Petronas Merdeka Ads!

I saw this link while i’m browsing around and fine it interesting to relate it in my research. Have a look at this site Petronas Celebrate Merdeka With you!. It have two Ads. It would be nice to get some respond from other Malaysian about this Ads. You can share this Ads with your friends just by sending it by email. And futher more you can share your thought about this Ads.

Here is what I think about it:

I think this Ad is more like a religious Ad. Personally, as this Ad is for Merdeka Day, and as I’m Malaysia, although I’m looking at this Ads from outside of Malaysia, I think this Ads should have more than what this Ad trying to show. Expecially if it’s for Merdeka Day. The day that we all celebrate, all of us, Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sikh, kadazan, Iban, and much more. This is what it should have! All of us in one! One Nation!

What about the multicultural people we have? What about how we survived being Malaysian all this 50 years? The begining the movie just shows only one religion, well, it show Arabic or middle-east people rather than showing Malaysian muslim man, that is not Malaysia! Perhaps because Petronas want to show that in Malaysia, there is only Muslim? What about other races and religion? It can be controversy Ad!

Let me know what you think of this!

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Again, questions of Malaysian Identity!

After my discussion with Dr. Laurene, my supervisor yesterday about my website forum project and ethics application form, the questions belows pop out! There are few questions about Malaysian Identity that interest me, but lets define what I mean with Malaysian Identity. In my research Malaysian Identity that I’m searching for is the element of Malaysian identity that have in Malaysian products. That’s what I mean, not the whole idea of Malaysian Identity! Don’t get confuse with it, as how sometimes I get confuse through researching this subject.

So just to sort of breaking the ice in this topic, here are few interesting questions to think about:

1. What does the term ‘Malaysian Identity’ mean to you?

2. What does the term ‘National Branding’ and ‘National Brand’ mean to you?

3. What do you think is the relationship between national imagery, cultural identity and indiginous products?
How are they similar? How are they different?

4. Do you actively try to creat a ‘Malaysian feel’ in your profesional work?

5. Do you think that national identifiable brands will exist in 2020?

Well let’s start thinking about this! I think I should!

Malaysian Brand!


Malaysian slowly promoting Malaysian products around the world. Malaysian product has been known for the quality and cross-cuture base. But did Malaysian product represent Malaysia? Does it have the Malaysian element in it? Just by looking at Malaysian Brand people would think of Malaysia without to know anything about the product or the brand.


Did Malaysian product has it implimentation of culture and identity? When the design team design the whole branding process, did they think about representing the country through this? The process of designing the whole product from the stretch to the end-product, does it have the Malaysian elements in it? Did the design team apply the Malaysian element in the process of creating Malaysian Brand such as Petronas, Proton, Malaysian Airlines (MAS) and others? Here are several of Malaysian National Brand.

Malaysian Brand Images

Malaysian is quite well-known country, although Malaysian brand is globalising around the world, but it don’t actually represent the Malaysian Cultural and National Identity in it. The process of designing the whole product from the stretch to the end-product, does it have the Malaysian elements in it? Did the designers apply the Malaysian element in designing Malaysian Brand such as Petronas, Proton, Malaysian Airlines (MAS) and others?


What Identity?

I realise that it’s hard to define the identity, expecially if it’s is an identity that is evolved, constantly change because of three main different culture changes and developing. Well perhaps I could argue that is identity, and evolving is part of creating identity. May be that is why it is so hard to define Malaysian Identity? I’ve been trying to identify what is Malaysian Identity, perhaps we all shares bit and pieces from everybody.

Then from that point, we start to change and mix with each other culture and tradition, then we create our own identity. How about that? May be not, I’m still in the process of finding what is Malaysian Identity, ‘Malaysian Truly Asian?’, but it’s a long process of finding. I will regularly write in this blog about my finding. Till then, I will continue my journey!


Culture Probes – Researching through a Design Practise!


