I keep hearing stories of minority actors being told that they are not acting ‘Malay’ enough or ‘Indian’ enough, and what it often means is that they are supposed to play terrible racial caricatures. It means a Malay character who is ‘relak aaaaah’ and speaks slowly and an Indian character whose thick accent and head-shaking are supposed to be a source of amusement.
Often these actors describe their deep discomfort at accepting roles where they become complicit in perpetuating stereotypes. It’s a very difficult situation because ethnically-specific roles for minority actors are so scarce to begin with. And as actors they need any work they can get and they shouldn’t be put in this position where their own principles have to conflict with their livelihood–just on account of their race and terribly ignorant or misinformed writers and directors.
I’m highlighting this not because I want to ‘bash’ majority privilege or even to call out Jack Neo. I really feel that we can do so much better than to rely on racist stereotypes for amusement. (RIP ‘Mind Your Language’ 1977-1986). I hope that if any of you are anyone involved in the production of ‘Ah Boys to Men 4’, you can pass this on to the screenwriters or director so that we can nip something like this in the bud before it lands up on the big screen.
Source: Alfian Sa’at