Videographers Capture Charming Visuals Of Small Towns Across Malaysia Bursting With Beauty

The duo hope to cover every town across Malaysia at some point.

Cover image via @smalltownsmy (Instagram)

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From big city centres to tiny villages scattered across miles and miles on end, the diversity of Malaysian towns are wide and plentiful

Embarking on a journey that highlights these beauties, Small Towns Malaysia is a social media account on TikTok and Instagram that has been gaining prominence as days go by.

Created as short documentaries of the adventures, heritage, and life, the account curates detailed and precise videos on multiple towns around the countrysome with a population of 300 people and less.

Exemplifying each town's inherent beauty and uniqueness, each clip is approximately a minute long, with a brief description provided on the town and its respective history. The visuals in the features are made through a combination of aerial shots from a drone and ground shots of everyday people who reside in each town.

With the help of natives who claim each town as their home, every video gives viewers an in-depth experience into what each town is like, and why it is so eccentrically distinctive.

Check out one of the most popular videos on the page, which was taken of a town called Papan, located in the state of Perak:

@smalltownsmy Papan, Perak is a sleepy small town with so much historical significance to the state and our country. It’s such a charming and rustic place to explore. #smalltownsmalaysia #malaysiatrulyasia #perak #drone #ipoh #sony #cinematic original sound - Small Towns Malaysia

Speaking to the creators of Small Towns Malaysia, SAYS recently had the opportunity to discover what inspired the inception of this special page

33-year-old videographers Ash Raja and Jon Dexter have a long history together as friends with a passion for showing the true beauty of Malaysia. Raised in different parts of Selangor, the men began their journey in videography during their university years, having created a video production company that originally catered to video production and wedding features.

Along the way, both men received the opportunity to create projects relating to the hospitality and tourism industry. However, all that changed when COVID-19 hit, and the pair were left in Tioman Island for three months, having initially gone there to film a documentary.

After residing there for those months, the friends soon discovered a community of people who were living there full-time, and how natives of the island truly valued one another in a deep and sincere manner

"Because of the pandemic, a lot of people couldn't go back to their hometowns, and the people who relied on tourism for their work as their primary source of income were suffering," said Ash in an interview with this SAYS writer. 

Taking it upon themselves, Ash stated that they started making videos of certain attractions in Tioman Island, by discovering its hidden beauties bit by bit. This then led to the beginning of an evolving journey.

However, a post-pandemic disaster would soon encourage these artistes to take their talents one step further, and to start a page dedicated to encapsulating the magic of Malaysia

After a relaxation of COVID-19 protocols, Ash divulged that he had returned to his hometown, Batang Berjuntai, to care for his ailing grandfather. Unfortunately for the people of Batang Berjuntai, a flood soon ravaged their surroundings and engulfed the town at the end of 2021.

It was through this travesty, though, that Ash unearthed the true nature of the people around the town he called home — who helped each other in times of difficulty, and took care of each other though the ups and the downs.

"I flew my drone shortly after to get videos of the flood and to get people to start donating. That video did well, and I realised that using this skill that we acquired and we were blessed with — why not use it for something good?" added Ash.

Discussing towns they were each familiar with, the pair thought that highlighting these places may help the small businesses that run throughout each municipal.

"We thought to ourselves, 'Hey, my town is a pretty nice town and I love it. I want to show everyone why I love it'."

Having created short features for over 10 towns thus far, Ash and Jon aspire to eventually cover all the existing towns in Malaysia, which they admitted could take years if not a decade

Working together as a solid duo, Ash was descriptive about their respective duties when it came to creating these videos.

"Jon does all the ground shots; the people, the animals, the mood shots are all him. For me, it gives the video soul. I on the other hand, do the editing and drone shots. But working together for more than 10 years, we know what we need to get and to edit. So we work well together," divulged Ash.

The duo also got candid about their years of work, and continued work, in video production, which helped them connect with multiple natives through these various locations to show them around each town. Taking great strides in working on these features, Ash and Jon self-fund each project themselves.

Arguably one of the most notable faces to make an appearance in their videos would be Vanessa Tevi Kumares, winner of Miss Universe Malaysia 2015, who showed them around her hometown of Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.

@smalltownsmy Seremban always feels like home. With its very own Miss Universe Malaysia Venessa Tevi (@pvtk9) to take us on a tour of her hometown. : Yuna - Langit #smalltownsmalaysia #malaysiatrulyasia #negerisembilan #n9 #n9food #seremban original sound - Small Towns Malaysia

Beyond their aspiration to gain international recognition for the benefit of these communities, Jon and Ash hope the public will gain a deeper appreciation for these small towns in Malaysia

In a final sentiment, the duo conveyed this message to SAYS:

People in these small towns don't really care about race, skin colour, or religion. It's so wholesome that we would like to capture and share it with the country.
Ash Raja & Jon Dexter

Check out all of Small Town Malaysia's clips on TikTok and Instagram.

Just a couple of weeks ago, one Malaysian photographer captured the KLCC Twin Towers and Genting Highlands — in a single picture:

Another Malaysian photographer captured beautiful photos of a variety of birds right in his backyard in Bangsar during the MCO:

These #photography stories will have you falling in love with all of Malaysia:

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