PETALING JAYA, Sept 13 — What started as a mere dream of home, soon grew into something much more.
Ipoh-born Darren Lee Yeu Jyn, who has spent the last five years in Melbourne, Australia, fantasised about “doing something big” in what might be his final year in the land Down Under.
The 24-year-old works as a research support officer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital besides running a small business called Settled Services, that helps international students get settled in Melbourne.
In his experience of helping students, Lee has always tried to connect the international student community with people who have migrated to Melbourne, and figured that working with Malaysians was the best way to get started.
“It’s something I’ve always aspired to do, bridge the gap, and I thought ‘Why not start with a community that’s close to my heart’,” said Lee in an interview with Malay Mail via Whatsapp.
Lee has sought to unite all Malaysians in Melbourne to pay homage to their home country as it celebrates its unity as a nation on Malaysia Day which falls on September 16.
His dream was to get Malaysians from all walks of life, based in Melbourne, to come together and be part of a music video to commemorate the formation of a “New Malaysia” some 56 years ago.
“One night I was watching Singapore’s National Day Parade theme song, which brings multiple artistes from different generations together, and I was amazed at how inspiring their videos can be,” said Lee.
“So, the next day, I pitched my idea to Consulate General of Malaysia in Melbourne’s consul general, Mazita Marzuki, in August.”
He added that Mazita loved the idea, and instantly connected him with the right people to help in realising his dreams by moving forward with the project.
It started as a passion and soon became an “amazing reality” for Lee, as it only took a month to plan, record and produce the music video.
“I am blessed to have the support of my fellow Malaysians here, the amount of talent that we have in Melbourne is astonishing,” he said.
He explained that everything was done in exactly one month, from conceptualising the video, getting music done, booking recording studios and spaces to film, and even gathering artists and videographers — all completed by using money out of their own pockets.
“Thankfully everyone involved was more than happy to volunteer their time to wish Malaysia a Happy Malaysia Day,” said Lee.
“Our videographers are students who run their own production company, one of our producers works full-time in Singapore, and there is even a student who juggles between three jobs.”
Funding was a major challenge for the group as they started with a “zero budget”, which made it tricky to find the best equipment, spaces and talent, but that wouldn’t stop them from making their country proud.
Inspired by the non-partisan and non-profit works of Pete Teo and the Malaysian Artistes for Unity, Lee wanted the music video to be a rendition of their song Here in My Home, which promotes racial unity and national pride.
“Being a huge fan of Pete Teo and the late Yasmin Ahmad, I immediately thought of using Pete’s song to do something similar, except this time it would be to unite the different Malaysian communities in Melbourne,” said Lee.
The original music video, released in May 2008, was directed by the late Yasmin and also featured pro bono participation from over 50 Malaysian artists, art activists and media personalities which included, Awie, Maya Karin, Ning Baizura, Jaclyn Victor and Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.
Lee added: “This song really speaks about Malaysians having each other’s back, and how no matter where we roam, we are always Malaysians at heart.”
For more updates on the “We the Rakyat” movement in Melbourne, and their upcoming music video release, surf over to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wetherakyat/.