Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Administering Advice To Naughty Girls On Screen

A chronology of events so far:

Sepet gets hammered for tarnishing the Malay image (wilfully standing within the confines of a pork-infested restaurant is haram, even if you don't desire it or physically touch it), among other things.

Sepet wins Best Film because the jury is judging the FILM and its execution.

Gubra shows a naked butt in a non-sexual way and people go nuts.

Gubra wins Best Film because the jury is judging the film and its execution.

Prior to this, elsewhere in the entertainment world, Minister Rais Yatim condemns the Pussycat Dolls concert for its semi-nudity and un-Malaysian behaviour (has he wondered into the streets, the schools for that matter? Sexual behaviour is alive and well in our society)

Then Remp-It gets passed in all its (steamily sexual) semi-nudity. A little publicity on that but so far I haven't read a word from the Minister's views on the matter. (Note: I haven't seen Remp-It. I believe that the nudity would be relevant, if not essential to the telling of the story and do not have a problem with it - I have a problem with the double standards I shall expound on presently)

Come FFM 19, I do not know if the general public knows this but scenes from current movies were being shown to the industry professionals in the hall during commercial breaks. We watched scenes from Remp-It, not stunt scenes or street scenes, but the actual scene where the girl unwraps her towel and lies alongside the boy, running her finger suggestively along the length of his torso.

No heckles or "ooooohs", not a whimper form the audience.

But, hold on. PCD can't gyrate on stage, even though they are the number one hot sexy chick band whose trademark looks and suggestive behavour are completely sexual and it goes against Malaysian culture? Or even Malay culture? (I like them very much by the way)

But... what about those two Malay actors touching each other on screen in front of the Minister? Is it possible that that scene being shown that night was actually okay, and wasn't deemed to be offensive to the Malaysian or Malay way or culture?

Okay, I thought. I'm okay with that, because I like people to be open to new ways of seeing things. I believe people can make their own minds up about whether or not they will blindly follow that so-called offensive behaviour. (Though I couldn't dredge up one single offended person there at the time)

Then Sharifah Amani bags Best Actress Award. Excited, rightfully proud and probably feeling hurt on behalf of Yasmin Ahmad who has faced all kinds of personal and professional slurs for making what could be the most tender and genuine films about humanity in recent local film history, she says she will speak English because she sounds stupid when she speaks Malay.

If anyone knows Amani you would know that to be true! She sounds (to my Bahasa Baku linguistic ear) like what those sms chat rooms on TV look like. Honestly, it would have been like "yo, beb, gue bangge nerima awad ni pasal gue sukela kak min nya smangat buat filem mletop cam gubra". Would that kind of Malay have been more palatable to the people? I'm sure it might have passed unnoticed actually - but aren't we on a campaign to save the Malay culture from pencemaran? Hello.

I was confounded to find the Minister of all people smacking her left right and centre in the papers. I do reserve doubt for his benefit because misinterpretation abounds and sometimes things are sensationalised for the benefit of sales. But I do know on rumour-level certainty that on the night he was pissed about it.

Then some guy from Dewan Bahasa picks up on the general misinterpretation (or should I say wilful misunderstanding) of her statement. "Nani hina bangsa sendiri". Apparently what she meant was that everyone who speaks Malay sounds stupid. Wow. It's very scary to be misunderstood on such a large scale for such a personal remark.

Consider saying to someone on the street "I sound stupid speaking Malay, can you speak English?" I doubt that person would call you racist against your own kind. Perspective, perspective, people!

At the very most I would say her initial comment was unnecessary because she is such a beautiful person inside and out that I don't want her apologising for what she feels might be an inadequacy.

Funny though, no heckling while she said that. It was only after she said, "if making good films mencemarkan budaya, then let's do it more often!"

Wait, wait - I want to tell you the context of that! She said that comment after expressing how great it was to be a part of the making of a good film. Now does that put things into perspective? You don't see any of that context in her detractors' columns though.

I got that what she meant was that if a "bad" film like Gubra or Sepet could bag the Best Film Award, then let's make more "bad" films!

