When I recently visited the US with Kevin he was frequently asked where he was from. We both proudly responded that we were from Malaysia. Most of the responses were either "What's that?" or "Where's Malaysia?". We then asked if these people knew where Thailand, Singapore or Indonesia was. They knew where these places were, so we simply said Malaysia is in that area.
Granted most people and especially younger people have a very weak knowledge of world geography, but why hadn't people even heard of Malaysia. There was only one person whom we met who knew about Malaysia and even Penang. He was an Indonesian-American working in the car rental place where we rented our car. All of the time we were in the US we saw tourism ads on television about China, Singapore, Indonesia and several other countries. We didn't see anything about Malaysia. On the other hand living here in Malaysia and watching Astro we are constantly bombarded by ads about Malaysia. People watching these already live here!
People know that Singapore is the center of business in the East and is a thriving economy. People know Thailand for it's beauty, food and tourist attractions. People know Indonesia for the beautiful island of Bali, beautiful volcanoes, scenery and wildlife and the fastest growing economy in the area. Why don't people know anything about Malaysia? Maybe the Ministry of Tourism should concentrate its advertising in different areas of the West and maybe they should help local tourism businesses to promote the wonders of Malaysia. Any suggestions?