PETALING JAYA – You’re not seeing double – it really is Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai playing two roles in a National Day video by producers Pete Teo and Liew Seng Tat.
The six minute-long video short entitled Citizens was released on Monday in conjunction with the upcoming National Day celebrations.
In the video, he portrays himself in his everyday role as Transport Minister, having a no-holds-barred conversation with a citizen who has grouses about the way the country is run – a role also played by Liow.
Liow, the minister, is smartly dressed in a long-sleeved shirt and slacks, while “Citizen Liow” is dressed very casually, with his hair a little unkempt and wearing a grey T-shirt, without spectacles.
“Largely this was because the script required a Federal Minister who had the gumption to submit to what we wanted to shoot.
“We kept trying and eventually found our man,” he said.
Teo said they did not want to make a film that could be confused for a “tourism video.”
Citizens reflects the current mood of the country, especially the fears of the Chinese community.
“It would therefore have to contain anger, helplessness and conflict. Yet it must contain hope – for we are even now not without hope – and so the film should also unite us in hope across the political spectrum,” said Teo.
This is not Liow’s first film. He previously acted in other 15Malaysia and Hari Malaysia shorts, also produced by Teo.
“What is different this time is that while he was civilly treated as a cabinet minister before, he will be brutalised this time; and while he was stereotyped as a politician before, he is now a human being – filled with the same fears, regret, conflicts and hope as all of us,” said Teo, adding that he thought long and hard about the casting.
Also making an appearance in the film is Liow’s wife Datin Seri Lee Sun Loo.
Teo said that it took courage for Liow, who is MCA president, to act in the film especially since he and MCA “are deeply maligned in sections of the Chinese community”.