Monday, July 27, 2009

taken from Friends to All by Allan Koay

One journalist remembers the happy times he spent with filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad.
I WAS very hesitant when I was asked to write a piece on Yasmin Ahmad. Should I make it something personal or just a dry account of her achievements? But then I remembered that one of her favourite sayings to everyone was to always follow your heart, and do what your heart tells you.

And so I decided that I would do just that.
With someone like Yasmin, it was difficult not to bridge that distance that a professional relationship demands between a journalist and his subject. It’s simply because she was such a likeable person, someone with whom you instantly feel comfortable. And she treated everyone like they were her long-time friends, even if she had only just met you.
So inevitably Yasmin and I became friends. Unfortunately, in the last year or so, we grew apart, and had even exchanged some heated words.

When I got the shocking news that she was hospitalised and in critical condition on Thursday, there was no longer any question about putting our differences aside. I did, and went straight to the hospital that night. I couldn’t help but be affected by it all. Later that night, the memories came of the best times we had as friends, and I ended up not sleeping a wink.

I remembered the time when two friends from Singapore and I rushed to Kuala Selangor in the morning to go on the set of Mukhsin and watch her at work. I remembered when they finished a scene at a house in the middle of a padi field, we walked back to the vans as I joked: “The same family, the same characters. Again, it’s about love. You’re a one-trick pony!”

And she laughed: "But it’s true what! Ozu also did the same thing!" (referring to Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu).

This was the kind of jokey exchanges she always had with her friends, making fun of each other, sometimes even calling each other names just for the fun of it.

Little did we know, the next year, both of us would be at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival, where Mukhsin was competing in the Generations category. I remember sitting in the huge cinema hall, seeing Mukhsin play on the giant screen, hearing the laughter from the audience and then the applause at the end, and feeling extremely proud to be Malaysian.

And when I was in transit at the Amsterdam airport, I received a text message from her, saying that she was flying back to Berlin (she had flown home a day earlier than me). I asked why, but I already knew the answer.

The next few days were days of smiles and celebration, that Mukhsin was the first Malaysian film to win in any category at the Berlinale.

Mukhsin remains my favourite of all Yasmin’s films, not just because of my special memories and experiences with it, but because it is just simply a film that says so much with so little, like all great films. I didn’t take to her later work the same way, and I told her so. She took criticisms coolly, but she was also quick to remind me of how much others think Muallaf was her best work, when I told her it was her weakest. That was how proud she was of every film she made. Her defence of her work was always quietly firm and assertive but never confrontational.

But when you did something wrong, she never hesitated to tell it like it is and give you a piece of her mind. I can still remember the times when she reprimanded me for something I did. Of course, it got me angry that she would do such a thing to a friend, but I grew to appreciate that she would actually care enough to point out my mistakes.

But what I remember most is her quirky sense of humour, often self-deprecating. “I’m so kampung,” was her favourite way of describing herself. It was also what usually warmed people to her.

Once, in the middle of an interview, she wanted to shop for a pair of shoes, so I went with her to the department store, where she joked openly with the staff there, complete strangers.

She told a male store attendant that his female colleague was cute. "You better quickly woo her!" she told him. It wasn’t long before a small crowd had gathered around us, people who didn’t even know she was the Yasmin Ahmad. It was an amazing scene, she was like a conductor holding court in a symphony of laughter and smiles.

But late Saturday night, my friends and I had no more smiles or laughter. After I received the devastating SMS, my mind was clouded over with confused feelings. One acquaintance regretted never making good on his promise to have lunch with Yasmin, even though their offices were just next to each other. Another regretted not having a single photo taken with her.

"Because I thought she was going to be here for a long time," he said.

And that is how we usually take people for granted. I have many things left unsaid and unsettled, and I always thought that one day, she and I would be able to look back at all the stupid, angry things we said to each other and laugh.

Like my friend, I made the mistake of thinking she would be here for a long time.

It’s perhaps an irony that I’m living out a Yasmin Ahmad commercial – taking someone for granted and only realising it too little too late, something she’d always warned us about. I can only thank her for all the fun and laughter she shared, the life lessons she imparted, and the many kind and loyal friends I’ve met through her.

But the biggest lesson to me is the one she gave in her absence now – to forgive more easily because life is short.


taken from Goodbye Yasmin

THOSE familiar with Yasmin Ahmad’s first blog ( would know that each day she spent on earth was one she cherished deeply. In her words on the blog, she claimed to be optimistic and sentimental to the point of being annoying. And in keeping with her honest, heartfelt approach to life she said: “I thank Allah for everyday things like the ability to breathe, the ability to love, the ability to laugh...”

