Sunday, July 26, 2009

From Disneyland To Gotham City

I no longer wanna be that kid who chases rainbows
I wanna be the anti-hero who hangs out in the night
I no longer wanna live in the glitz of Disneyland
Unless I get to ride on Jack Sparrow’s ship
For my home is Bruce Wayne’s Gotham City

Luke Skywalker ain’t my man
I fell in love with his daddy Annakin earlier
I wouldn’t call Zac Efron
Gary Barlow or Ronan Keating sexy
For my ideal man’s like Grissom
Mulder, Denzel and Depp

My superheroes Hulk and Wolverine rule OK
My 1980s anthem With Or Without You
My secret agent Jason Bourne
My past life a Eurasian punk
Rocker from Manchester or Liverpool

The goody-two-shoes boy John Walton
Sucks big, big time
He’s poison, gimme more Snake Plissken
John Connor, Hancock, Morpheus
And Kwai Chiang Caine instead

No more Jackson Five, for U2
Coldplay and Muse are my soul
Don’t get me no Christmas trees
I just want a black flag
Blue or green bag
And all black shoes and pants

For I’m half black
From now till eternity
I’m a man of Gotham City
Singing to the moon, stars
Rain and clouds
Is always merry

Amir Hafizi Pays Tribute To Yasmin Ahmad

Amir Hafizi is the nephew of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Muhammad Najib Abdul Razak and he is from Kuantan, Pahang.

He is a writer and producer.

He is a dear friend of the late, great Mother of Malaysian Unity Yasmin Ahmad.

He is also my ex-colleague and a dear friend of Mr Universe Zainal Alam Kadir.

My dear friend Yasmin Ahmad is no more.

She left us peacefully after passing out in her chair at a meeting in TV3 last week.

TV3 got her to the nearest hospital but she never awoke.

I'm gonna miss her greatly.

No words can describe how much she meant to me.

We used to have long chats, as she does with lots of people.

She liked artsy movies, as did I.

She was all for 1 Malaysia, like my uncle and I.

She made movies that touched many people.

And these movies always entertained and inspired me.

But unlike me, she was annoyingly positive and cheerful, no matter what people said.

Yasmin was always modest. She always said she was just like everyone of us. I loved her for her honesty and sincerity.

She wanted to be remembered as a storyteller, who brought joy and happiness to everyone, and made a difference in their lives.

And she went, never compromising on her philosophy, that we must love and love.

Cheers, Yasmin. Thanks for showing us the light you believe in.

See you when we get there.

Yasmin Ahmad The Eternal Optimist

The late, great Mother Of National Unity Yasmin Ahmad famously said:

“I am optimistic and sentimental to the point of being annoying; especially to people who think that being cynical and cold is cool. Everyday, I thank God for everyday things like the ability to breathe, the ability to love, the ability to laugh, and the ability to eat and drink.”

Antares Says Goodbye To Yasmin Ahmad

Blogger Antares (Magick River) says goodbye to Yasmin Ahmad, a remarkable woman he wish he had known better.

The last time I "spoke" with Yasmin Ahmad was on a Facebook forum.

I understood where she was coming from.

She had spent most of her adult life in advertising and had reached the highest altitudes of success within that profession.

Not only that, she was the only person I knew in advertising who had then gone on to achieve her personal dream of making memorable feature films with a uniquely Malaysian flavour.

Her best work in commercials were for Petronas.

Her specialty was producing classy vignettes of Malaysian life with a distinct feel-good factor.

I thought her work as a director was superb.

Afterwards, I felt prompted to add one more comment to the forum, suggesting that since the ice was now effectively broken between us and we each knew where the other stood, maybe we could begin to set aside our public personas and really talk.

But I didn't do that ... and now it's too late. She's gone. At only 51.

Yasmin Ahmad, I just want you to know.

I really do admire your accomplishments and deeply regret that we never became good friends.

