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.