In November 2020, a couple of NGOs were challenged to come up with two video ideas for the Ministry of National Unity in conjunction with Unity Month in December 2020.
The NGOs were Pertubuhan Pemangkin Ekonomi Melayu Malaysia (PEM) and BeNAR Malaysia (BeNAR). Together with the New Malaysia Herald (NMH) editorial team, they came up with a few ideas and two were finally selected by the Ministry.
According to the Director of the Unity Videos, Anwardi Jamil, the team presented four concepts, all representing involvement of the various communities.
“The videos were produced in an effort to show how we sometimes take things for granted and do practise selective racism. There are times when certain parties tend to project disunity when it suits their agenda.
“That is why I wanted to show the flip side via the videos: That we are actually united, but we don’t see it,” Anwardi added.
The two concepts that were finally selected were:
- UNITY FACES – A timely reminder of what we are going through this year. Yet, we are all the same beneath the masks. The question is: Why are we only united in times of Crises? It should be 24/7.
BeNAR president, Dr Ismail Ali disclosed that using the mask concept was timely and it’s actually perfect because in the hospitals we work together, regardless of race, to provide comfort and care to the patients.
“I am glad that the Ministry chose this concept as one of the videos for Unity Month in December 2020 because the message so resonates with all of us today.
“We wanted to project real-life, current situations in the videos. Nothing is more current than the pandemic and how we are actually united behind the masks. In the other video, we wanted to bring the viewers back to the time when we were kids, when we were colour blind and living happily together,” Dr Ismail added.
2. UNITY FRIENDS – This concept traces the various stages of friendships – from the time we were kids and growing up in a multiracial environment to the time we were teenagers and forming our cliques with those of the same race, and then when we grow older we reminisce and want back those friends of before, regardless of their racial grouping.
The setting of the videoshoot took place at the National Museum. Also present during the shooting was the President of PEM, Suryani Yusof.
“We loved the casting and location. We saw the various colours of Malaysians and the classic history of our country in various parts of the Museum. The Bas Mini brought back a lot of memories.
“As a NGO that drives community projects to enhance the economic positioning of the Malays in the country, we have realised that there is always a need to help the other communities along the way. It shows that we have to do this together and we were most excited to have been given the opportunity to work with the partners on the video ideas,” Suryani added.
For the editorial team at New Malaysia Herald, it was one of those things that created a buzz when we saw the final edit, said Hasnah Abdul Rahman, NMH’s Editor-In-Chief.
“At the New Malaysia Herald, we have always propagated inclusivity in all our stories. Since our focus is Citizen Journalism, the concept of unity certainly resonates with our approach.
“We were so thrilled to work on the promotional efforts for the two videos and this will be our ongoing programme until the end of Q1 2021,” added Hasnah.
There is also the Bahasa Melayu version of the videos which can be found on the NMH YouTube channel: – New Malaysia Herald.