Review: Kenyalang, the latest Iban language publication


I finally got hold of KENYALANG, the latest edition to the few available Iban language publications, at Servay supermaket last night. Sold at RM2.90, the monthly “tabloid” stand tall in term of paper quality.

Before going further on my comments, I must extend my congratulations to the owner, En. Donald Lawan (obviously the MD44 indicate it belongs to his group of companies) and his team of editorial, headed by Mathias Kassap Gassan (my ex-colleague at Malaysian Today), to Tuan PJB – on his endless SMS to seek feedback, and to the team of packers and distributors too.



The current one seem to be cramped and the theme words can be separated – means to say, not to be part of the masthead. Let the word “Kenyalang” be the masthead on its own. I suggest the team to stick to the color red, maybe, for the masthead official color. Add a thin 2-3 pixel shadow to enhance its standout ability.

I think the “Kenyalang” would look better with the “enyalan” at the same line or a little higher level to include the thin red line. The current one seem to have the “enyalan” a little bit lower and appear “falling down” .. heheheheee..

The Kenyalang (horn bill) bird can overlap a little with the “K” to make it look more real and protruding.

And, get rid of that email! You can put it under a contact section, where it should include how we can subscribe, send comments, where to buy, etc.

First impression
Average – I guess the Editorial didn’t do much research and lack articles to fill up the 28-pages “tabloid” from the visual evidence on the ‘stretching’ of font sizes and column sizes. Worst of all, they forgotten on copyrights notice!!

Unggal Mathias, I suggest that the team set a meeting with our fellow friend, Desmond Davidson of NST Kuching, to get FREE advise on newspaper fonts, column layouts, photo resolutions, etc. I wish I could be there to give my expert views and share my knowledge while setting up the Malaysian Today editorial system. Nevertheless, I will support your publication.

Poor – the Editorial should have decided on a standard for the font sizes used for the headline, first headings, quotes, main body text, and captions. Try to search for free Helvetica or SANS family fonts. If they have bought the latest Adobe InDesign, some cool fonts suitable for publishing is included.

Typing skill – it is understood that after a comma, they should be a space! The headers “Bulan Lima,2007” please. And, if I am not mistaken, I was taught (during my typing class by the steno students of UiTM) that after a pull stop, there should be two spaces. On this pull stop matters, the editor’s message lack a lot of this!! And, the paragraph indent should applies to all the body text.

Photo resolution and image resizing

The higher the better it will be. Sometimes, the Editors couldn’t do much if the recent digital photo is not available. Using low resolution photos can sometimes make the story less appealing. The image below is an example where two photos with different resolution is being used.


The editor could have just decide to use one of the photo (in this case, to use YB Larry’s).

Over-stretching of low resolution and small (in term of pixel size) photo can also spoil the story, like in the case of this main story for the pull-out section. The graphic artist could have avoid the high feathering (stick to 2-3 feather settings) and check the curve (the chin looks too bright and shinny for press printing).


Plus, the bold, condensed and extra large font used for the text on the right… uHhhh akaidai nggal!

Center spread
The repeating header is certainly one that should not be overlooked. Two of the mastheads, dates and section title (menoa).

The body text looks better with a 3-column layout instead of the 2-column used. And, the editor forgotten to check on the indention (again), close quote for the quotes.

The photos used are excellent! That’s the resolution and size that should be the standard to be use in future.

Publishing software
I am not sure of what Kenyalang is using, but it certainly is not Adobe InDesign or CorelDraw. If it was, then, I would suggest the team to employ a good layout artist with excellent skill in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For a 28-pages publication at a monthly basis, the Adobe Creative Suite is just the software they need to invest on. It may cost more than RM5k, but the result is one the Ibans should be proud of.

Of all my years in the press publication, I have yet to find an Iban who could produce good graphics and understands the concept of good text layout (preferably, Kenyalang, to adopt, a standard, 3-column and 4-column layout with 3-4 photo cuttings.) A good layout artist in Kuala Lumpur can be employed at RM1,800 – RM2,500 per month. He or she may not necessary be an Iban, but if they are looking for a Chinese, it shouldn’t be a problem. What matter, is the good layout and excellent readability.

Overall: The Editorial have 3 weeks to work on the articles, layout, etc. and probably one night to print, and 5 days to pack and distribute. Since, its already 8th June (the time I wrote this post), it is still not too late to use some of the pointers that I have shared here.

Hope to see a turn-around quality work in your June 2007 edition (or the July 2007 edition if its being distributed within the first week of the month.)

And, no comment on the Iban language used, since mine also koyak here and there :D


Lastly, I hope to see some coverage on this controversial issue of UMNO flags flying in major towns in Sarawak. I think the rural readers would want to know why this flag is flying at longhouses nearby.

Get some interview session with the rural Ibans and see what is their reaction towards the existence of these flags and the comments by our leaders in the State cabinets. Datuk Patinggi Jabu is not concern and said it was not an issue since UMNO did not give their blessing of the action by JIPUNS. But, why are these leaders reacting to the “treat”? Why is the ROS silence on the issue?

Bearing in mind, politics being politics, and anything can happen, we hope it is certainly not true, or else we are late to accept that it has been given the green lights by the authorities. The power is in their hands and not ours (in this case).

Cheers and a Happy Wedding to Cr. Thony Badak of Miri, who is to wed Miss Irlene this evening at Everly Parkcity Hotel.


14 thoughts on “Review: Kenyalang, the latest Iban language publication”

  1. I’m 1st!!!

    Congrats to Kenyalang. Hope they take your comments positively and strive to improve. Bidayuh should have their own publication too ..

