Flat Attack: National newspaper asks readers to weigh in on what shape they think the Earth is

Illustration of flat earth. (Photo: Hellerick/Wikipedia via CC BY-SA 4.0)
Illustration of flat earth. (Photo: Hellerick/Wikipedia via CC BY-SA 4.0)

Last Friday, as Chinese scientists were breaking new ground into the quantum pigeonhole effect, and a group in California were isolating an early onset Alzheimer’s gene mutation, some Malaysian minds were toiling on a far more pressing matter. Perpetuating the raging debate that ended when Magellan didn’t fall off a ledge as he circumnavigated the Earth hundreds of years ago, Sinar Harian — a widely circulated newspaper — asked their readers via Twitter exactly what shape they thought our planet was: round, or flat.

We’re not sure whether we’re even surprised anymore that 9 percent of those who took the time to take a poll whose question was answered in Standard 1 science believe that the Earth is flat, but it was slightly shocking to have a publication whose purpose is to separate fact from fiction jumping into the “debate.” Or is it?

Believe it or not, this isn’t Sinar Harian’s first dive into flat earth chatter, with an article debating the Earth’s shape having made their front page two years ago. Inside, you’d have found four pages dedicated to the sphere naysayers out there explaining why they reckon it’s all just a hoax to make us think beyond a two-dimensional plane.


Curious as to what pearls of wisdom they’d like for you to consider? Well — haven’t you wondered why the shape of America looks different now, than it did 50 years ago? No? Neither have we, but this is something they’d like for you to open your hearts and minds to.

While we may have been left shaking our heads, the rest of the internet was able to provide comic relief to the question posited by our modern-day Newton’s over at Sinar Harian. Here were some of the best:


We know we shouldn’t even bother entertaining this “debate,” but for the record — the Earth is round. Spacecraft, aircraft, and distant objects can confirm this. Not for nothing, but by observing eclipses, even the ancient Greeks were able to surmise that the only way a round shadow could be consistently cast was if the Earth was round.

If you’re too broke to take a space ship, or the Concorde, and not quite ready for the advanced geometry of the Parthenon, then here’s some pretty basic maths to break it down for you. Sigh.

Subscribe to the WTF is Up in Southeast Asia + Hong Kong podcast to get our take on the top trending news and pop culture from the region every Thursday!

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on