The Idea of a Malaysian Architectural Identity towards a Sustainable Environment
Abstract— This paper discusses the problems, transformation, and challenges of making a national product style identity within the context of a multi-ethnic country. Generally, there is no proof that the characteristics of product style identity are generalized supported the agreement of multi-ethnic deciding. Within the context of Malaysia, the most issue is concerning the identification of national identity for native product style. This led to the question that may we tend to establish Malaysian product style identity using multi-ethnic preferences? By observing the mutual agreement between all ethnic preferences before the formation of Malaysia, it’s plausible to use one dominant of culture and heritage influence from Malay ethnic as a result of the privilege was clearly written within the accord, Reid Commission and Malaysia’s Constitution. The transformation ought to in line with the sectors of education, research, industry, and agency. The challenges as of these days and future were to require a stand concerning uniformity of Malaysian product style identity and it ought to be acceptable for the alternative ethnic group in Malaysia. Finally, we tend to propose that additional studies concerning Malay ethnic culture and heritage ought to lean within the perspective of linguistics and syntactical interpretations.
Malaysia was referred to as a multi-ethnic country after the independence since 1957. There are unit 3 major ethnic teams living in peace and harmony like Malay, Chinese and Indian. The inclusion of district and Sarawak in 1963 have brought a lot of type of quality and culture within the countries. Many make an attempt is created by Malaysian designers in making a Malaysian product design identity. However, the most challenges are that a way to merge the characteristics of culture and heritage into one product design that may be generalized representing all ethnicities in Malaysia? Or will Malaysian designers use Malay ethnic culture and heritage as an influence to represent Malaysian product design identity?
This paper seeks the solution regarding the higher than questions. Since the ingredients of this argumentative paper rely on the prevailing literature reviews, the statements reveal in this context ought to be thought to be educational purposes and may be perceived with an open mind.
II. ISSUES OF MALAYSIAN PRODUCT DESIGN IDENTITY
A. Malay identity as a Malaysian identity
In Malaysia, main ethnic group is Malay. According to Population and Housing Census of Malaysia in 2010 issued by the Department of Statistics Malaysia 1, Malaysia’s population was twenty eight.3 million, with the Malays because the largest variety of 14.2 million individuals includes 50.1% of the full population. Chinese (22.6%), Indian (6.7%), others Bumiputera (11.7%), Foreigner (8.2%) et al (0.7%).
Previously, there are many Malay product designs exist in Malaysia like Keris, Wau, Gasing, etc. Among common product that represents Malay identity may be a Kukur Kelapa (Coconut Grater) (see Figure 1). All of them are classified by the government of Malaysia as a conventional product design.
Fig. 1. Kukur KelapaUntil now, the government of Malaysia has a dilemma on identifying brand identity that representing Malaysian Product Design identity. However, by looking at the history of the formation of Malaysia, it is plausible (reasonable) to justify why we should use Malay identity as a Malaysian identity by referring a mutual agreement of all ethnics through the Social Contract (Before the independent), Reid Commission (1956) and Malaysia’s Constitution (1957).
a) Social Contract (Before the independent)
The leaders of the 3 parties such as United Malays National Organization (UMNO), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) And Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) have mentioned and reached an agreement in respect to the 3 ethnics? demands upon the independence of Malaya (now called Malaysia). This has been written clearly within the accord that reciprocally, one million citizenships were given to non-Malays, and non-Malays should acknowledge the special position of the Malays because of the “indigenous folks.” Some provisions of the law like the position of Islam because the official faith, the preservation of Malay reserve land, the position of the Malay rulers and Malay customs and also the distribution of presidency are enclosed during this understanding. On the question of the national language, Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language) has been in agreement to be used because of the national language. The Chinese and Indians will still use their own languages however not in official communication. The national language is to be learned by everybody so Malayan voters will communicate with one another anyplace. Islam is that the official faith however alternative religions could observe by their adherents with none obstruction 2.