Yasmin’s love for life, and her enviable work ethic will be greatly missed in the local film industry. She was an inspiration, to say the least.

Young actor Hon Kahoe, who was slated for Yasmin’s next project, Wasurenagusa, first got to know her on the set of Talentime last year. He plans to keep his promise to Yasmin to become a director one day. “Yasmin would always teach me about directing, and advise me on many things relating to the movie industry. I’m going to prove to her that I can achieve this. ”

Another teenager, Syafie Naswip, who worked with Yasmin on Mukhsin and Talentime said that she was like a mother to him.

"Over the time that I knew her, she helped me through my difficulties and was a guide to me when it came to making choices about what path to take in my life."

Actor Jit Murad, who worked with Yasmin on Talentime said: "My friend Yasmin was – and it breaks my heart to use the past tense – a fascinating combination of intelligence, spirituality, kindness and humour. Her work and relationships testify to these qualities. My grief and stunned disbelief is only barely leavened by the blessing I feel for having known and loved her for the period that I did."

Budding filmmaker and actor Linus Chung (Sepet) was too emotional to speak when contacted. "Thank you, Yasmin, for everything. That’s all I can say." Chung, however, has written a tribute on his blog where he said that Yasmin had taught him the meaning of love: "She made me realise how important love is in a world that has largely forgotten it. 'Love Linus, love the world and you will understand the world.' "

Actress/singer Adibah Noor, who had worked with Yasmin in her commercials as well as movies shared: “It is not too extreme to say that Yasmin was a medium through whom the Creator sought to inspire us immortals. Perhaps Allah is relieving her of the task since some of us have continuously failed to understand what He was trying to tell us through her.”

Newcomer Pamela Chong (Talentime) said that "Mak Yasmin" played one of the most important roles in her life: "She gave me my first movie; she made my dream come true. I miss her. I always will. But she lives on in our hearts and in her work."

Alan Yun (Gubra) said: "Yasmin’s generosity in terms of giving will be missed. She was someone who had so much love for the nation and its people despite our differences."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

thanks for everything...
hope you will find eternal happiness and peace on the other side
you will always be missed...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

fallin' for you

Thursday, July 23, 2009

i'm back!
at least for now..i've almost forgotten the existence of this lil' small cyberspace of mine
the past 3 months was like a walk to eternity
doing things that i am not good at it at all
and seeking every possible solutions i could lay my hands on
thank god there is Google!
now i understand why all my programmer buddies likes to say the word "Just Fucking Google It!!!"
i'm always afraid of doing a full site in css, but with this revamp project that has been biting my ass for the last 3 months
i had no choice but to embrace it
well..that's just a nicer way to say it
but in reality, it is more like if i dont do it, i'd better die tryin'
and now looking at a site that is almost done
i am suddenly wee bit proud of myself that i've been able to crawl through those hard times and make this site work!
cant wait for the site to be lived and proudly add it into my portfolio
i think i should move on, to do other things that i want to do
unless i am planning to become a programmer
i guess what i know now about executing a design should be enough for me to become an art director
i wanna start doing design, designs that really belong to me
designs that i can proudly shout out "IT'S MINE!!!"

but it will be even better if i could do designing and executing my own work
the satisfaction will be even greater!
especially when i get to solve problems on ie6!
talking about ie6, it is such a nightmare to the modern web developers
i still cant understand why there are so many people out there still using ie6!
they will never know what they've been missing if they dont switch to a better browser
and microsoft should prolly just stop the usage of windows ME or windows 2000 and for crying out loud, WINDOWS 98 by forcing them to upgrade!
these OSs are the main culprit to the still large amount of ie6 users out there!
but again, i gained great satisfaction squashing those ie6 bugs and for those that i cant, maybe i'll just pretend they dont exist
wahahahahahahaha!that is what i do best!

on a lighter note
i have so many things to do during my time away from work
but the most important one will be to do up my portfolio
that has been a looooooooongggg overdue for years
but nevermind, better late than never
*sayang own head

and i think i will try not to drive as often as i could
cycle everywhere i go
and maybe risk myself for being knock down by idiotic drivers
buy a macbook pro!!omg omg omg!
the thought of it is making me smile
but maybe i will just change my mind very last minute
which is something i always do
but nevermind, can save money and allocate more fund to upgrade my pc

take pictures take pictures
my camera miss me and i miss her (or him?i forgot)
do a multitouch screen panel using the pdf manual i downloaded online
seems interesting and not very expensive to achieve
do some freelances to get money before i finish up my savings and have to beg for money on the streets

ok...long post and i had to read back what i wrote about
i think i am having stm nowadays
going off work..yawn...
gonna be a long day tomorrow

yasmin ahmad is on life support now after the surgery
i hope she will be fine and get through all these