–>‘When Reason is Away, Smiles Will Play’ – Paul Eluard and Benjamin Peret

Recomended reading > cultural probes and the values of uncertainty

I heard about it in March 2006, never heard about it before until Yoko mention about it to me. People use it to investigate certain things or situation that we cannot see visually or reach to, expecially in medical and aerospace study and practise. Then, because it is very intersting to me, as I don’t know anything about it and Yoko make it sounds interesting as well I decided to read more about this things that called ‘Culture Probes’. Then Yoko had a chance to teach cultural in her Master’s class. And I ask Yoko if I can be in her class as to assist her in her teaching and to get to know more about culture probes. Finally i end up in ther class every tuesday afternoon, for three hour class as her assistant and as a participant. I manage to understand what is cultural probes and explore the process of creating and designing the probes (which i the most interesting part for a designer I guess). I designed three probes but i will only upload two, as the other one is still in the working progress.

About Nurul’s “cultural probes’
My subject as a client in this project is a research student, who worked as an Architect in Israel. She’s maried with two kids. She arrived in June, 2006 from Israel to Australia. So pretty much she’s struggling with new places, people, culture,community and I’m sure much more. From our first meeting she told me about her trip to uni from her home. The trip to uni tooks her nearly 1 hour with train. That is all I know about her. Our brief, overall is to understand what is cultural probes by designing the probes. It is base on researching through design. We need to find someone that we don’t really know. So in this project I will try to find out more about my client, the personal interest, hobbies, likes, dislike and ect. I started to strolled around in the city area and other places like Prahan, Sydney Road and even to Camberwell market just to get some ideas about it. Finally I decided not to waste money on anything. I’m not buying anything for my probes. I am going to use or recycle anything that I have and make use of it as a probes.
The perpose of this is anything that can be possible to open up any possibilities. Probes A is a ‘wishing envelopes’. I use an old ‘Big Issues’ magazine as material to design my probes. In the wishing envelope there is a note of wishing, and my client have to write what is her wish about the envelope Issues. The envelope is made from selected pages that i found an interesting article. These envelope is readable, what i mean readable is my client can read the article and then perhaps make the wish, The wish can be an influence from the article or from my client personal memories or experiences. Second probes i called it a ‘paper clip album’. It’s a collection of images that I cut out and mix and match from Melbourne City Council Annual Report 2005. This album is just to triggers an idea for my client to act. Behind every image, there is a sentence and my client have to continue and finish the sentence. That is as for now my probes, others is still in working process.

Probe A “Wishing Envelopes”

Probe B ‘ Paper Clip Album’

Just to define and to understand more what is Cultural Probes;
W.Gaver, A.Boucher, S.Pennington and B.Walker from Royal College of Art in their paper about cultural probes in Cultural Probes and the Value of Uncertainty define cultural probes as a design-led approach to understanding users that stressed empathy and engagement. Probes are collections of evocative tasks meant to elicit inspirational responses from people”not comprehensive information about them, but fragmentary clues about their lives and thoughts. It is been suggested that the approach was valuable in inspiring design ideas for technologies that could enrich peoples lives in new and pleasurable ways.

Gaver,B., Dunne,T. and Pacenti, E wrote in a design journal (Jan-Feb 1999) explaning the cultural probes processes and meaning. “The probes were part of a strategy of pursuing experimental design in a responsive way. They address a common dilemma in developing projects for unfamiliar groups. Understanding the local cultures was necessary so that our designs wouldnt seem irrelevant or arrogant, but we didnt want the groups to constrain our designs unduly by focusing on needs or desires they already understood. We wanted to lead a discussion with the groups toward unexpected ideas, but we didnt want to dominate it “.


This image is taken from: Online Cultural Probes

More about cultural probes

Branding the Country!


Books written by Anholt.S, discuss a lot about branding strategies, planning and promotion on how to promote the places/cities and countires. There are two different ways as Anholt (Brand New Justice) propose, one is through product and one is through places. I’m now in the process of understanding what is it all about this place branding. Is it about people, is it about brand, it about the culture and tradition or perhaps is it about the goverment? Let’s first see what brand is….

