This week, Astro came under fire for showing a 2017 local film titled “Cinta Bae Kicap”. Many netizens weren’t happy that the word “Kicap” (translation: soy cause) is a racial slur against people of darker skin tone.
For those that don’t know, “Cinta Bae Kicap” centres on the storyline of a Malaysian girl Suhaila when she brings her African boyfriend home during Ramadan – much to the dismay of her mother, Mak Leha.
Based on the screenshot above, the 2-hour film is scheduled to air this Sunday (7th June) at 8am on Astro Warna. 2 days ago, Thiyagaraja Marimuthu (who has worked in Astro for 3 years) called the company out for being ignorant and insensitive to racial issues in light of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protest in the US.
Likewise, Twitter user Lynn (who works in Public Relations) also tweeted out her disapproval of Astro’s decision to air “Cinta Bae Kicap” especially when the world is so divided right now.
I truly believe that we have enough platforms for us to change mindset and educate Malaysians to be better, top up knowledge and be more inclusive.
But first, we gotta scrap stories such as Cinta Bae Kicap. We have talented filmmakers, script writers – give them the platform.
— Lynn (@lynnzieee) June 3, 2020
— Lynn (@lynnzieee) June 4, 2020
3) 'Kekasih gelap' is generally used to mean scandal/secret lover so the context is weird.
4) As part of the show, they dance very badly to 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight'. Why this particular song for this particular race? https://t.co/BRqpA1POfKADVERTISEMENT
— Iced Nyior (@IcedNyior) June 4, 2020
Astro took notice of the negative feedback and replied that “Cinta Bae Kicap” is relevant now because “it carries a message that love transcends race, religion and colour. It tells the story of a mother who disapproves of her daughter’s relationship with a foreigner but later discovered the kindness of the man the daughter is in love with.”
“While the story want to showcase that message, I think it is also not as simple as that given the current landscape. Just need to be more mindful, create really good stories to inspire others. You guys have the platform. Use it well to drive positive change,” she wrote to Astro.
The actor in question – Kaiho Rikambura – took to Facebook to address the issue. While he agrees that the the title is rather racist, the heart of the story carries “a very good message and that (was) why I volunteered to be part of it“.