August 15, 2016
1MDB Scandal won’t go away, stop the wayang (charade)
by ROM NAIN– a media analyst and academic who is weary of incompetent, unethical leaders and their apologists and spin doctors in the media who try to get away with murder while professing to rub shoulders with God’s angels.–www.malaysiakini.com
Another week, and it’s been another seven days of distraction from surely the most important issue facing this nation – the 1MDB debacle. Unfortunately, though, for those obtuse enough to think otherwise, No, 1MDB will not go away.
Billions of our money may, indeed, have been frittered away, allegedly by Malaysian Official 1 and his bunch of daylight robbers. But this infamy will not be wiped out from the memory of most Malaysians, including those in the rural areas – insultingly seen as too simple to see through the numerous wayang (charade).
Nonetheless, desperate times evidently call for desperate measures, hence the regime’s need for distractions.The latest, arguably, has been the hullabaloo surrounding the Malaysian film awards; more specifically, the yearly Malaysian Film Festival (FFM) awards.
I am sure many have found this yearly orgy of self-congratulations by often-talentless members of the Malaysian film industry rather pointless and forgettable. But this year has been different, I guess, given the incredible, albeit local, box office and critical success of two films, ‘Jagat’ and ‘Ola Bola’.
It seemed straightforward that they would both be in the running for Best Picture. But, no, both films were initially slotted into the Best Picture (non-Bahasa Malaysia category) allegedly for having less than 70 percent dialogue in Bahasa Malaysia (BM).
I’m sure that the poor sods who have to tally the language content of each and every one of these films are provided with some canggih ‘apps’ that helps them to weed out films that only hit 69 percent BM content at most.
Can you just imagine the silly scene of people doing such tallying? Almost as silly, I’m sure, as those equally-poor sods in the Home Affairs Ministry who are tasked with blackening/censoring female breasts in magazines and other terribly creative chores.
But, I digress.
The point is, Malaysians were up in arms against this decision. And the demand grew louder and louder for non-segregation for the Best Picture category. And since this is Bolehland, it was left to a government official, a minister, to dictate to the organisers of FFM.
To cut a long story short, the offending non-BM category for Best Picture has been removed, allowing films such as ‘Jagat’ and ‘Ola Bola’ to be considered for a non-segregated Best Picture award.
But a new category, Best Film in the National Language, has now been introduced. Evidently to console those sensitive ones who feel that BM films and, hell’s bells, our precious national language, constitution and everything Malay that we hold dear, are now under attack and need to be strongly protected.
This category, it seems likely, is for the language purists, so you can imagine the films produced for this category having dialogue that jump straight out of Kamus Dewan. I can’t wait.
At its worst, this whole charade reeks of racism. At its most comic, it smacks of desperate goons wanting their dodgy products to be given awards (and other incentives) they allegedly don’t deserve. And playing up the sanctity of the national language and the purported weakness and insecurity of the Malays as their excuse.
‘Nothing about creativity, artistic merit…’
Now that this tragicomedy has all but run its course, we get the ‘experts’ commenting, especially in the Malay papers, about the decision made. And nothing that I’ve read so far talks about creativity, artistic merit or the building of a truly Malaysian film community.
Instead, we’ve had one reportedly prolific Malay director saying that a ‘national film’ would have to be a Malay film. And he reminded his fans, in, I’m quite certain, impeccable Malay, “Kita kadang-kadang terconfuse antara isu hak sama rata atau seruan nasionalistik” (“We sometimes are confused between the issue of equality and the call of nationalism”).
Yet another producer and director of public relations programmes for Malaysia’s Police urged popular actor and comedian Afdlin Shauki to respect ‘our national identity’ (whatever that entails). All because Afdlin has decided to boycott the FFM awards night.
Then, there were snide comments written about another previous multi-award winner returning his awards to express his disappointment at the attempts to segregate. These snide comments were clearly from those who’d never won anything worthwhile in their lives. And never will.
And then, of course, there were the clearly racist ‘interloper’ comments that screamed that the ‘these people’ have no shame, initially joining ‘our’ festival, and now wanting to take over.
All in, then, this silly drama over the past week and leading up to the actual awards night on Sept 3 has managed to get tongues wagging and provided relief – at times comic – and distraction from the more significant issues affecting our lives.
Sadly, at the same time, it has illustrated how crutches evidently are still being demanded, ostensibly to help deserving, but weak, groups in our society, but, really, to keep segregating us and maintaining the status quo.