The Asian Beacon Magazine in Malaysia with a circulation of 10,000 copies has apologized for its insenstitive statement on Ibans.
Sweeping statements are quite common amongst some Christians to emphasise their morality eg towards gays.
The apology seems odd asking others to forgive you using Col 3:12-13 when they may not be of the same religious faith. Yet, the article was not meant to be degratory and it was the personal experiences of the writer.
When visiting the Ibans some years ago, I didn't see any such incidents and the hospitality of the Ibans to us the missionaries were great. Their drinks were very strong. I had communion with the Iban church in Kuching and their red wine was certaintly a highlight.
They had built a big church up the hill in the mountains of the Borneo highlands from the river mouth more than a hundred years ago when the first Anglican Missionaries came. It is an empty church now with a boat carrying the visiting pastor to the church once every few weeks to conduct the church service.
There in the highlands, the early morning midst covers the mountain and the river boat as it goes slowly inching its way up to the Malaysian border. It rains a lot and the rice fields were tall and we were afraid to walk through lest a snake comes out of hiding.
I knew the founders of Asian Beacon, Dr Chong Kwong Tek well. They were great people of faith and their heart is for the lost. They had a heart for the missions and setting up new churches.
May Asian Beacon retains her light as the glory of God for all peoples irrespective of race, religion, culture, gender and sexual orientation. For God is a God of love to all the various people groups yearning that they return to Him through Jesus Christ.
My memory goes back 17 years ago to the happy days up in Iban mountains lands as a young Christian so eager to change the world but finding that the greatest challenge is within to accept oneselves sexual orientation and to love himself first for God had created him beautifully.
In the early morning dew in the mountain, I am reminded of the song, the "Morning has broken, like the first morning ...", for the sweetness and the fresh morning dew fills the valley and the mountains. May God blessings and sunlight falls on one and all. Be blessed.
“The Ibans generally enjoy smoking and drinking, and they often get drunk during festive seasons or special occasions like weddings. They are also inclined to be immoral. I have seen men from another longhouse entering a different longhouse to look for women. After drinking ‘tuak’ or rice wine, the inhabitations are lowered and sexual activities are common. Mothers are known to have offered their daughters for sex in the hope that the men will marry their daughters” Of Skulls and Sago Worms” on page 15 of the February-March Vol 44 issue
"APOLOGY FOR ARTICLE TITLED "OF SKULLS AND SAGO WORMS" IN ASIAN BEACON FEBRUARY-MARCH 2012 VOLUME 44 NO: 1 An article titled "Of Skulls and Sago Worms" in our Asian Beacon February-March 2012 bimonthly issue has offended the Iban community. We deeply regret this incident and sincerely apologise to all our Iban friends and seek your forgiveness. We are deeply grieved that it has caused ill feelings among the Iban community and again, we wish to convey our unreserved apologies to them. In the midst of this Lent season and in the spirit of forgiveness, we humbly seek forgiveness and kindness from the Iban community. “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossian 3:12-13"
"Asian Beacon was born in Malacca during a period of crisis in the Malaysian history. It was 1969, the year of the racial riots. Rev Ben Sawatsky, an American missionary with Evangelical Free Church, took the initiative to get Asian Beacon started as the first Christian magazine for Malaysian Christians among the evangelical churches. Naturally, he became the first editor. Morris Palmer, a fellow missionary, took over the running of this magazine after Sawatsky went on furlough. The baton was then passed on in 1974 when both Sawatsky and Palmer left Malaysia. Dr Chong Kwong Tek took over as the first Malaysian editor and together with Goldie they assumed the editorial responsibilities of Asian Beacon…….. By the time they left for Hong Kong in 1978, the magazine reached a peak circulation of seven to eight thousand copies per issue. The baton was then passed to Goh Poh Gaik as Editor and Ngoh Peng Teck as Chairman. It was at this time that the magazine expanded its scope of coverage to include readers from the growing pentecostal and charismatic segments of the Christian population……Published six times a year, Asian Beacon has a circulation of 10,000 copies. It is sold throughout Malaysia in churches, Christian bookstores and major public bookstores like MPH and Popular. It is also sold in select locations in Singapore and Australia. " from Asian Beacon web site