Two Malaysians decided to reimagine themselves as Hogwarts students by creating TikTok videos making fun of what the magic school experience could be like if the Harry Potter series had included local urban legends like the late celebrity witch doctor Mona Fandey or a demon known as “toyol.”
Inspired by recent TikTok trends parodying the internationally renowned fantasy series by British author J.K. Rowling, TikTok users Eliza Roseli, 20, and Mellissa Mustaffa, 21, also jumped on the bandwagon and have garnered thousands of views for adding Malaysian flavor. The duo, who had been Harry Potter fans since primary school, even dressed up as Hogwarts students.
“My whole life, I felt like there wasn’t enough Asian representation in white movies or TV shows, especially the Harry Potter movies, as they mean a lot to me,” Eliza told Coconuts KL after posting the video A Malaysian Malay gets transferred to Hogwarts earlier this month. “It’s sad not seeing myself or Asians in it (Harry Potter series), and even if they were, they become side characters like Cho Chang.”
In that clip, Eliza had pretended to be a magic student asking the headmaster for school breaks to go home and celebrate Eid. It raked in over 100,000 views and prompted Eliza to make a second clip where she took a jab at the lack of Asians in the show and also made reference to the ‘80s pop singer turned witch doctor Mona Fandey, who was sentenced to death in 2001 for the murder of a politician.
“Besides me, Cho Chang and the Patil twins, where are the Asians?” Eliza, an undergraduate from Penang, was heard saying in A Malaysian Malay gets transferred to Hogwarts part 2. The Harry Potter series only had three Asian characters who played minor roles. They were twins Parvati and Padma Patil and the main character’s love interest Cho Chang.
“Voldemort couldn’t kill Harry? I mean… maybe if they had Mona Fandey,” she later said. Voldemort is the main villain in the fantasy series.
Mellissa’s Malaysians in Hogwarts has been watched at least 80,000 times since it went up Oct. 5.
“I never thought it’s going to blow up because my videos only get between 20 to 100 views. When people asked me to make more, I actually took about a week to come up with ideas for the next video,” she said.
In the clip, she made reference to the baby devil “toyol” popular in local folklore, which looks something like the Harry Potter house elf named Dobby.
“My father also has this toyol,” Mellissa could be heard saying in the video with Dobby in the background. “This is not a dementor, it’s a ‘hantu raya,’” she added. A “hantu raya” refers to a powerful spiritual entity commonly known within the Malay community.
The Selangor native was also heard pretending to tell the Harry Potter character himself to recite prayers from the Koran before confronting the villain.
“Recite ‘Yasin’ and then confirm, you won’t need seven movies,” she said. Seven Harry Potter movies were produced between 2001 and 2011, starting with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and ending with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
The theatre student also wished Rowling had represented Asians better in her books.
“I do wish they can do better at that,” Mellissa said. “Having Cho Chang, Padma and Parvati Patil in the books and the movies is totally not enough plus, even as a child, the name Cho Chang doesn’t sound right to me,” she added.
Rowling received criticism for Cho Chang’s name earlier this year after readers pointed out that it sounded too similar to the racial slur “ching chong.”
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