b) Reid Commission (1956)
The Reid Commission was briefed on the agreement and understanding so they’re going to be included in the Constitution to be written. All 3 parties approved Constitution when many amendments were created. The impact of this Constitution contains a binding contract of the 3 ethnics within the Federation of Malaya upon attaining independence in 1957. Reid Commission that provides the framework of the Constitution states in its report that Article 153, the backbone of the agreement, is temporary, and counseled that it reviewed 15 years when independence. The Commission conjointly states that it and its provisions square measure solely needed to avoid an unforeseen unfavorable to the Malays in competition with members of the Malaysian society to a different, and also the privileges are given to the Malays, however, the matter ought to be bitten by bit reduced and eventually eliminated 2.
c) Malaysia’s Constitution (1957)
Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution offers the responsibility of the principle di-Pertuan Agong (The King) to stay the position of the Malays and natives of Malaysia, a group mentioned because of the “indigenous folks.” The article such, however, the federal can defend the interests of those teams by establishing quota’s entry into public service, scholarships, and public education. It conjointly usually thought to be a part of the agreement and is sometimes delineate as a legal defense for Malay ascendancy 2.
B. Identity conflicts in the design of a multi-ethnic country
Most cases on merging product design identity of multi-ethnic into things of style failing because of many reasons. During this section, we offer a pair of samples of a multi-ethnic country. The primary example is that the use of America (USA). The USA was referred to as a multi-ethnic country. However, until now, there’s no single product within the USA which may be generalized as representing the multi-ethnic characteristics in their product style identity. In USA style history, the distinctiveness of a product depends upon the technology and information of their national. One amongst the examples, yank efficient style has become picture within the USA (see Figure 2). The twentieth century’s quick cars, trains, and planes secure to beat house and time; their mechanics styling and aluminous bodies embodied a brand new and fashionable beauty that ensorcelled yank designers from the late Twenties to the Fifties 3. Streamlining became standard for everything, as well as toy scooters, typewriters, power tools, tea kettles, Coca-Cola bottle, Lucky Strike packaging, feast ware pitchers, Studebaker cars, hound buses, and also the Twentieth Century, restricted train. Among vanguard designers for yank efficient style since the Nineteen Eighties to the current square measure Raymond Loewy, Donald Deskey, Henri Dreyfuss, Russel Wright, and Norman Bel Geddes. Moreover, Raymond Loewy has introduced the principle Most Advanced nevertheless Acceptable (MAYA) into the look. in line with the Raymond Loewy Estate’s website he believed that, “…The adult public’s style isn’t essentially able to settle for the logical solutions to their needs if the answer implies too huge a departure from what they need to be been conditioned into exceptive because the norm 4.” for instance, Apple product derived from this principle.
Fig. 2. American Streamlined Design (Designer unknown. mix all jr. Portable Electric Mixer, 1945–55)
The second example is Singapore. Singapore was known also as a multi-ethnic country. It consists of Chinese, Malay,
Indian and other ethnics. A design produced in Singapore is based on a vision-driven strategic design. At the core of each task is a clear project vision crafted and aligned based on a mixture of empathetic research, business strategy and informed an intuition. This guide and inspires Singaporean designers on creative exploration, while assuring that the designs deliver results that are resonant both to the system and the end-users 5. Realizing that product development is an array of divergent tensions, clients from diverse fields have leveraged on Singaporean designers astute sensibility, proven competency, and extensive experience to make creative leaps that materialize as compelling and desirable purposes. For them, innovative design solutions towards Singaporean universal design standard are the ultimate target for designing a product (see Figure 3).
Fig. 3. Singaporean Universal Design (Orca Design)
III. TRANSFORMATION OF MALAYSIAN PRODUCT DESIGN IDENTITY
a) Design subject at school level
In Malaysia, design subject is one in each of the elective subjects in high school that emphasizes the technology and ability of students. The invention has written with the intention of shaping the minds of artistic, innovative and creative in preparation for the workforce to learn and competent in facing the world challenges of development and technology within the new millennium. The challenge lies with the education system is to produce additional progressive and scientific scholars. This can be vital to developing a research program to produce new technology and not even as shoppers. In line with the education reform, the topic invention initially introduced altogether colleges in Malaya is one in each of the long-run plans to attain the goal of manufacturing a generation of Malaysians WHO area unit inventive, creative and innovative 6. Royo and Mahmood 6 in their studies concerning style subject in 3 colleges in Johor shows that the factors of students’ interest (mean = two.69), students’ attitudes (mean = two.84), academics (mean = two.92) and Invention subject agreeableness in class (mean = two.74) area unit at a moderate level.
