Sunday, November 22, 2009

Localised Pain

Whenever possible, I eat at local eateries or local franchises. I watch local movies at the cinema - moreso now since I'm writing local movies - and purchase local CDs. I watch local TV shows on TV, hoping that their ratings would go up. I watch international TV shows on my computer.

I fall asleep most of the time, though, or cringe so much that I go to the toilet. SOmetimes, I mute the TV set and just allow it to tune in to any local TV station, while I sleep or masturbate to porn. Kidding. Hahaha.

Ratings don't work that way, though. Ratings are done using a sample. I am not that sample. I can't be that sample. I'm biased.

I am biased, because I believe that local industries, such as the entertainment industry, is all we have. No matter how much you hate Siti or Akademi Fantasia, they are all we have.

I look at it from an economic point of view. It's all about the money!

Buying Beyonce's CDs and whatnot means we are giving money to Beyonce. Beyonce gets taxed by the US Government, not the Malaysian Government. So in essence, we are giving money to the US, so they could fund the Israelis buying bullets and tanks to kill Palestinians.

Some of Beyonce's money do get taxed by some agencies in Malaysia. MACP and PRISM collect fees for composers and performers, and since we are so insignificant, international artistes give that money to MACP and PRISM, to develop the local entertainment industry.

Which is a battle already lost, if you ask me.

The local music industry has decreased by 80% or some shit like that over the past 10 years. That's a few hundred million right there.

People always need entertainment, so where did that money go? Ringtones, CDs, MP3s. ALmost always, by international artistes. International recording companies. We Malaysians have given our money to them.

I don't want to start about piracy. I am now able to afford original, copyrighted content, but over 10 million Malaysians make less than 3,000 a month, so I'm not going there.

The movie industry is booming in Malaysia. Not really, but we are making more and more movies - some of them are quite interesting, done by bold, Aryan-Supremacy people like me.

But no. The biggest movie ever to hit Malaysia, up till this year, was Transformers. That one raked what, 17, 19, 20 million?

Years and years and years ago, it was Police Story III at 10 million. Never at any point in recent history (recent meaning the past three decades) has any Malaysian movie ever been the top grossing one. Fuck top grossing. We're not even top 5. Not even top 10. In our own backyard.

People point fingers all the time.

The fans say that the creative people are not creative at all.

The creative people say the fans don't support them. They also say the media do not support them.

The PUS people say that it's all against religion.

They all have a point. They are all right. This is all true. Even PUS.

A lot of the content we produce are crap. Sometimes, even intentionally so. I spoke to many creative people who say, "But if we do smart things, who's gonna buy it?" and "Malaysians like stupid things!"

Most creative people are not treated properly in this country. They get paid peanuts to do Herculean tasks of creativity and determination. Most went and sold burgers or got a job in the civil service. I knew top-grade animators who went and flipped burgers cause there's no money in being creative in Malaysia. There's a lot of money to be made being vicious and greedy, but not when it comes to creativity.

Here's the thing, man. Good crap only comes out of bad crap. 99.99% of Hollywood movies are crap. Only 0.01 are worth 10 bucks. Same goes for international music. Most are crap.

Taking the long-term view, you got to let the shit slide. You need to allow and support the bad crap through, so that one day, we will be ready to do good crap. Otherwise, we never get anywhere.

Good things grow from shit

- Joe's Apartment

The fans, well, the fans are Malaysians. Malaysians have always been suffering from identity crisis. Nothing new, man.

The poor Malays want to be Arabs. The middle-class Malays want to be Englishmen, American or Canadian. The rich ones want to be 'orang kampung'.

The Chinese want to be Japanese or Korean.

The Indians want to be American Blacks.

Many people use the entertainment they enjoy as some sort of marker for who they are. Another label for their image.

"I like Pulp Fiction. Pulp Fiction is my favourite movie!"

