(Directed by Yasmin Ahmad)
We in Malaysia had a passing of a legend, Yasmin Ahmad.
She was a director and a storyteller who embodied the meaning of 1Malaysia. Although I did not have the pleasure of knowing her personally, many people in the industry would tell me about her beautiful stories. Her work has truly been inspirational and I’m not just jumping on the bandwagon to say something like this.
I’m sure people in Malaysia find it easy to be complacent and just adjust to the culture here; race issues, religious issues and even social stratification. For me, it has really been such a culture shock in so many ways. It really hit me when I was on the way back from the Most Wanted Ruummate FINALE (congrats to Rachel Beh and Derek Yap btw) in the car with Lu Jing Shia, discussing how Western cultures differ from Eastern cultures. I’ve been trying to reap the benefits of growing up in Canada while coming home to Malaysia but there are definitely struggles. I’m sure I can easily list the imperfections of living in this country, but that’s not the point. Its not about complaining about what is good or what is bad, instead, we could create solutions and bring ideas to light despite waiting for the bureaucratic system to change for us.
I think Yasmin Ahmad’s passing should not go in vain, as long as we remember what her work stood for and how much she was willing to lend her voice to the power of harmony and unity in Malaysia. Although it may seem as though our lives are not directly touched by her, but I truly hope that we will soon be affected by the stories she has laid before us. What made her stand out was her ability to use commercials and film as an advantage to remind us how we are all the same people, regardless of ethnicity or religion.
Her message was beautiful andÂ her ability to string up what is profoundly and culturally Malaysian on many emotional levels were so rich itsÂ a shame that we needed the international community with acclaimed festivals to remind us what a gem we already had. Support the local industry, support the stories that remind us on what it means to be Malaysian.
I’m sure you all have heard the huge project that is about to ensue: 15Malaysia. I’m so honoured to be part of one of the short films and can’t wait for the other films to be readily available to the rest of the public. Yasmin Ahmad was only ONE of the many talented directors that we have in this country – let’s not take too long in realizing what gems we already have. 😉
Rest in Peace