Friday, 7 February 2014

In 2003, I lodged a police report over a Chinese New Year commercial too


If one can remember, many years back before the age of YouTube, self-made videos and thus self-made Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Christmas, Deepavali or any festive season commercials or messages or videos, the commercials that we see in the TV were usually produced with huge effort, with better quality, creativity and certainly, sans the politics. When I walk down the memory lane, I’ll always remember the Chinese New Year commercials on which most of them will sure have lion dance or drum performances, mandarin oranges, together with beautifully written couplets, except for one offending commercial that I will never forget.
During the Chinese New Year in 2003, I lodged a police report at the Georgetown Police Headquarters, accompanied by a few DAP comrades with regards to the Chinese New Year commercial by Perodua, the second National Car Company which was deemed a horrible insult to the Chinese community because we were portrayed at the race that are bias, without empathy, looking down at the poor and having the culture to put on a show to please the rich. I asked for the company and its advertising agent to be investigated and charge for making seditious video.
The commercial was about a family that did not give a heed to a group of poor relatives who visit them during Chinese New Year but upon hearing that some rich relatives are coming, the whole family were up in motion cleaning the house, putting up decorations including crystal chandelier and red carpets to welcome the rich. The advertisement ends there with a male voice saying “we are all relatives, not need to put up a show” - 大家都是自己人,别做戏, then a banner with the wordings “Gong Xi Fa Cai from Perodua”.
Such an advertisement was a bad taste of choice that truly shows a big ridicule the Chinese community. I tried to search in YouTube for that offensive commercial but to no avail but I am sure many of you will still remember it because for a long time, “大家都是自己人,别做戏” was widely used by the people to tease one another. In return, I do not see Teresa Kok’s Chinese New Year YouTube video can match that commercial by Perodua in terms of its offensiveness and ridicule to certain race.
However, back then, politicians were much cool headed. We did not organize flash mob to burn any mock Perodua Kancil cars or splash chicken blood on the poster of Perodua’s Managing Director or call for the Chinese community to boycott Perodua cars. We leave the investigation to the police and the judgment to the members of the public. As a result from that police report, Perodua withdraw its Chinese New Year commercial from all TV stations and issued an apology to the Chinese in Malaysia who was offended by that commercial. In return, the Chinese community accepted the apology with open hearts.
I am wondering, if that commercial were to take place 11 years later, today, what will happen?

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