It hasn’t been a great first quarter for Malaysia.

It was meant to be Visit Malaysia Year 2014, the nation’s biggest and grandest tourism celebration. Unfortunately, we’ve kicked off the year with some less-than-positive PR debacles.

First, we had water issues in the Klang Valley, rationing out portions like a war-ravaged nation.

Then the unrelenting haze plagued us, further adding to the post-apocalyptic scenario that the water problem created.

It doesn’t end there because MAS, our national airline, suffered from one of the greatest tragedies our country has endured in recent years – the disappearance of MH370 that was carrying 239 passengers to Beijing.

And to top it all off, one of our biggest music festivals, Future Music Festival Asia 2014, was cancelled on the third day due to drug-related deaths that occurred on the premises of the event the prior night.

It seems Malaysia hasn’t been able to get a break.  And all this taking place in just the first quarter of a year that was meant to drive tourism.

The problems have been staggering, but this is a chance for the country to rise to the challenge and assert its place in the international arena.

We are talking about this on The Bullet because in essence, Malaysia is a brand. And what we do and say, or don’t do and don’t say reflects on our homemade brand as a whole.

 So what is a brand to do in times of strife?

What is most important is that we continue doing what we do best and that is to provide visitors with a safe and friendly environment filled with multi-cultural splendours.

This essentially means highlighting the truth about your brand and reiterating it so that not only others never forget whom we are, but also to ensure that we never forget our own identity.

In this case, the brand is made up of the individuals whom collectively create Malaysia’s identity so fixing the brand image is all of our jobs. Only then can we have an awesome Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

What problem does your brand face?

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