The mark of princes… or pretenders? (on Tanda Putera)

August 17, 2012 at 2:17 am 1 comment

By Rom Nain | 1:56PM Aug 16, 2012

Prominent, though not necessarily cerdik, Malaysians evidently love to make inane comments. And in public at that. It’s, like, become a national pastime.

Politicians do it all the time. And since the mainstream Malaysian media of the press and television virtually only provide coverage of BN politicians, it often seems as though it’s only BN politicians, invariably from Umno, who were born with foot in mouth disease.

Or were trained as performing berok.

That’s the small price you pay, I guess for not providing non-BN politicians and members of civil society access to the media that everybody knows you own.

But while BN politicians seem to have a monopoly on making stupid public statements, once in a while we do get others, often their apparatchiks, elbowing their way in, equally anxious to make utter ninnies of themselves.

And nowhere has this been more obvious in recent times than in the comments made by the makers of that new drama-zaman-ini, Tanda Putera.

I have no intention, of course, of falling into the trap of ‘reviewing’ a movie that I have not seen nor am likely to view.

But some of the comments made by the makers of the movie at a press conference yesterday, particularly those by its director, Shuhaimi Baba (centre in photo), were quite hilarious, in a kind of tragic comedy way, that I just felt they deserve some assessment.

The first was the rather dim assertion by the director that “We are filmmakers, not an organ to produce propaganda”.

Yeah, right.

Listen, as with most of these ‘artistic creations’, context is all-important.

First, this is NOT a Tom and Jerry cartoon feature that you produced.

Indeed, one report has the director stressing that “The movie is about our history…”. Another has her saying, “It is just a movie about two great men. If they are from Umno, that’s just history. If they are also Malay, it is also our history.”

Contentious accounts of the distant past

So, I’m sure it doesn’t require the author of Interlok to tell these ‘filmmakers’ that when you deal with history, you are invariably dealing with different, often contentious, accounts, often of the distant past.

And no matter how much ‘research’ you may conduct, depending on the diversity and veracity of your sources, you are invariably going to come up with a particular account, more so when you have 115 minutes to tell your side of the story in a ‘dramatic’ way.

After all, history be damned, your 115-minute movie would also have to sell, right?

Or else there’d be another RM4.8 million more of the taxpayers’ money, courtesy of the funding from those national bodies, Finas and MDec, flushed down the toilet.

So, let’s cut out all this crap about film (historical film?), like other media, being about providing ‘random accounts of random events’.

Fact is, there’s always the element (and process) of selection. And journalists, broadcasters, even filmmakers like the makers of Tanda Putera would be wise to remember the title of the late, great Howard Zinn’s memoirs, You can’t be neutral on a moving train.

So, enough of all this silly, feigned innocence about “not knowing the implications of my work”.

Even my 11-year old daughter can’t get away with a line like that, let alone an ‘acclaimed’ film director who, indeed, has had some previous experience making ‘historical’ movies – this, after all, is the same director who, in 2007, came up with another ‘historical’ movie, 1957: Hati Malaya (1957: Heart of Malaya), isn’t it?

And when your movie is largely, if not totally, funded by particular state-related agencies, I think you should be just that wee bit circumspect about implying, if not exactly making bold claims of, “independence”, being “historically accurate” and “ideologically untainted”.

Come on, this is Malaysia, for heaven’s sake, a country where ideas of ‘artistic freedom’ and ‘creative licence’ need to be digested together with the less-appetising realities of authoritarian control and the implications of state funding .

All this aside, evidently in order to belittle the many criticisms hurled at the accuracy of Tanda Putera’s depiction of the May 13, 1969 riots, at the same press conference, Shuhaimi stressed that only about 10 minutes of the 115 minutes plus movie were about May 13.

Let me make that more quantitatively impressive for her by stating that ‘only 8.69 percent of the movie deals with the May 13 riots’.

And even then, as Shuhaimi further stresses, this less than 10 percent of the movie merely functions as a ‘backgrounder’ to the bigger story of these two ‘putera’, one of whom coincidentally happens to be the late father of the present PM who, in turn, is facing a general election soon.

