Previously, on New Malaysian Essays 2: A Gonzo Review...
Had only two pieces of barbecued beef.
Shanon Shah wrote about sermons. Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi explored the strange Architecture of Putrajaya.
Ridhwan Saidi went retro with Hari-Hari Terakhir Seorang Flaneur.
Danny Lim in his 'Heart of Darkness' pictorial.
And now, Amir Muhammad's Of Jackfruit and Kings. It was originally entitled, 'I am a Republican' which, to me, seems strange. I thought all liberals are Democrats. He writes about pop princesses and royal messes. And calls for the forces of the Old Republic to fight off the 'Empire'.
As a representative of the 'Empire', I am ordering shock troopers as we speak to arrest Amir Muhammad and cut off his head.
Next, it would be Amir Yussof.
THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!
Next is Ann Lee, who, at first glance of the name, was often mistaken for the filmmaker Ang Lee. It's about Pulau Jerejak being turned into a theme park - an essay entitled The Theme Park of Pulau Jerejak.
Next is another Amir I will have to deal with - Amir Sharipuddin. A young kid recounting his experiences while doing National Service. Basically, it's high school all over again. Fortunately, not MY high school. Other people's high school.
Damn. I thought there would be more sex and violence. But no. Just normal teen politics.
Yusuf Martin is next, with Colourful Language, with a strike line on the 'u' in 'Colourful' cause the American spelling has no 'u' in colour.
Yusuf went so far as quoting the holy text of 2000 AD (it's a British comic book) which was attacked by McDonalds' lawyers for depicting McDonald's as a religion-corporation that has taken over most of the world. Or at least the UK or something.
Coke, YouTube, Facebook, blablabla. It's a well-researched and well-written essay, but the American Boogeyman is dying, man. America is almost dead. No point kicking a dead horse.
Check out Uncle Sam by one the greatest artists ever - Alex Ross. America is dying. Going the way of Russia. And the next superpowers are China and India. Those are the ones to watch.
America is dying under an avalanche of fast food, cholesterol, apathy, religulous fervour and complete stupidity. No one has to do anything. In a hundred years or so, America will be like the Roman empire. The two fiery bushes had made this a certainty. And all the Obamas in the world can't make it right again. Praise Oprah! She's their last and only hope. In Oprah we trust.
Andrew Ng writes about A CUltural History of the Pontianak Films. The essay is a tour de force in feminism, making me check whether ot not it was Andrea Ng who wrote this. The style is simple. Take any and all movies based on the pontianak (roughly, vampirella) in Malaysia and take a feminist view on them. Or discern attitudes towards feminism.
Old Malay horror movies always freak me out, so am not going to read this, cause it has pictures.
Jac SM Kee also writes about more or less the same topic - ghosts and feminity...erm...femininity? Ah, rats.
But she has 'hantu kopek' (tit ghosts! Hahahaha!) as well.
I don't know what the fascination with ghosts and femininity?...feminity? FUCK! I can't spell this shit. Hold on!
I don't know what the fascination with ghosts and FEMININITY is all aboot. It's an old idea, explored many times before.
In conclusion, the beef was medium-well, and not too seasoned, making it rather bland, which is how I like it. They had tea and coffee, as well as lots of snacks.
As for the books? Well, I have only un-reviewed one - the New Malaysian Essays.
In all honesty, well-written and in some cases, well-researched. If you want to feel smart in conversations with impressionable nubile young women, or young men, if that's your fancy (you fucking Nancy!) buy this book.
The topics, though, are a bit...predictable and not so varied. The usual fare you would get hanging out with the anti-establishment types and 'writers', you know? And I paint everyone in that crowd as 'anti-establishment types and 'writers''. Yes, I'm generalising and putting people in boxes. And painting a lot of people with the same brush.
I would have been more impressed if New Malaysian Essays would also include essays from right-wing, super religious, militaristic Islam superiority motherfuckers, terrorists, UMNO loyalists, Contented Government servants disgruntled with the many attacks against them, Malay Ultras, one of the royals, a vampire and some urban planners for good measure. That would represent a better cross-section of Malaysiana.
If I am Amir Muhammad, and I am not arrested for this book, I would start approaching the 'undesireables' named in the above paragraph and get them to say something in similar essays for the next collection, and put them side by side against people who have opposing views. Everyone loves a good fight.
Anyway, go get the book. Support Malaysian publishing. Now, I need to take a crap.
Wait for tomorrow's review of ELARTI: GA.
To the God Toilet, let's GO!