Anyone game to make a movie on May 13 – and give us the REAL TRUTH for once!

September 4, 2013 at 3:50 am 2 comments

Tanda Putar is full of bull…

Azly Rahman

“signs of the spinnners” .. might be a good sequel to any movie that puts the blame one any one single race, using one half-truth perspective, in crafting a one-voice history, in order to create a one-dimensional society holding on to one-bankrupot ideology …

makes sense in ths one study of semiotics and Borat-style movie, doesn’t it? but seruiosuly folks … we need to have as many moviemakers to come up with stories from different perspectives and let viewers make up their mind and pursue their own truth in understanding history that is meaningful …

i’d like to think that maybe May 13th. 1969 was a well-orchestrated incident that went wrong .. orchestrated by the Alliance Party that was about to lose big time and that the best way to gain victory .. at a price … is to manufacture crisis and to put MAGERAN i(National Operations Council headed by Abdul Razak Husin) in place … and also to set a stage for “historical closure” of the battle between the Young Turks and the Old Turk of the neo-colonialist regime …

bear in mind that “historical facts” do not exist … there are merely “plausible explanations” in place, unlike “scientific facts” …

remember that there is a perspective that Malaysian Independence was almost given on a silver platter by the British so that the latter could install their little brown brothers to maintain coloinies without colonizing and also the fact that the empire has give bankrupt to keep the colonies still functioning …

see why our public and private universities need to teach philosophies of histroy, multiple ways of knowing, multiple historicizing, historical, dialectical, and dialogical materialism, and even study the mind and madness of the colonizers? i.e. to teach multiple eveything and not about multi-level marketing of ideologies …

agree? — ar

Tanda Putera: History or fiction?

September 4, 2013

How can Finas justify this work by Shuhaimi Baba, investing millions of ringgit and in the process jeopardising our racial harmony. For what? The truth?


Mahdzir Ibrahim

I’ve watched Tanda Putera. Aside from wanting to know what the hype was about this film, I considered the price of the ticket as my contribution in support local filmmakers. Hopefully, the small amount I paid, to some extent, will be able to help develop the local film industry.

According to media reports, Tanda Putera cost around RM4.5 million, with the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) contributing RM2.5 million and the Multimedia Development Corporation RM2 million, excluding sponsorship from GLCs such as MAS.

With that huge amount of investment, the technical aspects of the film was far from satisfying. The quality of computer generated images were messy. The settings, props and costumes also fell short of capturing the atmosphere of the 60/70s era, unlike Bukit Kepong or Leftenan Adnan. Is it because the producers wanted to save on budget?

After watching it, I wondered if the film was about the history of May 13, or something else?

There were the infamous scenes depicting youths urinating on a flag pole. But, it’s not clear if this incident really took place or derived from historical facts. If true, where and what is the source? Before this, we never heard about it. So we want to know the facts, either from police reports or notes by historians.

It is not clear from the scene where the flag pole is located. Was is it in the compound of Harun Idris’ (Selangor Chief Minister) residence or at the government office or a hawkers area? If it is linked to the residence, it’s probably an assumption just because the pole is flying the Selangor flag. Or, is the urination scene a figment of the director’s imagination?

According to an eyewitness account by one Habib Ahmad, based in Kampung Baru at that time, it is almost impossible that the incident took place in the Menteri Besar’s residence.

So, if it did not happen at the residence of the Chief Minister, then where did it happen, if at all it did? This scene is not a stunt that can be fictionalised. It is directly related to the history of May 13.

The events of May 13 intensified early in the movie seem to incite anger and portrays the opposition as cooperating with the communists. Communists and opposition parties are painted with the image of the Chinese as well as the DAP logo emblazoned here and there in that particular scene. A reminder to the director – DAP is not a communist party. DAP is opposed to any struggle through the use of weapons.

Director owes viewers an explanation

I thought that this film would retell the May 13 incident in chronological order and include solid witness reports. I was hopng it would provide a clearer picture about what really happened. But the director abandoned the topic of May 13 halfway through the movie. The topic was dropped after embedding the DAP logo and the image of communists in viewer’s minds.

