Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Map Error Triggers Territorial Row

If you hadn’t heard about it, Singapore and Indonesia was just embroiled in, apparently, and even though perhaps just quite briefly, a territorial spat. It’s serious, alright, because Indonesia had scrambled to dispatch navy and army personnel to the disputed islets to assert their sovereignty. The row started because a website had a map with some wrong colours.

Fortunately no war started. Singapore had immediately sought to defuse the situation. Our foreign ministry said Singapore “has never disputed Indonesia’s sovereignty over Pulau Manis”. The Indonesian counterpart confirmed that it was all a misunderstanding.

That misunderstanding, it seems, came up because Funtasy Island, an eco-resort currently being developed, put up a map on their website that depicted Pulau Manis, which is now Funtasy Island, in the same colours used for Singapore, while other parts of Indonesia had a different colour. The choice of colours suggested that Pulau Manis, thus, was a part of Singapore.

Of course the Indonesians got mad.

Now, it’s all really funny, if you think about it (and knowing now, of course, that a war did not start), because a simple map error could trigger such a reaction. Indonesian authorities went further to warn the Singapore-based company, Funtasy Island Development, against making such claims.

Please remember this. You may be a lowly web designer or graphic designer. Your choice of colours is important. Pick the wrong colour, and you could well trigger a war.

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