b) Industrial design program at the higher institution or universities
Many universities in Malaya provide students with an academic setting that nurtures ability, innovation, and demanding thinking. at intervals style (in this context industrial design) program, it will be Art-based (i.e., Universiti Putra Malaysia), Science-based (i.e., Universiti Teknologi Malaysia), and a mix of Art-based and Science-based within the education (i.e., International Moslem University Malaysia). In Malaya, the course chiefly focuses on ways of analyzing issues, ways of thought and ability, ways of mental image, presentation and communication. Students are exposed to drawback resolution techniques and demanding thinking, facility, technical drawing skills, self-discipline, abstract vision, understanding and information of engineering principles, human factors/ engineering, aesthetics, industrial materials and processes and electronic computer-assisted style. The program focuses on 3 learning domains such as psychological feature, affectional and bodily process 7. Psychological feature domain revolves around information, comprehension, and demanding thinking on a specific topic. The affectional domain describes the manner individuals react showing emotion and their ability to feel alternative living things’ pain or joy. Bodily process domain describes the power to physically manipulate a tool or instrument sort of a hand or a hammer. In regard to that exact learning domain, the Outcome-based education (OBE) has been introduced in Malaya style education systems. Ways of OBE area unit student-centered learning ways that think about empirical measurement student performance (the “outcome”) 8. OBE contrasts with the ancient education that primarily concentrates on the resources that area unit usable to the scholar, that area unit referred to as inputs. Whereas OBE implementations typically incorporate a bunch of the many progressive pedagogic models and ideas, like reform arithmetic, block planning, project-based learning and whole language reading. Moreover, the understanding of diversity in style strategy: From structured thought to arise by itself, the methods are enclosed within the style education program through drawback resolution, normative, synthesis-analysis, reflective, and theology 9.
In Malaysia, research on Semantic studies of product design has contributed to implicit (not stated, but understood in what is expressed) contribution to the body of knowledge. The semantics are a study of the meanings 10 and in the design world it is normally associated with “semiotics.” Semiotics is the study of signs and sign systems, their structure, properties and role in socio-cultural behavior 11. The term “semantics” is closely related to the study of the meaning of signs (or semiotics, which is a more general term). In other words, semiotics consider how forms communicate meanings through signs – such as when a coffee maker communicates that it belongs to the world of kitchenware through its general form and white color. According to Krippendorff 12, the meaning is a cognitively constructed relationship. It selectively connects features of an object and features of its (real environment or imaged) context into a coherent unity. The reasons for such relationship are numerous 13.
Meanwhile, research on Syntactic studies of product design has contributed to explicit (expressing all details in a clear and obvious way, leaving no doubt as to the intended meaning) contribution to the body of knowledge. Syntactic deals with the structure and composition of visual elements 14. Broadly, it involves the analysis of a product’s technical construction as well as the analysis of visual details such as joints, openings, holes, crossing forms, texture, graphics, etc. 15. In the design world, the uses of this terminology refer to the visual form aspect of a product. The existing model of design syntactic consists of two basic concepts namely forms elements and form entities 14. Form elements can be related to material-physical and configuration issues, while form entities deliver syntactic and semantic functionality to the product form 13.
c) Example of topics for product design research
There are three examples of topics recently become popular for product design research in Malaysia. The first topic is about brand image and identity. Visual recognition of brands and products has become a central competitive factor within various product categories. Most companies develop products with designs that not only appear attractive but also carry distinctive references to the „character? of the brand, manifest in defining core values. Such value-based? design features involve explicit or implicit references, and depending on the brand’s strategic approach, can be consistently or flexibly used over the product portfolio. In order to be better prepared to face the challenges of design practice, design for visual brand recognition is a theme that needs to be embraced by new approaches also in design education 16. The second topic is about product design identity in relation to DNA investigation. The basic element of Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA is the genome. In design, a genome is the “life form” whole set genes of DNA 17. In terms of definition, it is one haploid set of chromosomes with the genes they contain. Broadly: the genetic material of an organism. In the perspective of genetic terminology, the terms refer to a full set of chromosomes as well as all the inheritable traits of an organism. It contains all of the chromosomes in rank required to build and maintain that life form. Most of the design research on genome explores the sequences, maps, chromosomes, assemblies, and annotations. Even, the new car styling DNA shows potential disappearance from the current model and has the potential to bring us closer towards a design aim. Since a design is subjective in nature; there is a question about how can designers? establish the character traits of styling DNA for car design? The third topic is about user perceptions of the local product. For this particular topic, the study is as a way to describe how products communicate with users 11,18.
