My Anthem

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Where a newspaper leads the Ministry ...

You know that you are back in BolehLand.

Infrastructure of the 2000s
,First World ranking;
Mentality of the 1500s. Third-going-to-Fourth World status.

The Basic Con

Those who can’t find anything to live for,
always invent something to die for.

Then they want the rest of us to
die for it, too.

by Lew Welch

When Castro visited Malaysia in the glory days once upon a time, or when a former Malaysian PM visited Cuba, there were bear hugs like the embracers were of the same faith or ideology.
When the same leader visited China once upon a dime, there was a planned timetable to reap maxium mileage with grandiose photo opportunities for the media so that the people back home -- especially of a particular ethnic group -- would be enthralled, besotted mayhaps, to have a "feel good" lasting feeling, and vote in the next GE for the leader's party.

The question of the Communist bogey did NOT arise then.
But it DOES now -- and it was all over a semi-documentary movie by a Malaysian young artiste named AMIR MUHAMMAD. Well, I think the 32-year-old knew what he was up against. But he was always one who would stick his neck, guts and gumption out in pursuit of artistic excellence.

But in Malaysia, the quest for excellence does NOT pay.
Be mediocre, and play ball, that pays.

No wonder for five long decades, the only name we hear of in filmdom is P. RAMLEE.
Sometimes, some politikus and their ratty way make it to the credits, in cahoots with more than pro/pros nu'esmen. Like a Berita Harian fellow/fella, who got the better of Amir, and there goes Malaysians' opportuinity to view his (NOT THE PROS! Amir's!) 90-mminute, low-budget LELAKI KOMUNIS TERAKHIR (The Last Communist). The semi-docu musical was banned by the Home Affaitrs Ministry AFTER THE CENSORSHIP BOPARD GAVE IT A CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH.

But "Words, Words, Words" by Berita Harian in three consecutive days of critical rundown of the film made sure the Censorship Board's station was not the last in such clearance matters. The Malaysian 4th Estate prospers, and has its tentacles welcomed by the Minstry who has more than an artistic agenda.


But you read Page N3 of The Star today, and you know what the unofficial line is.
Badder still, hear IT from the horse's mouth by surfing http://lastcommunist.blogspot.combut you did not get the advice here!

Not the right time for film

PETALING JAYA: The Home Affairs Ministry banned the movie Lelaki Komunis Terakhir (The Last Communist) because the timing of its screening was inappropriate due to current events and public sentiment.

Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said he made the decision to exercise his powers as the minister under Section 26 of the Film Censorship Act 2002 to ban the movie as it would be “insensitive” to release the semi-documentary about Chin Peng, the country’s most notorious communist, at a time when Umno was celebrating its 60th anniversary.

"I don’t think it’s right. I also received a lot of objections and negative feedback from the public so I don’t believe Malaysians have reached a level where they are ready for it,” he said.

On whether he had viewed the movie before deciding, he said he saw parts of it, including a scene showing the house where Chin Peng lived.

“So whether you like it or not, the underlying message is that this movie will promote Chin Peng. This is the man who was behind the destruction of property and the loss of many innocent lives. And this is still fresh in the minds of people of that generation who lived through it,” he explained yesterday.

The movie was written and directed by Amir Muhammad who co-produced it with Red Films. The film was shot late last year.

In his blog, Amir described the movie as a “semi-musical documentary road movie inspired by the places and events in the early life of Chin Peng, secretary-general of the outlawed Communist Party of Malaya.”

It made its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February.

Amir said the film has since been invited to 14 other film festivals around the world, including in London, Seattle, Vancouver and Hong Kong.

Notice of the ban came last Friday, two weeks before it was scheduled for public screening on May 18.

Meanwhile, Amir believes that reports in a local daily may have influenced the authorities to ban his film, which was earlier passed uncut by the National Film Censorship Board and even viewed by officers of the police Special Branch.

“They saw it, we had a discussion and they thought it was okay,” Amir said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles, where he is attending the Asia Pacific Film Festival.

He felt that the disapproving voices of the people interviewed by the daily had led to the Home Ministry’s decision to ban the film.

“There can be no other reason,” he said.

The film’s executive producer Lina Tan expressed disappointment over the ban.

“It would be nice if they could see the film before judging it,” she said. “I know they are knowledgeable people and I am sure they can be fair about it.” (EMPHASIS is all Desiderata's, not The Star's, not Amir's, not the Censorship Board's, not any broad's.)


Reprised from Amir's blog:

The First Assault Begins

Wednesday, May 03, 2006
From Berita Harian,

Censors accused of being insensitive

KUALA LUMPUR: The decision of the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) to allow the screening of the documentary Lelaki Komunis Terakhir which talks about the life of the former head of the Communist Party of Malaya, Chin Peng, is described as not appropriate.