  2. They should use simple speeling eg macam, maca instead of macham, macha which are old Malay spelling.

  3. Hmm.. then you have Dr. Dawos (who have Clif Mengud to advise him on setting up a Bidayuh tabloid) and Dr. Tiki who I think also will probably call Clif to assist. Reporters.. aplenty bro, who string from outside. Funding won’t be a problem with Dawos sitting comfortably with Naim Cendera.

  4. UK..tolong sampaikan tahniah dr saya to Thony and wife on their wedding!!!

    I knew thony and his few friends when they studied at University Malaya through my girlfriend, Tina..(wonder kalau2 Thony knows where she is now!)that time, they all pernah rented a house kat seksyen 17, PJ..I’ve lost touch with my friend tina..and was xcited to see his picture dlm RD..

    BTW I’m currently resided kat USA…


  5. Aku berasai temegah lebuh macha surat berita KENYALANG. Aku arapka surat berita tu ulih nyadika perengka ti tau dikena kitai ngempung raban bansa kitai Dayak ti balat pampar pepar pechah belah. Arapka ia ulih mantaika pengelandik enggau pengeliat ati tuai raban bansa Dayak. Enda ibuh dulu ngemesaika ‘orang bukai’ sampai nyau kelalu berupai nyadi kereban dikena kimpin bepolitik.

  6. Aku berasai temegah lebuh macha surat berita KENYALANG. Aku arapka surat berita tu ulih nyadika perengka ti tau dikena kitai ngempung raban bansa kitai Dayak ti balat pambar pepar, pechah belah. Arapka ia ulih mantaika pengelandik enggau pengeliat ati tuai raban bansa Dayak. Enda ibuh dulu ngemesaika ‘orang bukai’ sampai nyau kelalu berupai nyadi kereban dikena kimpin bepolitik. Keluarka mega berita ti ditulis ngena jaku raban bansa Dayak bukai baka jaku Bidayuh,enggau jaku Urang Ulu kelimpah ari jaku Iban.

  7. About the flags:

    The DPM’s statement in the Star today (Copied as fair use):

    Umno to stay out of Sarawak

    KOTA KINABALU: Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said there was no change in the party’s earlier decision not to enter Sarawak.

    “We will not recognise any attempt to establish Umno in Sarawak,” he said.

    He was commenting on recent reports of a group in Sarawak promoting Umno’s entry into the state when speaking to reporters here Monday.

    The group calling themselves Sarawak Umno protem committee and claiming to have the support of certain Umno individuals in Kuala Lumpur have put up Umno flags in various parts of Sarawak.

    It also claimed to have opened about 70 Umno branches throughout the state since September last year with the largest number in Kuching, irking the state Barisan Nasional politicians.

    On Saturday, Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) deputy president Datuk Seri Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg dismissed talk of Umno’s intention to spread its wings to Sarawak as mere rumours.

    He said the issue of Umno entering Sarawak was never discussed during Barisan meetings and the Umno headquarters in Kuala Lumpur had notified Sarawak Barisan that no green light have been given to set up branches.

    On Sunday in Kuching, PBB youth wing acting head Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah questioned why Umno flags had been appearing throughout the state despite Umno’s reassurance that it was not going into Sarawak.

  8. Another feather in Dayak cap, mass communication is the tool for the educated to gather information. It is timely, as Dayak progress in education is on an uptrend. The government news “karang seminggu” used to be widely read and circulated a long time ago, usually a two pager. Maybe something similar could be done, the salient point of main news that can be distributed for free / or .20cents.

    Profitability is ALWAYS a key business driver – enti bisi lebih, do community service mimit meh.

  9. What is pull stop? I assumed it’s ‘full stop’. Anyway, checked on your two spacing at Wiki –
    “Many descriptivists (i.e., people who describe how language is used in practice) support the notion that a single space after a full stop should be considered standard because it has been the norm in mainstream publishing for many decades. This is supported by the MLA, APA[3], and the The Chicago Manual of Style.[4]”

    ::almost thought somebody forgotten to tell me about it.

    By the way, I’d always thought dayaks are the more creative lots. Emm…

  10. A good move those involved in the publication of the Kenyalang paper. As much as I like the idea, I would like to give my personal thought on it. I think you shoudn’t have a masthead of that style. No paper in the world has a masthead like that. Yeah, you want to be creative but please do not go overboard and become a laughing stock. Just take a look at it K-nyalan-G. Making it worse was the colour. Why do you have to use black for k and g and red for the others.

    Choose a good font and a good colour. And the bird kenyalang. You already have the masthead why put the bird there. Is there any statement that you to emphasize there?

    About the font. I think you should use the fonts that are used by the printing company. No using hard to get kind of fonts because it would cause complication during printing. You can use Times Roman at a range of size between 9 point to 12 for the text. As for headline, it shouldn’t be too big or too small..but let every page has a standard size for its headline.

    There are plenty of rooms for improvements. I really want to share my knowledge I gained from working in a sarawak paper before, but after leaving the editorial and graphic desk for so long to work in the reporting section, I am afraid I have lost my skills already.

    Anyway, you will learn thorugh experience and I am sure the paper will evolve from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan someday. Just be consistent in what you, what you say to earn credibility from the people. Most important, don’t take side in political field or make yourself look like siding to a party or personality. It is not good for the business. Take Malaysian Today for example. It had a bright future if not for the squabble in the PBDS and the prs.

    As for the spelling and grammar whatsoever…nadai sekula Iban suba, nya alai enda uli meri runding.

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