Thursday, September 26, 2013

Art for Grabs

I will be performing at Art for Grabs. Stand up comedy. In Bahasa Malaysia and stereo surround sound. Too sick to promote everything else, but my presence should be enough to make this the must-see event of the century.

Art for Grabs

Achy Breaky Gut

Last evening, I experienced some stomach pains. Thinking I might have food poisoning, I quickly went to my stash of meds. I took activated charcoal, buscopan and for preventive measures - oral rehydration salts and Smecta. Also took some painkillers to take the edge off.

The pain became a burn and I had to put off any work scheduled last night in favour of sleep.

I woke up this morning with severe abdominal pains. It was equally distributed on the top part of my stomach. I was worried.

So I put on some shorts - sometimes I like to sleep with my dick hanging out - and waited for a cab, while messaging all my appointments today that I might have to cancel.

As soon as I got a cab, I went in and told the driver my clinic in Bangsar.

"Are you sick?" he asked.

Pallor, sweating, clutching my stomach. No shit, Sherlock.


"Oh, I was sick, blah blah blah. Blah Blah Blah. Memememememememememememememememe! Me! Me-Me!"

This is the failure of many unevolved monkeys - the self-centeredness and self-absorbed nature that has made many potential evolutionary candidates into blabbering apes who can't stop talking about themselves in order to do their fucking work effectively.

The last thing I wanted to do at that time was to entertain a stupid idiot's ego. So I told him, in an abrasive tone, "Yeah, SURE."

Noticing my anger, the monkey shut up.

And then he opened his monkey trap again.

"Are you in pain?"

"Just get me to where I want to go."

And he shut up the rest of the way, having evolved to being human due to my radioactive anger and slow-burn pain.

As I stepped into the clinic, I told the girl manning the counter, "I am in severe abdominal pain. Can we just register later - I need to see the doctor now. Like, NOW."

She just looked everywhere except my face and handed me a piece of paper to write my name and IC number. What a fucking monkey.

I had half a mind to give her my IC, but realising she is a monkey, the damn animal might shove it up her ass or something.

So gritting my teeth and holding my slowly exploding gut, I wrote the necessary information.

I was waiting for the doctor. The pain made me impatient, so I said to the monkey, in BM, "Saya tengah sakit sangat ni. Boleh jumpa doktor sekarang?"

"Doktor pergi toilet," came the response.

Great bedside manners, bitch. If I die to some tumor or whatever, I'm coming back specifically to haunt your sorry ass.

A minute later, I got to see the doctor. I gave him the nature of my condition and also my patient history relating to this matter - I once ingested two Syntex's Anaprox DS 550mg pills, causing severe stomach pains which required IV medication.

I gave him a list of meds I am taking and any substance I have taken or exposed to over the past two weeks.

He took down notes, listened to my stomach using his stethoscope and asked me this final question:

"Is it a twisting pain or a throbbing pain?"

"It's a... burning pain," I said.

"You have gastritis."

"You sure? Any other diagnosis?"

"Do you take spicy food?"

"Yes. Had South Indian Beriyani - rich in spices - a few days ago, masak lemak cili api, oh, and I also have a stash of Naga Jolokia - the hottest chilli known to man, exceeding 2 million on the Scoville scale."

"Are you stressed?"

"Very much so. I am handling three companies and seven projects at the same time, I am chasing after people who owe me money and I apparently live in a world filled with self-absorbed idiots and dishonourable monkeys."

"Yes, I believe it is gastritis."

So he prescribed me four types of meds and advised me on my diet, as well as a possible long-term treatment to restore my stomach lining.

I asked for a jab of painkillers and he gave me one. In the ass. It was Tramadol, which they also give to dogs.

I left the clinic feeling slightly better, so I had breakfast with my sister.

Walking, though, caused some increase in the intensity of the dulled-out pain. So I got myself a bottle of Gaviscon. That did the trick, and I am now at home, thinking I should probably sleep to ensure I don't smoke as much.

The meds are enough for five days. I hope to be up and about by Saturday, though. That's whn I perform at Art for Grabs.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fight the Future

I make fun of these namby pamby rich kids cause they'll never understand.

If they fail, they can always run back to their parents. "I'm broke. Boo fucking hoo, my life is miserable." And then their parents give them a million bucks or more.

I fail, and I die. I got nothing and no one - nowhere to fall back on. I use up all my money, I can probably go home to Kuantan for a few days. Then I'll get bored, go to the back, dig a hole and blow my brains out.

This is why I scramble. This is why I push. I know what's on the other end, and despite my own reservations and doubt, I am ALWAYS right.

One of my more privileged friends tried to tell me I'm all talk on the same week I did more things than he ever accomplished in his life. Does that make me better? No, he is in a better position because money is not a true factor for him. Not like oxygen or water.

These rich kids, they regurgitate what a generation of cartoons have been telling them - live your dream, go for your dreams, do what you love. And somehow, some way, things magically fall into place.

This is pure bullshit.

The reality is things will fall into place if you will it there. If you push, if you actually do it yourself.

Here's how I work. I set things up. I plant seeds. Years later, I see the fruition of that small spark. It always surprises me... that I am always right.

People run their mouths about me and years later I see them either still garbage or have become rubbish. Do I look like I give a fuck?