In any case, I'm glad you did get to make a few feature films for which you will always be remembered with profound affection and gratitude.

I sincerely hope that with your newfound freedom from budgetary constraints, you will hover around long enough to help us write a happy ending to the unfolding story of a much more mature Malaysia liberated from gender bias, racial prejudice and religious bigotry.

Fare thee well and infinite blessings upon you, Yasmin Ahmad, storyteller extraordinaire.

They Always Say The Good Die Young

So, I don't wanna be a saint.
I wanna put black magic on the most evil ones.

Singapore Mourns Yasmin Ahmad

Thanks, Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama).

The demise of Yasmin Ahmad has also impacted film enthusiasts in Singapore.

Her death has raised questions on what would happen to Go, Thaddeus, a film that she was to direct, which is still in its early stages of production.

The film, based on a novel by Belinda Wee has its screenplay adapted by Yasmin.

It is backed by the Singapore Film Commission, Singapore Sports Council, Singapore Tourism Board and the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee.

The film portrays the determination of Singaporean teen triathlete Thaddeus Cheong, who passed away at 17 when he collapsed after the triathlon selection race for the 2007 SEA Games.

The film was scheduled for public screening in August 2010 in conjuction with the Youth Olympic Games hosted by Singapore for the first time.

Yasmin also directed advertising campaigns for Singapore's Community Development, Youth and Sports Ministry.

One of them was Eulogy which depicted the story of a widow who recalled her husband's habits. Another was Red Shoes which told the story of a teenage girl who grew up with a single father.

A Brief Biography Of Yasmin Ahmad, Mother Of Malaysian Unity

Thanks, Wikipedia.

Yasmin Ahmad (July 1, 1958 - July 25, 2009) was a critically-acclaimed multi-award winning film director, writer and scriptwriter from Malaysia and was also the executive creative director at Leo Burnett Kuala Lumpur.

Her television commercials and films are well-known in Malaysia for their humour, heart and love that cross cultural barriers, in particular her ads for Petronas, the national oil and gas company.

Her works have won multiple awards both within Malaysia and internationally.

A graduate in arts majoring in psychology from Newcastle University, she worked as a trainee banker in 1982 for two weeks.

She then joined IBM as a marketing representative.

Yasmin began her career in advertising as a copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather in the same period.

In 1993 she moved to Leo Burnett as creative director and eventually became executive creative director.

Her first film was Rabun (Sight-Impaired) in 2002.

Yasmin's films have won many international awards and praise from critics and public alike.

Most of her films have been screened at the Berlin, San Francisco, Singapore and Cannes international film festivals.

Her films were featured in a special retrospective at the 19th Tokyo International Film Festival 2006.

They were also featured in a 2007 retrospective by the Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawaii, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

Yasmin passed away of a stroke at 11.25pm on July 25, 2009.

She fell unconscious in her chair at 3.30pm on July 23 at private television station TV3 in Petaling Jaya.

At that time she was having a meeting with the TV3 management and Malaysian pop queen Datuk Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin for a coming project.

Yasmin was hospitalised at the Damansara Specialist Hospital a short distance from TV3 and underwent neurosurgery on the same day.

She never regained consciousness.

She was buried in Subang Jaya, where she lived.

Yasmin made six films in her short but illustrious career.

They were Rabun (2003), Sepet [Small-Eyes] (2004), Gubra [Anxiety] (2006), Mukhsin (2007), Muallaf [The Reverter] (2008) and Talentime (2009).

She also acted in the films Rain Dogs, Sayang You Can Dance and Susuk among others.

She won several awards for her television commercials that promoted national unity and humanitarian values, in Malaysia and Singapore.

Sepet won best film in the Malaysian Film Festival 2005. Gubra won best film the following year.

Sepet also won the Asian Film Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2005.

Mukhsin won Best Feature Film at the Berlin International Film Festival 2007 and Best Asean (Southeast Asian) Film at the Cinemanila International Film Festival 2007.