Lots of things are called brands these days. Department stores are brands, companies and universities are brands, singers and politicians are brands. Even political parties, religions, cities and nation sometimes get described as brands. Most people use the term quite loosely, but waht they usually mean, is that these places, people and organizations have found that their reputation is important to them. They suffer when its negative, and they make profit when its positive, and so they make some attempt to control it. Just like products in a supermarket, the ones with the famous and trusted names are the one that peopl choose first, often going to quite a bit of troble and expense to get hold of them.

And the defination of brand is nothing much than the example that i gave. Brands is just purely, nothing more and nothing less than a name of something that’s on offer to the public. The brand name acts as our short cut to an informed buying decision. The more often we are proved right about our choice, and the more often the product or services lives up to the good name of the company that makes it, the more valuable that name becomes in our eyes and mind.

The same principles apply to places. Whether we’re thinking about going somewhere on holidays, buying a product that’s made in a certain country, applying for job overseas, moving to a new town or play a CDs made by artists from different countries, we rely on our perception of those to make the decision-making process a bit easier, a bit faster, a bit more efficient.

Made in London or Made in Paris. People have known for centuries that a ‘Made in…’ label just as powerful and just as valuable as a ‘Made by…’ label. German engineering, French cuisine, Swedish design and British Class – these are brand values that rub off onto all the products that come from those countris, and they count for a lot.

So when we talk about branding the country or branding the nation, what do we actually mean? Does it mean the product or perhaps building (that made by one of the global brand) that represent the countries, the company that represent the countries or the origin effects y the countries it self? Can it possible to brand the country without the product? What do we actually mean?!!

Penang, Classic City

In my move from Penang to Melbourne, I became aware that the dispossesions of a theory of modernity were being reinforced by some later trends in urban studies. It was then I realised that the rest of the world didn’t necessarily think of Penang or any other Malaysia city for that matter, in the way I did. Of course, anyone from outside the city was not going to understand how that place could be the centre of my world, a core reference point for life choices and ambitions.

Penang, the best place to be!

More about Penang


Ferry from Penang island to the main land, Butterworth


Burma Road, Penang, (1905)

‘Satay’ and ‘hawker styles’ way of cooking is one of Penang best food attraction!

Branding Cities!

I know I haven’t been writing much lately, was sick on and off for two weeks, and spent most of the time I have left reading on papers, journals and books. I went to 3 days International Conference; Nation, City, Place: Rethinking Nationalism, brought by Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning at University of Melbourne from 14 -16 July, 2006.

The reason Im interested to go to this conference even though it is not a Communication Design Conference (I wish they have this ), because there are few interesting paper that will be presented. One of them called Niche Cities: Global Capital, Property Development and the Branding of Cities by Peter Raisbeck. This paper triggers few thought from my personal view as a communication designer.

Peter is interested in the tower/high rise building and global cities, that represent countries. His argument is towers/high rise building can be a symbolic image for corporate company and at the same time, can represent the country as a icon. He also argue the uses of tower as a branding strategy to promote the cities. His case studies is about three different countries, Taiwan, Singapore, Korea. This tower can be cultural specific but also open to global requirement. “Tower as an aesthetic icon’. For example in Seoul, Korea the highest tower in Korea is a Samsung Tower. It is not owned by a public company but owned by the corporation. Peter argues that tower represent and promote countries, even though it is owned by non-public company.

My Questions is:

By building the high rise tower, is it a part of branding strategy to promote the country? Or it’s the other way round? Promoting the corporation using the countries? (It looks like big competition going on between the countries )


PETRONAS TWIN TOWER, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Peter Raisbeck quote from his abstract:
“In order to understand how the identities of these cities have been branded the paper will survey recent and emerging academic literature on place branding. The brand personality; positioning and attributes of each these national cities under discussion will be mapped. This will identify the key branding attributes, which have emerged in the promotion of cities as destinations of investment capital. These attributes may relate to amongst other things “ corporate governance, institutional stability, notions of speculative opportunity, technological advancement and perceived barriers to investment. These attributes will then be compared to how these cities have been branded as places of leisure and tourism. What attributes differ between the marketing of these cities as places of investment as compared to places of entertainment and tourism.”