Friday, March 27, 2009


Considering how long I haven't updated this blog, a new entry means it's significant enough to have me worked up and excited and passionate and emotional.

And boy, Yasmin Ahmad's Talentime does it.

This is not really a review; I have no intention of putting up a summary and making notes and compiling all the goods and the bads of this superb piece of art. What I do intend is to merely comment on what I felt (and still feel) from watching the movie, and my main goal is to convince all Malaysians regardless of your background to put aside a couple of ringgits to watch this image of a slice of what Malaysia, well Malaysia.

This movie is in itself a depiction of how the different races of Malaysia (well, specifically the Malays, Indians and Chinese) live their lives and interact with each other, and how prejudice, not merely of race, but of other factors as well, destroys your own interest in the matter. Thus as a Malay (conservative spirited, but not particularly conservative acting) my commentaries will be from the Malay perspective, and I encourage everyone else to comment on how the movie affects them as well, as I think what Yasmin may have intended; appreciating the differences between the different groups comprising Malaysia.

Tales of inter-racial, or really, more accurately inter-religious romances have always been a taboo subject. Even I personally dislike them, as religion is (or should be) a significant part of life enough to make people realize that love isn't worth the trouble for the chaos that might arise later. Nevertheless, it does exist, and Yasmin beautifully captures the image and presents it to us so that even if we refuse to accept it (as I will), the least we can do is see why.

Prejudice, oh prejudice. How boring life would be without thee. It's amazing how people just automatically attach stereotypes to people just by what they are and how they look, making them look dumb in the process, of course. Granted, stereotypes exist for a reason, but it doesn't mean your brain has to lock down on the fact, even after the 'fact' has been disproved. Yeah, not all Chinese have five dogs slobbering all over them.

*SPOILERS - SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH UNTIL YOU'VE WATCHED THE MOVIE* I personally liked the fact that Yasmin Ahmad and I fell in the same wavelength when it came to religion conversion. Just because someone converted to Islam doesn't mean they have to change their name; he or she didn't convert into Malay. *END SPOILER*

I was truly entertained by the fact that Talentime gave us a wake up call on a lot of things. How little I know about what issues the Indians have; how a lot of Malays have the bad habit of automatically associating Chinese with being dirty; how people just tend to forget we've got OKUs among us in the population. All sorts of imperfections that we love to forget we have.

Talentime is a beautiful rendition of how better life can be with a pile of tolerance, a dash of understanding, and a smattering of acceptance. Too bad a lot of people are still stuck in their own coccoon of selfishness and simply ignoring the fact that Malaysia comprises of more than just their own race. That is why I truly recommend that all Malaysians watch this movie, not only to support the great talents of Yasmin Ahmad (not to forget all the superb acting from many of the actors) but to also remind us of how small our matters are in the bigger picture.

Must Watch.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's celebration + First Drama of 2009

Happy new year 2009!

It was a wonderful day (night?). After 4 years of not celebrating it in Malaysia (which I actually did not even celebrate annually before I went to Ireland), it feels great to be part of a celebration which is done Malaysian Style. Don't get me wrong, of course it was lots of fun celebrating it in Ireland, but the culture was unfortunately quite incompatible with my values, so I couldn't appreciate it fully.

Anyhoo, we (which was around 13 of my Choir Team family members) initially went to 1 Utama to usher in the new year, but unfortunately the concert was held in Chinese, and unless the entire concert had fun songs like the "See So So See So So" where the language is irrelevant, I doubt I could appreciate the concert fully. Fortunately a few others shared my view and/or maybe they preferred to see fireworks, that we decided to separate from the rest and head over to Mutiara Damansara for the fireworks. For reasons still obscure to me it eventually ended with the entire group heading off to MD on foot, which was actually quite fun, since we had to make checkpoints to make sure everyone didn't vanish.

Anyhoo, over at MD, we basically had two choices, stay at the back for a better view of the fireworks display, or go near the end of the street for the concert. While everyone else lounged about and purchasing stocks of snow spray, I roamed ahead and watched the concert partially. Faizal Tahir was one of the performers. He surely goes to the same places I go.

And a couple of minutes before midnight (according to my watch anyway, which I thought *was* on official national time) The fireworks began. The thrill of watching pyrokinetics that close was great, and it's nice to be in a homely setting for it. Here's to more fireworks in my future (God Willing)!

And then comes the drama. Or rather, a great learning experience.

On our way out the parking at 1 utama, we had an awestriking, flabbergasting, absolutely shocking, death defying collision with another car at the exit, which left a priceless, heart-thumping causing, adrenaline pumping, panic strickening... uh... scratch, on both of our cars. A scratch (and in their case a broken light, which was probably not our fault) that the users of the other car made to sound like we nearly killed them with a purposely hate-filled passion. As I said, it was a scratch that was hardly noticeable.

And to be downright honest, while I inched slowly into the exit (we we turning right to the exit at a crossroad), the other driver (that was driving straight on to the exit) zoomed in with no care in the world, and whose actions clearly said "I ain't givin you way, bitch!" as opposed to the more preferred action of "Oh, he's already inched out far enough that I can't squeeze in further. I might as well give way", or the even nicer action of "Oh, a car is asking permission to go to the exit first, I'd happily give em way". Typical drivers. I've got a better track record than you, maam.

At this point, I'd like to give great thanks to Allah for protecting us from harm, and a great huge big thanks to Ashley for keeping calm, thanks to Nyon for recording a couple of evidence (just in case), Soo Yee for being an awesome debater and countered every argument, point-for-point, Mandy for working hard to be reasonable and trying to calm the situation and Wai Teng for the support. <3 y'all! :)

So yeah, it was a great night overall, and thank you guys so much for taking me on board and sharing the joy and happiness of having friends to enjoy things together.