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wMonday, May 22, 2006

Emma yang Anggun

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Nani and Tom arrived in KL yesterday. They wanted to go shopping, so we went to Ikano. Nani bought a stroller and a baby chair for Emma. Emma is really cute.

Nani asked me if I saw a couple of gay dads in the store where we went to buy the stroller. I said of course I saw them. How could I missed two gay Malay men (the 'I know that you're a bunch of fags from a miles away' type of gay men) walked in front of me? Okaylah, I'm exaggerating. They actually looked more like typical gay dads with lots of disposable income. I think I prefer seeing them around than having to face married queers who checks me out like there's no tomorrow while holding their child and walking next to their wife (incidentally, I saw two yesterday. Not a personal record, of course).

Emma liked me immediately. She allowed me to hold her hand and carry her around (but not for long). I still can't figure out why children like me. Just like cats. I'm a cat magnet. Talking about cats, Taib freaked out big time when Emma was around. He's totally scared of Emma. I think it's her piercing shrill. Tipah was curious but as always, she managed to keep her cool. I think they have never seen a human that small before.


Rais Finds 'The Last Communist' Film Not Offensive'
May 21, 2006

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 (Bernama) -- The banned musical documentary "The Last Communist" is not offensive, said Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

"The plot isn't controversial and there's nothing that could be deemed as offensive from the cultural viewpoint," he said.

The facts portrayed in the documentary could be read in the book about former Communist Party of Malaya leader Chin Peng sold in book stores, he told reporters after joining Members of Parliament to watch the film at the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) Sunday.

The Internal Security Ministry banned the documentary produced by independent film-maker Amir Muhammad on May 10 days before its screening in cinemas although it had been passed by the Censorship Board.

The ban followed criticisms that the film glorified the cause of the communists and Chin Peng.

The documentary was screened for the MPs at the request of parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang who wanted to see the justification for its ban.

Rais said there was nothing new in the film except for the interviews with the Communist Party of Malaya's former members.

"They were vague, not conclusive for any quarters... that's normal," he said, adding that whether the ban would be lifted was the prerogative of the Internal Security Ministry.

He said his ministry would give its views if it was asked to do so but he hoped the issue would not be blown out of proportion.

Lim said that he could not see anything controversial that could justify the banning of the film.

"When I went in, I was prepared to be outraged. But, hard as I tried, I could not find anything to be outraged about because it does not glorify the Communist Party or Chin Peng, and does not even promote communism.

"It just used the Chin Peng connection to make a documentary about life in the country and a little bit about life at the border. Some scenes such as the charcoal factory (in Taiping), petai boys (in Bidor) are an eye opener for many and highly educational," he said.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar said it was a simple film portraying the life of a group of Malaysians in the 1940s and 1950s.

"It does not even tell a full story on the communist insurgency in the country nor is it a propaganda film," he said, adding that it would not leave a negative impact on the audience.



Artis Pro Activ


MONDAY, MAY 22 2006

Artis Pro Activ (APA) is concerned by the banning of Amir Muhammad's film *Lelaki Komunis Terakhir* by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The organisation feels that this is again another example of the increasing curtailment of Freedom of Expression in Malaysia.

*Lelaki Komunis Terakhir* is a semi-musical road movie documentary tracing the towns in which Chin Peng (the exiled leader of the banned Communist Party of Malaya) lived from birth until independence in 1957.
Unlike various books freely available in Malaysian bookshops the film does not even include any interviews or photographs of Chin Peng and he is only mentioned once during the interviews.

The movie was passed uncut by the Censorship Board and was given the rating of U, meaning suitable for all ages. Due to the potentially 'sensitive' subject matter, a special screening was organised for 20 Special Branch officers who, according to the movie's director, raised no objections to the film.

APA is surprised that the decision to ban the film was based solely on a series of articles which appeared in Berita Harian even before the movie was screened. Ludicrous as it seems not one person in Berita Harian or the people they interviewed for their opinion of the film had actually seen it. As Malaysians we find it is inconceivable that the voices of the few with particular ultra-conservative agendas can drown out the many voices of reason and fair mindedness.

However we are concerned that increasingly the authorities appear to be giving these conservative voices credence: not least by heeding their call for a ban on *Lelaki Komunis Terakhir*.

APA is also concerned at the seemingly arbitrary manner in which the ban was placed on the movie. In the era of the 9th Malaysia Plan, the ban's rationale should be forthrightly substantiated so as to allow an increasingly sophisticated and intellectually mature public to gauge the matter for itself.

APA believes strongly that freedom of expression, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is a cornerstone of every civil, progressive and democratic society. APA also believes that reasoned judgment, maturity, and foresight should be used when applying this freedom.

We at APA support Amir's call for his movie to get a fair showing - screenings where all Malaysians regardless of religious or political beliefs can use reasoned judgement, maturity and foresight to engage with the work of this extraordinarily talented, internationally feted Malaysian artist. We believe that Malaysians have the right to make choices about what they want to see or read. We abhor the continuing attempts by ultra conservative individuals and the State who persist in playing the role of gatekeepers.

APA is a non-politically aligned group of people from the arts community, which was established in 1998. We believe that the arts community needs to come together to play a more pro-active role in developing a more open society for our country.

Prepared by,

Fahmi Fadzil, Director, Artis Pro Activ (012 281 1150)
Anne James, Director, Artis Pro Activ (012 294 3154)

posted by Nizam Zakaria at 11:22 AM |