Malaysiakini

Petronas ad fails to capture spirit of Deepavali

YOURSAY ‘It feels as if someone tried to package it as the next Gangnam-style hit - and did an extremely poor job at it.'

Critics pan Petronas' Deepavali advertisement

your sayLittleGiant: While we must appreciate the many Deepavali advertisements produced in the past by Petronas, it seems quite obvious that this time around it did not take the initiative to produce a good and meaningful advert.

It is true that the advert does not in anyway reflect the rich Indian culture and tradition enjoyed in the Deepavali celebrations. Instead of just projecting only the ‘dappankuthu', the production team could have put in more effort to show a mix of all Indian dances - classical, folk and also modern.

That would have made the advert more vibrant and also reflected the richness of the many Indian dance forms.

Having said that, let's not be overly sensitive about this Deepavali advert by Petronas. Deepavali, like most festivals celebrated by Malaysians, is an occasion to let go of our worries, anxieties, anger, frustrations and disappointments. It's an occasion to be happy and joyful.

Karma: It is a pity. Not long ago, we had a non-Chinese Chinese New Year party organiser dishing out money in white packets. White packet depicts a funeral event. Now we have these insensitive people doing the same thing to an important Indian festival.

Just lately, these insensitive people also falsely accused a politician of peeing on a state flagpole during the 1969 racial riot in a yet-to-be released film.

We also heard of two false and unsubstantiated allegations of Christian conspiracy - in Penang and lately, Sarawak. What has gone wrong with these people or is there a hidden agenda?

Mighty Bear: It feels as if someone tried to package it as the next Gangnam-style hit - and did an extremely poor job at it. It has so much stereo typecasting in it that I find it offensive, whether or not that was the intention.

Personally I don't know any Indian from Malaysia who shake their heads, dance on the streets, live in Little India nor play the dappa drum on Deepavali.

Petronas ads used to bring warmth to our hearts. I hope to see something along family values - this is a time to pay respect to our parents and elders, seek forgiveness, say thank you for our blessings and celebrate life.

RKR: This is how the Indian community is viewed - uncultured street people, only good to work as barbers. Nobody wants to see the professional side of the Indians.

There are so many Indian lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, researchers, etc. Why are only the 'street baboons' depicted here? This community is a joke to the others, is it?

RR: Deepavali or Diwali is a religious and traditional festival. This Petronas advertisement on the festival is indeed a very bad example for the youth.

Petronas should withdraw the advert forthwith and stick to producing value-based adverts that Petronas traditionally do.

Paul Warren: Nowhere in India is anyone going around dancing on the streets other than mad men and women.

This song and dance routine only tries so hard to ape Bollywood and Mollywood. It does not define any kind of Indian culture.

Wira: I bet critics will talk differently if this commercial is watched 100 million times on YouTube, just like that Korean hit ‘Oppa Gangnam Style'.

This is part of the Indian culture. You can see that richly portrayed in many of Lat's cartoons. Should Lat be criticised too?

Doc: I saw the clip and found it hard to relate the Petronas Deepavali advert with the cheer of Deepavali. Unless maybe ‘Dappan Kuthu' is sounding the death of MIC in the coming general election (GE).

Jiminy Qrikert: It does not take Indians to understand Indian culture. Oops! Did I say 'Indian culture'? Look it up and the first thing that strikes you about 'Indian cullture' is 'unity in diversity' and then it goes straight from there into a gazillion different things that make up 'Indian culture.'

For example, under 'religion,' guess what? 'Indian culture' includes Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism.

But here, what do we have? Malaysians of Indian descent who are Tamilians and celebrating Deepavali or Diwali but talking about 'Indian culture'. In short, equating Tamil culture to 'Indian culture.'

Hello, Malaysians, the issue is about Deepavali and the Dappan as a musical genre. If Deepavali is about the conquest of good over evil and Dappan moans death (of evil), then of course it is in bad taste.

It is not and cannot be about 'Indian culture' when even Indians in India do not equate Tamilian society and culture as the Indian culture but celebrate instead 'unity in diversity.'

Yahoo: Non-Indians should not make comments here unless they have profound understanding of Indian cultures. It likens to giving white "ang pow" during Chinese New Year.

I don't agree with some who say it will be soon forgotten and ask what's the big deal over the advertisment.

Deepavali is a spiritual celebration of 'the Inner light', victory of good over evil. I thought I was watching a dance video instead of a Deepavali message.

Jasper: I think the message to the larger Indian community is quite clear. Indians are down in the dumps (the depressed guy at the beginning). But it's okay. Just sing, dance and be happy. Live in the moment.

Don't worry about your future because you don't have one anyway. It's reality after all. We exist only to entertain the guy in the luxury car. The symbolism is oh so clear.

Kadaram: I didn't see any Diwali message. They looked silly running and jumping around. Petronas, we never expected this from you.

Boiling Mud: This is the outcome of the self-delusion of being superior that results in a lack of effort to understand other fellow Malaysians' cultures and traditions.

It will probably take a lot of effort to teach society about respect for others. The advertisement is indeed in bad taste. If only filmmaker and creative director Yasmin Ahmad was still around.

Hopeless Govt: Yasmin Ahmad, we truly miss you and your wisdom. If only the current team has half your wisdom.


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