Malaysian advertising and language reality

Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) will review its advertisement code of ethics which had been claimed as being too rigid that it hampered the creativity of advertisement production agencies, said Information Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir.

“We don’t feel that RTM is rigid but we have the responsibility to build a society that is united and courteous. However, we will look into this matter,” he told reporters after a dialogue with the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As).

Abdul Kadir said advertisers encountered difficulty as they sometimes had to make two different versions of an advertisement, one to be aired over RTM and another over private stations, thus incurring high production cost.

Among the supposedly rigid code of ethics was the use of models, actors or actresses with the Pan Asian look, and sexually offensive and violent scenes, he said.

Meanwhile, 4As President Datuk Vincent Lee told Bernama that the strict code of ethics “is killing advertisement creativity in Malaysia”.

He described the advertisement scenario in Malaysia as way behind that in Singapore and Thailand due to many regulations of “double standards”.

“For example, in drama, you can use English and Malay but in advertisements we cannot mix the languages. The problem is that in the local Hokkien dialect, 30 per cent of the Hokkien words are Malay words,” he said.

This problem made it difficult for advertisements in Malaysia to portray the real Malaysian society of various communities and ways, he said.

He admitted that there were no problems with the private stations as they were more open.

source: RTM To Review Ads Code Of Ethics Following ‘Too Rigid’ Claims, from Bernama (Malaysia’s national news service), on October 4, 2005

odd use of “dialect”

I read an interesting usage of “dialect” today in a restaurant review in the Star, Malaysia’s largest English-language daily. (Emphasis added.)

It gradually dawned upon me that Oriental Cravings was a restaurant devoted to much of the older cuisines of our parents and grandparents. Further queries revealed that much of the menu was dialect-driven. Hakka, Hainanese and Hokkien are the principal inspirations. But care was taken to update the old with new ideas too….

It was a delicious culinary adventure that revealed more about dialect dishes then I ever knew existed. The blend of old and new, and the nice ambience make Oriental Cravings a restaurant that will appeal to both the old and young.