Irritating Hari Raya TV ads!
|Zan Azlee is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, New Media practitioner and lecturer. He runs Fat Bidin Media www.fatbidin.com|
AUG 17 — Have any of you seen the latest batch of Hari Raya television commercials yet? I don’t know about you but I’m getting pretty annoyed and irritated by them.
It seems to me that they are all competing with each other to see who can make Malaysians cry the most... no matter what the cost! It’s like the end justifies the means or something. The worst this year has to be the one by Bernas.
It starts out at a boarding school or orphanage of some sort where a lot of young children are about to leave for the Hari Raya holidays. Everyone of them has family members coming to pick them up except for these two boys. One is speech-impaired and the other is blind.
The speech-impaired boy tells the blind boy about his mother in the village. So the blind boy suggests they ditch the school/orphanage and find their way to the village. They go through all kinds of challenges that would make me, a grown man in my 30s, give up on life. But, of course, these boys persevere.
When they do reach the village, guess what? The speech-impaired boy’s mother is dead! They are there to visit a grave and he tells the blind boy that they can share a mother!
Well, cut my chest open, tear my heart out, throw it on the ground, stomp on it a few times, pick it back up, put out some cigarettes on it and shove it back in! What will they do next year to top off this year’s TV commercial? Film a quadruple amputee rolling on the ground and flash the words “Selamat Hari Raya” on screen?
Seriously, as much as I do like a tear-jerker, I much prefer to usher in the festive occasion with a warm and fuzzy feeling rather than be sad and depressed.
What happened to us Malaysians? Why all the sudden darkness? What happened to all the Hari Raya commercials of old?
We were building such a good tradition with all the heart-warming TV commercials that actually highlight the true festive emotions in the country and amongst its people.
What Malaysian wouldn’t be familiar with the Petronas commercials that were produced every year by our favourite director, the late Yasmin Ahmad? Those were the best and everyone has a favourite Petronas Raya commercial. There’s the one about the murai bird, the one about the trishaw puller, the farting grandfather, and many more.
But my favourite has to be the one with the seven sons and the cow. The sons had bought everything their mother had asked for except the beef for the rendang. It’s Raya eve and they search high and low for beef in all the markets in the vicinity but fail. In the end, they see a Sikh boy selling milk and they buy his family cow.
Eventually, more companies got into the act and similar-type commercials flooded our televisions. But it wasn’t a problem since they were all heart warming and feel-good. I say we get back that spirit of making people feel good about Hari Raya and happy to celebrate it with their loved ones instead of guilt-tripping them into it.
But hey, if it’s tears they’re looking for, then I say go for the quadruple amputee! Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri everyone!
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.