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Media Article # 507

Sunday, May 14, 2006

"Johor to verify Bigfoot tales"

New Straits Times - Malaysia

MUAR: Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman wants to get to the bottom of the Bigfoot mystery. The Government, he said, would like to verify the Bigfoot tales.

He said the State Government’s Bigfoot Steering Committee was collating media reports, eyewitness accounts and evidence of their existence.

"Although the committee was set up in February, the State Government will only launch a search expedition when we have concrete evidence of the existence of Bigfoot," Ghani said after opening the RM2.6 million new building of Sekolah Menengah Pei Hwa, Sungai Mati yesterday.

He said he was aware that Bigfoot had aroused global interest and this made it necessary to do a careful, comprehensive and orderly scientific study of the phenomenon.

Meanwhile, Russian hominologists have turned their attention to Malaysia, hoping for a breakthrough in unravelling the mystery.

Dmitri Bayanov of the International Centre of Hominology in Moscow in an Internet posting, congratulated Malaysian Bigfoot researchers, saying: "The priority for researchers should be to obtain photographic evidence and describe in writing their observations and experiences.

"Malaysian Bigfoot researchers such as Vincent Chow are doing the right thing in carefully studying and compiling whatever evidence they have in a book rather than simply publicising it."

BFRO Commentary:

This is a good move by the government. The initial emphasis should be on identifying the best witnesses in the country. Witnesses may be the most "concrete" type of evidence available at present.

When there is an official, government-ordered, public inquiry, or hearing, in the US, it usually boils down to a line up of witnesses who are willing to testify in front of a government committee.

If Malaysia manages to assemble the best known eyewitnesses in the country, to testify in front of a government committee, that will be an impressive acheivement in itself, and another world first. It has not happened yet in any other country, not even Nepal.

Witnesses can be divided into different types, depending upon the type of observation. The rarest of all -- people who have seen one clearly in daylight. The most abundant will be people who have heard these animals but not seen them. Testimony from the later group is not as compelling, but it is important to identify those people, to know how many there are, and where they are, and if they live in the same areas.

There will likely be many people who heard about encounters from close family members who are now deceased. Those types of witnesses are also valuable to catalog. Some of them will be providing important information.

As all the information is assembled graphically, as points on a map, patterns will likely emerge that may be of great interest to both the government and the public at large. It will hold the public's attention just to see those point gets plotted.

Usually a government hearing only happens when there is some kind of crisis or tragedy. This is neither a crisis nor a tragedy. It is all good, and all positive, and uniquely exciting. The Johor government should welcome a chance to showcase an orderly government proceeding on a matter that is so fascinating, and not sad or depressing.

It would be safe to assume that many, many people in Malaysia would watch every minute of a proceeding like that if it is televised.

The public will be impressed by the government's demonstration of respect for its citizens, as it patiently and respectfully listens to the stories of common people. The stories won't be very long. The committee will be able ask questions of the witnesses and keep the meeting moving along.

This all assumes that there are bigfoots in Malaysia to begin with. It also assumes that there are at least a dozen good witnesses in peninsular Malaysia who are willing to talk. Making that happen is a big challenge, though not as much of a challenge as a big expedition.

If the government or the newspapers publicize a phone number for witnesses to call, they should ask for both eyewitnesses and for people who can lead them to eyewitnesses. Asking for leads to eyewitnesses may help uncover many good ones.

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