By Norhidayyu Zainal
KUALA LUMPUR, Cik Yah, an animoji character gained instant fame when videos of her talking about things most Malay mothers do were first uploaded on social platforms in March.
Amar Reza Zainalabidin, 27, the man behind the famous Cik Yah videos, said he created the character as a medium to convey messages and information to the community through social media.
“Cik Yah is a 55-year-old mother of three children, namely Sepul, Dayah and Faiz and is the chairman of the Bini-Bini Tak Berlaki Association who lives in Kampung Gajah Termenung.
“When a character of an elderly woman with a mother figure and has more experience rants or give advice, it is not a big issue, compared to when young people do,” he told Bernama.
Videos such as Mak-mak Bila Kejut Bangun Sahur (mothers waking up their kids for sahur), Mak-mak Bila Naik Kereta (mothers when travelling in car), Mak-mak Bila Tetamu Nak Datang (mothers when guests are coming) and Makcik-makcik Bila Pergi Majlis (mothers when going to an event) by Cik Yah have also been widely shared social media, resulting in her gaining 145,000 followers on Tik Tok and 52,000 followers on Instagram.
Among the most-viewed was the 5 minute 8 second video featuring Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Mohd Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz who talks about the Geran Khas Prihatin (GKP) 4.0 assistance which managed to garner more than 35,000 views since it was uploaded on Instagram on Sept 21.
Amar Reza, who is also Cik Yah’s voice actor, said that almost 50 percent of Cik Yah’s character resembled his mother, Hanizah Abdul Hamid, 50, thus making her as his main source of reference in making videos.
“I’m an observant person and every video I make will be evaluated by my mother before being uploaded on social media. Usually, my mother will give her opinion on what needs to be improved from the point of view of a mother and an elderly woman.
“I don’t want to look fake when playing the character,” said the Communication and Performing Arts lecturer at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.
On the challenges he faced in voice acting as a female character, Amar Reza said he had once experienced a cough that lasted for almost two months.
He had also been criticised by netizens as being cynical and annoying as well as vocal on certain issues.
“When Cik Yah first appeared on TikTok, many have perceived the character as a mockery of art, but that also has made her gained instant attention. My intention was just to convey a message but it was misunderstood.
“There were also those who threatened to kill and splash acid on me which had affected my mental health, but I did not give up,” he said.
Amar Reza said each video of Cik Yah who rants over various current issues happening in the country, takes one to three days to complete.
The Kuala Lumpur-born also hoped that Cik Yah will become a widely-known character like other country’s famous animated characters in the future.
“It would be great if Cik Yah animoji can be turned into an animated series that focuses on teenagers and adults so that it continues to remain relevant,” said Amar Reza, who has also received requests from the private sector and non-governmental organisations to produce awareness campaign videos. – Bernama