Various people who were contacted for reactions concerning the issue criticised the LPF's action because it it seen as insensitive to the people of this country especially the victims and families who suffered atrocities committed by the communists.

The head of Puteri Umno, Datuk Noraini Ahmad said the LPF's action is not appropriate as it is not right for anyone to glorify the communist leader when the country has much more credible people that we can learn from.

She said, the issue relating to the production of this documentary and whether it was appropriate to be approved by the authorities was discussed earlier but did not continue because it was thought that the film would never become a reality.

History figure, Professor Emeritus Datuk Khoo Kay Kim said the LPF should not have been hasty in giving approval for the documentary but should have consulted experts especially about the potential effects of screening it to the public.

"Before passing it, let experts view it first. In this case I think the LPF doesn't really understand if we were to ask them to explain communism and the history of the Emergency."

"The cruelty of the communists caused suffering to the public and security forces. Screening it will only make them feel uneasy," he said when asked to comment on the LPF's decision to allow the documentary by Amir Muhammad to screen in cinemas from 18 May.

However the documentary was passed for only three screens operated by Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) namely Mid Valley and One Utama, Kuala Lumpur; and Gurney Plaza in Penang.

UMNO veteran. Tan Sri Aziz Tapa said the documentary should have been banned from screening because hatred towards Chin Peng is very deeply felt especially by the victims of the Communist Party's cruelty and although the wounds have disappeared, the scars remain.

"Just mention Chin Peng and people will get angry. The screening will cause this anger to resurface especially among families of victims and we are worried 'old wounds will bleed again'" he said and also suggests that the approval might have been made by a young LPF officer who is too eager for 'democracy' without realising the effects.

Another UMNO veteran, Tan Sri Zaleha Ismail said she opposes strongly the screening of the documentary because it will only hurt the feelings of those who suffered atrocities committed by communists.

Meanwhile, the Director of the National Internal Security and Public Safety Department, Datuk Mustafa Abdullah said he is unsure about the approval status of the screening of the documentary.

He said that until now, his department had not received any information about the making or screening of the film but is certain the Special Branch unit of Police Headquarters knows about it.

"Whatever it is, I am sure there is a reason for the approval given by LPF for the documentary to be screened," he said and refused further comment.

The President of the Former Armed Servicemen Association of Malaysia, Datuk Mohamad Ghani said that the LPF's decision could anger all army personnel especially those who fought against the communists.

"This film seemingly belittles our struggle in the security forces to fight communists but during that time, more than 11,000 policemen, soldiers and civilians were killed."

*Translated from the original Malay.
posted by Amir at 1:31 PM


Amir said...

Q: What do ALL of the people in the article, including the 4 reporters who wrote it, have in common?

A: Not one of them has seen, or even asked to see, a single frame from the documentary.

2:05 PM

: I have the privilege of interacting with AMIR for close to a year while working at an online newspaper. He has an independent mind, and one thing I believe we share in common is our love for WORDPLAY. Foreplay, mid-pray, Postplay. Then pray-pray.

I believe Amir had also "LOST" his job at the NST because his weekly column obviously made certain quarters "uncomfortable", but this was once upon a time. He moved on into the film world debuting with Lips to Lips (Hope I gotta this right. I'm a rightist, See! definAtely not a leftist; socialist maybe. But to some quarters looking for trouble where there is none, even socialists are branded Communist. Some socialites too. Sorry if I digressed. But WTF, this is my terrortry!:()

Amir's film qualified to be shown at international arenas.
But Malaysians are NOT READY for IT!
Does that ring a belle?
Howsy, mGf, you tell Desi!


Howsy said...

Liddat, we are not ready to be a First World. First World Plaza in Genting maybe, but not First World Country.

I'd rather The Medicine Man just admit that he's a failure. Better so legalise corruption, legalise abuse, legalise [whatever malice you could think off here].

Where is Lao Mah and Ahn Wah when we need them? Can they reconcile?

chong y l said...


You are another Dtreamer, but nomidiot!
Reconciling Dr Lao Mah and Sdr Ahn Wah?

That's like DAP and PAS going into bed in SElangor and Jakim is just sext door!

I'd still give Wise Man now aka Medicine Man till end of first term -- wat alterNATIVE do you have -- wanna try those mankeys on COCONUT TREES swaying by the seafront?

Anak Merdeka, where art thou -- bring on the clowns to the RUMAH Barlimen stage! Lead actor: Hero MP for Jasin. Masin, atau Manis?

Anonymous said...

For more comprehensive compilation of news reports & comments on this "Lelaki Komunis Terakhir", see my blog :)

chong y l said...

fathi: GOoD to hear from you.

thanks for the update -- well my ER,
please visit Fathi's place, I know he plikes tehtarik2!:)

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