Been a great week. Started off with schadenfreude as I gleefully laughed and rubbed my hands at other people's misfortunes. Then came the grind. Met my deadline tonight. Have another one tomorrow. But that's tomorrow's story.

I have avoided burnout - barely - and right now I need to regulate my rest time.

And may everyone pay me the money they owe me.

Friday, September 20, 2013

PERKOSA - PERsatuan Kahwin perOgol SAya

Dah nak masuk Perhimpunan Agung UMNO dah, November ni. Masa peniaga-peniaga kecil Melayu macam Papagomo pergi jual kain berjenama Siti Nurhaliza atau Tudung Mawi (tm) kat PWTC. Dengar-dengarnya jugak masa untuk hotel-hotel yang menempatkan perwakilan UMNO tukar tuala kepada jenis yang RM5 pasal takut kena kebas.

Masa juga untuk UMNO muhasabah diri, buat lawak, bagi laporan, undi majlis tertinggi dan menetapkan halatuju parti yang semakin popular dan menang makin banyak kerusi walaupun bebudak hipster dan bebudak normal banyak taknak sokong UMNO. Pasal apa? Pasal tak cool.

Cool ke, UMNO? Tak kot. Tak hip langsung.

Aku ada pikir gak nak bertanding jawatan Ketua Wanita UMNO, pasal Wanita UMNO dah takde calon dah. Dah kering, dan bukan sebab menopause. Ketandusan penggusti yang popular, macam Diva's division dalam WWE.

Sebagai langkah permulaan, sebelum masuk Oktober pun, Najib dah umumkan peruntukan beratus juta, atau dah lebih satu billion untuk usahawan Bumiputera.

Katalah satu billion. Daripada jumlah tu, banyak mana dapat kat kroni? 70%? 90%.? Aku tak tau. Biasanya aku kira dana yang diumumkan, dan aku budget hanya 10% akan available untuk rakyat biasa macam aku. Kali ni dia cakap lain, jadi tengoklah camana dia bahagikan duit tu.

Selain isu usahawan Bumiputera, ada jugak isu Chin Peng. Aku jangka akan ada lawak jenaka dan air mata yang dititiskan atas expense Chin Peng. Yang dah mati, matilah. Aku cuma tertarik dengan apa nak jadi lepas ni.

Aku rasa takde sapa berani cabar Najib, melainkan dia sendiri nak undur. Mukhriz nak bertanding VP. KJ pun nak, gamaknya, tapi dia kena lepak dulu. Hishamuddin Tun Hussein, Nazri Aziz, dalam sampan yang sama. Bukan bot pun. Sampan. Tapi takde sapa nak masuk sampan tu, pasal tak best.

Zahid Hamidi ialah watak yang menarik, kalau ikut logik filem. Dia dulu geng Anwar, sama-sama gangster masa UM dulu. Sama-sama redah bangunan fakulti, cat tanda dalam English, suruh tukar ke BM.

Ya, Anwar, Zahid ni semua dulu nak paksa UM tukar ke BM daripada English, supaya orang Melayu miskin macam kat Baling boleh pergi universiti.

Zahid dulu geng Anwar, tapi sekarang branding dia hardliner. Jadi je Menteri Dalam Negeri, dia tangkap kiri, tangkap kanan. Silap-silap, aku kena tangkapnya.

Hishamudin Rais pun aku rasa member dia. Pun kena tangkap. A Samad Said? Sasterawan Negara? Tangkap.

So Zahid Hamidi ialah seorang hardliner? Tegas dan keras. Entah. Manalah aku tau.

Shahrizat Jalil dengan skandal NFC yang tidak diuruskan dengan baik. Kalau ada calon lain? Ada kerrr?

Senang camnilah. Aku bagitau apa orang Melayu nak. Orang Melayu yang masih boleh sokong UMNO, yang masih akan undi UMNO, nak Dr M. Bukan anak Dr M, dia nak Dr M balik. Jadi sama ada UMNO klonkan Dr M atau cari orang yang sama pandai, sama tegas, sama hebat dengan Dr M. Ada kerrr?

Perkasa ialah satu idea menarik. Ambil semua perception yang buruk dan gelap pasal UMNO, dan reka satu entiti yang mewakilkan semua kegelapan itu. Ini secara teori membolehkan UMNO berfungsi tanpa dicalit kehitaman semangat pelampau perkauman dan wanita-wanita yang ingin menjadi pelacur kelas atasan.

Bila pembangkang serang Perkasa, diorang tak serang UMNO, tapi menyerang bayang-bayang UMNO. Masalahnya? Bila Perkasa meluahkan isi hati sesetengah orang Melayu sendiri.

Ya, mamat calon Perkasa Shah Alam tu kalah, tapi tak kalah banyak sangat, kalau dikira ikut peratusan pengundi. Ada market untuk Perkasa, dan ini membimbangkan aku.

Dalam keadaan terdesak, semua jenis option akan diambilkira. Tak susah nak timbulkan kekacauan kat Malaysia ni. Dalam lima minggu ni, aku pun rasa macam nak bunuh orang. Ini aku, seorang yang amat pengasih dan penyayang. Lemah lembut, bersopan, walaupun tak gay. Bayangkan kalau beruk.

