KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — Many a truth is told in jest.
A local YouTuber has dubbed over the trailer for Disney’s reboot of Mulan, a tale of a legendary Chinese warrior woman, to explore Sino Malaysian woes through the veneer of comedy.
Titled “Si Milan”, the 1-minute-40-second video published on the “Steven Bones Everything” YouTube Channel — which also produced the “Mamak King” parody of Disney’s Lion King — features Malaysian-accented voices that tell of the female protagonist’s confusion when her family suddenly decides to go back to “Tong San”.
“Dah confirm dah. Kita nak balik Tong San. Because they say that’s where Chinese people come from,” the parodic voiceover of Si Milan’s father says in the clip.
“Tong San” is a colloquialism that refers to olden China and is used as a slur against ethnic Chinese Malaysians to denote that they are immigrants. In 2015, Umno’s Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim told DAP’s Jimmy Wong to “balik tongsan” during an argument.
The titular “Si Milan” reacts to the news by pointing out she only knows Malaysia, her homeland.
The clip also humorously explores other tropes common among the local Chinese society, such as their perennial difficulty gaining entry into public universities and jokes about their inability to enjoy discounts for property purchases, a sly dig at the Bumiputra privilege.
Older Malaysians, particular smokers partial to Dunhill, will also appreciate the parody maker’s nod to the cigarette brand’s motto of “Gaya, Mutu, dan Keunggulan” that is inserted as a bad lip-reading of the characters’ speech.
In parts, a voice interjects to point out that a pattern similar to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei’s logo is painted on Si Milan’s as she prepares for war.
“See? See? Itu Huawei logo lah!”
The latter part of the clip has Si Milan’s mother telling her that must fight and overcome systemic disadvantages if she wants to be Malaysian.
The clip is humorous throughout but touches on real-world grouses that are regularly repeated among the local Chinese community that not all in Malaysia yet consider them to be rightful citizens.
The video was uploaded two days ago and viewed 888 times on YouTube and shared 420 times on Facebook at the time of writing.
The comment section shows only positive feedback so far.
Previous videos from the same producer were also positively received for their comedy and relatability to the average Malaysian.
Disney’s actual Mulan trailer is for its live-action reboot of its previous animated movie about a Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, a woman who disguised herself as a man in order to take her father’s place in war.