Friday, February 6, 2009

Can Malaysia Judge Talents?

The recent spate of reality shows cropping on TV these past month, has again make me think a lot about our own reality singing shows versus the ones in the west. Given my background and experience in past reality shows like Malaysian Idol, Malaysia Top Host and Gillette Vector Challenge, I dare say it gives me some strong ideas and opinions on the topic at hand.

New aspiring artistes, I do encourage you all to participate in these shows. These shows really trains you be PATIENT (the long waiting period), to be CREATIVE (on how to be different from other contestants) and to be COURAGEOUS (in showcasing your talent). The last point is harder for some or almost all people, because the contestants might not have the knowledge or skill to really perform or showcase their real talents at hand, live in front of the dreaful judges. That's when an Artiste Training Course can really be helpful in bridging that gap between inner talent and really performing live!

Besides all the inner values one can learn through reality TV, there's also the benefit of exposure, either negative or positive. This point is actually beyond any aspiring artiste's control, because the production team and talent judges will be the deciding factor on that. Now here's the ultimate issue: can Malaysia judge talents?

We all know a talent needs to have these qualities: Looks, Values and of course, Skill. I got a question for you guys: which of the 3 above should be first priority? I would like to take a recent example of a local singing reality show, where one ex-member of a boyband were given the leeway approval to join in the contest. From the way I watched him sang with his guitar, he's just as average as any tom, joe and henry. But....BUT one advantage he got is he already recorded several albums. As an outsider, you will be surprised how he stretched his vocals quite strenuously just to fill in the melodies. And it doesn't look too good. Yet, he's been given the approval from the judges.

I pitied the others who were rejected from the show. I can feel for them, because of the much unseen forces at work which could go against them. Especially for those with the real skill but not so much the looks. There's this chubby guy who obviously can sing to charm the judge, but she gave him the answer "Just sing for fun, OK?" Why, the chubby guy, to me, definitely can sing like a sinatra, probably he tries too hard?

In Malaysia, if you tries too hard, it doesn't guarantee success. There's this one film director, whom I very much admired once. Looking at all the "success" this director achieves, naive artistes (like myself) tend to flock to this director. But really, director also selects favourites. There is no point in flocking to anyone who seems successful, only to find out in a harsh way that even the most distinguished of them all falls short of the so-called "moral standards" so preached by them. Here's the key problem: favouritism. Chance are not given to those who tries hard to achieve their luck. Traditions and all the preaching about family matters, only reinforces this notion of favouritism.

Again, why credit are not given to those who really tries their hardest in these shows? The answer is obvious, "your looks just don't suit our show". Have you guys watch "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 2? All the dancers look so dreamy, but in the last elimination, it was the geeky looking dude who got elimination cut from the judges. Pretty harsh world out there, in the reality TV world. This standard translates also in the film industry, where actors are being selected based on their model-like features, not necessary their Values or Skill.

Dear aspiring artistes, if you got the right VALUES, you can go anywhere. Do not put all your hopes in reality TV show or any specific genre. Open your minds to other possibilities. In Malaysia, I am saddened by the importance it places on looks first, rather than the Value that talent possesses. We all know your Skill can be moulded and changed for the better. We know Looks are unchangeable and therefore what you got, is what you got. But Values, my friends, Values are what truly makes an Artiste because it is either changeable or unchangeable, therefore Values are the most powerful in its form. The drive and determination to push on, even the whole of Malaysia rejects you. The willpower to succeeed no matter what the current situation looks like, values truly push us over the edge to finally discover our real potential.

It's still a sad scene in our local entertainment scene, where Looks and Skill has taken a crazy pedestal place of worship. Malaysia forgets about the Values. Malaysians THINK they have the Values, and therefore executes their judgement based on what they perceived to be, somewhat flimsy notions concocted from their supposedly long-held traditions and non-proven beliefs in what's real but never really questions it with some intellect and compassion for the talent. So can Malaysia still judge talents? I think we can, once we start to redefine our values again with deeper, more insightful questions and more hard thinking.