Aku ramalkan dulu yang kalau didesak, UMNO hanya ada dua pilihan - jadi PIS-M (nama sebenar PAS) atau Perkasa.

Kalau kau baca Sun Tzu, strategis perang tu tidak merekomen kau desak lawan kau (kalau kekuatan sama atau beza sedikit saja) sampai dia akan berjuang bermati-matian dengan taktik bunuh diri. Bila menyerang, sentiasa pastikan ada ruang untuk diorang berundur. Terutamanya untuk peperangan jangka masa yang lama.

Kalau untuk setiap pertempuran, kau asak habis-habisan, pasukan kau takkan mampu bertahan sampai habis perang.

Dalam komik terjemahan HK, Raja Rimba, huraian falsafah ini juga merangkumi taktik 'Tanah Terpencil'. Kau desak, hambat lawan kau sampai dia berundur ke satu kawasan yang dia fikir selamat, tapi sebenarnya kat situ ada perangkap.

UMNO bagi aku, pada masa sekarang, berada dalam keadaan tertekan. Diorang takde formula, takde idea untuk menang sokongan dan hati mamat-mamat dan minah-minah urban.

Pengumuman Najib pasal peruntukan usahawan Bumiputera pandai, sebab dia tengah memperkukuhkan akar-umbinya dahulu. Siapa nak undi UMNO? Siapa nak undi BN? Buat masa ni, sokongan UMNO dan BN hanya kuat daripada kawasan luar bandar. Kawasan bandar sebenarnya dah lama goyah, tapi bebaru ni aje BN kalah teruk kat bandar. Jadi, Najib uruskan orang Melayu luar bandar dulu.

Satu soalan je - kenapa lambat sangat?

Aku dah bagitau lama, tapi bila aku cakap, kaki-kaki bodek Najib semua cakap aku nak tunjuk pandai. Dah aku memang pandai, nak buat cemana? Nak sorok pun tak boleh. Diorang insecure pasal diorang bodoh.

Okaylah. Better late than never, kata orang Kuantan.

Lepas tu? Apa?

Kalau aku Najib, aku akan teruskan buat benda-benda positif je. Bangunkan orang kampung, improve public transport supaya Melayu semua boleh duduk kampung - menatang bullet train tu tak jadi ke? Nak jugak aku duduk luar KL, kerja kat KL. Bangunkan zon-zon ekonomi supaya boleh cari makan kat luar KL. Benda-benda biasalah.

Pembangkang? Well, beberapa perkembangan menarik kat kem pembangkang. PIS-M ada schism, ada selisih, dengar khabarnya. Ada kaum tua dan kaum muda. Dua-dua bertelagah pasal siapa lebih Islam, siapa lagi terer. Ramai kaum muda kalah pilihanraya, menunjukkan orang PIS-M nakkan perisa yang kuat. Kalau extremist, nak extremist betul-betul, taknak yang progresif ni semua.

PKR bosan nak mampus. Drama apa ada kat PKR? Lepas GE, diorang ambik jalan bodoh nak buat rally tiap-tiap minggu. Aku dah cakap, suruh buat rally sekali setiap suku tahun. Kalau buat tetiap minggu, maksudnya kau penatkan manpower ko sendiri, dan ko buat orang bosan dengan rally.

Dua minggu bolehlah, nak turun full force. Lepas tu? Orang Malaysia ni malas. Dan yang tak malas, ada banyak kerja nak buat la, bro. Sibuk. Takde masa nak jaga bulu puki ko je setiap masa.

DAP takde dengar khabar berita, melainkan Lim Guan Eng nak ban Tanda Putera itu hari. Menggelabah nak mampus.

Terang-terang lah, GE14 nanti, UMNO vs DAP. Melayu vs Cina. Sama macam GE13, tapi lebih jelas dan nyata. Yang lain kacau je, kerjanya.

Jadi apa hal Perhimpunan Agung UMNO kali ni?


Aku harap ada drama. Muhyidin cabar Najib ke, Ku Li ke, Barack Obama ke. Kalau jadi, UMNO akan hancur sebab keadaan diorang macam telur di hujung tanduk.

Aku saja tulis kat sini supaya aku senang sikit tidur.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why I Won't Review Vikingdom

I wrote seven feature film scripts for KRU. Four of them got made and were released.

The four were: MySpy, Magika, Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa and 29 Februari.

Therefore, if my review is favourable, then some people would accuse me of being a KRU stooge. If my review is negative, some people would accuse me of being bitter at not being offered to write Vikingdom.

I mean, who wouldn't want to be involved with an international production? It is the wet dream of many. Sadly, it is not mine. My dreams are of freedom, not creation.

I want to be able to afford to die. I have no Government pension, no wife or kids to leech off from, no one in the family to suck their bloods dry and nowhere to retreat. I have only the work and the grind, which I tackle with my wit, and my will.

While I don't give a fuck about what the idiots think, I also have no intention nor the time to deal with them. I have the work, of course.

While some who were jealous of me backstabbed and did their shitty stuff, I was and am busy juggling my life and my work. Doing services for KRU is always a mixed blessing.

I respect KRU's attitude of following up with what they said. While others only spoke or masturbated in front of computer screens while dreaming of doing movies, KRU had the balls and continue to display their testicles in the film industry.

