Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Nature

Hate, and love. Hate for my environment, the urban jungle I call home. It surrounds and suffocates me, choking with its rush, its deadlines, its never-ending rat race to climb up the corporate tree. We swing from one monolithic structure to another, chasing the dangled banana of promotions. Love, however, is for the nature. Love of the morning sun kissing my cheeks, of songs by the birds and the bees, of the rushing river, of the virgin air that greets your lungs. Love for what is real, what is true, what is spiritual, what is natural.

For what is.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Negative Positive

Recently, it came to my attention that back home, the Malaysian government is planning to set aside 1% of its jobs for the disabled. Generally, it has been met with much approval.

On one level, I do think that it is a fair move, one that attempts to level the playing field for disabled people. There's a fair number of talented ones amongst them, but for their physical and mental deficiencies, would have made excellent contributions to society. As some of the reports point out, a lot of them also has better discipline and attitude to those who are fully-abled (for the lack of a better term). That doesn't surprise me; having shown much courage to overcome the barriers in the way, turning up for work at 9am on the dot is a walk in the park.

Figuratively speaking, of course.

What I am bothered about is...well, the whole damn show. Though I am glad that disabled people are getting their day in the sun (which is in line with my personal projection that disabilities will be the next big thing after the whole 'green' approach), this is the sort of positive discrimination that sees hiring disabled people for the sake of hiring disabled people. Quantity, rather than quality, becomes the motif behind these hirings. In short, people will be hired just to hit the 10,200 target (which is quite specific, mind you. What if they only manage 10,195?).

Furthermore, it doesn't really do much to address the attitude of people against the disabled to begin with. In The New Straits Times editorial, it was written that "the biggest handicap can sometimes be the attitudes of bureaucrats who fail to grasp the urgency of translating policy to reality." While it is true on one hand, it fails to diagnose fully what the actual problem is.

That people are just truly ignorant, with regards to disabled people. That's not to say that everyone is, but the general attitude of the public, I feel, is the one that has to change. Doing volunteer work should be an opportunity to do good, rather than an opportunity to have a little extra something on one's CV (though having said that, I have that thing on my CV. However, it is a dispiriting thing, volunteer work, and it is one that I may explore in a future post).

After all, as Public Service Department director-general Tan Sri Ismail Adam said, the idea is to promote a caring society by 2020. Yet, no mention was made of how attitude changes can be made. Perhaps a more visible presence of the disabled can help, but I do not see any further solutions put in place.

Neither should such employments entail tax exemptions for the company in question.

Perhaps I am being pickier than I should be. After all, anything that maximises opportunities for the disabled should be good, right? And it can't hurt to hire disabled people, and there are a good many number of them who would do a great job.

Nevertheless, I can't help but shake the feeling that this is little more than a PR exercise to get back into people's good books. Furthermore, I don't think that such endeavours truly get to the root of the issue (that of people's attitudes). I don't think that such announcements will truly empower those who are disabled, for the good ones are already empowered.

It's just a matter of people opening their eyes and accepting that.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gila Babi

"Yes, makan babi, haram. Tapi makan duit perniagaan babi, tak haram. Makan duit rasuah dari perniagaan babi, tak haram. Makan gaji dari duit cukai perniagaan babi, tak haram. Cium ‘French kiss’ mulut GRO Cina yang makan babi, tak haram. Aiyah…..Melayu ni bangang sangatlah."

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

KUNICHIWA!

"Interesting," said Tony, as I wafted my way through the video he shot earlier that day (see previous post). "What is it?" I asked, not really taking my eyes of the screen.

We were in Irwan's room, poring over the small screen that is my laptop. I was editing the video for one of his assignment's, while Irwan, chilled, leaned back in his chair and listened to some of the songs playing softly from his own PC.

"It's very Japanese," he concluded his assessment. In the middle of cutting up Marconi Union's 'Sleepless' to fit the train leaving the station, I stopped, feeling slightly surprised. "Japanese?" was all I could echo at that moment. Had he suggested that my style mirrors that of Christopher Rouse (The Bourne Ultimatum), I would have been happier instead. Of course, the video is nothing like 'The Bourne Ultimatum', but one would nevertheless be less perplexed (and perhaps more pleased) at that than...Japanese.

"Really?" I continued. I showed him the rough cut worked up thus far, and as we both looked at it, I fail to see how Japanese it actually is. Nope, I thought to myself at near the halfway point, nothing like 'Ikiru'.