Muallaf won the Asian Film Award - Special Mention at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2008.

Yasmin was the eldest of three siblings from Muar, Johor. She was of Malay and Japanese ancestry.

She is survived by her parents, a brother and a sister, and her husband Tan Yew Leong, the creative director of Leo Burnett.

The Sun And Rainbow Take Second Seat

The sun and rainbow
Take second seat
In my train called life
The moon, stars
Clouds and rain
Move into my bed

No words can describe
How hurt and sad I feel
For today
I've lost one
Truly special friend
Who's been like a mother
To me and my country
Who's truly changed us

No more shall I be
The boy band
From now
I'll be the Gotham man
Donning the gritty coat
Of Fox Mulder
Swaying to the gritty tunes
Of the finest rockers
Marvelling at the raindrops
And showing my awe
To the light of a full moon
Orion the hunter
And the black flag forever

Azean Irdawaty On Yasmin Ahmad

Azean Irdawaty, the Bridget Lin Chin Hsia of Malaysia, acted in the last film directed by Yasmin Ahmad titled Talentime.

Her talented daughter Elza Irdalynna also acted in the film.

Veteran actress Azean was at a loss for words over the death of a ‘gem of a friend’ whom she would ‘always hold dear’.

In a poetic tribute to Yasmin, Azean said: “She was an angel God lent us, to be a storyteller who told stories of magic, joy and enchantment we so often lose sight of.

“Her flight was brief, her leaving us is grief. Like her movies, the end came too soon, but her wisdom remains like words to a tune.”

Film-maker Amir Muhammad said Yasmin embodied the true spirit of 1Malaysia and it would live forever in her films and advertisements.

“We’ve lost a truly special friend. But her legacy of love, in Sepet, Gubra, Mukhsin, Talentime, and all her inspiring films and advertisements, will be here to stay. Thanks for the memories Yasmin,” he said.

Brian Yap, who played the protagonist in Muallaf (The Reverter), said the one everlasting tribute Malaysians could give Yasmin was a commitment to ‘being Malaysian’.

“She was a Malaysian in every sense of the word. Her life will and should inspire us all to promote love, togetherness and a sense of Malaysian-ness in all that we do,” he said.

Award-winning singer Jaclyn Victor said she would forever be grateful to Yasmin for ‘bringing out the actress’ in her.

“I had a great time discovering my talent in the film Talentime and she brought out the best in me. It was such joy and pleasure being with her, and it’ll be a moment I’ll cherish forever,” she said.

Mohamad Syafie Naswip, who shot to fame as the title character in Mukhsin and subsequently starred in Talentime described Yasmin as a ‘teacher, mentor and friend’ whose love, kindness and passion for the arts and nation-building were second to none.

“She’ll always be my hero. She ‘raised me up’ and led me to achieve my dreams,” he said.

Leo Burnett managing director Tan Kien Eng said all Malaysians had lost a dear friend in Yasmin.

“She was full of love, and she loved life, art and the Malaysian dream. Things will never be the same without her,” he said.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Malaysia Has Lost Its Mother

Yasmin Ahmad passed away at 11.25pm on July 25, 2009 in the Damansara Specialist Hospital in Petaling Jaya without regaining consciousness.

She was hospitalised there at 3.45pm on July 23, 2009 after suffering a stroke while attending a meeting at private TV station TV3 a short distance from the hospital.

The meeting was also attended by Pop Queen Datuk Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin.

Malaysia has lost a mother, and to quote Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (India's first PM) following the death of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Father India), the light has gone out and to millions there is darkness everywhere.

Yasmin dedicated her 51 year life to spreading the message of love and was always passionate about fostering a Malaysia for all Malaysians and keeping the vision of first Prime Minister and Father Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra alive and burning.

Through her many TV ads and her independent films, she made Malaysians believe that a Malaysia for all Malaysians was possible, and this vision of Rahman Putra would never die.