I believe this is commendable. In a world of talkers, the men and women of action actually do something. Anything. Good, bad, I like to believe I know enough of the brothers to understand their drive. I am pleased to have been given the opportunity to be part of some of the projects.

The downside is inheriting their beef with some, though it is only a minor inconvenience.

So I will go and watch it later this week. Maybe ask a girl to blow me as I do so. But no, I won't write a review about it. As if that matters anyway.

Death of a Salesman

Writing this might land me into trouble. It is better for me to shut up, but I can't. It might not be good for business, but I am compelled to write it. Come what may.

On Sept 16, the death of Chin Peng was announced.

I thought, "Okay. That's that, then."

And then all these people started saying the Communists were heroes.

Well, if that is the history you want to believe, I don't care. If it's the narrative that will benefit you politically, or financially, I don't care.

What I have are only my family's stories that happened way before I was born. I told it many times before. I just want to record it here before it is rewritten, as history is often rewritten by the victors and I don't know how it will turn out five or 10 years from now.

I did not read it from a textbook, nor did I watch a movie about it. These stories are possibly the only family heirlooms I have.

My father was very young, and he had an older brother. One night, the Communists came to the house and took the older brother into the woods and asked him one last time to join them. He refused, so they shot him dead. He was a civilian.

When I tell this story, some people would say, "It's war! People die!"

Yes, people die during wars. But this was not during war, and my uncles (there was another murder, but I am not sure of the full details of that one) were not soldiers or policemen. They were civilians. Even in times of war, if the armed forces killed civilians, there is a thing called a war tribunal, and there have been people who were convicted as war criminals. Usually for killing or torturing civilians.

Maybe it's because it happened to other people, and not their families. Their families are special cause they didn't get killed by Communists.

I'm sure people whose families were killed and/or tortured during the Rape of Nanking would not accept the justification that "It's war! People die!"

So, yes, Chin Peng is Bapa Kemerdekaan? Sure, I don't care. It's not my title to bequeath or take away. Want to bury him at Tugu Negara? I don't care. Not my piece of land.

Communism rules? I actually agree. Star Trek is a socialist utopia, and I like Star Trek.

I have absolutely no interest in the politics of the whole thing. I don't care what the motivations are, nor do I care about any justification. Truth or lies, innocent people were murdered. That's the whole point of the story.

Why was there no tribunal? Is it really necessary? I don't know. I don't care.

Chin Peng's body or ashes being brought here? That issue? I have no opinion because I don't care.

I wish Chin Peng the best of luck in the afterlife. Be him hero or war criminal, that's not up to me.

I just want to record the story here, before it gets changed, and I want to say this:

"Nobody kills my family. Only I kill my family."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hardboiled Friction

It's 4:03am. Am gonna call it an early night.

This is the first weekend in months I have planned to do nothing - ended up doing lots of stuff anyway. But the mental fatigue is clearing, slowly, as I didn't plan on doing any work and as a result, I did not spend time thinking about work.

Just watched The Dark Knight Returns animated adaptation. It's less... gory, dark or sombre. Used to love that comic book. Used to own it as well. Seeing Batman at over 50, battling a world that has left him behind, forgotten him, always touches a nerve.

Some people ask me about my drive. Why I keep on punishing myself with insane workloads. No, those were not questions. They were accusations.

My answer is simple - I want to be able to afford to die.

Right now, I can't. Don't have enough. Working on it.

You see, I don't have anywhere to go back to. If I fail, I can't run back to mommy or call my father and have him pick me up at the bus station or something. They've been very clear on the terms of my freedom. I can do whatever the fuck I want, as long as I do not trouble them.

Quit my job? Go ahead. "Just don't be a burden to me." That's the only message, in those exact words, thrown my way.

I don't expect anything more than that. Or less. I thank them, because I offer them the same.

I don't plan to be a burden to anyone. I'd die before that happens. There, right there, is my greatest fear.

I see lesser minds go through the motions, going in cycles I have completed decades earlier, and I puke. It is condescending, pedantic, but it is true. I have been there before. I have seen it all. And I bore easily.

I see through their little schemes, poking, taunting. As if I am still subject to my ego like I was years ago. Hmph. Primitives. Idiots. Monkeys.

There were these insecure idiots who tried to 'get the better of me' by taunting me to fall into place. They tried some psychological tactics I read when I was 17. Perhaps thinking it is ground-breaking, edgy or something no crazy scientist has tried to study before. Or wrote in books.

You play the antagonist in order to push someone to a corner you believe they should be in. Because humans play roles. They are dependent on roles. On assigned labels. They are too stupid to step back and view everything as a whole. Some are even more retarded. They cannot hold multiple opposing ideas in their heads at the same time. Or switch between multiple roles.

I have been wasting my time, writing about idiots.

Time for sleep. Bed. Soft. Rest.

When I wake up, I want every single one of you monkeys to go fuck yourself.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Saiko: Pencuri Otak

It occurred to me as I sat down and watched Psiko Pencuri Hati today, while shushing monkeys who managed to buy tickets, that I probably should have watched and reviewed this movie first, before Tanda Putera.

The reason being Psiko Pencuri Hati also ends its screen run in a couple of days and it needs all the help it can get, simply because it is one of the best local movies to be released this year, if not THE best. If you can catch it, please buy a ticket.

