Coming together despite differences


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 19 Jan 2020

To a better year ahead: Zahariah (third from right) and others tossing yee sang during the launch of the Chinese New Year web film at Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur.

KUALA LUMPUR: For this coming Chinese New Year, Petronas has again come up with a unique twist of storytelling in a commercial and web film to warm Malaysians.“A piece of you, a piece of me, we bring joy to the family” – this is the message conveyed in Petronas’ first web film launch of the year titled Bao Bei.

The little over two-minute short film anchored on the 2020 festive theme – Our Unique Family – captures the togetherness between family members despite their differences.

The essence of the story projects a sense of love between the different characters and also reignites the fading tradition of handmade patchwork blankets (bai jia bei).

The film is told through animated fabrics, combined with voice-over from cast members in Hokkien.

“It is an area that Petronas has not gone into before, compared with previous years of emotional narratives.

“Instead of telling a deep story, we used a direct and self-explanatory approach like talking fabrics. It is quite magical but the takeaway by the audience remains the same, ” said the director, Ismail Kamarul.

The film is told through the perspectives of pieces of fabric, each representing a family member and later patched together by the grandmother into a quilt as a gift for the newborn.

“Petronas is excited to introduce the 2020 festive theme, centred on joy or #StoriesOfJoy, in appreciating families that we are born into or the family we choose, ” said Petronas senior general manager of group strategic communications Zahariah Abdul Rahman at the launch of the film at Spring Garden in Suria KLCC yesterday.

Zahariah said a simple act of love could be someone’s biggest source of joy, urging Malaysians to reflect on the message from the film.

“Our differences are like patches of fabric that are woven together to bring joy. As Malaysians, we are one big family regardless of our differences, ” she said.

The launch event started with an astounding lion dance performance and ended with the chanting of Gong Xi Fa Cai.

Among the invited guests were Ismail, cast members and social influencers Baki Zainal and Ling Tai Yong.

“The pivotal concept of Chinese New Year is reunion and togetherness. Petronas does a good job of portraying that sense of solidarity between races in Malaysia, ” said Baki.

Being the only non-Chinese cast member, Kumuthu Vani Kumaravelu said the working environment was welcoming and inclusive.

“The cast members and production crew made me feel comfortable despite our differences.

“There is racial unity on and behind the scenes. This is what we need to express as an important message to the public through the film, ” she said.

Bao Bei can be viewed on Petronas’ official social media channels.

The 60-second commercial version will be aired until Feb 1 and in cinemas from Jan 23 to Feb 5.

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