My Generasi- Why It Worked

That’s the My Generasi video.

Maybe I’m a little late in putting this out, but I was just thinking about its popularity in the car that day. Why exactly was it popular? What does it say about us as Malaysians? And more importantly, what does this all mean for us?

It was interesting to witness how it spread all over Facebook, then to come to the knowledge that it grew to one million hits in its first four days, its all a pretty phenomenal reach for this Malaysian duo-Jinnyboytv (Jin from hitz.FM).

For the most part, the video highlighted many of the familiar children’s games we played in school. In an interview, its creators said how the inspiration came from watching how kids today don’t play these games anymore. Instead, they hang on to their gadgets, Ipads, and in turn miss out a lot in life. Friendships, fun, going-out and all.

I agree with its message and motivations. But I also believe a big part of why it reached its popularity wasn’t just because it evoked a sense of nostalgia or that it was reminiscent of a past that seemed long gone. Though it certainly did all that, what my Generasi really offered to the public was ‘representation’. It was almost as if, Malaysia breathed a collective sigh of “Finally!” This is a video that I can identify with. It represented “me”. It told “my story”.

What this also meant was that Malaysia was experiencing its own steady growth in finding its true ‘Malaysian voice’, one that had often been lost in conventional media. The video had been a reflection of what we as Malaysians want to see. More “truth”, more “us” in it, and less poorly made carbon copy dramas ( with originals from Hong Kong). Or less public broadcasting services about 1Malaysia or NS that fail to instill patriotism. Or less re-runs of P.Ramlee films after hours (nothing wrong with that, just that no one likes re-runs). Or you know, how about less films whose morals and values include a rape victim begging her rapist to marry her because she was now “tainted” and no longer “pure” because she was no longer a virgin.

This video also hallmarked “possibility”. The possibility of Malaysia as being more than just the “food” or “mamak”.

It made me think of friendships, and how many Malaysians don’t know it, but we’re really good at friendships. Compared to the rest of the world, the Malaysian culture is about having deep, substantial, meaningful friendships. The kind where we know each other’s mom’s and dad’s, and call them “uncle” and “aunty” with respect. The kind that we can call each other in the middle of the night, say all sorts of nonsense, hang up, and it wouldn’t be considered rude, unlike say … in Britain (I’m just assuming here and giving a likely example, I’m sure British people have friendships like that too).

Tell me if I’m wrong, but comparing it to the life of many Western societies, I’d rather the Malaysian friendship than theirs. We think Americans are so ‘open to criticism’ and forward, but really we’re more open about ourselves than we think. I just think we express our personalities and opinions when we’re in the right company, those that understand, rather than shout it on loudspeakers to whoever hears or won’t hear.

No, we are far from perfect, and we have many problems and insecurities as well, but for once, I have a Malaysian identity I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Malaysia is an awkward teenager. Its questioning why it was made the way it was, and having a deep longing to want to be like other people instead. Its struggling to find itself, but at the same time, its also really exciting to watch it mature.

We still say stupid things, make many people very angry, and we’re all wanting to be like the “cool kids”. Then we get angst-filled ourselves, locking ourselves in our rooms, venting our frustrations through tears.

Its a confusing time for all of us, but I’m quite certain that we will grow into a mature country, the only question is, is our progress quick enough to match the other teenagers? Or are we getting enough physical/ mental/ emotional/ spiritual nutrients to ensure that?

Its something that happened for a particular generation, at a place in time, and for a moment, it was moving picture show of history, and its a history that I’m glad to be apart of.

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