The premise is excellent - four main characters, each with a specific mental illness - is on an island resort with two other people. One of them gets killed and they quickly realise that the killer - of the serial kind - is one of them.

I believe the movie should have been titled Saiko, because Psiko might make the monkeys call it 'Pesiko' instead. This is one of the reasons I believe the film is not doing that well at the box office. Also, a lack of promotional budget does not help. This is a shame, and maybe a last ditch effort by Lim Guan Eng to ban it might help ticket sales.

Great premise, good idea, but it suffers somewhat in the beginning and is also afflicted with a hasty third act.

At the start, we meet O. Sidi (OCD, geddit? But he is NOT suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. He's... something else), a novelist who has not completed his book for the past three years. We also meet his roommate, Man, who is often depicted as his polar opposite, and possibly as having a sexual relationship with Sidi.

This is due to the many shirtless scenes between the two. I have stayed with nine other guys before, for four years, in a 900sqft apartment and I have not been shirtless with my many housemates as often as those two did in an hour plus. That, is foreshadowing, and a revelation of how Sidi and Man love as well as hate each other.

Some scenes were clear revelations of the actual relationship between the two. Man constantly taunts Sidi, egging him to either die or kill someone.

Then, we meet Wani and Khai - a couple with problems. Wani suffers from depression while Khai suffers from... having a wife with depression.

Anyway, the four eventually find themselves on an island resort, where a classic murder mystery is set. I love a good mystery, and trying to figure out the exact medical conditions of the four was also fun. But that's just me - I'm crazy.

I find the human brain to be very sexy. It transcends gender boundaries, sexual gaps and anything else. I believe that humans' desperate need to connect with one another is beyond physical but enters the spiritual, or mental.

Hence, Wani's immediate attraction to Sidi. Of course, this can be explained by the fact that women - in general, and I am being misogynistic - love men who understand pain. It is because women experience pain every month, at the very least. Men usually ignore or pretend not to be able to experience pain. It's the macho thing to do.

So before I go any further, I must say this: I once passed a kidney stone through my dick. The doctors told me the pain is akin to giving birth. Recently, I have experienced pain that exceeds even passing a kidney stone through my dick - having the barely digested remnants of Naga Jolokia (the hottest chilli known to man, exceeding 2 million on the Scoville scale) pass through my anus, at 4 o'clock in the morning.

The pain I experienced made me religious. So, ladies?

Back to the movie. The premise is great, the characters very deep, the performances adequate, and the mystery is a breath of fresh air.

However, the film suffers a bit from obvious hints at the start, as well as great delivery that doesn't belong in a film. Amerul Affendi's performance as Man is commendable, but some of his lines sound they belong on stage rather than in a movie.

On stage, you can use awkward words and phrases and it would not be out of place. You can pause for half a second or a full second or two, and the energy can be carried forward. Unfortunately, in a film, gaps, pauses, silences, etc - without any purpose, deliberate alternate shots or music - feels empty. It might have been deliberate, considering the true nature of all the characters, but in the first part it seemed out of place amidst his other wonderfully delivered lines.

In essence, Amerul's scenes were some of the best in the movie. Need to see more of him. Soon.

It is refreshing to see Sharifah Amani playing someone other than Orked. I have watched most of her movies, including Sayang You Can Dance, but they have all been one character. With Wani, I was expecting her to burst out with spunk (the spirit, not the bodily fluid) but she delightfully did not.

I prefer Bront Palarae's character here than in Bunohan. In Bunohan, he was capable and dangerous. Here, in Psiko Pencuri Hati, he is weak, exposed and generally a loser. Good stuff.

Syed Hussein reminds me of Norman Hakim. He could have pulled off Tun Haniff Omar in Tanda Putera, or an aristocratic bastard in another movie. His character of Dr Khai is aptly annoying - you just want to punch this guy in the face.

The third act feels forced, with two flashbacks to quickly solve questions about two of the main characters and to reveal the real killer. The very last shot could have been executed better if Man was positioned with another group of people in the scene rather than with the one he ended up talking to.

I like this movie - the story, the characters, the fact that we have a mystery film - but the execution leaves something (just a few things, really) to be desired. Perhaps with more time and Tanda Putera's RM4.7 million budget, director Namron could do something even more polished. For a local movie, this is as good as it gets, most of the time. Unless you count Bunohan, which skews the graph for everyone due to sheer brilliance and excellence of execution.

The theme of mental illnesses is also very refreshing. I saw a play once, produced by Lorna Tee - now a super-powered international film producer - called Otak Tak Center. That one was also about mental illnesses, and if I remember correctly, the statistic given was that 10% of Malaysians suffer from some form of mental illness, but most go undiagnosed. I might be wrong and if I am, that number could be very much higher.

I have friends who do suffer from real mental conditions. One came out recently with OCD, and I have visited people with real bipolar disorder/manic depression. It was my effort to diagnose myself as I suspected I was manic-depressive. Observing them, under medication, I can safely say I have nothing but a case of mood swings and minor drama queen issues.

I also did some work at an old folks' home where dementia has set on many residents. I remember an old guy who constantly tried to convince me that his children would pick him up soon. They never did.

Fortunately, none of my friends or people I know suffer from schizophrenia. It is impossible for anyone who has that condition to diagnose themselves and the Malaysian attitude towards mental illnesses is always deplorable.

Now, I have given clues to the mystery. I am trying to entice you to buy a ticket and watch Psiko Pencuri Hati and solve the mysteries of the murders as well as the human brain. I believe if you need to watch just one Malaysian movie this year, let it be Psiko Pencuri Hati.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Who's Afraid of Tanda Putera?

Several months ago, I was annoyed when a friend of mine who had just watched Tanda Putera told me that Tanda Putera is the best movie in the world.

I was equally annoyed when some reviewers started writing to the effect that Tanda Putera is the worst movie Malaysia has ever produced, or perhaps the worst film in the history of mankind. You can feel them - in the article - bristle with indignation, fear and anger even before the movie started playing.

Some news portals I believe tried to sabotage the movie by convincing people that other people do not want to watch this movie. They did this by telling them that the halls - at 11am - were empty. Go to any cinema hall in Malaysia, on a weekday, at 11am, and tell me which ones are filled more than half capacity? There would be some, but any movie would find it hard to convince people to be at the cinemas at 11am in the morning. I find this just as offensive as any Government propaganda that believes the public is as stupid as their baboon fathers. If you want to lie to me, at the very least respect my intelligence by putting forth a believable narrative.

Lim Guan Eng tried ineffectively to effectively ban the movie in Penang , turning the island state into a personal fiefdom which made my viewing today a must. I do not believe any film, book or song should be banned, unless the said film, book or song is giving encoded launch protocols for Malaysia's nuclear arsenal.

So, I did the unthinkable - I paid RM15 to watch Tanda Putera today. Seated beside me were two families of monkeys who kept on talking inside the cinema and one of them was even on the phone at one point. I asked them to stop talking and to their credit, the father took his son away to sit at another row. Ah, yes, the cinema was only a quarter full, at 1.30pm on a Saturday afternoon - now that's what you report.

And now, the movie. Tanda Putera is, sadly, not the worst movie in the world. Unfortunately, I have seen worse. Much, much worse. In short, Tanda Putera puts forth the narrative favoured by the current BN Government concerning events such as May 13 1969, and how the leaders of those days - Tun Razak, Tun Dr Ismail, Tun Hussein Onn should be portrayed.

What struck me was the perhaps unintentional homosexual undertones. A friend remarked recently that "Tanda Putera is like Brokeback Mountain", without having seen Brokeback Mountain. With overt hints at horses in one 'brotherhood/camaraderie/close friendship' scene, I can't blame anyone for making that assumption.

May 13 is handled in the usual manner - taken from news reports, perhaps, and chosen eye-witnesses. No counter-point or any alternative perspective on the issue is put forth or even suggested. Parti Perikatan (BN) people were thoroughly innocent and the opposition were at fault, especially DAP.

The narrative then went beyond May 13 and into the health of Tun Razak as well as his good friend Tun Dr Ismail. Both sacrifice their health for Malaysia. It's a cheap trick to evoke sympathy, with one missing ingredient - how difficult was it to be the Malaysian premier and his deputy in those days? I believe both jobs to be very difficult and taxing, especially to old men with chronic diseases. However, the film failed to show what these things entail. They play golf, rub their foreheads a lot and are indignant to a few white people. I can do that. The monkeys sitting beside me could do that.

There are many loose threads of narrative - just like in any Shuhaimi Baba movie. The relationship between UM tutors and students, ITM students and lecturers are all used as one-time vehicles to show how the races fared with each other, social commentary and preaching on how the youth are wearing sexy mini-skirts (I for one would like to make it clear that I am for sexiness of all kind. I believe if girls in Malaysia want to go about naked, I will fully support their decision. I might even give you a kiss. On the cheeks. The other one.) with hasty resolutions.

All these multiple threads and characters are gratuitous - and not in a good, sexual or nude manner. They are largely unnecessary and seem plastic. The other, 'normal people' characters should have been in another movie altogether. As usual, the editing was weak and the director demonstrated her trademark unwillingness to cut things from her own movie.

I imagine if Tanda Putera focused entirely on May 13, with the frenetic energy of high-level meetings as was shown in the movie Margin Call, it would have made superior entertainment. For those of you who have not watched Margin Call, that movie was about Lehmann Brothers and what they did one fateful night. Gripping, compelling viewing, and everything happened in the boardroom. Never has any boardroom meeting been shown to be that entertaining, and Tanda Putera missed an opportunity at a really smart political thriller by instead attempting an Oliver Stone half-biopic.

The messages are also dated and detached from modern, urban concerns. One reviewer made a point about how Tun Razak was depicted as a great leader simply because he visited the people, but did no wide, national-level reforms. He did, but it was subtly hinted at. FELDA, for example, was Tun Razak's thing. As was NEP.

This shows the shift in political thinking. Look at Lembah Pantai. Raja Nong Chik did it the old way by taking care of the people, personally going to them in the last GE. Nurul Izzah focused on national-level issues, mainly taking down BN a peg or two on a daily basis. The result? Nurul Izzah won.

The urban people no longer need help from politicians, as they are all rich and financially independent. Technology has also made city folk more insular and individual. Community issues don't sell anymore, to these people. Tak laku la, bro.

