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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Syabas 8TV!

By now, many of us would have been aware of the “public service” advertisements which have been pulled out by 8TV.

For those who have not seen it yet, the  awesome “public service” advertisements could be accessed via a Malaysian Insider report yesterday.

It is amazing that some people could take leave from their intelligence in full public view nowadays. And we seem to be doing it with the consistency of Datuk Nicole Davids in the squash courts. Syabas.

The thing which struck me was the nonchalant attitude shown by Media Prima chief operating officer Ahmad Izham Omar when the advertisements were creating a storm in cyberspace yesterday. He was reported as saying, on his twitter account:

“Chill guys. Don’t overthink the ads. Its written, produced and directed by a multi-racial team. If you overanalyse, anything will be bad.”

As a media man, he should know that a message driven public service advertisement would at some point of time be dissected and analysed by the very target of those advertisements. And when the advertisements turn stereotyping into an art, surely they will touch on raw nerves.

One does not have to “overthink” about those advertisements to find them offensive and insensitive. The fact that it was produced by a “multi-racial team” does not negate the somewhat insidious stereotyping contained in the advertisements.

The advice to “chill out” was, to me, even more insulting than the advertisements themselves.

Speaking of insult, I am sure many Muslims would find those advertisements insulting as well. How weak are we, Muslims? We would be breaking fast when we see other people eat or drink? Or we would be having a hard-on at a pasar Ramadhan when we see girls in sleeveless tank top showing their arm pit eh?

The ritual of fasting is meant to cleanse not only our physical body but also our soul. We are supposed to be humbled by the experience of fasting. We are supposed to learn the sufferings of those who are not as lucky as we are, those who do not have food and drinks like us day in day out throughout the year as opposed to only 30 days or so a year.

Why are we so weak so much so that we have to ask people of other faith not to drink or eat in front of us? For God’s sake, the Prophet and his followers fought the Badar battle on the 17th day of Ramadhan in the year 624. And here, now in 2011, we seek the non-Muslims’ understanding not to eat in front of us in Ramadhan. Awesome.

I just love seeing how the Chinese-looking girl was portrayed as a greedy person trying to make a pig out of herself with all the food. If 8TV crew could go to one of those hotels which serves the RM100++ buka puasa buffet, perhaps they would see that Muslims too put mountainous amount of food on their plate too which at the end is not consumed.

There are many messages which could be delivered during Ramadhan. Messages about how we all should be moderate in our buka puasa meals; about how we all should not forget the sufferings of those in poverty and those children who have to work on the streets of Chow Kit to fend for  themselves; about how we all should not just think that Ramadhan is all about avoiding food and drink in day time; about how we should all strive to respect each other, to treat each other with good manners and in civility; about how we should all detoxify our soul from greed, corruption, intoxication with all things materials etc etc.

Instead we chose to demean our neighbours and friends with insensitive and almost senseless stereotyping this Ramadhan. Just a few days ago I remember our Honourable Prime Minister preaching for acceptance instead of tolerance. What have the people at 8TV learned from that exhortation?

Well, the advertisements have been pulled out. The  chief operating officer of Media Prima had  reportedly said:

“Ok guys. We’re pulling out the ads. Thank you very much for your concern.”

He followed up by asking:

“And now to more important things... Does a horn section sound better with 4 trombones? Or would just 3 trombones be enough?”

Yes, life goes on, isn’t it? There are much more important things in life.

As for the horn section with 3 or 4 trombones, I would surely hope 8TV is not going to air a programme on it. Because I fear they might just go and inspect some horns on some cars and air their findings.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

雨林画室 teearts.studio (Malaysia) said...

Agree :)

Anonymous said...

A few years ago during Ramadan I (chinese) took 2 other Mat Sallehs to the Sri Melayu restaurants for dinner, thinking that it would be a nice cultural taste and sight for the overseas clients. We obtained our food before the gong sounded for the breaking of fast. One of the waiters came up to me to request that we do not start eating out of respect for the other muslim clients around us. Incidentally that restaurant happily served beer to anyone who requested for one. Go figure!

Anonymous said...

Petronas produced good adverts during festive seasons, which resonates with people from all walks of life and all ethnic groups. 8TV can learn from them.

Anonymous said...

I am ignorant about what Muslims in other parts of the world do but from my limtied knowledge, I suspect Malaysian Muslims, have been brainwashed by the present government to think that they should receive special treatments during Ramadan, particularly from the non-Muslims.

In my view, the only special treatment a non-Muslim should accord to respect the Muslims for practising what Islam ask them to so in the month of Ramadan. To expect the non-Muslims to curtail their daily lifestyle, that is out of line.

That said, I'm eagerly waiting for Ridhuan Tee to write an article about how the rest of Malaysia should also fast and do every things that Malaysian Muslims do during Ramadan. It will be an interesting read.

Pat said...

Thank you for this one, Art. Thank you being the voice of reason, that redeems my faith in fellow Malaysians, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

All the words banging about inside my head, I see here in your post. As a non-Muslim, it does me good to read it, and know that at the very least, I am not alone.

Anonymous said...


Not only is the UMNO led government continuing to remind the Malays they are handicapped and inferior and thus need to depend on the government's crutches, NTV8 is singing and playing the same tune. As a non Muslim, my first reaction when I saw the PSA was to laugh my head off. What I saw was a terrible insult to the Muslims as the PSA suggests that the Muslims are weak in their faith and cannot control their actions. Muslims who are strong in their faith will not react to people eating in their presence or women wearing sleeveless tops. This instead is a period for true Muslims to test their faith and conviction in Islam.

russ65 said...

