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wMonday, July 10, 2006

Driving Miss Anggun - 1

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We were on our way to Ikea last Saturday after we're done shopping at One Utama

Driving Miss Anggun - 2

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She can't stay still when she's in the car

Driving Miss Anggun - 3

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People keep on thinking that she's my daughter and ask me, "where's her mom?" or "is her mom, Malaysian?"

Sis finally found herself a job at Citibank, JB. I think her starting salary is small. Anyway, I'm still surprised how fast it was for Sis to find herself a job. I hope Tom will find himself a job soon.

I bought Anggun a Siamese Fighting Fish at Pet Safari, Ikano Power Centre. She loves looking at fishes of all kind, so I bought her one. Obviously I have to take care of the fish once she's gone back to JB.

I took some interesting video footages of Anggun. Will post them starting from tomorrow.

My office mates have been asking me to join them playing futsal. I think I will join them starting from next week.

Mak asked me about Bukit Tinggi Resort. She wants to go for a holiday before she travels to the States in October. I think I want to suggest that we go elsewhere. Like Penang...

* In case you haven't noticed it already, this is the first time I've posted my photo in my own photoblog.


The following poem was written by a friend of mine. He writes really good poems. I'm already a fan of his poetry.


Hati ini sudah hilang rasa
Apa kau kata
Berlalu macam itu saja
Telinga ke telinga
Aku sudah bosan

Telinga PEKAK

Sayup-sayup suara kau aku dengar
Muka kau aku pandang, sayu
Kau main psikologi
Nyalakan api di arang yang padam
Pernah marak tapi tidak lagi

Otak ini tolak
Jiwa berontak
Segar tiada lagi


Aku ikat kukuh percaya
Yang aku bina jalinannya dalam jiwa
Gugur satu satu
Lepas itu
Pecah hancur roboh musnah

Ingkarkah aku?
Tanya diri sendiri
Ingkarkah engkau?
Tanya diri sendiri.

Aku tidak mahu sesat.

23 Jun 2006 oleh Fairul Nizam


From New York Times
Published: July 9, 2006

Your Film Is Banned. There's Not Enough Violence.


The Malaysian government has banned "The Last Communist," by Amir
Muhammad, a local filmmaker.

"YOU haven't seen the movie," the director Amir Muhammad said,
addressing the small crowd that had come to hear him talk about the
most controversial Malaysian film of the year. "Now buy the T-shirt."

Mr. Amir, 34, is one of this country's leading independent filmmakers,
and from the point of view of the authorities, something of a pest.
His newest film, "The Last Communist," is, as he puts it, "a
semi-musical documentary road movie" based on the life of Chin Peng,
once the leader of the outlawed Malayan Communist Party. (Mr. Chin,
now 84, is an exile in Thailand.) It was to have been the first local
documentary to open theatrically in Malaysia. Instead, it is the first
Malaysian film to be banned at home.

Forbidden to screen the film even in private settings, Mr. Amir has
been speaking out about the ban. On a recent Sunday, at an event
sponsored by a political publisher, he previewed the film's trailer,
relayed news of its DVD release in Singapore (cautioning that
possession of the film in Malaysia constitutes a criminal offense) and
sold "Last Communist" T-shirts to recoup some of the lost box-office

After the movie had its premiere at the Berlin International Film
Festival in February, Mr. Amir submitted it to the Malaysian
censorship board, which passed it for release without cuts. Because of
its eyebrow-raising title (Communism is a taboo topic here, a legacy
of the Malayan emergency of the 1940's and 50's, when the British
colonials battled a ragtag but dogged Communist insurrection) he was
asked to screen the film for the Special Branch, the arm of the police
force responsible for internal security. Mr. Amir said the officers
who attended had no complaints, though, he added, "one of them said
people might be bored."

In May, two weeks before the film was set to open, Berita Harian, a
conservative local daily, published a series of articles denouncing
the film as a glorification of Communism. None of the journalists
involved, or the historians and politicians they quoted in the
articles, had seen the film or asked to see it, Mr. Amir said.

On May 5 the Home Affairs Ministry, which oversees the censorship
board, retracted its approval, citing public protest. The ban set off
a flood of media commentary, much of it questioning the ministry's
decision. After a screening was held for Malaysian members of
Parliament, the home minister, Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, said the real
problem was that the absence of violence in the documentary could
create the misconception that Chin Peng was not himself violent. "It
will be like allowing a film portraying Osama bin Laden as a humble
and charitable man to be screened in the United States," Mr. Radzi
told a local newspaper.