Tun Razak's actions and how it was depicted in the film only worked in those days, and even now, in some rural areas. It is yet another rural-urban divide.

Tanda Putera then focused on the health of Tun Razak (with several Malaysian politicians and figures shown along the way) until *SPOILER ALERT* Tun Razak, the great and caring leader, passed away from advanced leukemia in London.

The second and third acts are anti-climactic since the climax of May 13 is in the first. After the first act, the film did what the Malaysian Government did to May 13 - whitewash it with scenes of Malays and Chinese and 'lain-lain' working together and embracing one another in yet another scene laced with subtle homo-erotic undertones.

There are more threads, scenes and characters introduced after May 13 and they all seemed contrived and unnecessary. Who cares about an office boy who can't wear a tie properly when you have the head of a nation hiding his illness from the public? So your tutor doesn't like you cause you're Malay. Boo fucking hoo. Lots of people don't like me for various reason, usually due to my robust sexual energy and wholesome good looks and strong dick. If you listen very carefully, you will hear the sound of me not giving a fuck.

Is all this true? Were there noble politicians those days? Were radicals and insurgents the ones to blame for May 13? Were the men really that close and 'friendly' with one another?

Well, for one, it is a movie. If you want to see what is really passed as fact, watch a documentary or - shudder - read Malaysia's textbooks. There, you will find what is the official Government narrative on everything.

I have met many who believe in this Tanda Putera version. That yes, the Chinese started May 13, that yes, Malays were killed in a cinema. That yes, this was a Communist plot.

I did a documentary once on Datuk Seri Yuen Yuet Leng, former Sarawak Police Commissioner and Perak Police Chief who was an officer in KL during May 13. His version tallies with most of the narrative concerning those things here. Yuen was even the target of similar assassinations by Communist insurgents, so I believe Tanda Putera is not completely made up of falsehoods. I am also NOT willing to accept its narrative whole.

I believe it depends on the audience. I know many Government fanboys and fangirls believe THIS as the true narrative. My parents would love this movie, as they are rabid right-wing supporters of the BN Government. Most of my friends would condemn it, like how they condemn professional wrestling, to prove again and again that they cannot be lied to.

Well, this is THEIR (BN people) story, their history and how they view the world. Prof Khoo Kay Kim once said in an interview that these stories are told in such a way because people believe it to be true.

Did Hang Tuah even exist? Sure, if we believe that he did.

And yes, Tanda Putera is propaganda. So is Pacific Rim and Dinky Dis(Australia is great!), Australia (Australia is an amazing destination!), Batman: The Dark Knight (George W Bush is Batman! Patriot Act is a one time thing! And necessary!). In fact, I believe ALL art is propaganda. It is to sell an idea.

We are not so stupid, I believe, to swallow the cock of an idea whole, deep-throating one version of the truth. At least I don't. Therefore, I am not threatened at all or afraid of Tanda Putera. I have no hankering to ban it or promote it. I do not find it the worst film Malaysia has ever made, and neither is it the best. It's just another movie, bro. Relaks lah.

I do not believe this movie or any creative work has any hope of brainwashing me because my brain is filthy. I am not scared. Are you?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Burgers, Sides and Old Dreams

I just had what could possibly be the best burger I've ever had the pleasure to experience.

The patty was homemade, using lean meat. There was only a hint of fat, and even then it was lost somewhere. The spices blended together beautifully, and the moisture coming out of the pan-fried patty was a perfect mixture of grease and beef juice that complemented the lettuce and poached cherry tomatoes.

For sides, there was a bowl of tossed garden salad with none of the annoying mayonnaise. Mayonnaise - the food of baboons. Instead, a mixture of perhaps the moisture from the patty was mixed with something I could not fathom served as the dressing. There was also a plate of sweet potatoes? SOmebody mentioned eggplant at the table, and I was thrown off. Western cuisine is not my forte. WHatever it was, the focus on texture was splendid.

The bun was heavenly. It was toasted to a point where it tasted more like a muffin, or a bread with honeycomb dough more than a plain bun.

When it came to slicing the bun, it was not done all the way. This allowed a clasp-like structure to hold the meat and everything from falling out. I loathe burgers where everything falls apart at the tiniest bite, but this one just held everything together wonderfully.

It was brilliant. A perfect burger if I have ever encountered one. And sadly, it is not for sale. The person who cooked it is a Malaysian chef who has a restaurant somewhere in the UK. I did not want to ask his techniques or his ingredients for fear of attempting perfection and failing miserably.

I failed at something recently. Nothing to do with my corporate endeavours, so my clients need not fret. But as usual, biting off more than I could chew has resulted in pedestrian mistakes and delays.

I was raised by a father who barely tolerates anything below 100%, so my reaction was naturally to try and prove him wrong. I usually fall flat on my face. But I am as stubborn as he is.

On a lighter note, an area of my life I deemed closed suddenly resurfaced and old dreams revisited. Seven years ago, I was much too young and much too ill-equipped to comprehend what I could do with certain things.

I believe the time has come to take the bull by the horns and finally show you how powerful I really am. In failure, I dream of success.

Oh well. You win some, you lose some. And sometimes, you find the best burger ever.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bla Bla Bla

I know I'm on to something when I woke up at 5am, thinking about a cheque I wrote to myself, thinking I forgot to sign it.

