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Malaysia: 2010 vs 2019

Malaysia: 2010 vs 2019

Akmal Hakim

It’s hard to believe that 2010 was (almost) 10 years ago, and as the decade comes to an end, it seems as though everyone around the world has been hit with a wave of nostalgia.

So as we usher in Wawasan 2020, let’s celebrate by looking at some of the country’s most eventful moments in Pop Culture and how Malaysia looked at the start of the decade compared to how it is now at the end of the decade.

Internet and social media

(Credit: Pocket-lint/Newscientist)

Malaysia’s viral landscape doesn’t look like it did a decade ago. Back in 2010, smartphones, mobile browsing, and social media were still relatively new and TM just unveiled its UniFi plan that had the “breakneck” speed of 2Mbps. People were texting each other on their Blackberries or showing off their “new” touch screen phones while updating their statuses on their Facebook “walls”.

Remember that annoying “Ping” function on Blackberry messenger?
(Credit: Digital Spy)

Now at the dawn of 2020, Malaysia became one of Southeast Asia’s biggest social media consumers.

The country’s internet penetration rate as of 2019 was at 80% with Malaysian’s spending an average of 8 hours a day browsing online and spending up to 3 hours daily scrolling through social media looking at dank memes and posting up videos on TikTok to become the next social media influencer with our 5G smartphones.

Please allow us to shamelessly plug our own Tik Tok account. LOL.
(Credit: TRP)

Movies and cinema

(Credit: Wikipedia/Amazon)

Back in 2010, the popular pastime of “Netflix and chill” was still unheard of, and Malaysians had to get their dose of cinematic entertainment the hard way; either by illegally downloading their favourite content online (which TRP does not endorse BTW), or taking a trip to the local cinema to catch the latest box-office movies.

And that year, millions of Malaysians were taken on an interstellar journey to a faraway planet dominated by tall, blue monkeys as James Cameron’s Avatar was the top-grossing movie of the year, making over RM30 million at the cinemas.

“Blue Face” was all the rage back in 2010.
(Credit: Facebook)

Though online streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon has taken over the bulk of our lives in 2019, Malaysians still crowded the cinemas to witness the end of an era, as Avengers: Endgame brings a conclusion a spectacular 11-year saga between the forces of evil and earth’s mightiest heroes.

Malaysian Marvel fans assembling during the movie premier earlier in 2019.
(Credit: Cyber RT)

The film became the highest-grossing movie of all-time in Malaysia and had a record-breaking collection of RM80 million in ticket sales.

(Credit: @BatikGirlFilm/Facebook)

2019 was also marked with great accomplishments for Malaysia’s very own visual animation scene with the international success of Batik Girl – animated film by The R&D studio about a young girl from Terengganu discovering the magic of batik – and the nomination of the Upin & Ipin movie for ” Best Animated Feature Film” at the 2020 Oscars.

Music

(Credit: Pinterest/Wikipedia)

Though we didn’t have Spotify to jam to back in 2010, Malaysians were still rocking to some of the hottest and most memorable tracks of the time.

The world (Malaysia included) was partying non-stop to the sounds of Ke$ha with her hit song TiK ToK back in 2010 and heartbroken lovers everywhere were bleeding their hearts out to the tune of Need You Now by Lady Antebellum.

Now, our worst fears have been realised everyone is doing “finger hearts” as K-Pop has relatively taken over the Malaysian airwaves with Korean boy group, BTS became the “Most Streamed Artist” on Spotify as of 2019.

Local Hip-Hop stars K-Clique.
(Credit: Iluminas)

But looking closer at our local music scene, the end of the decade also saw the rise of local musical talents, with local MCs K-Clique becoming the “Most Streamed Local Artist” of 2019.

Food and drink trends

(Credit: Weekender)

Now, where would Malaysia be without our delicious and delectable foods, drinks and snacks? Even though Malaysia has gone through quite a culinary journey over the past 10 years, with our love for spicy foods and all things cheesy…

The abomination that is Pisang Goreng Cheese.
(Credit: Cookpad)

But when it comes to the food item that defined both 2010 and 2019, none can take away our affinity for the sweet things in life, as the Bubble or Bobba Tea trend still remains on the taste buds of Malaysians at the end of the decade ever since the first Chatime burst into town in 10 years ago.

Now you can practically see a Bubble tea shop on almost every street corner, serving up Malaysian with a wholesome cup of diabetes-infused goodness.

Fashion and style

(Credit: Gossip Rakyat/Malay Mail)

Malaysia’s fashionistas have been hard at work keeping up with the latest fashion trends of the decade.

2010 saw the global phenomenon of the “Hipster” sub-culture making its way into the Malaysian “mainstream” emphasizing an individual’s style, authenticity and uniqueness in their everyday clothing.

Malaysian politicians reimagined and restyled in hipster clothing.
(Credit: Aizat Paharodzi via Murai)

It seems like Malaysians everywhere were dressing in anything remotely “vintage” and almost every man would have an overly manly moustache.

Nowadays, “street style” has seemingly become the dominant fashion force of 2019 as trendy Malaysians flock online shopping stores to get the latest in athletics wear and indulge themselves in fancy, overpriced cool and, contemporary clothing.

What Malaysians were wearing at the 2019 KL Fashion Week.
(Credit: L Officiel Malaysia)

Visual arts

(Credit: Lee Long Looi via Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers/ Fei Giap Chong via Pinterest)

With the advent of the internet and technological advances, 2010 saw the rise in interest towards Malaysia’s art scene when local artists began to shift away from more traditional mediums towards a digital canvas, showcasing and publicizing their works online directly to a growing audience.

The decade also saw talented Malaysian illustrators like Abam Apam and Ernest Ng and others making a name for themselves with their colourful art.
(Credit: Twitter @RealAbamApam/Twitter @ernestngBRO)

And with the coming of the internet meme culture gnawing away at our brains. It seemed like every Malaysian had their fair share and contribution to the ever-expanding meme universe.

Malaysian memes FTW!
(Credit: Twitter @Emo_Protestor)

Now at the end of 2019, Malaysians can freely explore the arts as galleries and exhibitions flourish accross the nation. While our cyberspace is flooded almost every day with wondrous creations made by numerous artists, illustrators, graphic designers, animators and of course your almighty meme lords.

Politics

(Credit: The Malaysian Times/ Mashables SEA)

Now we can’t talk about the start and end of the decade without straying a bit into the political landscape of the country and how much things have changed since 2010.

The decade began with the Barisan National coalition still in power, and Malaysia’s 6th Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has just completed his first year in office, hot on the tail of realising the “1Malaysia” dream of promoting national unity and transforming the country into a high-income, developed nation.

Former premier Najib Razak with his “catchy” slogan for 2019.
(Credit: Lowyat)

Now 10 years down the road, our minds are set on “Malaysia Baru” with the Pakatan Harapan government in the 2nd year of its tenure under the leadership of the world’s oldest head of government, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Malaysian Cabinet as of 2018.
(Credit: Malay Mail)

While Najib Razak is in the midst of one of the country’s biggest political scandals, facing charges against abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering.

Najib Razak appearing outside court in 2019.
(Credit: Malay Mail)

As Malaysia exists as a harmonious, multifaceted society, so is our exposure and experiences to the unique and beautiful elements of pop culture that is constantly evolving with the times.

Do let us know of some of your pop-cultural references of the decade that we’ve might have missed.


How different would things be in the next 10 years? Share with us your thoughts on Malaysia’s next decade on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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