Mr. Amir said, "I think this is the first time a film has been banned
for not being violent enough."

Earlier bans have earned the censorship board here a reputation for
being both draconian and capricious. "Schindler's List" was deemed
Zionist propaganda. "Zoolander," in which Will Ferrell's character
tries to assassinate the Malaysian prime minister, was thought
unsuitable for obvious reasons. "Daredevil" was blacklisted because
its superhero sounded, well, satanic.

Malaysian censors have long taken their cue from the autocratic style
of Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister who stepped down in
2003 after 22 years in power. The attitudes of the cultural
gatekeepers provide a window into the contradictions and tensions
unique to this multiracial, polyglot society, which has a politically
dominant Malay Muslim majority and sizable minorities of ethnic
Chinese and Indians.

Within Kuala Lumpur's small group of independent filmmakers, Mr. Amir
is a distinctive voice. A law school graduate and occasional newspaper
columnist, he has concentrated on reviving the lost art of the film
essay for a society that hasn't always had much to balance the
official narrative.

"There are 15 universities in Malaysia, and only one has a history
department," Mr. Amir said. Accordingly, his films function as
sardonic memory aids. "The Big Durian" (2003), named for a thorny
local fruit, is a meditation on Malaysian racial politics, revisiting
the 1969 riots between Malays and Chinese, and the government's 1987
Internal Security Act clampdown, in which more than 100 activists and
artists were detained and several newspapers shut down.

Combining real and scripted interviews, "The Big Durian" vividly shows
how national traumas can, in a culture of opacity and evasiveness, be
collectively forgotten. The film, the first Malaysian movie shown at
the Sundance Film Festival, was never submitted for the censors'
approval (its head-on approach to the prickly subject of race would
seem destined to disqualify it immediately) and has only screened at
movie clubs here.

Mr. Amir made "The Last Communist" because he was intrigued by the
demonization of Communism in history textbooks and government
statements. Commonly termed traitors, the Communists were widely
viewed as rabid nationalists who, after fighting alongside the British
against the Japanese occupiers in World War II, mounted a guerrilla
insurgency against the colonial rulers.

Using Chin Peng's 2003 memoir, "My Side of History," as a road map,
"The Last Communist" passes through the small towns where Mr. Chin,
the son of Chinese immigrants, lived from his days as a student
Communist leader to his time on the run as the most wanted man in the
British empire. In these sleepy backwaters Mr. Amir interviewed dozens
of locals, mainly about their day-to-day work lives.

The resulting travelogue, punctuated by musical numbers spoofing the
songs from the instructional films the British used to circulate,
poses sidelong questions about empire, patriotism and national
identity. Details from Mr. Chin's life appear as on-screen text, but
the man himself is conspicuously absent. Not a single photograph is
shown; the only likeness is a cartoon.

"I didn't want to use archival stuff," said Mr. Amir. "That's such a
comfortable way of presenting history. The idea was to show that
history happens in the present tense."

Mr. Amir, who is Malay Muslim, believes the controversy surrounding
his film, like so much else in this country, may be less a matter of
ideology than race. The ban appears to have resulted from the pressure
applied by Berita Harian, a paper whose politics Mr. Amir classified
in a recent blog entry as "verging on the ethnocentric and
semifascist." One of its editorials advised Mr. Amir to stick to
documenting the lives of Malay heroes. (Most Malaysian Communists were
of Chinese descent.)

Though disappointed about the ban, Mr. Amir is busy with other
projects. He is finishing a horror movie, "Susuk," and is about to
start a publishing house. He plans to write the first title himself: a
volume of political humor called "Malaysian Politicians Say the
Darndest Things."

He's also shooting a sequel to "The Last Communist." The first film
took him to Betong, a village in southern Thailand where Malaysian
Chinese Communists live in exile. This time he's heading to another
Thai village, Sukhrin, where the few Malay Communists settled. Given
the switch in racial emphasis, Mr. Amir expects the official response
to be telling. "If they're smart, the government would ban this one
too," he said. "Otherwise it might expose their hypocrisy."

posted by Nizam Zakaria at 9:56 AM |