Merdeka LHS, Dentsu Aegis Network Malaysia’s strategic brand and design consultancy released a Malaysia Day shareable social greeting that called for all Malaysians to reclaim the word ‘pendatang’, and to make a pledge on social media under the hashtag #kitapendatang that embraces and welcomes all those who contribute to make Malaysia shine.
The visual, which mimics a passport visa stamp asks Malaysians to stand in solidarity with all those, Malaysian-born and visitors alike who share common ground in their love for the country.
“Malaysia Day, a day that marks the unity of the nation, was exactly the right time for us to dedicate some energy into Brand Malaysia”, explained Vinod Manoharan, Branding and Design Associate at Merdeka LHS, who led on the campaign. And we simply felt that it was important to offer a counter narrative to negative sentiments fuelled by vested interests. They have no place in Brand Malaysia. We are a culturally diverse team at Merdeka LHS but regardless of ethnicity, we love Malaysia and our job is to work together to create strong and impactful Malaysian brands that our country can be proud of”.
Hwa Huang, Chief Creative Officer Merdeka LHS said: “For this Malaysia Day, we wanted to make a statement that shows that advertising can be a force for good. We believe we should celebrate all the different cultures that make Malaysia so unique. The word pendatang has evolved into something controversial, used in a derogatory manner and sensitive, especially in recent times. But Malaysia is a melting pot, and we believe that our diversity is something that makes us stronger.”
“At the end of the day”, Hwa continued, “As we look towards 2020 and the upcoming Visit Malaysia Year, Malaysians will need to decide how we want to project ourselves to the world. Is the narrative of our nation one that is open and tolerant and thrives using the flow of ideas that comes from a diverse society? Or are we a nation that rejects and denigrates those we perceive as outsiders”.
“Centennials and millennials are connected globally”, Hwa explains, “and they share in a way that transcends national borders. The future generation has made clear that they don’t appreciate discrimination and they favour ideas that create opportunity for all in Malaysia. We know that it is the politics of youth that determines brands’ views on society. And if it is the brands that are telling many of our social stories then we have a responsibility to help them create the stories that build the future of our nation”.