VISIT Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020) is just about nine months away before it actually kicks off and yet, we are still indecisive about choosing the right and suitable animation character that can truly symbolise the country's identity, culture and of course, language.
90's kids like me who used to ardently love Doraemon as our favourite cartoon know that Doraemon doesn't actually speak Malay and has no knowledge of Malaysian cultures.
Doraemon doesn't eat roti canai, nasi lemak and even Young Tau Fu. It, instead, eats Dorayaki.
For those who have no idea about what the Doraemon is— it's a blue cat with its rounded head and also has a magical pocket that could fulfil its friends' bizarre wishes.
It comes from Japan and its native language is Japanese.
The 'imported cartoons' like Doraemon and Hagemaru can't even be made an ambassador and corroborated to promote the country even they are cute and laughable.
The Visit Malaysia 2020 must be seriously organised with respectable efforts that can help the country to boost its ecotourism that might be detrimental as we face the recent economic downturn.
The selection of theme, logo and even mascot is important in promoting the country's image as a tourism country as they are the "first impressions" in the eyes of tourists.
Like hosting the football's World Cup, besides knowing the host's "great places to go", the mascot and logo are the first things visitors and fans want to see.
I believe that there are still big numbers of foreign tourists who are interested to be travelling to Malaysia, especially those who have never been here, an Asian country that is now prime ministered by a 93-year-old politician who wished to "save Malaysia".
It's enough for us to be unpleasantly known as a politically-controversial country by the globe.
We need to reiterate the "negative beliefs" thrown against us by orchestrating tourism agendas like VMY2020 with valuable promotions that can persuasively attract more global tourists to experience the uniquenesses that we mutually share as a multiracial nation.
If Japanese are proud of their Doraemon and maybe Hagemaru, we are also glad to have Upin and Ipin, the twins that portray the values of being a Malaysian.
Unlike Doraemon whose voice is inimitable, Upin and Ipin show us the spirit of Malaysian unity through a friendship with their Chinese and Indian friends.
We need animations with cultural values like Upin and Ipin to be the so-called ambassador in elevating Malaysia as a decently-cultured land to visit.
Its newly-hailed film, Upin and Ipin: Keris Siamang Tunggal that unexpectedly hit the cinemas, proves that the animation is hugely applauded and loved by racially-diverse Malaysians.
Besides remaking the VMY2020's logo which had been critically detested during the BN's era, I hope that the government via the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will consider choosing Upin and Ipin as the mascot for the Visit Malaysia 2020.
* Amerul Azry Abdul Aziz is an independent writer who now views politics as something that can be researched.
** The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI.