EVERY festive season, Malaysians look forward to commercials and short webfilms that will showcase the best of Malaysian culture and customs in some of the most heart-warming ways.

Petronas, for one, has always had viral-worthy productions — particularly when the late Yasmin Ahmad was making them but this year, they’ve kept Malaysians in the dark over their Hari Raya release while all other major organisation were raking in sentimental hits with theirs.

Releasing their webfilm earlier today (July 31) — two weeks since the start of Syawal — the oil and gas giant justified it by saying that they wanted highlight values depicted in their commercial beyond the festive season.

Sampai Hati tells the story two brothers who grew up worlds apart. One is an aspiring filmmaker who has an eye for beauty and dreams, while the other a stern, assertive army officer.

Their differences have kept them apart while growing up but they eventually forgive each other and form a closer bond.

I had the opportunity to speak to the Petronas Senior General Manager of Strategic Communications, Norliza Kamaruddin and share my take on their film.

PETRONAS Senior General Manager of Strategic Communications Norliza Kamaruddin speaks to media during press conference for special webfilm 'Sampai Hati' as finale for its 'Raya Treasures' campaign.
Petronas Senior General Manager of Strategic Communications Norliza Kamaruddin briefing the media on their webfilm ‘Sampai Hati’. — TRP pic by Kenneth Wan

My concern was that the mass market would not enjoy it as much because of the subtlety of the entire production as our people have been spoilt with melodramatic takes on festive webfilms.

A tragedy must happen before somebody feel remorse; Characters will also have to over-exaggerate their emotions; or the trendiest tool now is to milk audiences’ emotions and make them guilt ridden or contemplate on their own doings.

But I have to say that I enjoy the subtlety of Petronas’ work this time around because it shows that we can afford to be happy and achieve great things in life if we just learn to let go, seek for forgiveness while forgiving and forgetting.

The story of ‘Sampai Hati’ is based on a true story experienced by writer/director Rewan Ishak
‘Sampai Hati’ is based on a true story experienced by writer/director Rewan Ishak. — YouTube pic

It was the same for Liz. She said Petronas chose this story which was written and directed by Rewan Ishak —who also have produced KIL, an action-drama film in 2013 — to show that we can celebrate life by just letting go of our ego and learning to ask for forgiveness while forgiving and forgetting others at the same time.

For the record, the story was picked from submissions made during their Raya Treasures campaign that was launched earlier in June.

“We are filled with too much emotions and that is why we are what we are today. We get upset over small things, we hold on to our ego so hard and only regret later. So why should we wait until all that has happened to feel remorse?

The message was pretty clear to me. We always speak about unity and how important it is for us to be united as Malaysians but how many of us realise that unity starts at home? How many of us are guilty of arguing with our family members over petty matters and going our separate ways? And how many of us have hurt our parents and family members because we were just too egoistic to apologise, let go of the past and move on amicably?

For Petronas, this webfilm reflects a lot more than just festive cheers. It wanted to spread the message of unity, compassion, mutual respect and moderation to all Malaysians on an ordinary day.

Catch the webfilm — #PETRONASRaya 2015: Sampai Hati — here:

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