Nevertheless, he was adamant in that opinion, and even his teacher (who eventually selected it as the best homework video done in his class) repeated the same sentiments.

Must've been all that sushi I've been eating...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Journey

A modern day nomad, on a journey without a destination. The discovery of the unknown thrills, the meeting of the unexpected excites, with lives, cultures, habitats and souls, all waiting to be uncovered and enjoyed. We, after all, can only live the life we live, seeing things from the view we have. I like to see what others see, feel what others feel, and live what others live. This in itself is never enough, for the destination is never known.

Once reached, the ends becomes a mean, as the journey, the long and winding road, is never ending.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Falling Slowly

I troop home, disconsolant. It is the frustrating feeling of helplessness, of being shut out once again because I'm a minority.

Not that it wasn't my fault; looking back, with hindsight, I could and probably should have prepared better. Nevertheless, the hammer blow, when it did come, was a shock to the system.

"You can't take this class," the teacher had said earlier. "Your language skills are not good enough. I'm sorry."

Cold, hard...but fair.

Which is what hurt me the most. Which is what prompted the soul-searching conducted on the way back home, all 30 minutes of it.

What the hell am I doing here?

I had an offer from America, a country synonymous with movies, at the heart of the film industry itself. I could have been in a place where I speak and understand the language, history and culture. Instead, I am stuck here, not even being able to understand my teachers and friends, without a handphone, bank account, and student card.

What the hell am I doing here?


The theme repeated itself over and over in my head, the mind poking the logic endlessly. The answers were obvious enough: I had no money for America, no scholarship despite being practically promised one (still think the government help all the Malays?), and Korea came calling.

What was I supposed to do?

And yet...what am I doing here?

As I walked, I reached around in my bag, and somehow feeling a little something. Reaching inside, I realised it was a copy of Batman Begins, a movie that my friend had lent to me, but I had completely forgotten about.

I put it back in my bag, resolved to watching it once I reach home.

*********

"Why do we fall, Master Wayne?" asked Alfred, as he cared for Bruce tenderly.

Young Bruce had just awakened a few moments ago, a patch on his head an unnecessary reminder of his escapade down that deep, dark, scary hole. It was cold down there, too.

He reached for the patch, nonetheless, but Alfred's hands reached for his. Bruce felt the warmth of the old man's love, and looked up at him.

Alfred smiled. "So that we can get back up."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hello world!

The title of this post is the default one for any first post on Wordpress. I have sat here for a while, trying to think of another title.

But why change that which is unbroken?

After all, it is an apt one. Furthermore, in our first post, little more need to be done than to introduce ourselves. We are not filmmakers (at least, not both of us). So the question persists: why are we doing this? Why another film blog?

It was a warm summer’s night in Malaysia, some three years ago (but then again, the nights are usually warm in Malaysia). One can more accurately describe it as early morning, for the revellers of our friend Iqbal’s Raya open house have all but left the building. I am writing about it, as occasion is significant due to the close rapport that I’ve established with Iqbal throughout the night. Getting to the point, it was the first time that I met Fazil.

Dropping right in the middle of the point, we hit it off. We spent the next six hours, until the early morning Azan for Subuh rang out, somewhere around the 5am mark. These six hours were spent with a few others talking about life, love, religion, and…movies. Classic movies. Recent movies. Movies that flopped. Movies that lasted for 6 hours. Malaysian films. Hollywood movies. Just…films and movies.

From that point on, every meet up with Fazil is incomplete without the discussion of the latest, the greatest, and the not-so-great films that we laid eyes on. We talked, discussed, and emailed, until a few weeks ago, inspiration struck.

This leads to the question of why another film blog: on one level, the answer is…why not? Though there are indeed a number of excellent sites out there (as a quick glance to our blogroll confirms), we want an outlet where we ourselves can write about films. I have my ideas about films, and so do Fazil. Perhaps these aren’t exactly the opinions that you might agree with, but they are as informed as they can be.

However, ultimately we are doing this because we are passionate about films. Love the movies. Can’t imagine life without it. I certainly believe that films, when done properly, can lead to better lives. Happier lives. And, I believe, you are here because you, too, are passionate about films. You, too, may have ideas and opinions about films. Malaysian films. Hollywood films.

Just…films.

So I’ll sign off the first post by saying…hello you!

Hello Korea! Hello Malaysia! Hello Asia!

Hello world!

*The first post written for my new blog, Thoughts on Film. It is a collaboration between me and my friend, Fazil. If you wonder why I haven't been writing here for exactly a month, then wonder no more :)