Video: Tan Hong Ming in Love

Watch the 1:36 minute clip. Then, a question after the jump.

Did the caption at the end make sense, or catch you off guard?

Our children are color blind. Shouldn’t we keep them that way?

Was I surprised because I didn’t notice differing racial characteristics or that the differences are so unimportant that I only saw two excited, nervous kids? Or did I immediately recognize the kids were of differing ethnicities — Chinese and Malay. This commercial aired in Malaysia where Chinese people are a minority group.

Honestly, the ample time provided to study the boy’s giddy body mannerisms also gave me time to consider his ethnic background which maybe I was doing because I was trying to discern the video’s country of origin. I knew he was Chinese, but I assumed she was too because she appears for only 20 seconds and I was watching the boy go bonkers at her side. Or maybe it was Youtube’s lousy image quality. Who knows. I think my assumption was based on thinking the country of origin wouldn’t be as ethnically diverse as America. Oh, but you know what they say about people who assume. Anyhow, the video’s message surprised me.

The video was shot for a state-owned oil and gas company. Don’t ask why. I don’t know. It’s hosted in the Youtube account for the D&AD Awards (British Design & Art Direction). Here are a few other some-not-child-related nominated videos you may have seen.

“There are many young engineers. We can’t wait till they grow up.”

“I think I was always misunderstood. People didn’t seem to like me.”

“Is it awesome? When you can’t hold your newborn baby boy in your arms?”


6 Responses to “Video: Tan Hong Ming in Love”

  1. Amber says:

    I did recognize that there was a difference, but I couldn’t have told you the country of origin or what the girl’s heritage was.

    I think it’s kind of a neat commercial. Although, I kinda feel sorry for that poor girl. What if that boy’s really annoying and she DOESN’T like him, but is too nice of a kid to say so to two strangers filming her right in front of him? ;)

    I love that skittles commercial. They’ve had a nice run the last few years.

    March 30th, 2009 at 8:15 pm

  2. CanCan (Mom Most Traveled) says:

    I live in Asia, and while Caucasians might not recognize different nationalities of Asians as being “ethnically diverse”, the people who actually live here recognize every difference.
    I was surprised to find that Lao people have an ill opinion of Vietnamese, Thai people view Lao as country bumpkins/low class.
    Cambodians don’t like the Thai because they claim ownership of one of “their” sacred ancient religious items. Also within each country are dozens of minority tribes (Laos has 130 different tribes in a country with a population of 6 million) that are seen as second class.
    This is just within the microcosm of Southeast Asia! I haven’t even been to Indonesia yet (next week!) but I have heard it is much much worse!
    Besides racist feelings there is the additional hurdle of religious differences.
    In Malaysia, Malay people must be muslim. It is against the law for them to convert to another religion. However, people of other nationalities have “freedom of religion”, but cannot try to convert others. So with the government being officially Muslim and Malaysia officially a “Muslim country”, that probably also comes in to play with the Malay vs. Chinese issue. It isn’t just about what someone looks like. These cultures have histories that are centuries long.
    Even in modern history (WWII era) the Japanese committed atrocities against the Chinese similar to what the Nazis inflicted on the Jews. As a result, when I lived in Beijing I found that China still holds a grudge that manifests itself in different ways, everything from having a “Japanese atrocities museum” to imposing a very high tax on products imported from Japan (like Sony).

    April 3rd, 2009 at 11:17 pm

  3. Ari says:

    I am embarassed to say, I did not understand the tagline after the clip, even though I am Asian. The boy is just adorable, and it’s the sweetest little clip ever! ha ha, I guess she just hasn’t learned the phrase “let’s just be best friends”.. she will learn!

    April 5th, 2009 at 8:36 am

  4. Lori says:

    I taught high school in a district that was primarily Hispanic. The same subtle inequalities existed: Guatamalans were like the Polish of the hispanic world (butt of everyone’s jokes), newly immigrated Mexicans were at the bottom, hispanic kids that didn’t speak Spanish were thought of as white. I think our need to compartmentalize those around us is rather disheartening for our species as a whole, but is this a nature or nurture issue? In the wild, members of a species will shun others that are different in coloring or size. Maybe it’s a nature thing …

    April 11th, 2009 at 6:08 am

  5. Lori says:

    Sorry, I have to add I loved the wind commercial — most intriguing and surprising video I’ve seen in a while!

    April 11th, 2009 at 6:14 am

  6. Gaga says:

    Tan Hong Ming in Love was Petronas commercial for Malaysia’s 50th Independent Day. It was made in 2008. Tan Hong Ming is Chinese while the object of his affection, Umi Qazrina, is Malay, but both children are of Malaysian nationality. It is a gentle reminder to all Malaysians, and in fact to everyone, to strive for ethnic harmony.

    September 29th, 2009 at 6:58 pm