Recently, another product of Yasmin Ahmad, her own Audrey Hepburn, was sliced, diced and skewed from all sides after her winning speech at the 19th Festival Filem Malaysia Award ceremony. This has again increased my received email number, when we start debating about the incident. And it had turned ugly, really ugly.
For the uninitiated, Sharifah Amani, winner of this year’s Best Actress in FFM 19 said these following words:
“I sound stupid if I speak in Malay“, and ;
“kalau filem Malaysia mencemar budaya, let’s do it more often“.
I admit, what she said was wrongly sentenced and not supposed to be said during the said ceremony, or any grand ceremonies alike, especially the first sentence. I believe that’s the one which sparked this blaze and the second sentence, was just an innocent bystander.
I am disagreeing with her saying “I sound stupid if I speak in Malay“, but defend her saying “kalau filem Malaysia mencemar budaya, let’s do it more often“. She does have a point, and it’s a sentence said by the best FFM 19 actress that would shatter the ego of those who slammed Yasmin Ahmad‘s other works.
For the record, Sharifah Amani made a public apology.
The thing that got me pissed off was how we all reacted to it. I’m not pointing any fingers, so let’s use ‘we’ instead of ‘you’ or ‘they’. Have we all read what we wrote, and listen to what we said?
This is another case of typical Malaysian sesitivity. And most of us flaring up in this case are, indeed, the ever-so-sensitive Malays.
It’s nothing wrong to get mad about something. Everybody does. It’s how we handle anger that shows how matured we are. And from this scene, we don’t look so good on the maturity level. Remember the credit card ad, where this Chinese family eating at a restaurant, and the two brothers started showing off? At last the father settled the “dispute” by paying the bills himself.
Well, if the father’s immature, and high tempered, he might have scolded the two brothers for disturbing his peaceful meal. Instead, he just paid the bill himself when the brothers were still in showing off mode. Not a single sentence, but everybody, including the audience, understands. Now that’s how matured people handle situations. We don’t need to create a scene to settle a scene.
What’s this blaming her parents. I thought only primary (and sometimes secondary) students insult parents. Oh, and the comedian who does Yo Momma skit. What’s this saying she’s stupid? She already admitted she sounds stupid. Are we that better off than her by saying she’s stupid?
From a religious POV, who are we to say bad things to a God‘s creation, while we are too, His slaves.
Not that I’m saying we should just let a mistake be uncorrected, but the we should not include too much of our own personal feelings when giving a professional critic. A critic (as quoted by an AF critic) has 3 parts. First, one sees a fault. Then one finds out what exactly is at fault. Then one suggests the way to amend the fault. Most of us Malaysians only do the first 2 when we criticise something.
Apart from the Sharifah Amani case, I found it a wonder why did Yasmin‘s work is the only one publicly criticised so much? And it happened to all Yasmin‘s product, too. First time I heard her name, was when her advertisement went into parliament for showing how us Malaysians behave in an LRT. The name Adlin Aman Ramli suddenly is at the tip of everybody’s tongue.
Then there was Rabun, and a scene where a husband bathing his own wife (or vice versa, I can’t recall). The scene was not exactly what school boys would masturbate at (they’re old people, for gods’ sake), but was critically torn apart and later cut from the final movie.
Next in line, was Sepet. It seems that although many Malaysians, in this case the Malays, is proud of Malaysia‘s cultural diversity and multiracial tolerance, we cannot tolerate a Malay girl in love with a Chinese boy. The fear of Murtad (conversion out of Islam) being the most prominent reason, although the girl was from a quite religious family (although was quite liberal) and did not show any signs of converting (she didn’t even wear anything but baju kurung most of the time, and they don’t even match the sneakers).
These created 3 types of people in Malaysia, those who’s against Yasmin, those who back her up, and those who simply do not care. I wanted to be in the 3rd type, but the way people bash Yasmin and her products led me to be in the second type. I mean, I don’t want to be someone who bash other people with hatred and negative emotions, that a simple critic could lead to a page full of foul words. Heck, one of the ‘religious’ person said it’s ALLOWED to use foul words in Islam. Well, if the foul words aren’t meant for you, then it’s okay, isn’t it?
So I chose to back up Yasmin. All I see in her, is that her products are quality products. I don’t even have the heart to buy a pirated copy of her movies. It far better and believable than most Malay movies. I can simply believe anything Hollywood throw at me (the A rated movies only), simply because I’ve never been there. But making our own movies, showing our own faces, speaking our own languages, about our own matter, one cannot just do it without much realism. Well, does any of our friends faked a seizure in a queue and we still fall in love with him/her?
Actually, realism is not good for a movie. In real world, we’re stiff, and our feelings do not travel outwards that much. So a level of ‘acting’ is essential to make us feel the moment, and believe the story. Yasmin‘s movies, is believable, since she managed to instill balance in her actor’s performance.
If this goes on, I would fear, that many directors had to cling to cliches and stereotypes as to not anger those who, well, loves those kind of movies. We would have to endure about 2 hours of slapstick, recycled lines, blatant lies, and poor acting, not to mention technical glitches. Outsiders would have to see us in those kind of movies, being those kind of characters, and not bei
Are we afraid of our own reflection?