Thank you brother Art for this comments.. very well said and I totally agree. I miss the days with the creativity, sensitivity and the Malaysian-ness being put in the commercials by arwah Yasmin (may Allah bless her soul). That is the true Malaysian spirit regardless of the religions, race, holidays, etc.

clangan said...

Art, you're the man!!!

KoSong Cafe said...

Don't we miss Yasmin Ahmah's creativity? So far, the wannabees pale in comparison.

Leithaisor said...

Yasmin Ahmad felt for the people and had a good heart. True art flows from such. Money cannot buy someone like that.

But that would not stop the likes of Ahmad Izham Omar from pulling cheap stunts like the 8TV ads. And then trying to make light of the matter when it blew up in his face. Which only highlighted how crass he is.

As as with many of such divisive stunts which have taken place lately, it has come back to haunt those behind it. Yep, SYABAS is in order.

Dulu lain, kini lain. Cannot fool the people like before.

Antares said...

Media Prima chief operating officer Ahmad Izham Omar comes across as an Umnoputra brat - facile, shallow and utterly crass, just like the stupid Ramadhan ads they had to pull - what a sheer waste of energy, time, and money!

Batang Berjuntai said...

In Malaysia many religions teach their followers about fasting. It is an act between you and the Almighty.

Here is a beautiful paragraph that is taken from the Bible:

"And when you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, so that others cannot know that you are fasting - ONLY your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you." Matthew, Chapter 6, 16-18

Anonymous said...

malaysians love polemics but the way some argue, it'like they left their brain on the shelf.I hear argument like '...IF i cant eat or fast, other ppl should not eat, out of respect, if i cant drink, others should not drink..bla, bla' all these defy logics,.. have u heard vegetarians preventing other ppl from eating meat? no rite.

Anonymous said...

If externality can effect their faith, then ban MTV or internet, stop going to infidel countries like UK, US, they might be influenced by many western temptations!!??

Anonymous said...

I hope you'll also add a few words to the ludicrous apology that moronic COO put up. What a great way to confirm and testify that 8TV truly is the cesspool for context-impaired Bangsarites too inept for ASTRO.

Anonymous said...

Previously, a HATEmistress publicly pouted racist tirades in front of students without caring about how Chinese and Indians students feel

Then another HATEmistress forbids non-Muslim students from eating at canteen during Ramadan last year

When it comes to hypocrisy, UMNO goons are full of examples
When it comes to failure to resist temptations, UMNO goons' patronage to brothels in Jalan Chow Kit say it all
When it comes to apostasy, UMNO goons' racism and corruptions lead the way

Bogey said...

Good one Art.
I used to think highly of this Ahmad Izham chappy as one of the more liberal progressive Malays that will make a mark for himself someday. Well, he certainly did leave a mark, but not a good one.

Anonymous said...

good one Art.

Anonymous said...

This post of yours just proves that you are one of those who needs to take the advice to chill out, Art Harun. The fact that the advert was produced by a multi racial team itself indicates that members of the team are comfortable enough with their own skin so as to be able to have some harmless fun with it.

I suppose if they were to rerun episodes of "Mind Your Language" you are going to object to that, too, in spite of the fact that that old TV series draws its greatest number of fans from the ethnic groups it allegedly "disparages".

Honestly, this politically correct garbage being espoused by liberal retards such as yourself needs to stop and its about time some people take a stand against it. I am one such person.

Anonymous said...

Fear is everywhere,fear of loss of employment, afraid the food is tainted, afraid pluralism will effect belief,fear somebody get converted to other faith,..when are we getting out of the loop and walk confident?

Anonymous said...

Hello Anon 5 aug, 21:37, the issue is not multi-racial team, the issue is intention and the message they want to convey.What are they trying to prove? we are not stupid , rite!!

Jeyan said...

Even if the the chinese looking actress is replaced by a Malay, Caucasian , Indian etc , this ad will still come across as revolting. Poor taste and lack of imagination. Turns people of straight away. As regards to not eating during Ramadan , many of us do try not to eat when we r among our Muslim friends,if possible. But that should be by choice and not something forced on to the non Muslims . The waiter at seri melayu restaurant that one your readers mentioned is way out of line. I hope the reader lodged an official complaint with the management

Anonymous said...

My Malay neighbor told me: "Ramadhan supposed to be spiritual but now reduced to food festival. The food consumption is highest that month compared with other months in the year."

peacefully Potent said...

Several Prime Ministers in this world lied some point in time. E.g. Bliar.
We certainly have one in this country. You just cant trust what a Decepticon says... apanama tu, Acceptance!?!

Sea MunnKey said...

Seems like most if not all non-muslim ads have to particularly go through every details with a fine toothbrush and magnifying glass ...might as well censor all communicating media outlets including all local TV & radio stations regardless!! I'd say why not turn back the clock and live in the stone age civilisation?

Sabretooth as a "watchdog" anyone?

Anonymous said...

When mentioning that the ads were produced by a multi racial team, it is only fair that Ahmad Izham should also mentioned that the Creative Director was one Douglas Lim, copywriter was Eddie Lim (no relation), the Creative Support Manager was Abdul Ghafur Adenan, The Production Manager was Sanjit Singh Randhawa, the Editor were David Yeoh and Xiang (3D). The actress is Jinnie Ang (all name above works for Media Prima).

The filming was outsourced to one Mr Gatsby, and son who acted as Film Director and Cinematographer.

Mr Art, if you dont believe me call this number 603-77266333 (Sri Pentas hunting line) ask for Douglas' secretary - Caitlyn.

Anonymous said...


Creative Director is Douglas Khoo.

Other staffs in Creative Services Dpt are Razidi (Producer), Editors - Hisaham, Azlan

Brand - try to find out later.

some names above were not directly involved in the ad production.

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