It’s not the duration that counts

But, as any student of film, semiotics or semiology, will tell us, it’s not the duration of the segment that counts.

Indeed, a particular film segment may only last for five minutes, yet, again depending on context, on the overall structure of the movie, on the underlying message provided by the segment, those five minutes – or 10 minutes/8.69 percent – of the movie could easily provide the very foundation of the movie.

Like personal memories of a horrific past, May 13, 1969 still resonates quite unhappily and uneasily for many of us who were around at the time.

It certainly needs to be discussed openly and rationally in many arenas and, possibly, may even serve as the backdrop to any romanticised account of our dead ‘leaders’, as asserted by the makers of Tanda Putera.

But, when the date is exploited by the racists in our midst to assert supremacy, to scare us from thinking of a more inclusive alternative future – as it is perennially done come election time, as it is being done now – whatever the protestations of the makers of Tanda Putera, we really need to be vigilant.

At the very least, we need to ask why such a movie was made in the first place.
ROM NAIN is a media analyst and academic who is weary of incompetent, unethical leaders and their apologists and spin doctors in the media who try to get away with murder while professing to rub shoulders with God’s angels.

Nurul Izzah: We Won’t Pay to Watch Tanda Putera

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Friday, 17 August 2012 09:10

nurul_izzah_anwar322KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat will not pay a single sen for a pre-screening session of the film Tanda Putera, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar (pic) reiterated today.

Of course not! We have already seen public funds being used to produce this film that propagates the BN,” the Lembai Pantai MP told Malaysiakini.

The film’s executive producer Aida Fitri Buyong said yesterday she would not mind providing private screenings of the movie to interested viewers, but they would have to provide the funding for it.

The film’s director, Shuhaimi Baba, also indicated that certain political parties were contacting them for screenings to evaluate the movie.

However, Shuhaimi said, she rejected this, adding that sneak previews would only be offered to focus groups, the media, investors and marketers.

Sneak previews “are costly” and the film makers are unable to accommodate these requests.

Nurul Izzah also dismissed Shuhaimi’s statement that the May 13 riot scene in the film lasts just 10 minutes and that it only served as a backdrop for deputy prime minister Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman to come out of retirement and rejoin the cabinet.

“She can say whatever she wants. To me, whatever is in the film will stay there forever,” Nurul Izzah said.

Pakatan on Aug 7 sought a sneak preview of Tanda Putera, out of concern that the film may contain contentious elements.

– Malaysiakini

‘Tanda Putera’ itu ‘tanda Umno terdesak’ — Aspan Alias

August 17, 2012

17 OGOS — “Tanda Putera” merupakan filem yang dipergunakan oleh Barisan Nasional lebih-lebih lagi Umno untuk “discredit” Lim Kit Siang dan ini merupakan tindakan “desperate” pihak BN dalam menunggu pilihanraya yang paling mencabar dalam sejarah negara ini.

Isu perkauman dan agama diperbesarkan oleh pihak Umno kerana itu sahaja yang mereka rasakan boleh menyekat peningkatan pengaruh DAP dalam kancah politik tanahair. DAP sudah diterima oleh sebahagian orang Melayu sebagai parti yang mampu membawa kebaikan kepada negara bersama-sama dengan PAS dan PKR.

Tohmahan dan tuduhan palsu ke atas LKS itu merupakan jalan yang terakhir untuk BN mengelakkan diri daripada terjatuh tersungkur di hadapan mata rakyat kerana momokan terhadap parti itu sejak lebih empat dekad lalu sudah secara deras tidak diterima lagi oleh ramai orang Melayu.

Umno dalam kedudukan “desperate” untuk mendapatkan sokongan orang Melayu kerana sebahagian besar dari orang Melayu sudah menerima PAS sebagai parti gantian kepada Umno untuk mereka sekarang ini.

Kaum Cina pula sudah meninggalkan MCA yang selama ini merupakan parti yang mewakili bangsa Cina dalam Perikatan dan BN selepas itu. Maka memainkan isu perkauman itu merupakan salah satu daripada strategi untuk mengelakkan orang Melayu dari memberikan perhatian terhadap DAP.