Innocent? Perhaps. But also, maybe, "I am sooooo fucking artistic! I only like movies that are like, sooooo indie and meaningful, and and and and cool. Therefore, I am cool."

Dude, I am speaking from experience.

I spent a number of years purchasing only Wong Kar Wai and Takashi Miike movies. Why? Because I'm cool.

Took me a number of years to realise that I am not cool, and have never been cool, and will never be cool.

Malaysians are self-loathing bastards. The colonial mentality was that everything white, is all right. We have skin-whitening creams. For what? So we could look like vampires?

White people like tanned hos. SO all you hos out there better soak up that UV like you're Superman trying to shake off a Kryptonite bullet.

A lot of this has to do with race.

We perceive that being white is all that fucking great. Not the white people's fault. Our fault.

I have some white friends, and they go through the same shit we do. Especially after I rib them to death.

"Easy for you la, Jordan Macvay! You're white! Chicks want to hump your white ass!"

Jordan: But...I'm married. With a kid!

Me: Easy for you la! The White Rights assure you of a RM50,000 a month job! For lending your whiteness to things!

Jordan: What? I don't make RM50,000 a month.

Me: Cracker ass cracker!

I get that as a Malay, so it's nice to be able to do that to a white dude.

So when it comes to representing our image through entertainment, we want to be white. It is perhaps the clearest form of self-hatred through a colonialist mentality that is still prevalent today.

We want to erase our Kampung Baruness, our Jinjangness, our Brickfieldness, SO MUCH, that we HATE local entertainment and go for things other than that. Doesn't matter which country, as long as it's anywhere but here.

How do you explain the popularity of Indonesian bands versus local ones?

The best way is through self-awareness, when you do not need to be seen or regarded as anything. When your image no longer matters. Put any label on you, and you are still the same asshole. And you're cool with it. You don't need to prove that you're anything. You don't even have to prove you as yourself. Because yourself is an illusion. There is no you. There is no "I". Gnothi Seauton - know yourself, but deny thyself.

And that, my friends, is the real secret to being cool.

Now, I'm not saying that we should all discard our Dres and Jay-Zs and Glee and House and Boston Legal and Fight Clubs and Sandmans, V for Vendettas, yadda yadda yadda.

A creative industry that only draws from itself, that is only exposed to itself - hell, a people that is only focused inwards - is a mentally and artistically incestuous industry or society.

And saying that Malaysians should only buy Malaysian products means that Nizar won't get his Toyota Camry. And I won't get my fucking Pajero. Or a new PC.

Am not saying that. Am just saying that perhaps when you go to the CD store or the movies, buy a local CD and go see a local movie. I know it sucks. I made some of them. And I am biased. When my movies are out, I want them to do well. I want moar MONEY! MOAR! WWWARRRGGHHHHH!!!! BLUARRRGGHH!!!

And when you get out of the CD store or cinema or wherever, go to a local franchise or local food shop. Like Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa, Old Town White Coffee. Buy stuff from local designers.

I know that sometimes, the food sucks, or the people they hired to serve can't speak Malay, English, Chinese, Indian or Japanese - believe me, I tried. But hey, we need to start nurturing our own businesses.

Am not calling for a boycott.

A boycott is stupid. It also endangers local businesses that is tied in to international ones.

I am gunning for more purchases made to local businesses. Local businesses, big or small, are the economic lifeline of the country. It is the blood that circulates within the system. Without it, we may lose not just our economic independence, but our sovereignity as well. And subsequently, our freedom.

IMF tried that shit with us in 1998. We said FUCK YOU. To say fuck you requires a solid base on which to stand on. If we continue to erode that base, then we will lose our right to say fuck you, or even to say anything, for that matter.

If you are in a position of power at a media company, please ensure that at least 70% of your content is local.

International stuff usually don't need a lot of promotion or hype. They sell themselves. It's the little guys that need the most help.

I'll do my best to hold up my end of things. I hope that you do as well.