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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Just to clarify some things from my previous entry

Whoa, I didn't know that Sebastian actually posted the link to my previous entry on famed director, Yasmin Ahmad's blog. And therefore, I would like to take the opportunity to reply to hdoong, a person who took the time to make a rather sensible and thought-provoking response to my entry.

The following is from him:

hi mcgarmott,

thanks for the link to the blog. appreciate it.

while i can see the author's point of view, i do think that it is biased. for one thing, the fact that sepet grossed almost RM90k per print (beaten pgl, at least) means that the average cinema going malaysian is not as dumb as was described.

secondly, he has forgotten that the majority of malaysians are malay! this fact seem to have completely bypassed him. he seem to live in his own world! he does not seem to have an understanding of the malay psyche, how they feel about movies and stars, what they like to watch etc. you just simply cannot judge others based on own biased standards. sorry to say this but the whole context of which his criticism is based wrong.

there is quite a healthy stream of malay movies catering to these malays, and for all his ignorance about this, the annual average gross per malay film is higher than any other movies. yes, the average gross for a hollywood film is lower than an average gross for a malay film.

films are made to be seen. if the film is not seen by people save for an "elite" handful, then it simply is not up to par. it is a mistake to think otherwise. the filmaker can indulge in whatever fantasies of self-greatness he/she likes

in this, i respect yasmin for being able to make a film of such good standard, so intellectual and at the same time appeals to such deep emotions and is at the same time a social criticism, but most importantly, people came, paid that few ringgit, and watched the movie and thought it was a good movie.

finally, the entry said, "don't expect to make a living through films in malaysia" - this alone is so damning to all those people who made a living and is making a living by making films in malaysia. just too unfair and ignorant......

The blog entry I wrote last night is obviously meant to be my own opinions and thoughts, I don't intend them to be the gospel truth or anything. And I would appreciate it if someone would point out my errors like that.

And I guess a major error I made with the previous entry was that I sounded too general about the whole thing. I wasn't exactly referring to the Malay> filmmaking community, but more to the Chinese Malaysian filmmaking community. (that's why when I was referring to singers/filmmakers/actors who had to make it big overseas, I was referring solely to the Chinese ones like James Lee, Tsai Min Liang, Eric Mok, Michelle Yeoh) The truth is, compared to our more established Malay brethren, the whole Chinese Malaysian filmmaking scene seems much weaker and instable, thus making it hard for a Chinese filmmaker to make a Chinese film here. Although I do hope that the situation can improve now.

And yes, I am aware that the Malays have their own stars, but there ain't really any bona-fide homegrown Malaysian Chinese stars. (even when referring to the star system, I was referring more towards the Chinese television station, HVD) I apologize if I didn't make it clearer in my previous entry that I was referring towards the Chinese Malaysian filmmaking scene, and not the Malaysian filmmaking scene in general. Next time, I'll intend to be more specific.