Dalam posting saya semalam saya telah menulis tentang betapa “desperate”nya Umno jika PAS dan DAP terus-terusan bekerjasama dengan baik kerana jika kedua-dua parti ini tidak dapat dipecah-belahkan oleh Umno maka keputusan pilihanraya yang akan datang ini adalah “predictable”.

Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba, pengarah filem itu menafikan bahawa filem itu membawa maksud untuk menuduh LKS terlibat memyebabkan tercetusnya tragedi 13 Mei 1969 itu. Saya mempunyai andaian yang isu ini dengan sengaja dipermainkan kerana politik dan kuasa.

Ramai yang bercakap dan menghubungi saya berpendapat ini merupakan permainan politik yang sangat kotor dan LKS sepatutnya mengambil tindakan Mahkamah jika cukup kesahihan yang isu ini diperbesarkan semata-mata kerana permainan politik desperado pihak yang ketagih dengan kuasa itu.

Jika isu fitnah itu menyebabkan kecederaan kepada intergriti pemimpin maka mangsa kepada isu itu sememangnya wajar untuk tampil mengambil tindakan undang-undang kerana isu ini akan menyebabkan perpecahan rakyat yang berdasarkan pada kaum.

Isu yang dimainkan oleh pihak yang menyokong pemerintah ini adalah isu yang tidak bertanggungjawab dan ia bertentangan dengan slogan-slogan pihak pemerintah untuk menjaga kepentingan kesemua kaum di negara ini.

Kita sudah merdeka selama 55 tahun dan isu perkauman ini nampaknya diburukkan oleh pihak parti-parti yang memerintah. Sekarang ini, rakyat pula yang bersabar dengan tindak-tanduk BN untuk mengelakkan pergaduhan antara kaum di negara ini. Tindakan media massa dan alternatif yang memihak kepada BN sengaja mahu mengingatkan peristiwa berdarah itu untuk menakut-nakutkan orang Melayu dan untuk menyemai perasaan benci-membenci di antara kaum.

Kita elok memberi pandangan kepada pihak parti-parti yang memerintah supaya berkelakuan baik untuk mendapat penghormatan rakyat, bukannya menabur fitnah terhadap mana-mana pihak untuk mengekalkan kuasa. Walau bagaimana pun rakyat tidak mudah untuk menerima tohmahan ini kerana rakyat sudah tersedia dengan persepsi yang sangat buruk terhadap parti pemerintah sekarang ini.

Adalah tidak bermoral untuk sesiapa memperjudikan keselamatan negara kerana ingin terus berkuasa dengan memecah-belahkan rakyat. Bagi LKS, beliau berhak untuk mempertahankan diri beliau daripada korban fitnah yang tidak terperi kotornya ini.

LKS sepatutnya ke mahkamah dalam masa yang terdekat ini kerana fitnah mesti diperangi habis-habisan. Isu ini keluar kerana pilihanraya akan tiba. Rakyat ramai harus bangkit untuk menolak sebarang tindakan yang bersifat perkauman untuk meninggalkan sebuah negara yang aman damai kepada generasi kita yang akan datang.

Bagi rakyat pula kita seharusnya tidak terjebak dengan permainan kotor sesetengah pihak ini kerana kita juga tidak boleh membiarkan pihak ini memperbodoh-bodohkan kita dan bersekongkol dengan niat jahat pihak tersebut.

Kita memperjuangkan kehidupan rakyat yang muhibbah dan harmonis kerana sejak merdeka kita mempunyai satu matlamat yang “ultimate”, iaitu penyatuan semua kaum dan mencapai tahap “national unity” yang optima.

Itulah sebaik-baik peninggalan untuk generasi kita yang akan datang. —

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Kit Siang: I was defamed on Tanda Putera’s Facebook page Putting ‘Tanda Putera’ in its place — The Malaysian Insider

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. tom and jerry cartoon dailymotion  |  June 12, 2014 at 10:49 am

    That is a really good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Short but very accurate information… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read article!


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