Disney has grabbed a lot of the world’s most famous myths, legends and fairy tales and turned them into classic Disney films we now know and love, but isn’t it about time that they ventured into something they should learn more about?
Malaysian folklore and legends all have a special and sometimes magical feel to it, like no other place could ever have. We have a lot darkness in our tales too, which we’re sure Disney has had a go at tampering with it since Snow White.
Whether or not they do go for the Malaysian route for their future projects, here are a few options we could give as ideas, and it’s also nice just to be reminded of our grand- ancestors stories and imagination every once in a while.
Okay, let’s try and forget that M. Nasir once played a version of the legendary Malayan hero in the big budget and lengthy “Puteri Gunung Ledang”, and let us move more into the field where he has his four warrior friends, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekir and Hang Lekiu.
A modern tale could be reworked from the legend and myth of the five strongest warriors and silat masters of the time, sort of like a Malaysian Power Rangers, or something like that.
Think “Bambi”, except less depressing and more cheeky and educational. The legendary folk tale of the ‘smarter-than-thou’ small mousedeer versus the entire Malayan animal kingdom has educated and entertained the small children of Malaysia for generations. The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse better save some room for Sang Kancil.
Disney is all about beautiful princesses with a bit of innocence and magic, and Mahsuri should be a really great Malaysian tribute that they could do. The young girl, a real life person who lived in Langkawi has become a national folklore icon. The story was that she was accused of adultery and was executed by stabbing, and her white blood was a sign of her innocence and the island of Langkawi was cursed for a really long time, with decades of failed crops.
PUTERI GUNUNG LEDANG
Since Disney is compiling more and more kick ass Princesses, Puteri Gunung Ledang is a more perfect fit for their prime. The legend of the Princess of Ledang Mountain revolved around a princess who gave the Sultan who wanted to marry her several tasks to prove his love for her, including the last task of giving her a silver bowl of his young son’s blood.
BAWANG PUTIH BAWANG MERAH
A Cinderella-like tale featuring two sisters called Bawang Merah and Bawang Putih (translated as Shallots and Garlic), the Indonesian based folk tale tells the story of the good one Putih, and the bad one Merah with the evil step mother. There have been a lot of versions of the tale, including one where Merah gets jealous that Putih is the pretty one and gets a lot of attention from the male villagers and tries to get revenge but Putih, being the good one, gets her way eventually.