Monday, April 24, 2006

Sepet & Gubra - Pencemar Budaya?

I've been a bit slack the last few months. Yes, I've seen a fair bit of Malaysian films, including Castello and Rock, both are, to be honest, very much hit and miss affairs and I don't feel like spending my already scarce free time writing bad things about films I'm disappointed with. I was going to review Gubra (but taking my own sweet time to do it... haha!!), but last night I saw a forum on RTM1 called Fenomena Seni in which Sepet & Gubra was discussed, the topic being "Sepet & Gubra, pencemar budaya?" (roughly translated: Sepet & Gubra, cultural pollution?).
For the film, I'll just say this: "It has noble, brave ideas that everyone should applaud. But I can't praise the execution, as personally I think it's clumsy in places, and are plagued with cliches that are thought to be 'fresh storytelling methods' that you can find in the worst of arthouse and/or independent pictures. But please go see it anyway, and make this beloved country of ours a better place to live in."

Back to Fenomena Seni. There were 3 panellists, Akmal Abdullah (I've no idea what this guy does), Hassan Muthalib (sounds familiar, but I still don't know what he does) and Raja Azmi (who wrote and produced Black Widow Wajah Ayu and Cinta 200 Ela). The forum was chaired by Rosyam Nor (hero #1 Malaysia!!). I've to admit that I only managed to catch the last 30 mins or so of the show, so I must've missed a hell of a lot more. But even the little I saw was enough to outrage me, and shame me. There were a few remarks that totally stood out for me:

1. Akmal Abdullah was outraged at the portayal in Sepet of a Muslim girl who entered and hung out in a Chinese restaurant that sells pork, calling it irresponsible and not reality.

2. David Teo (a movie producer for Metrowealth) calling in and going on and on about how the 'culture' depicted in movies will be a 'heritage' in the future and there are lines which should not be crossed (I presume he's referring to the pork restaurant scene), as it is irresponsible to do so.

3. Raja Azmi: "Isteri yang solehah akan duduk di rumah dan masak untuk suami."

4. Raja Azmi: "Sepet tidak Islamic dan memburukkan nama Islam."

5. Raja Azmi's incredible and soon to be immortal speech: "Semua orang tahu yang kita di sini unik dan adalah masyarakat majmuk, dan dah banyak kali senario masyarakat majmuk ni ditunjukkan dalam filem-filem kita. Jadi tak payahlah nak tunjuk lagi. Lagipun, kita kena ingat yang ini Tanah Melayu, dan kita orang Melayu-Islam memang, seperti dalam Quran kata : Aku jadikan kamu berbagai-bagai kaum supaya kamu dapat berkenalan dan menerima antara satu sama lain. Jadi kita orang Melayu, yang memang bersopan-santun memang baik menerima kaum-kaum lain di negara kita ni." I really don't want to translate this appalling statement, so if you don't understand Malay, please ask a friend to translate it for you. Besides, ini kan Tanah Melayu, so you should understand Malay, you dummy!! Ask Raja Azmi!!

I've commented on a few blogs already about this, so in response to all the above statements, I'm just gonna cut n paste my comments on other people's blogs, and add bits and pieces here and there. It's in Malay though. After all, this is Tanah Melayu!! Don't we all just LOVE Raja Azmi? Hehe:
"Bukan dangkal lagi dah. It's downright racist. Kepada Raja Azmi, negara kita ni bukan Tanah Melayu lagi, sekarang nama kita Malaysia. Kalau nak sangat hidup di Tanah Melayu, pergi panggil balik British suruh jajah kita balik. Dan agaknya Rashid Sidek tak pakai baju dan scene nyanyi2 ala Hindustan dalam Cinta 200 Ela tu memang 'Islamic' habis lah kan? Mesti tak hina Islam kalau macam tu. Tak tutup aurat pun takpe, bukannya menghina Islam. Scene yang menunjukkan orang Islam boleh terima budaya dan cara hidup orang lain tanpa mengkompromi budaya dia sendiri (macam masuk kedai ada jual babi, tapi TAK MAKAN babi) memang tak Islamic kan? Lagi bagus kalau scene tu tunjukkan orang Islam tu marah dan kutuk orang Cina bodoh sebab makan babi, sebab kotor. Orang Islam lagi pandai dan 'betul' sebab tak makan benda kotor macam babi. Agama kita kan betul, Tuhan dah bagitau awal2 dah tak boleh makan babi, sebab Tuhan dah tahu makan babi tak bagus. Kan ke babi ada cacing pita bermeter2 panjangnya?Tuhan orang lain mana tahu benda2 ni. Pasal tu lah agama kita betul. Kita Melayu/Islam kan lagi bagus, superior. Macam itulah baru Malaysia kita sekarang kan? Macam tu lah baru Malaysia di mata Raja Azmi, dan Akmal Abdullah. Cerita Melayu tunjuk orang Islam minum arak dan seks bebas takpe, tapi masuk kedai ada jual babi, tapi TAK MAKAN babi tak boleh, perosak budaya. Sebab tu lah Mat2 Rempit tak kisah minum arak dan main2 seks luar nikah dan rogol2 anak orang. Janji tak makan babi kan. Makan babi tu dosa besar habis!! Minum arak takpe, sebab makan babi jadi darah daging, minum arak jadi air kencing je. Jadi, agaknya takpelah kot kalau budaya orang Islam minum arak dan seks bebas, rogol2 anak orang jadi 'warisan' kita. Janji tak makan babi. Yay!! Raja Azmi for Prime Minister!! Yeah!! Hidup Malaysia!!"
Dear friends, I humbly apologise for all the hurtful things the panellists said. I'm terribly sad that after almost 50 years of independence, we're still stuck in this rut. If this is where our beloved country's going, maybe we should all just pack up and leave, but no, not without a fight we won't. Like what the Alan Yun character said in Gubra, "It's like loving someone who doesn't love you back." If you do love that someone, will you fight for it? Tepuk dada, tanya selera, my friends. Anyone who thinks otherwise and agrees with Raja Azmi, please don't call me anymore. I don't wanna know you.

Much love,