I would love to know what exactly "Malay" culture is. Or "Malaysian" culture. Can the Minister define it? I doubt anyone can. I think the best we can do is be good, caring people. I am proud to be Kadazan, even though I don't drink lihing or sow the padi in the fields. But these two things are just behaviours, culturally different, yes, but not what I would use to define whether I am cultured or not. At the end of my life I want to have made a difference in my life through my relationships and through what I have done for my community, big or small. Sorry, can't do that dancing sumazau constantly. The same for my Greek side. Have you seen the national costumes? They just don't meld with the tropics, man.

But how I see myself being Kadazan is through the embodiment of that heritage that my father is - kindness, gentility, love for his people and love of the world. How I see myself being Greek is through the embodiment of that culture that is my mother - strong, determined, full of song, full of dance and always caring, no matter how hard it is to care sometimes.

Hang on - aren't all those things what any race would be proud to call a part of their culture? Funny, that.

Sometimes I forget I am not Malay and get incensed by these terrible attitudes measured by things, social expectation and other superficial benchmarks. Then I think, do I have a right to comment? Maybe not as a Malay. But I have a right to comment as a citizen of Malaysia and as a human being.

There's so much more I want to go into regarding attitudes about sex, but I am kind of starting to hear my voice on a loudspeaker in my head.

So, naughty Amani, hold your head up high and remember who you are, because there will be some trying to make you forget it - a passionate, kind, fiercely parent-proud kid with a BEST ACTRESS AWARD! There are only so many countries in the world and you represent yours now!!

Lovey, C


UglyButAdorable said...

i saw this tribute to hani mohsin show last weekend and his daughter was saying in a proper perfect english - those who knows him please say al-fatihah for him. i love my father and he's a good fuurthhaar to me. waaa..very accent. but that's ok i guess because the mommy is a wife to one of the minister. so that makes it okeh!!

Jazzmamma said...

you go girl! you tell 'em...

btw, that loudspeaker must be very loud indeed cos i was hearing it too as i was reading ur post!

machfairy said...


Anonymous said...

A mama-san, or mamasan, is a woman who works in a supervisory role in certain establishments in East Asia, typically those related to sex work, but sometimes in drinking places as well. Papa-san may be used to refer to a man in a similar position.

To at least some extent this can be considered the local equivalent of a pimp or madam, although the conventions of bar fine prostitution in Asia are quite different from those of either street or brothel prostitution in the United States.

The term originally comes from Japanese, where it is a term for a woman who works as a supervisor at a bar, nightclub, brothel, or similar business. The suffix -san is a polite honorific attached to a person's name or title. The familiarity with the term by U.S. soldiers in Japan after WWII probably has had some influence in its spread to other Southeast Asian countries.

It should be noted that the term mama-san in Japanese is emphatically not a polite reference to a mother, and should never be used as such. Most Japanese children today call their mother mama, but the term does not persist into adulthood. The proper term to refer to a Japanese mother would be okaa-san.

mamasan said...

Gosh, my secret's out!

Anonymous said...

people make mistakes...from a personal point of view maybe amani shouldn't have said that she sounded stupid speaking in malay before giving her speech in English...find it weird though...she acts in malay yet thinks she sounds stupid when she speaks malay..does this mean she thinks her acting is stupid? oh well,like i said before ppl make mistakes...everyone will forget about this in no time..

Anonymous said...

Dear Mamasan,

We would like to give you a commendation for your support for more sexy and steamy scenes of sexy women in our local media.

They say that if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

Thank you for being part of the solution to the problem of not having more sexy, steamy scenes of sexy women that can possibly arouse and tittilate our local men (Mat Rempits, security guards, recently released ex-convicts) and immigrant men (Indons, Banglas etc.) who live, work or lepak near the vicinity where our daughters, nieces, sisters, wives, aunts, and girlfriends also lived, worked or lepaked.

Long live arousing, sexy women to make us happy and aroused!!

Ben Ramone
Propaganda Commitee
(National Association of Immigrant and Local Men of Malaysia)

-Sexy women
-Being your sister's neigbour
-Hanging outside your nieces' school
-Lepakking in the shopping mall where your girfriends shops.

-Covered women

Anonymous said...

You've said it well. I feel for Amani, and I thought Sepet was an entirely daring and entertaining movie, not to mention rare and hard-to-come by. Have to watch for Gubra now. Those who lashes out the more are only trying very hard to return the attention to them, poor them...


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