Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Of Merdeka Day Commercials

Today, Malaysians celebrate the country's 53rd Independence Day.  For those of you who don't know, Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia.  Its neighbouring countries include Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.  We were once colonialized by the Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese and British.  Yeah, that's the grim reality forever entrenched in our history but we've moved on.

I'm not sure how Merdeka Day is celebrated in my country during these trying times but one thing for sure, there'll be the usual Merdeka Day Parade somewhere.  Same old same old...  What I really look forward in the Merdeka month, however, were the various Merdeka commercials, sponsored by big Malaysians corporations.  The late Yasmin Ahmad (correct me if I'm wrong) might have started the trend of directing muhibbah, value-laden Merdeka commercials, while others practically jumped into the band-wagon.  Problem is, when you have too much of a similar thing, it becomes a bit tired.  To all seasoned and aspiring creative directors out there:  initiate something fresh, not just be mere followers, guys!

Out of the many Merdeka Day commercials churned since 1997 (I think), four remained my all-time favourites.  They were sponsored by Malaysia Airlines, Petronas, and Proton, respectively.  The commercials depict the good side of Malaysia's multiculturalism.  I'm not so sure who directed the commercials but the first two might have been (directed) by Yasmin while, the last one might be the works of either Ho Yuhang or Afdlin Shauki.  Yasmin has since left us but her legacy lives on. In the mean time, all is not lost when it comes to Merdeka Day Commercials.  Watch out for more creative works by Yuhang and Afdlin :).     

Malaysia Airlines 41st Merdeka Day Commercial

Petronas Merdeka Day Commercial

Proton Merdeka Day Commercial

Proton 52nd Merdeka Day Commercial

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