We all remember the adorable PETRONAS ad that aired back in 2007, and their two star actors. It was in celebration of Malaysia’s 50th Independence Day and sent one simple message – the innocence of kids that represents our unity with different cultures and backgrounds.
For those of you who haven’t watched it, or were born too late to experience the nationwide wholesomeness that incited from this video, let’s break it down. Mostly because this Writer never fails to smile when she watches it…
It starts off with a cheeky primary school boy named Tan Hong Ming being interviewed, or rather interrogated, on his crush in school. He says that he likes Ummi Khazriena, and goes on about her earrings, how she ties her hair up in a ponytail, and that she’s pretty.
Yet he’s too shy to confess his feelings to her from fear of embarrassment or rejected. We’ve all been there, buddy.
Ummi then comes into the frame for her segment of the interview, with Hong Ming still standing idly by and grinning at her. When asked if she has a boyfriend, she says that Hong Ming is her boyfriend.
Hong Ming reacts to this in an animated way that only 7-year-old kids can do without ego getting in the way – pure shock and innocence, with his gapping jaw. He takes her hand and the couple walk off into the distance cheekily, probably to discuss if they want to “couple anot?”
The video ends with a text from PETRONAS that reads, “Our children are colour blind. Shouldn’t we keep them that way?”
Simple yet effective, Malaysians all over felt a tinge of nostalgia over the heartfelt video.
15 years later, Hong Ming and Ummi reunite in a Merdeka ad for this year’s 65th celebration! Titled “Ummi & Tan Hong Ming: Remembering Yasmin Ahmad,” the video is a tribute to the late director who passed in July 2009.
The 8-minute-long video starts off with Hong Ming and Ummi reuniting for this ad shoot, and reminiscing about simpler times when they were much younger.
However, it was revealed that the last time the saw each other was for a different shoot in 2016. Hong Ming has now graduated with a Degree in Psychology from Sunway University, and Ummi worked as an air stewardess for Malindo Air until the pandemic hit.
The video goes on to interview several other people who have worked with Yasmin Ahmad, and how she impacted the lives of many through her soulful work as a director.
It ends off with a message saying, “Biar putih tulang, jangan putih mata” a Malay saying which roughly translates to, “Better to fight to the death than face the shame of admitting defeat”.
Salam Merdeka, everyone!