PETALING JAYA: This year's Hari Raya ads are loading up with onions, but not the kind that would make you cry.
Many ads this year are adding a dash of Mak Cik Bawang and Pak Cik Bawang characters, a term used to describe serial gossipers.
Bawang is onion in Bahasa Malaysia.
The Mak Cik and Pak Cik Bawang term first started trending earlier this year and has sizzled hotter as Hari Raya, a time of food and family reunions, nears.
It is used to describe those who enjoy gossiping about others or ask intrusive questions about one's life.
The term derives from aunts who pass the time gossiping while peeling and chopping onions in preparation of big feasts, especially during Hari Raya.
It is common for women in the family to gather and cook together in the kitchen, hence they are often stereotyped as gossiping while chopping onions.
The expression has also proliferated into the political sector when former Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in a speech urged ministry staff not to become Mak Cik and Pak Cik Bawang during an awards ceremony in March.
Mak Cik Bawang has now become a main serving in this year's Hari Raya ads for brands jumping on the pop culture bandwagon.
A Watsons Malaysia short video features a self-centered TV host who wears a pair of magical glasses that makes her see the negative traits in herself and others.
In one scene, she sees her two colleagues as onion-headed people.
Astro Gempak's music video features a tongue-in-cheek scene where a Mak Cik scolds the main character, complaining that all his singing is making it difficult for her to "membawang" (gossip).
She then throws a red onion at the main character and his back up dancers.
Of all the ads that are being shared on social media, TM Group has milked the onion with a 5 minute 10-second ad that revolves around Mak Cik Bawangs.
The video centers around a family cutting onions in the kitchen while an aunt asks offensive and intrusive questions to her niece and nephew who grew increasingly frustrated at her comments.
In the weeks leading up to the launch of the video, TM teased viewers with photos of onions, saying that "The onion will be peeled on June 8".