After berating myself mentally, I checked the cheque deposit receipt which has a scanned copy of the cheque. There it was - my signature. Phew. That saves an awkward trip to the bank.

Meanwhile, something I thought was flawless has flaws, but I'm working with someone to rectify that.

After last week's punishing schedule, I am left with only nervous energy in me this week. I can sense that my self - the me who is me - is saying that one of these things will happen. I loathe to put any expectations on anything, and have always been a pessimist. It's a safe choice - if I'm right, I'm right. If I'm wrong, it would be a pleasant surprise.

However, I believe that at this stage in my career, I can see some things take shape. My style has always been to lay down traps. To plant seeds and extrapolate their growth, positioning myself at what I believe to be the most opportune points.

This is why I like the Assassin character in Diablo 2. She sets traps, runs around, catches the demons' attentions, they chase her and then she runs back to where the traps are. In Red Alert (the first one), I like playing resource control - an obsolete, marathon tactic where you build base defense and let things come to you.

In history, defensive warfare was a revolutionary idea during the American Civil War. The Battle at Gettysburg was a clear demonstration of a headlong clash between two strategies and philosophies. The Confederate South, outnumbering the Union North, was going for a full on attack.

The Union used mostly defensive tactics, allowing the Confederates to advance and then shoot them from the cover of trees, hills and trenches.

This 'defensive warfare' was also used in World War I, when both sides at the European theatre dug deep. Both sides on the defensive, daring only to claim and reclaim just a few yards of muddy trenches which eventually filled with bodies.

The term 'trench warfare' predates any modern war. In Madinah, for example, there was the Khondaq War, when Mecca's Quraisy forces laid siege on Muhammad's Islamic rebels in the city. The Muslims dug trenches and waited patiently, having secured enough resources to weather the war of attrition.

Facing a stalemate, the two forces decided to hold duels between champions. Muslims won, blablabla.

These days, you can't play defensive anymore, as many video games reward the fastest player who could mount an assault. I got beat by 12 year olds. I'm an old man. My tactics are obsolete.

This is why I only play games I can win, using whatever tactic I like.

I only sat down and wrote all this to get me to sleep again. It is difficult without writing/wanking first.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Tanda, Tanda, Tanda, Tanda Putera! Hooooo!

While I was busy working, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng went and told cinemas in the state not to screen the film Tanda Putera.

Well done, old chap. Not only does the current Government ban-happy and often ridiculed for their fear of any narrative that does not follow their own views or is unbeneficial to them; now we see the future Government is equally absurd.

I can't say much about Tanda Putera since I have yet to see the movie. I have only heard rumours so far, therefore to talk about it without watching said film is extremely stupid.

The overreaction, though, is equally dumb. Guan Eng have since backtracked, saying there was a miscommunication, which is equally baffling. Say he were to write a memo saying, "Release Sulaiman Aklaken!" and then his administration goes  ahead and tells the Penang authorities to "Release the Kraken!" we would all be under threat of a giant Lovecraftian monster taking away our virginity. Or virgins, however that works.

If he really thought the movie was dangerous enough to warrant a ban, for fear of fragile Malaysian minds to be influenced by it, Guan Eng should have just said, "I have not watched the movie, but judging by reactions and reports from people who have, it is yet another Barisan Nasional and UMNO propaganda that is quite possibly seditious. However, since the narrative favours the ruling coalition, the authorities have let it be. Such is the double standards and hypocrisy in Malaysia. I hope we do not support any act in inciting hatred and racial disunity, as per the Prime Minister's call for reconciliation right after the recent General Election."

However, Guan Eng instead opted to do what he did, proving that even after we all take down the BN Government, eventually, the replacement is just as bad. I mean, first Tanda Putera - with whatever political agenda it brings, or not - then what? Would May 13 remain a taboo subject, or would Guan Eng one day make his own Tanda Putera in order to present history from his own perspective, to further his own personal agenda?

The current Government has always been notorious in banning things for nonsensical reasons. Or enforcing changes to stuff that need not be changed. For example, the movie Hellboy was ordered to change its title to Super Sapiens. Why? Cause 'hell' is a bad word. It brings up images of... hell.

Fantasia was a film that was not allowed to screen until the filmmakers changed many things in the movie and called it Fantasi. If memory serves correct, I remember that the Arnold Schwarzenegger flick The 6th Day was also banned because it had clones in it and cloning is an 'act against God'. Funnily enough, around that same time, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones was released here in Malaysia. While The 6th Day featured perhaps one or two clones, Attack of the Clones featured tens of thousands of them. I am not sure about this 6th Day thing as I remember reading about it somewhere, but it could all be untrue.

The point is, the current Malaysian Government is doing fine playing the out-of-touch and eternally scared administration, that there is no need for Guan Eng or any opposition-leaning people to jump on the bandwagon. Are Malaysians so stupid that we would swallow propaganda whole, or take it like a suppository up our collective asses?

And not enough people have yet seen Tanda Putera to make any kind of collective informed opinion. And even then, it might only work for certain parts of the community. Some people might actually like Tanda Putera, and who are we to tell people what they should or should not like?

I mean, what are we - the Malaysian Government?