Malaysians are reacting with hilarity to government marital advice they talk like a cartoon character to avoid arguments with their husbands during home lockdown.
Many have taken to social media to mock the country’s Women and Family Development Ministry after it drew a backlash for encouraging women to giggle and sound like Japanese cartoon character Doraemon when speaking to their husbands. It also told women to apply make up when working from home.
The ministry has since removed the four infographics comprising the PSA from its Instagram page and replaced them with an apology last night.
Many recorded videos taking a jab at the ministry’s choice of a male cat robot from the future as a role model for Malaysian wives. Doraemon has a coarse voice in the Malaysian version of the cartoon show, which is voiced by actor Ruhaiyah Ibrahim. Ironically or not, Doraemon is usually performed by female voice actors.
Malaysian actress Chelsia Ng did a pretty accurate Doraemon’s impression in a video posted to Instagram yesterday. She used the same dialogue the ministry gave as its example for women to say.
“This is how you hang the clothes, my dear,” she says in the clip.
The ministry had suggested that women speak in the character’s voice and giggle instead of nagging their husbands when they’re not doing things right.
“Just in case you don’t know what Doraemon sounds like, he sounds a little bit like this,” Ng said before voicing the cartoon cat robot and waving around some laundry. “He has this kind of throaty voice.”
— Qahar Aqilah (@KeliQilah) March 31, 2020
Comedian Harith Iskander and his wife Jezamine Lim reversed roles for their video, with Harith taking on the part of Doraemon-wife.
“Women don’t need to put on cartoon voices in their own homes to be heard,” he wrote in the caption. “And men shouldn’t accept this kind of narrative. More so now, than ever, we need to rise up to be a better version of ourselves. I am a man and I am proud of doing a Doraemon voice.”
In a statement yesterday, the Women and Family Development Ministry apologized if the extremely backward tips were inappropriate or had offended certain groups. It also promised to be more careful in the future.
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Kami mengambil maklum respon banyak pihak berhubung beberapa tips untuk wanita yang dipromosikan semasa berada di dalam tempoh Perintah Kawalan Pegerakan (PKP) melalui poster-poster yang telah disiarkan di media sosial kami. Pendekatan yang digunakan adalah untuk berkongsi kaedah dan amalan untuk mengekalkan hubungan yang positif dalam keluarga dan ketika menjalani fasa bekerja dari rumah. Pihak kami menghebahkan tips harian dan mesej positif dalam media sosial dengan kempen #wanitacegahcovid19 merangkumi pelbagai tema dengan matlamat untuk berkongsi maklumat kepada golongan wanita. Pihak kami memohon maaf sekiranya beberapa tips yang dikongsikan tidak bersesuaian dan menyentuh sensitiviti golongan tertentu serta akan lebih berhati-hati pada masa akan datang. Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Pembangunan Wanita 31 Mac 2020