a) Product (Royal Selangor)
Royal Selangor Company has introduced traditional Malay carving motifs as culture and heritage influences that represent Malaysian product design identity. Traditional Malay carving motifs can be categorized into decorative motifs or patterns which have been inspired by early or ancient Malay motifs such as the design pattern with floral motifs, stalks of leaves and tendrils (Awan Larat which literally means indirect clouds) which are set up in the environment in Malay society as well as motifs inspired by the imagery of early carvers 19 (see Figure 4).
Fig. 4. Traditional Malay woodcarving motifs adorn the sides and lid of this elegant trinket box
b) Furniture (Ideation Sdn Bhd)
Ideation Sdn Bhd has used quirky wood as one of a source of material to represent Malaysian furniture design identity. Quirky wood is to create beautifully finished and polished timber features and furniture by cutting into and shaping the wood to reveal the remarkable patterns in the grain left over the course of the lifespan of the tree. Some of the trees have succumbed to infection which leaves their own patterns as they spread through the timber (Figure 5).
Fig. 5. Quirky wood
c) Automotive (Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd)
Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd (PROTON) has produced Malaysia?s first car, the Proton Saga which was originally conceived as an idea of a Malaysian car. PROTON is realizing its goal of being an internationally successful Malaysian automotive manufacturer. It is accomplishing this by being customer oriented and by producing competitively priced and innovative products. Hence, it is contributing to Malaysia’s attainment of Vision 2020 20. Currently, in the development of new Proton Prevé, if we look at the popular choices among Proton designers?, the item that represents local identity through natural resources by using Malayan tiger metaphor seems given a promising properties/attributes to the characteristics of the car design (see Figure 6). The Malayan tiger (Panthera Tigris Jackson) is a tiger subspecies that inhabits the southern and central sections of the Malaysian Peninsula.
Fig. 6. The Malayan tiger as an influence
a) Malaysia Design Council
The Malaysia Design Council (MRM) role is to have a future of innovation and design for Malaysia. It leads design programs in the country to boost the industry?s design expertise, capabilities, and standards 21. MRM has strived to advance the effective function of design and thinking in business, education, and government. Nevertheless, it goes on with its attempts to elevate designing methods and to catapult the creativity among manufacturers. With the direction and recommendations from MRM, Malaysian companies are at once able to go forward and invent a bigger adherence with their consumers through their increased expertise in creating eye-catching products. The function of MRM is: 1) To educate the industries on the importance of quality and effective design management, in product manufacturing, to compete in the open market; 2) To organize activities for locally designed products to be promoted internationally; 3) To be a repository of information and reference on design so as to assist the local industries to develop their design capabilities; 4) To coordinate advisory services to the industries; 5) To promote programs in improving product designs among local industries; 6) To promote greater public awareness of quality design.
b) Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation
The Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) task is harnessing Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) and human capital to value-add the agricultural and industrial sectors and to modernize the new economy, especially through information and communications technology (ICT), and biotechnology 22. The Second National Science and Technology Policy provides a framework for improved operation and long-term growth of the Malaysian economy. Its support also product design through 1) Increase the national capability and capacity for research and development (R&D), technology development and acquisition; 2) Encourage partnerships between publicly funded organizations and industry as well as between local and foreign companies for the co-development of technologies with a view to increasing indigenous technology capability; 3) Enhance the transformation of knowledge into products, processes, services or solutions that add value across every industry for maximum socioeconomic benefit; 4) Position Malaysia as a technology provider in the key strategic knowledge industries; 5) Foster societal values and attitudes that recognize Science and Technology (S&T) as critical to future prosperity, including the need for lifelong learning; 6) Ensure that the utilization of S&T accords emphasis towards approaches that are in conformity with sustainable development goals including alignment with societal norms and ethics; and 7) To develop new knowledge-based industries.
c) Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Education (MOE) in the Interim Strategic Plan 2011-2020 at the Chapter of Innovation and Creativity 23, the goal is to produce innovative and creative students with the latest skills and knowledge. The objective is to create a culture of innovation and creativity in educational institutions. The outcome is 1) Students have the critical thinking, creative and innovative with the latest knowledge; and 2) Enhancing innovation and creativity educators. Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin 23 states “…Our goal is to make quality education as the foundation for nurturing a creative, innovative and highly skilled in tandem with the government to improve the country’s competitiveness by improving the quality of human capital that is born of our education system. The success of the new economic model for human capital capacity to innovate and explore new areas to generate national wealth is a critical factor, which will determine the future progress and prosperity of the country.” Among policy that has been paid as a privilege for Malay ethnicity in relation to education is to grow and ensure that books in Bahasa Melayu are available in its role as an efficient instrument in the evolution of thought, social club and culture which is in line with the dreams and needs of the nation.
IV. CHALLENGES OF MALAYSIAN PRODUCT DESIGN IDENTITY
A. As for today
Most of the Malaysian product design exists for the purpose to meet user and technology expectations. Designers? should explore more local item’s design context and should use them as a basis for influence in designing a product. They should be unique by their own identity. The attempts made by a local company such as Royal Selangor, Ideation Sdn Bhd, and Proton have changed the paradigm. The use of single ethnic culture and heritage like Malay is plausible since the agreement has been made by three main ethnics through Social Contract, Reid Commission (1956) and Malaysia’s Constitution (1957). Malaysian product design identity can be established if all ethnics agreed to use Malay culture and heritage influences for designing. This will make a product designed by Malaysian designers? towards Malaysian product design identity more reliable. The challenges in the education sector are to equip students with the proper knowledge and skill for designing a product. At the university level, the incentive such as grants and sponsorships might help the researcher to explore, establish and develop useful guidelines that can be used as a reference in designing Malaysian product design identity. The findings are novel and can be contributed to the body of knowledge. Industries in Malaysia should take a challenge to create businesses that have state-of-the-art in promoting Malaysian product design identity throughout the world.
The initiative should be taken by Malaysian designers to promote Malaysian product design identity. Researchers on brand image and identity, design in relation to DNA investigation, and user perceptions of the local product should be carried out at the largest setting. This should be supported by the education, research, industry, and government in terms of opportunities, recognition and financial. The future challenges in Malaysian product design identity will be on the reliability, verification, and validation. Reliability is the quality or state of being and the extent to which an experiment, test, or measuring procedure yields the same results on repeated trials. Verification of research results is concerned with establishing the truth or accuracy and the predictive and explanatory power of proposed theories, methods, and models. Verification can be looked into the concept of logical verification and verification by acceptance. Validation of research results is concerned with establishing the relevance and meaningfulness of theories, methods, and models.
V. CONCLUDING REMARKS
In this paper, the issues, transformation, and challenges for Malaysian product design identity have been presented. Looking at issues in Malaysia design context, by referring at the mutual agreement during the formation of Malaysia between all ethnic preferences, it is plausible to use Malay ethnic culture and heritage influences into the product as references. The failures of American to create one USA product as well as Singapore are an evidence that it is hard to merge all ethnic influence into one single product design identity. The transformation in education, research, industry, and the government should emphasize on the Malaysia design policies towards innovation and creativity. The challenges should be looked at as of today and future design perspectives and how making a national identity of Malay ethnic culture and heritage embedded at Malaysian product design appearances consistently in every production through semantic and syntactic interpretations.
1 Department of Statistics Malaysia. The source of Malaysia?s Official Statistics. Retrieved 30 June 2014 from http://www.statistics.gov.my/portal/
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3 D.A. Hanks, and A. Hoy, “American Streamlined Design: The World of Tomorrow.” Paris: Flammarion, 2005.
4 R. Loewy, “Raymond Loewy the Father of Industrial Design.” Retrieved 24 June 2014 from
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