The rest of the movie revolves around Tun Razak’s family and his friendship with Tun Dr Ismail, and several brief scenes about his efforts in creating Felda, the implementation of the New Economic Policy (NEP) and the struggle to fight the communists.

The characters of Razak and Ismail were well cast and played by Rusdi Ramli and Zizan Nin. I could not see or understand the significance between the incidents of May 13 and Razak’s legacy.

If this film is not about the history of May 13, is it about Razak and his friend Ismail? If that were so, certainly more time should have been spent developing the important and memorable contributions by Razak, such as his efforts to establish Felda.

Is this a fictional movie, hiding behind history and half-truths so that the director or producers need not be accountable to the audience or anyone? I can understand that any adaptation of the first source to another medium may be manipulated with elements of fiction to make it more entertaining.

However, the nuance between fact and fiction should be clear. But in this film, fiction and fact were mixed and messed up. Anyone not familiar with the history of May 13 will assume that all the scenes are 100% based on facts.

Finally, I would like to ask director Shuhaimi Baba what this film is all about? History or fiction? I’m entitled to an explanation because Tanda Putera is funded by tax payers’ money collected by the government from all races, Malay, Chinese, Indian, even from Umno, DAP and PKR members, Muslims, non-Muslims, the poor and rich.

If this is a historical film, then it belongs to the people and they are entitled to an explanation. If it is fiction, the director must be responsible for the images or scenes in her work. I support freedom of expression and freedom of creativity and I will defend the right of Shuhaimi Baba, if she is honest.

Nevertheless, I wonder how Finas can justify this film, investing millions of ringgit and in the process jeopardise racial harmony. For what? The truth?

Mahdzir Ibrahim is a CEC member of DAP’s Youth Wing, DAPSY. He is also an arts and culture enthusiast.

Nazri says he did not blame Chinese for the May 13 riots

SEPTEMBER 03, 2013

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has clarified that he had not blamed the Chinese for the May 13 riots.

Nazri (pic) was reported as saying on Saturday that it was a historical fact that the Chinese did cause the May 13 riots.

He had also said that the highly controversial Tanda Putera film was well-researched and could not understand the backlash it received.

“You know me better,” he told reporters after a function at Matic in Kuala Lumpur tonight.

Nazri clarified that a reporter asked him about Tanda Putera to which he had asked, “What is wrong with the movie?”

“Someone said the Chinese feel that they are being blamed for the riots.”

“So I said the Chinese should not feel that way. Just because 1 or 2 Chinese did it years ago, does not mean that the whole race should be held responsible,” he said.

He likened the situation to Hitler’s execution of the Jews, pointing out the whole German race cannot be accused and held responsible for Hitler’s actions.

He was later criticised by the DAP and the MCA for his comments.

DAP’s Lim Kit Siang said the movie, directed by acclaimed director Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba, was “pure rubbish” and was used as a tool to “malign and demonise” the Chinese community.

MCA Youth Chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong called Nazri’s statement insensitive and unfair, pointing out that many factors had sparked the riot.

The movie has opened poorly at the box office and to bad reviews.

The Penang government had issued an advisory to the cinemas in the state not to screen Tanda Putera, calling it full of lies and saying it demonised minority groups.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, however, made clear that no action would be taken against cinemas that decided to screen it.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim disagreed with the Penang government’s advisory to cinema operators in the state not to screen Tanda Putera.

However, Anwar agreed with Lim’s contention that the film was made to help Barisan Nasional.

“What is regretful is that the film promotes Barisan Nasional propaganda and even the director herself, Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba, admitted that the film is a work of fiction.” – September 2, 2013.

Tanda Putera bombs at the box office, now playing in smaller cinema halls

SEPTEMBER 04, 2013

The controversial movie Tanda Putera has bombed at the box office in the first week and has been reduced to being screened in cinemas with smaller seating capacity, officials said.

The film that contained questionable scenes of the May 13 race riots opened nationwide last Thursday and only collected RM500,000 from ticket sales from opening day until Monday.

“This is shameful and sad,” said Finas Compulsory Screening Scheme (CSS) chairman Datuk Mustapha Maarof, pointing out that the film production cost was RM4.8 million.

