PETALING JAYA: Google honoured the late Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad with a special doodle to celebrate her 56th birthday on Tuesday, while netizens paid tribute to her.
Yasmin, who passed away at age 51 on July 15, 2009, was well-known for her touching Petronas advertisements and award-winning feature films such as Rabun, Sepet, Gubra, Mukhsin, Muallaf and Talentime.
Although some of her work courted controversy due to the on-screen portrayal of certain events and relationships considered taboo in conservative Malaysia, the writer and director was ultimately a well-loved local personality.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Google stated that the doodle "commemorates the life and work of Yasmin Ahmad, who sought to bring together Malaysians of every gender, ethnicity and persuasion".
According to Google Malaysia's Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Zeffri Yusof, they decided to celebrate Yasmin’s 56th birthday with a doodle as she remains a very inspiring figure.
"Every once in a while, Google decorates its logo with a doodle to celebrate certain personalities. Yasmin's doodle will stay on Google's homepage for one day,” he told The Star Online.
The Google doodle team, which works out of the headquarters in Mountain View, California, are responsible for all Google doodles worldwide.
"The local office will suggest people whom we think are suitable. It's a very difficult process, as there are more than a 1,000 doodles every year in over 70 countries," said Zeffri.
When Google Malaysia got the go ahead, they shared some of the iconic imagery associated with Yasmin.
The doodle is thus based on Sepet's visual style, as it is her "most-cited movie" and most recognised work both locally and overseas.
It prompted many netizens to mourn her passing anew, but many more expressed their delight with the thoughtful tribute.
Tweeter @aaronixxz was surprised to see the familiar face upon opening Google's homepage, and shared a screenshot of the soft, watercolour-style doodle with his followers.
In his #YasminTribute, @iamcoolirish named her as one of Malaysia's most iconic ladies who inspired many to "share brilliant ideas and also unite us."
@nataliebrittan shared a memory of how Yasmin's seminal Sepet film moved her heart: "I remember crying really hard in the car scene where Orked speaks to Jason on the phone for the last time."
@SyarifahAlysha missed the late director's creative work, especially in Petronas advertisements, with @Amu_Ma agreeing that they "portrayed unity very uniquely" in multiracial Malaysia.
@FarzAida also pegged Muallaf as her "favourite movie of all time."
Another admirer of her creative output was @Janggut_Ciput, who held her impactful advertisements with solid, eye-opening morals in awe.
If not for Yasmin's untimely passing, @ellemeelo felt that she would be directing Hollywood films by now, calling her "our @mirapaglinair".
Mira Nair, who also celebrates her 56th birthday this year, is an award-winning Indian filmmaker, with films such as Monsoon Wedding, Amelia and The Namesake under her belt.
On Facebook, Kenny Teoh expressed his gratitude to Google, saying "Happy birthday Madam Yasmin!"
Pathmasundari Sunderam, who has "never missed any of her masterpieces", offered a most heartfelt tribute to Yasmin's work: "I actually cried more than I laughed. A great loss to Malaysian filmdom. My all time favourite was Sepet! I keep watching it as if am watching it for the first time ... She may have left us, but she lives in every masterpiece of hers."
In the statement, Google also thanked Yasmin's family for their permission and approval.