Haw flakes, sarsi lollipops, 88 bubblegum, candy drops in powdered sugar, and dried fish fillet that looked like grass were all staple snacks of 80s & 90s kids. And they are making a comeback to stores both online and offline. There are several ‘retro shops’ that sell food and toys popular among Malaysian kids back in the day. The stores even have a retro ‘kedai runcit’ vibe with wooden racks and hand-painted signs to kick up the nostalgia feel a notch.
In 2016, the world’s first augmented reality mobile game was released; Pokemon Go. As an endearing brand many millennials grew up with, the game was a huge success and became a phenomenon around the world. Aside from video games, playing cards like ‘Snap’, ‘Old Maid’, and ‘Happy Family’ are also making a comeback recently. They are re-emerging on shelves in bookstores. You can even get them on online marketplaces now.
Against the flurry of Western-brand soda drinks that dominate the market, some consumers are thirsty for something different. Rather than sexy, bold Mountain Dew flavours, consumers are getting more interested in old-school, local soda brands like Long Chan from Melaka and Air Botol Cap Ayam from Kelantan. These brands haven’t been through many changes since the pre-independence era. Consumers love the classic taste of sarsi, ice cream soda and fruit flavours, but they also appreciate the authenticity these ‘otai’ brands offer. A sip from a Long Chan can make you feel special because you’re drinking something shared only between Malaysians.
Of course, we still listen to hit songs from the 2000s, ‘90s, all the way to ‘60s. Good songs don’t get old, that’s why they’re called ‘evergreen’. But even in this decade, certain musical genres are making a comeback. For example, some K-pop stars like EXID paid tribute to ‘90s culture with this song. There’s the distinctive funky hip-hop synonymous to pop songs made in that era. You can also appreciate the oldies theme in Faizal Tahir’s ‘Ragaman’. In this P.Ramlee-inspired reggae song, the singer adopted the art style of old Malay films from the ‘60s into his music video.
What’s new in fashion today is old fashion, such as batik shirts, sarongs, floral dresses and baju kurung with vintage patterns. These styles are popular among young people, more so among young Muslim girls. These clothes are often loose and comfortable, and many prefer them over leggings, crop top or jeans. We also bet you have met a millennial who wore those oversized round glasses at least once. You can thank John Lennon for that.
There are so many movie remakes these days. From The Lion King to A Star Is Born, movie remakes bring us back to the time when we first watched them. But more than movies, TV shows like ‘Spanar Jaya’, a popular series in Malaysia, is making a comeback this year. On Netflix, Stranger Things is a popular series partly thanks to its constant reference made on ‘80s culture.