigh.
“That noise will haunt me forever I think, the sound of the snap of its jaws,” he said.
The 54-year-old said he wrestled with the croc on the remote beach as it tried to drag him into the water.
Dickmann stuck his thumb into its eye, saying it was the only “soft spot” he found on the “bullet-proof” animal.
“Their eyes retract a fair way and when you go down far enough you can feel bone so I pushed as far as I possibly could and then it let go at that point,” Dickmann said.
After a few minutes, he said he managed to get on top of the croc and pin its jaws shut.
“And then, I think both the croc and I had a moment where we’re going, ‘well, what do we do now?’”
Dickmann said he then pushed the croc away from him and it slid back into the water.
The ranger had skin ripped from his hands and legs in the ordeal and drove more than 45 minutes back to his home before calling emergency services.
It was then another hour in the car to meet the Royal Flying Doctors Service who flew him to Cairns Hospital, where he is recovering from the ordeal.
“This croc was particularly cunning and particularly devious,” he said.
Queensland’s department of environment this week euthanized the animal.
“The area is known croc country and people in the area are reminded to always be crocwise,” the department said in a statement.
Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven meters long and weigh more than a ton, are common in the vast continent’s tropical north.
Their numbers have exploded since they were declared a protected species in the 1970s, with attacks on humans rare.
According to the state government, the last non-fatal attack was in January 2018 in the Torres Strait while the last death was in October 2017 in Port Douglas.