Connecting Malaysians in Australia through TV

As news of Malaysian content appearing on Australian television made its rounds, little is known about the true motivation for telling those stories.

Aussie Malaysian TV (AMTV), produced by Aussie 1 Productions, is a 13-episode programme being aired on Melbourne Television Station Channel 31.

The show projects the diversity of Malaysians in Australia as the show’s founder, Lin Ariffin, hopes it will unite the community.

The Australia-based filmmaker also shares her plans for more Malaysian-related content and the possibility of creating similar series in other parts of the world to bring Malaysians together while showcasing the Malaysian culture to the world.

She speaks to Twentytwo13 about her plans.

“The AMTV founding story goes back to when I first came to Australia and members of the Malaysian community were pretty isolated.

Hence, you cannot imagine the joy when one day I accidentally “bumped” into a lady from Malaysia in one of the suburbs of Melbourne. We both were so excited! (By the way, we are still connected!).

This incident motivated me to search for and meet more Malaysians in Victoria. I liked the idea of getting together and sharing our stories with each other and AMTV’s intention is to provide a media platform to achieve just that – a place where Malaysians meet, chat, feel at home, and can identify with.

Having a background in film and television, creating a unique television show for Malaysians was a logical consequence. In my mind, I created the vision of bringing the community together, no matter what background, to share our common interest in being Malaysians, talk about the towns, where we grew up, or even just sharing laughter, and not to forget…. sharing secrets on where to find authentic Malaysian food!

Having said that, it took me several years to make it a reality as I had many other commitments. However, I always had AMTV as a special project in the back of my mind – a project I was prepared to put my heart and soul in.

AMTV is not a commercial venture of Aussie 1 Productions. It is a social project and I use it solely to give back to my beloved community as its hardest working volunteer. Call it love, call it patriotism, it is a matter of heart.

At AMTV we combine all platforms, the broadcasting, YouTube and social media platforms to communicate with our community on all levels.

Particularly for Season 2, we plan to develop more specific social media shows like the “Teh Tarik Talk”, a talk show about current news/topics within the community and global issues.

Upon the release of the pilot, many Malaysians based in other states in Australia such as Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, have expressed interest to be part of the show.

We had planned to introduce a second season with a concept that AMTV would travel state to state to connect to the local Malaysians and empower them to become part of the show.

We had even put together a proposal to expand that same concept to include the entire Malaysia diaspora the world over, and we were ready to find some international sponsors to fund the series.

However, both projects had to be postponed due to the lockdown/restriction order (following the Covid-19 pandemic).

We were also in the midst of organising the Malaysian Film Festival before the pandemic started early this year. We had several meetings with the Consul-General of Malaysia in Melbourne as our advisor and to partner with Film Victoria and other non-profit organisations to bring Malaysian film closer to the Australian audience. That too had to be postponed.

Whilst being in lockdown, we produced a special documentary involving Malaysians from different parts of Australia, Malaysia and United Kingdom on how Covid-19 has impacted our lives. The documentary was recorded remotely and recently aired on Channel 31 (in Australia) and was certainly something Australians related to.

In our television series, we have segments related to lifestyle, career, education, health, travel, hobby, self-development and food.

We decided to use English as our medium to encourage and enable Australians and its multicultural community to watch our show and understand our culture.

They seem to relate particularly to the food and culture segment. For example, in one episode, we introduced the Pencak Silat performance and they loved it. In fact, one of the silat members was an Australian!

We also shared the uniqueness of our Ramadan bazaar with all our Malaysian delicacies and have a segment called “Jenguk-Jenguk Dapur Melbourne” where we introduce an authentic Malaysian dish every week, such as nasi kerabu, Nyonya cuisine and cendol.

For the next season, we hope to inspire Australians and other nationalities to get involved and participate in experiencing something new about our tradition, culture and lifestyle and vice-versa.

And apart from our television series, we are also working on an exciting short film based on the Malaysian community here. Our target is to showcase the film on Malaysia Day.”

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