Monday, September 3, 2007

Tai chor laa~

I'm sure most Chinese in Malaysia who are Astro subscribers are already familiar with the above video - the story about the magnificent shiny disc hero. Everytime I watch it, it cracks me up (like totally!). I think our hero is well on his way to becoming Malaysia's Golden Horse winner next year.

Anyway, what struck me as strange was the outcome of the ad. Its purpose is quite obvious which is to introduce Astro On Demand and make known that it's now available for subscription. I checked out the rates which, I must say, aren't cheap. I wonder how's the subscriber numbers coming along.

Then came one eventful afternoon when I went out lunch at a nearby kopitiam. And guess what? I finally met the real magnificent shiny disc hero selling the EXACT same titles to patrons. Strange. I don't remember TVB series coming in DVD formats. Not until after the series of commercials (above) was shown. I had this real urge to say, "Tai chor laa~" (translates: Watch already lar!) but I was afraid of suffering the consequences later, so I kept my mouth shut. He sounded like a Chinese (as in China Chinese) mafia although I managed to sneak a shot over his goods. This brings a huge question over my head. I'm pretty sure the last thing the commercial intended to do was to indirectly produce real life copycat shiny disc heroes. Instead the ad serves as a reflection of true Malaysian culture. But whatever it is, yea, it caught our attention and told us what we need to know except the pennywise aunties and housewives don't need to be a genius to figure out the difference between RM18 and RM55. One thing that the commercial unfortunately can never surpass, I guess, is delivering real life testimony.

Aunty 1: Eh clear or not wan ar?

Shiny disc hero: Of course la, 'pau ching' (confirmed clear) if not you come back change.

Aunty 2 (who doesn't know Aunty 1): Don't worry, this one very clear wan. I also got!

I think it will be kind of cool if Astro followed up with an on-ground guerilla campaign that really sent out these SD heroes to kopitiams and mamaks. Not to sell pirated DVDs of course, but to induce subscribers, or at least trials. It will surely be fun to see the real mccoy coming face-to-face with the copycat, no?

I'm afraid the concept of piracy in Malaysia is so well-entrenched that it probably takes decades of re-educating our children to get it right. Or. Not unless, movies and videos come for free online - by that I'm not exactly refering to YouTube videos but the On Demand kind. Then, we'll finally be able to say, "Tai chor laaaaa~"

Important disclaimer: Sparks does not condone the support of piracy!

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