"Boboiboy" "Boboiboy"

While Anthony Fauci is mocked and jeered at Republican rallies, his Malaysian counterpart is being hailed as a literal superhero. Noor Hisham Abdullah, Malaysia’s director general of health, is involved in an unorthodox approach to public health campaigning. In a new PSA, he appears in animated form, endowed with common sense medical advice to fight the coronavirus.

The PSA is the result of a partnership between the country’s Ministry of Health and Animonsta Studios (a.k.a Monsta), the producers of the hit Malaysian animated series Boboiboy. In the video, the young heroes of that show fight a cluster of grinning viruses. When their weapons prove inadequate, Noor Hisham appears, cleans his hands with sanitizer, and proceeds to obliterate the viruses with a blast of blue light.

Watch the video below:

In an accompanying press release, Monsta spells out the message: “Anyone can be a superhero as long as they practice CAPP.” The acronym stands for the four central slogans in the Malaysian Ministry of Health’s Covid awareness campaign: “Prevent and Educate,” “Practice New Norm,” “Comply with SOPs [standard operating procedure]” and “Monitor Your Health.”

Noor Hisham’s profile has risen through his role in the fight against Covid; in his country he has become a household name. Boboiboy too is famous in Malaysia and across Asia, having starred in both a popular tv series and the fourth-highest grossing local film in the country’s history, as well as racking up more than six billion views on Youtube. The pairing of the two is a canny way to communicate public health protocols, especially to children. We aren’t aware of any other country taking a similar approach this year.

Malaysia has fared relatively well so far in the pandemic. In a country of 32 million or so, there have been 34,393 recorded infections and 263 deaths. On a per capita basis, the United States has recorded 85x more deaths than Malaysia.

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