Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yasmin Ahmad (1958-2009)

Yasmin Ahmad, one of the rarest film makers Malaysia will ever see again.

I guess most of you all might have not heard about this film maker until her death earlier last Saturday. She died just more than 48 hours after her surgery, she had a stroke.

You see, as a part time movie junkie, I couldn't care less about Malaysia's film industry. Stupid, thin plots with ridiculous lower than B graded actors and actresses, laughable dialogue/script and so sets up a bad impression on Malaysia's movies in the eyes of the world.

Until.....in 2004, a movie named "Sepet", or translated as 'Chinese Eye', is about a love story between a Chinese VCD seller named Jason and a Malay school girl named Orkid. And as their inter-racial love blossoms, problems come towards their way too. What makes this movie caught my attention is the way how Yasmin Ahmad presents us with a movie about Malaysians being stereotypes (Jason as an Ah Beng), how society reacts towards inter-racial relationship and so.

You might noticed that there are a few easter eggs in this film, mostly about social commentary. For instance, Orkid's mum was thankful to God that Orkid got a scholarship even though she had only 5 As for SPM, where on the other hand, Kak Yam who sat beside her said that even Jason who had 7 A's (probably a few years back, but didn't manage to get a scholarship). This indirectly criticized the Malaysian Government's perceived biased treatment in handing out scholarships to non-Bumiputras.

At one scene, Orked rebutted her friend, Ling that her boyfriend for questioning her love relationship with a non-Malay, i.e. Jason, by telling him Malay men had been marrying non-Malays for generations. This indirectly referred to today's quite prevailing biased perceptions of people having inter-racial love relationships. It was also expressed through Keong's dialogue with Jason when the former was hospitalized. Keong had said people in the olden times can marry each other regardless of race but people in the today's more civilized society tend to fight over and think too much of such matters.

After the release of Sepet, there has been some controversy. One minister said that it is against Islam that a Muslim can have a relationship with a non-Muslim. He had also warned Yasmin about her works and told her to be careful.

See? Society still have something against inter-racial relationship. But I have to give full respect to Yasmin Ahmad for breaking barriers in Malaysian movie industry. Definately need more movies like this. Its a shame that some of the media painted her as a film maker who likes to spark controversy. They didn't noticed that she's the one who loves to present us what we are in her own perspective.

I didn't managed to watch th sequel to Sepet, which is Gubra. Leisure Mall didn't even bother screening it, instead they choose to show stupid movies like Scenario, Jangan Pandang Belakang, Lady Boss and so. : (

Gubra, Mukhsin, Muallaf and the latest Talentime, I couldn't find these on any DVD shop.

Oh yeah, not only she is involved with the movie industry, have you ever noticed that cute commercial about a Chinese Boy who likes a Malay girl. Tan Hong Ming anyone?

Damn this is cute, check out the face expression on 1:13

Children are colour blind, its just that us adults and teenagers made it ugly and bitter

These are just 2 of the many touching and message driven ads that Yasmin Ahmad presented to us on the small screen.

Her passing shocked me early Sunday morning. I was all gloomy for the whole day, even during Sunday church service. The only film maker I respected is now gone.

Like the world lost Michael Jackson to cardiac arrest, Malaysia lost Yasmin Ahmad to stroke. Here's a blog post dedicated to the one film maker, who started 1Malaysia way before Najib did.

1958- 2009

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