Friday, August 31, 2007

My wish for this Independence Day > I wish more Malaysians could laugh at themselves more


I was at KL Sentral, a highly modern architectural building that boasts world-class transportational commuting services from air to land travel. As I was coming down in the escalator, i heard shouts from these group of salespeople bidding the passers-by to board their shuttle buses to the airport. Since it was our 50th year National Day celebration, to my own surprise the shout of "Merdeka" rings a different kind of bell as compared to these maniac fellas shouting about their services extremely bluntly without any realiasation of what marketing is all about. Is it wrong for other countries to label us Malaysians as one of the world's rudest people? I mean, if you want me to buy something, don't force it down my throat or threatens me the consequences of not buying it. I think it is true that a majority of us still has that 3rd world mentality even though our infrastructure is all 1st class.

But what is a 3rd world mentality? I think it's quite a harsh term, but rather accurate one if one exudes such behavior so explicitly, isn't it? It's sad to know that many people are afraid of making mistakes. But again, who is that person who determines what is wrong? How can you have the correct all the time, without at least considering the incorrect? I believe a majority of the people are fearful of doing anything, for the fear of being labelled as incorrect. When that happens, no one dares to venture beyond, thus staying always within the status quo. Hence the inner frustration could cause someone to be condemning and blameful causing a vicious cycle of some sort among a society, resulting in shouting in marketing your services..


I believe all the argument above can be condensed into a case of outward appearances versus the inward self. I can't speak from a political point of view, but as a Working Artiste, I can at least give some opinions about the film aspect. I know there has been a lot of people crying that the local films have no quality and such, but really, it is not the films' quality that we should blame. If it's not the films to be blamed, then we should talk about the censors and strict guidelines put upon by the board of censors. Incredibly, I find they too are not to be placed upon the blame. Here comes the ultimate frustration, "who is it to be blamed for all these 3rd class mess" you may asked. Well, all I can say is go listen to Kylie Minogue's song "Spinning Around".

If you really listen to the lyrics of that song, which I happen to love, you'll hear about the philosophy of turning on a new leaf in your life and focusing back on yourself as an individual. What glorious truth to a wounding mind and soul. That's it! We can all sing about the nation's strength and glorious past history and patriotism, and we can still go back to our shouting habits on the streets. Or perhaps we can change a new tune this Merdeka, and take a good look at ourselves. It's like the proverbial mouse in the maze, where the scientists placed them in for their experiements. Perhaps our minds and behaviors has been conditioned to think like the mouse. But when you listen to Spinning Around, you'll realised that your life can be turned around and you are actually free to love whomever you want and achieve your dreams whatever it may be when it is simpliedfied to just the very individual. I know it may seems a bit naive, but really I think everyone should let their new national anthem be about freedom within themselves to be whoever they want to be, despite your colour, age, gender and religion. So go on, mouse, run wild! It's an open field.
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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Misadventures on a Ski Bike (I write because my butt hurts)



Just came back from an extremely tiring shoot. The TV commercial was shot at the park: Taman Tasik Perdana, sandwiched between Parliament and Carcosa hotel. I was on the Ski Bike, pedalling on water, with the camera crew in a boat attached. It was an extremely hot afternoon and I have to sing with all the silly and exaggerated actions as required by the director. He asked me to move my body and shake my hips, which is not a problem for me but NOT while pedalling on water! It was crazy, and really tiring because the song came in 3 languages: Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin!

I have to squeeze in (as if my butt isn't tight enough already rubbing away the hard rubber seat) all the actions and exact timing of receiving the handphone at a certain angle, then acted surprised to see the handphone appeared, acknowledged the guy passing me the handphone, then start singing the jingle (which is really a catchy tune and lasted like 5 seconds for my part), then moved my shoulders exaggeratedly front and back, shake my already aching hips on the bicycle seat which combs painfully in between my anus, remember the lyrics and exact moment to return the phone back in the second last part (or the first part alternately) of my part of the jingle. During that time my mind was like a train track with too many trains at its crossroads, further compounded by thirst but none of the production crew could come to us and give me water (so they have to throw cans of beverage at us like some pariahs on a raft escaping from angry villagers but I was too busy remembering my actions and couldn't get out from my seat to grab the flying beverages because the pain sort of glued me in) and ironically we were in the middle of the water!

There were many takes and retakes, while we on the Ski Bikes were being maneuvered by the engine boat, sometimes uncontrollably by two ropes anchored by two pullies at the bay as intructed by this peculiarly critical giant of a man that gives harsh directions, whom already sank one of the Ski Bikes with his heavy weight and threatens to bring all of us down with him. There was a water fountain that spouts plenty of water at our backs, endangering the camera circuits whenever we are near it, then we have to stop what we were doing and wait for the cameraman to wipe the lenses carefully like an eye doctor treating a patient. Overall, the director complimented on my efforts and secretly took out a small camera from his pocket and snapped a picture of me, already exhausted on the Ski Bike, not knowing that my butt is still on fire.