Rethinking Drama Melayu

I had a great first day Raya, with lots of:

Family. Fun. Food.

Great conversations were all round, and the most notable was that on drama Melayu . My cousin-in-laws and I were discussing about drama Melayu: who we thought were the pretty actresses (don’t worry, my wife was in the discussion so she approves), who are the handsome actors (my wife’s answer is an actor who is not that handsome pun), silly lines and crazy plots.

From the line “Abang dah balik?” when the husband has just arrived to “Abang dah makan?” when the husband is eating, we were poking fun at the silliness of it all. Then one by one all these silliness were slowly validated – how between us we know people who ask their husband/in-laws “Abang dah balik?” to how we know of people who are in business who arrange marriage their daughters as a business deal to merge companies or worse, bosses and colleagues who are engaged in extramarital affairs.

To me, drama series are so addictive because they are believable to different segments of the community – they are hence a window to seeing societal problems. Drama series are also powerful medium to convey intrinsic messages – people who watch drama series often believe the societal scenario shown and reinforce and revalidate their beliefs. If this is true, I believe instead of showing plots such as poor families being cheated by rich families, this Datuk gaduh with that Datuk and daughters being married off, I believe positive messaging should be enforced.

Plot messaging for drama melayu should me more strategic, to showcase a certain government policy or to reinforce certain positive behaviour amongst the Malay communities (the key demographic of drama Melayu). My ideas, as an example of showcasing policy, would be if the government is trying to encourage human capital migration to Iskandar Region, they should have a drama series showcasing the Iskandar lifestyle (imagine settings where the rich live at Puteri Harbour, working in Singapore or owning businesses in JB). As for reinforcement of positive behaviour, have TV series that showcase the virtues of hard work, honesty, integrity. A drama setting revolving around sports is best, or please, have a better police TV series than Gerak Khas. (On that note, remember Jaguh Jaguh in the 90s?) As an additional note, comic readers would recall how Japanese comic books are excellent at using media to reinforce youth mindset.

What do you think? Is this a better proposition than the story of how rich people squander and cheat poor people only to have the poor person’s fortune changing suddenly to exact revenge? If you make being rich so undesirable (because of course, all rich people are bad), what’s the incentive to work hard to have more money?

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