[Watch] ‘Racist’ Merdeka Video Ad Triggers Online Debate
The video was taken down following negative responses.
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A Merdeka themed video advertisement recently posted, then taken down by Muslim NGO, IKRAM Malaysia Foundation (IKRAM), courted a debate among Malaysians on social media.
Titled, “Mak, Dah Siap!” or “Mom, It’s Done!”, the ad was published on 22 August then later deleted following responses from the public who apparently deemed the video to be racist, perpetuating stereotypes and seditious in nature.
The minute-long video featured a Malay family spending some quality time at home – with a father browsing the web, a mother working on some chores, and a son who’s drawing with crayons.
While scrolling through social media postings on his phone, the father went on to describe Indians and Chinese with derogatory terms like “India Keling”, “Cina Bukit”, gangsters, and drunks before being scolded by his wife who said that Islam does not teach its followers to say such things.
What is wrong with these India Keling? They are always fighting. What is happening to Malaysia? These Cina bukit are the same. Always driving drunk and running into others. What is wrong with them?via Twitter.
The ad later switched to the son showing the mother his artwork which displayed a drawing of three people under a Malaysian flag with the description;
- This is Mutu. He is Keling. Likes (being a) gangster.
- This is me, I’m Malay.
- This is Cheong, He’s a Cina Bukit. He (likes to) get drunk.
The video finishes with the mother’s shocked reaction at her son’s drawing and a narration by the boy which said “I was not born racist, but I was taught”.
Racist or real?
Netizens who managed to save a copy of the ad before it was removed then began pondering the video’s intended message.
@DrThanussha what's your view on this Merdeka advertisement? pic.twitter.com/SElbAoOgc6— krishna (@krishster) August 24, 2021
Some agreed that the video was offensive and promoted racial stereotypes.
Inappropriate & gross generalization. Glib and simplistic. Self victimization syndrome. There are better ways to convey the same message.— Jason Leong (@jasonleong) August 25, 2021
I humbly think it was wrong to use the derogatory terms. You can still get a strong message out without resorting to the very terms people find extremely offensive.— Phillip Karuppiah (@PhillKar) August 24, 2021
First of all, it’s a derogatory term; irregardless of the underlying message it shouldn’t be used for a National Day ad— Dhanush Prithvi (@dhanushprithv1) August 24, 2021
Secondly, there are multiple ways to convey a message combating racism and this ad isn’t it.
As a Malaysian Indian, I strongly condemn this.
Others argued that the ad hits very close to the heart at calling out what’s happening in Malaysia today.
It may be harsh but the message is accurate.— Dr Thanussha 🏴🇲🇾 (@DrThanussha) August 24, 2021
Racism is taught. No one is born racist. https://t.co/I03evtysJb
The message is very clear and straight forward. I do not know why many seeing it thru same racism lens. They fail to see to crystal clear message.— ratha (@ratha2811) August 24, 2021
Those derogatory terms are real harsh but necessary to reflect the truth. One day, a united Malaysia insyaAllah— sarrrius (@suri200000) August 24, 2021
Despite varying opinions on the video, IKRAM later wrote an open apology explaining that the ad was meant to reflect real-world situations that exist within Malaysian society and instil patriotism.
The main message conveyed in the video is to show the current reality that exists within some parts of Malaysian society that tend to label other races with negative acts or behaviors.IKRAM Malaysia Foundation
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