KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — Into its second year, the “We the Rakyat” movement in Melbourne is back with another song in conjunction with this year’s Malaysia Day.
“We the Rakyat 2020” director and music director Samuel Choy said for this year, they chose the song Sejahtera Malaysia composed by former information minister the late Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat.
“We chose the song for its recognisable melody that has filled many hearts throughout generations, but more importantly, for its underlying message in the lyrics,” he said.
In an interview with Malay Mail, the 23-year-old said he and Darren Lee, the founder of “We the Rakyat”, had been brainstorming for this year’s project since January and decided in April on doing a global virtual choir due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Additionally, since social distancing measures were implemented everywhere, it was befitting for us to produce a virtual choir.”
“From there, we started writing the music arrangement and plotted a timeline of how we were going to pull this off. We wanted to start early because we anticipated a larger collaboration and people needed time to find out about our project.”
While last year’s project was confined to only Malaysians in Australia, Choy said they decided to expand to include Malaysians from other countries this year.
“We have always believed in uniting Malaysians abroad to commemorate our motherland, therefore we did not want to restrict ourselves within Melbourne.”
“Last year, since we were a fresh organisation, many people did not know about us and it was difficult to gather Malaysians outside of Melbourne.
“However, as we continue to grow in popularity, we would love to represent the other Malaysians that reside outside of Melbourne and even beyond Australia.”
The movement announced its project via its social media accounts in July and spent over a month to gather as many Malaysians it could to be involved in the project.
“Our main forms of communication were our Facebook page and Instagram as those were the two places that had the largest followings.”
“Meanwhile, the team helped spread the word through many connections. We even collaborated with Malaysian Student’s Global Association (MSGA), the largest international organisation for Malaysian students to reach out to more Malaysians outside of Australia.”
With the help of Shaneal Diiren with marketing and Regina Ong in graphical design, Choy said they managed to attain close to 100 interested participants for this project.
On the recording, Choy said it was fairly rigorous as they wanted to ensure everybody recorded in the correct environment for quality control.
“We had given each participant the score and backing track according to the parts they chose and also created a support group on Telegram for them to ask questions and resolve their concerns.”
“We even created tutorial videos exclusively made for our lovely choir members to help them through the whole process. The same quality control had to be implemented for the video recordings too as we set out certain guidelines.”
“Simply put, they only had under a month to practise and record and we were worried we could not get everyone to learn it on time.
“While some did pull out of the project, we were gladly surprised by the recordings we received as many of them managed to pull it off. Some even managed to sing more than one vocal part and we were impressed by their efforts!”
Once all recordings were received, they took another month to compile both the audio and video into one music video.
“The production was entirely done in-house by me and Zhen Tan, the co-director of this year’s project. I handled the audio mixing while Zhen took on a grueling task to compile and syncronised all the videos.”
“In total we had over 60 different audio & video recordings and over a thousand different layer sequences for the video animation.”
While the group had hoped to get some funding this year so that they could get a more professionally made video, Choy conceded that it was extremely difficult in the current economic downturn.
“So we pulled this off with virtually no budget. Despite our adversities, we were still determined to uphold a high standard in our work.”
Choy said the movement has yet to decide on whether to have a similar project next year.
“However, we have definitely started thinking about the possibilities of next year’s project. We hope to progress beyond producing yearly videos and make We the Rakyat a project with a good cause for our homeland.”
“One thing is for certain: we will always strive to be creative and unorthodox in the way we produce our work and I think this will bring us far.
“We do hope to continue this tradition for many years to come and be able to receive more endorsements and sponsors in the near future.”
For more updates on the “We the Rakyat” movement in Melbourne, surf over to their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/wetherakyat