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FCB Shout tells a different type of Chinese New Year Story with RHB, highlighting neurodiversity and inclusivity

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — Titled Acceptance, RHB Bank’s latest Chinese New Year film, which was conceived and created by FCB SHOUT, is a dramatic retelling of the life story of Beatrice Leong, an autistic rights activist, and filmmaker who only found out she is autistic when she was in her 30s. In the first three decades of her life, Beatrice struggled to cope with being different, constantly feeling unwanted and unaccepted by the world that simply couldn’t understand her. But after learning about her diagnosis, her life dramatically turned around. She has taken great strides as an autism activist, becoming a beacon of hope for people who are autistic – especially women – in Malaysia. Her new purpose led to the foundation of her NGO called Autism Inclusiveness Direct Action Group, which champions representation for the autistic community in media spaces and policy-making.

Directed and narrated by Beatrice herself and shot entirely from a first person’s POV, the film helps the viewer see the world through the eyes of Beatrice and better understand how an autistic person sees and processes the things around them.

Abdul Sani Abdul Murad, Group Chief Marketing Officer of RHB Banking Group, said, “At RHB, we are committed to making progress happen for everyone, and our various Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (‘DEI’) initiatives are testament to this. RHB #Empower, a program that pools resources to bring inclusivity and diversity in hiring to the forefront by creating opportunities for the neurodiverse community, and the annual Art with Heart, where we promote local artists, including those who are from the neurodivergent community, are both purposefully designed to help spread greater awareness about neurodiversity, empower neurodivergent talents so that they can showcase their talents and advocate for a more diverse and inclusive society. This heartfelt and personal film by Beatrice Leong reaffirms our commitment to continue supporting the neurodiverse community and serves as a timely reminder during this festive period to embrace and celebrate one’s true self.”


Interestingly, the film wasn’t the first collaboration between Beatrice and RHB. “Through my NGO, I often consult organizations that are looking to include neurodivergent individuals in their workforce, and that was actually how I first crossed paths with RHB. So to be invited to tell my story for RHB was truly an amazing opportunity; it’s almost like we’ve come full circle!” said Beatrice.

Commenting on the spot, she added, “I also need to give a lot of credit to Luth, the little boy in the film who is autistic himself. Also, a big shout-out to Firas and William, the two autistic teen boys who were so enthusiastic as extras and who graciously helped me create some of the drawings that were featured in the film. I hope this film further proves that autistic people have a place in the world of media and arts.”

Meanwhile, Tjer, FCB SHOUT’s Head of Creative, added, “It was really exciting to produce a film that was shot from a first person’s POV, but we did it not just because we wanted to do something different; there’s a deeper meaning behind the technique. As someone who only found out that she is autistic in her 30s, Beatrice spent much of her life hiding and running away from the world. That inspired us to tell her story without actually showing who she is, right until the very end. Doing so also allows us to let the viewers experience what being an autistic person is like in an immersive manner so that they can have a better understanding of this condition and begin to embrace and celebrate the differences in people.”

Acceptance was released on January 29, 2024, and is running across all RHB Bank’s social and digital channels in conjunction with the Chinese New Year festive celebration, which starts on 10 February 2024. To date, the film has received tremendously positive reviews on social media along with over 4,700 likes to date.

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