Orang Kita (‘Our People’)
‘Orang Kita’ is a song from my 2020 album “John Bangi Blues”. ‘Orang Kita’ literally translates to ‘Our People’ and the phrase is often used by the ethnic Malay community to refer to their own, notably when addressing their plights. As a categorical ethnic Malay myself, I find the usage of this phrase problematic in a multi-ethnic country because it distracts from the bigger picture that we all belong to: being Malaysian. Identity has always played a big part in my works and this song is about reclaiming the phrase to encompass all Malaysians, regardless of race or ethnicity. The music video is directed by my film student Alina Wong and her talented team of classmates. It is part of my engagement with filmmakers and students to use the medium with a minimum budget. The video explores the sites where Malaysian identity is contested and controlled, in this case in different creative practices – filmmaking, writing, and the visual arts – and why it is important to strive to stay independent in your artistic principles and practice. The music video was symbolically released on 16 September which is Malaysia Day – the date of the formation of the modern state of Malaysia.