A few weeks ago in Facebook and Youtube, most of us would have seen an amusing video where a few police cars from the Royal Malaysian Police force chasing a blue Japanese drifting coupe on a highway, causing ruckus on the road. The video, which was taken by some bystanders, then uploaded the video in Youtube and it became an instant online sensation soon after.
Before viewers commented that the Malaysian police are a bunch of pansies or declaring that drifters are the next “Rempit” of road menace, it was revealed that the clip was actually taken from a movie set where a new Malaysian film “Kongsi” was being filmed. Just for your information, this Malaysian flick is yet another criminal gangster movie featuring, yes you may have guessed it, criminals driving drift cars. Surprisingly, clip has been an effective viral marketing tool to promote the movie.
Drifting in movies is nothing new, as it is shown in some Malaysian movies from Evolusi Drift series and so on. However it is punctuated mainly in crime-filled gangster movies genre. To summarize how a typical plot can be, picture a main character as some sort of big shot gangster and drives a Nissan Silvia S15. Only to be chased by his rivals who are also drifters in a Mazda RX-7. Our main hero, then displaying his top notch acting skills by driving a car like a 5-year-old, spun off his car 360 degrees, took his gun and shoot his rivals until the RX-7 exploded, sending the bad guys into oblivion. Bad guys toasted, hero walked out from his car embracing some heroines and walk off from the scene, possibility to the nearest cheap motel.
Tamat (“The End’ in Malay language). Audiences leaving the cinema feeling they should be drifting their cars on the roads.
However, this is very WRONG. If this continues, drifting will be labeled as the sports for criminals. This really put drifting into a very bad light. The next time you drive a Nissan 180SX into the neighborhood, your neighbors might call the cops or shoot you till kingdom come. Or discovering your son watching drifting in youtube is like the equivalent of discovering your son learning how to smoke weed.
Despite drifting originated as an underground sports, it has emerged as one of the fastest growing and competitive grassroot motorsports in the world. It did create a few international competition series, from D1 series, Formula Drift and most recently, Keichi Tsuchiya’s new Drift Muscle series. Malaysia has a very competitive and healthy drifting scene where the country has been hosting the Formula Drift Asia series in recent years. Our talents are among the bests in the region. Just youtube Tengku Djan and you can see why.
It is also one of the cheapest and easiest motorsports to enter by anyone. All you need is a rear wheel drive (RWD) car, regardless the age. You can choose from the cheapest RWD car from an old school 1980 Toyota Corolla, a 1990 Nissan Cefiro A31, to the expensive Toyota Trueno/Levin AE86, Nissan 180SX, Nissan Silvia series, Mazda RX-7 and so on. Spent some money for half cut engines from Japan, new tyres (lots of them), performance parts and at some extreme, NOS and turbocharged kits.
Yes a lot of money is needed in drifting (particularly tyres) but it is not as expensive as circuit based motor racing where it can easily cost less than half a million Malaysian Ringgit or so if you plan to participate in amateur touring car race in Sepang. If you are good, perhaps tyre companies will sponsor you, as what Goodyear Malaysia has demonstrated to their drifting team. Drifting competitions are major crowd attractors which explain the event can attract sponsors easily. With our local drifters are among the top in the world (please wiki Tengku Djan), we have a very good potential to produce good drifters in the motorsports world.
Afterall, we all have seen sports related movies which exploits tales of struggles of athletes, fighting all his/her way into the top and glory. Movies about boxers such as Rocky, Raging Bull, Million Dollar Baby and most recently the Fighter, are all Academy Award winners. Who says there is no such thing as a good sports movie?
The whole point is why not local Malaysian producers perhaps stop putting drifters into criminal/crime or gangster movies for once. The idea is getting tired and the real drifters in Malaysia are not criminals. You can’t judge if our drifter in a old Toyota Corolla is doing sideways and has gun hidden inside, or if he has just killed someone and put inside his boot. Also if I”m have been doing human trafficking business and collecting protection money, I would rather be in a low profile but intimidating car so I would less attract the police. For that I would choose a black Waja with heavy black tints or maybe a black Mercedes if I were successful. Any colorful RWD coupe with decals and sponsorship stickers will be the last car I would be in. You don’t see the Mafia or Yakuza traveling in colorful RWD coupes as it is ridiculously stupid.
Meanwhile most drifters in our local scene are just some regular folks who worked hard to earn money to fund for their sideway obsessions. They even do it the proper way which is at proper drifting locations in Malaysia, and not in the streets. These people has put an unlimited amount of blood, sweat and tears in order for them to steer towards the perfect angle in drifting.
This has to be stopped. So, Malaysian movie directors, if you read this, why not make a movie where it tells a struggle of a young Malaysian kid who drives his father’s Toyota, delivering “bean curds” from Cameron Highland to Tapah every morning until he becomes a legend in mountain roads, defeating drivers in Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, Subaru Impreza and Nissan Skyline GTR and then ends up become a successful rally driver. No gangsters involved, just a brilliant tale where success comes though hard work and sheer determination.
Hang on a minute, I think the Japs has already done that… hmm..
Note: This article is written in the eyes of an avid motorsports enthusiast in Malaysia