samedi, avril 23, 2011

I Just Wanna Be

Well I currently live in a city where it is incredibly diverse. Racism, sexism and other forms of oppressions are rampant. Also, being accepted into what? I just wanna be.

Verlia Andrea Stephens


Verlia and I met at the Unicentre, Carleton University in Canada. We were both student leaders, I was the President of the very active Carleton Malaysian Student Association (CAMSA) and Verlia was the President of the umbrella body, the International Students Association. After a particularly successful International Student Week, in which Malaysia took part in a big way, Verlia asked me to be her Vice President at ISA. There was an election and I came ahead of the Hong Kong student body President, Tommy, who was a good friend too. And so, Verlia and I worked together in our final year on the ISA.

Our days at the International Student's Office at the Unicentre were idyllic and full of camaraderie. The Carleton Student President was a strong supporter of the International students. We often met at the office during breaks and I had brought a carrom board all the way from Malaysia which we all shared. Students from the Africa, Carribean, Hong Kong, Aruba, Malaysia, Vietnam all shared time and idealisms.

Apart from that, Verlia and I were especially close friends. I often stayed at her place and got to know her friends and family. When I had problems I could not share with anyone else, it was Verlia I went to for advice. After many years of losing touch, I found her on Facebook.

Today, Verlia is still fighting for the ideals she believed in way back then. But I guess the world has changed. For in the eighties, I believed we were more connected, and there was no single event to bring hatred to the fore. We were fighting for equality, not acceptance which was a given I thought. We were fighting for opportunities, not survival.

Life is much more intense today, no longer idyllic and this is the sad scenario we face after two decades.


Recently, Verlia posted this article by POC on Facebook :
10 conversations on racism I am sick of having with white people.
Good read and a real eye opener to our own backyard scenario.

samedi, avril 02, 2011


Raduan Man's art evokes a sense of patriotism in me always. Which is why I will make sure I drop by his first solo exhibition for 2011 at Starhill Gallery this April. Do take the time to immerse yourself in this Signature series.

I am very lucky that Raduan agreed to do the cover for my next book Hikayat, depicted here.

The man is a genius.

Thank you, Raduan.

vendredi, avril 01, 2011


I must admit, my expectations were sky high. Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa was an epic legend and I have read the original chronicles from beginning to end umpteenth times. To say it is fascinating does not do it justice.

Yes, it tells the story of the Roman prince and the Chinese princess and how Merong Mahawangsa started a dynasty in Kedah Zamin Turan. It told the origin of the Kedah Sultanate and the story of Raja Bersiung. Of the coming of Siam, Patani and Perak and the connection between the three nations. Of ogres and fairies. Of a world lost in time.

The adaptation of the storyline for the movie I must say was well done. The period chosen was an exciting era and the idea to feature the mysterious Garuda as a pirate nation was brilliant. Stephen Rahman Hughes's acting was believable. The effort made in creating beautiful and authentic costumes is commendable.

However, apart from that, I was floored by my disappointment and it took me days to recover. The CGI overwhelmed the story, making it comical at times. The narration was too long and overbearing, there is simply no other way to put it. The acting was acceptable individually. Together, they were too much like parts of a jigsaw puzzle that did not quite fit. There was too much comedy overtones which did not suit the epic background of the movie. The movie did not move me in the least, and that I think was its worst crime.

Still it is a beginning. We have so much to offer in terms of beautiful legends and epics to showcase to the world. I hope Yusry continues to learn from the movies Langkasuka (Nonzee Nimibutr) and Puteri Gunung Ledang (Saw Teong Hin). And from old classics like Sumpah Semerah Padi and Hang Tuah which was screened at the Berlin Film Festival way back in 1957! P Ramlee movies were constantly winning awards from 1956 to 1964 in various categories. If Saw Teong Hin, Yusry and Tiara continue their quest for perfection, we will one day make it.

Let us move on to the next project.
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