Unwrapped: The need for cultural intelligence

  • A video called Messages for Syawal was made and posted on social media platforms by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) for the Ramadan and Hari Raya Puasa period to pull at the heartstrings.
  • Instead, it gets the goat of many, especially playwright Alfian Sa’at, who says “there’s a deeply unsatisfying narrative gap here” and that it continues to perpetuate the stereotype of the Malays.
  • In response to Berita Harian, MCI said it has withdrawn the filmlet “to avoid controversy and disagreements”.
  • Through our weekly series Unwrapped this week, TheHomeGround Asia takes a look at whether MCI should have consulted those in the know of both the cultural and religious implications in the first place.

In our weekly series Unwrapped, TheHomeGround Asia takes a closer look at major stories and happenings that impact Singaporeans.

While the works of the late award-winning Malaysian film maker Yasmin Ahmad were successfully celebrated for their engagement with discourses over different races in a multi-racial country, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) video called Messages for Syawal has fallen short.

Playwright Alfian Sa’at called it a “deeply unsatisfying narrative gap” and many netizens say the video continues to perpetuate the stereotypes of the Malays.

In a response to the Malay daily Berita Harian, MCI says the video had been removed from the gov.sg platform “to avoid controversy and disagreements during this period”.

The team examines whether MCI should have apologised or that it should have consulted those in the know of both the cultural and religious implications in the first place.

RELATED: Unwrapped: Easing of Safe Distancing Measures, did any of the measures really work?

Join the conversations on TheHomeGround Asia’s Facebook and Instagram, and get the latest updates via Telegram.

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