On Friday morning, a colleague turned to me and said: "So is your church alright?" Puzzled, I responded by nodding my head slowly but at that point little did I know by Monday Malaysians would be reading reports on how seven churches were attacked.
At first, I thought my colleague was trying to associate what happened with Calvary Church with my own church but he was not.
We all know the story now so lets not get into the politics of that again. I just wanted to bring up a point made by the Tourism Ministry which feels that these disgusting episodes might deter foreign tourists from visiting Malaysia.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen was quoted as saying the religious tension could cause fear among foreign tourists wanting to visit Malaysia.
She said the church attacks were sending the wrong message to foreign tourists when Malaysia was always touted as a harmonious country despite its multi-racial and multi-religious society.
On your left, an article from the reputable TIME which unfortunately for Tourism Malaysia does not paint the nation as being very religiously tolerant.
Maybe it is time our industry stepped in and offered up some advice. Would launching an advertising / public relations campaign help or worsen things? What would need to be done?
I went to church on Sunday and there was a full attendance for all three services -- no one seemed panicked or worried the church might suddenly erupt in flames from another attempted fire bomb.
Domestically at least, there isn't a lot of fear but it's not us the tourism ministry is worried about.
Six Pixels of Separation - Marketing and Communications Insights Blog and Podcast - By Mitch Joel at Twist Image