Mustapha told The Malaysian Insider the box office takings from Tanda Putera was “very poor” when compared to another local production, KL Zombie, which racked in RM3 million over the same period.

“Tanda Putera is a good film but the taste of viewers vary. The film now has to be shown in smaller cinemas because of the poor response.

“And this is not due to the controversy it has attracted, but to the genre which is not up to viewers’ interests,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

When asked about the losses the government incurred due to the poor response, Mustapha said historical films cannot be viewed only in terms of profit and loss. Instead, he said, every country needs an identity.

He said Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba had directed the film well but added that she may have injected more fiction into it as she did not personally experience the May 13 riots in 1969.

He added that there is regulation that local films be given box office screening rights for the first four days.

“On the fourth day, the film will be reviewed. Views of the producer, the cinema operator and the film distributor will be taken into consideration whether the film should still be screened in a big cinema or otherwise.

“Cinemas do not want to incur losses by offering bigger screening space when there are few movie goers. After two weeks, the cinemas can decide not to screen a movie if it receives very poor response.

“We have tried our best to ensure that local films be given credit as cinemas usually only want to screen international films.

“Among the reasons cinemas reject local films was because of the poor quality. Hence, it is Finas’s responsibility to help local film distributors get an appropriate date for the film to be screened four times a day,” he said.

While the film received poor response from the public, several government leaders have praised it as accurate and said it should be studied in local universities.

Shuhaimi issued a statement yesterday saying the low attendance on opening day was because the film was screened in the middle of a work day.

“This is common, even for Hollywood blockbusters. What was the motive behind the bad press against Tanda Putera?” she asked.

Shuhaimi said that despite the bad press and negative comments by politicians, the film still raked in commendable earnings especially for a historical film.

She added that bookings for private screenings are also growing and would be able to raise the film’s takings.

“Its detractors label it an Umno film. So why was it that it was not filled with Umno’s three million members in the first four days of screening?

“This would have smashed the box office with earnings of millions of ringgit!” she said.

Shuhaimi’s previous film, 1957: Hati Malaya, also received poor response after ticket sales only hit RM760,000 compared with the production cost of RM3.6 million.

Although the film produced by Pesona Pictures was shown in 38 cinemas nationwide, it could only last three weeks.

1957: Hati Malaya focused on Umno founder Dato Onn Jaafar’s struggle to raise Malay nationalism spirit against the Malayan Union in 1946.

DAP and MCA had criticised Tanda Putera as there were concerns that some scenes and dialogue in the film could incite racial tension.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang was upset with Tanda Putera which showed a scene of several young Chinese youths urinating at a flag pole in the compound of the former Selangor mentri besar Datuk Harun Idris. – September 4, 2013.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Regime crisis, not just a ‘race riot’ — Clive Kessler Spectre of May 13 no longer scary, say analysts

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. angela ooi  |  September 7, 2013 at 5:01 am

    Did Shuhaimi’s film show how the Malays reacted to the ‘insult’? Did she show them running amok killing Chinese in sight or did the Malays tamely accept the ‘insult’. Just think…if ever the urinating scene was true, those Chinese would have been hacked & torn to pieces..especially if it was done at or near MB Harun’s residence. Remember, tension was high then & angry ‘tak boleh tahan’ mobs of Malays with battle-ready headbands, etc had gathered ready to extract revenge. Only truly stupid & ready to die Chinese would want to hang near or around an angry mob…although apparently, 2 Chinese did & paid for it with their lives!

  • 2. TS yuen yuet leng  |  April 1, 2014 at 2:34 am

    A very belated but necessary comment. The Chinese were not hanging around there but just unlucky to be there or passing there at the time. I and ACP Aloysius Chin, in civvies, would have been the ahead of that UNLUCKY 2 to pass the same spot had we not stopped at the guardroom of the nearby Police Depot to continue discussing our anxious views on the developing situation. We were going home for a bath and change. Aloysius resided at a govt quarters very near Dtk Harun’s house. However, our Chinese Sgt Major who overtook us as we talked, driving off in his car. Meantime being informed that incidents had happened we rushed back to our nearby offices to monitor the situation. Our SM by then had also returned bleeding. He had been slashed but not seriously and escaped back. He reported seeing some bodies on the ground.


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