Yasmin coached some of the country's finest new stars of cinema and they included Malaysia's Natalie Portman Sharifah Amani Syed Rashid Al-Yahya, who acted in her most famous movies Sepet, Gubra and Muhsin.

Yasmin's movies won numerous awards in international film festivals, and she was even chosen as a judge in such festivals.

Amani's mother is my ex-neighbour and former colleague Fatimah Abu Bakar, herself a brilliant actress and writer.

Yasmin was a godmother of sorts to Amani and her three sisters who were all her proteges in acting.

Whenever I met Yasmin, I felt most happy and honoured to share my thoughts about the nation and its future with her.

She came across as a most sincere and caring person, and an eternal optimist who always believed that Malaysia had a bright future despite the social and political ills that have been plaguing us for quite sometime.

It was because of her optimism that I developed mine, and challenged some of my most gloomy colleagues to think on the bright side of life.

I was looking forward, like all Malaysians, to see more of Yasmin this year and in the years to come.

But alas, God loves her more.

Malaysia must honour Yasmin as its Mother of National Unity.

Malaysians should go beyond giving her posthumous knighthoods and awards.

Malaysians must strive to live her vision and mission.

We must work hard and strive hard for One Malaysia.

Only then can we truly call ourselves eternal friends of Yasmin.

Here's a little song by Malaysia's King of Entertainment Tan Sri P. Ramlee (1929-1973), who like Yasmin, left us too soon.

This poignant song reflects exactly how most young Malaysians feel about losing Yasmin. It's exactly how I feel.

Ibu, ibu engkaulah ratu hatiku
Bila ku berduka engkau hiburkan selalu
Ibu, ibu engkaulah ratu hatiku

(Mother, mother you are the queen of my heart
Whenever I'm down, you lift me up
Mother, mother you are the queen of my heart)

Yasmin is one of 2 Malaysian women I truly revere.

The other is the first lady of Malaysian theatre Datuk Faridah Merican, who is my relative by marriage (her cousin married my mother's cousin).

They are, to me, the Mothers of National Unity.

The Mothers of Malaysia.

(The 2 Malaysian men I revere most are Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra and Tan Sri P. Ramlee. They are the eternal Fathers of Malaysia)

I have just contacted Faridah and she is terribly saddened by the loss of Yasmin.

Faridah said it's a sad, sad day for Malaysia, and that the country has lost a champion of national unity and a truly remarkable woman who dedicated her life to nation-building via the arts.

Faridah and Yasmin knew each other a long time ago when they worked in the same advertising agency Ogilvy And Mather (founded by the late Sir David Ogilvy, the uncle of Ian Ogilvy of The Saint fame).

She described Yasmin as a brave film-maker who was unafraid to tell stories about Malaysians, and tackle issues that stood in the way of unity and nation building with superb tact and style.

Faridah said Yasmin rose to meteoric heights with her God-given brilliance of telling stories about Malaysians via film.

She left us too soon, and had a lot more to say about Malaysia, its people and its future.

Faridah said Yasmin's legacy of love to all Malaysians would be her passion and sincerity in creating all-Malaysian films that entertained and educated viewers, and fostered the spirit of One Malaysia.

She is confident that the many young actors who were coached by Yasmin would strive to keep the late film-maker's message alive and promote excellence in the arts, highlight issues of public interest with courage and tact, and promote national unity and Malaysian-ness for a better tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tony Thien - Outstanding Journalist From Sarawak

Thanks, Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) and

Veteran journalist Chan Seng Chai who passed away at the age of 61 in Kuching today following a heart ailment will always be remembered as an icon amongst Sarawak journalists.

Chan was also known as Tony Thien as a correspondent of cyber-daily

He was also a correspondent of the new cyber-daily Malaysian Mirror and the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama).

The father-of-two was once the assistant editor of the Sarawak Tribune.