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Thursday, August 25, 2005

T.M. Umar's "avant-garde" tale of revisiting Malaysian Independence through time-traveling

On Thursday, August 25th, 2005, Edmund Yeo sent me T.M. Umar's script-story "The 50's Project" with the intention that I would edit and/or critique it. I set to the task with aplomb, only to find that the text consisted of nothing but implausible dialogue in the service of some kind of time-travel plot to discover the origins of Malaysia. There was nothing of narrative or grammatical interest. Faced with my assignment yet unable to continue reading, the only thing I could do was apply William S. Burroughs' cut-up technique to the text, interspersed with any random observations that Umar's subliterate nonsense prompted in me. The results are as follows. T.M. Umar's text is represented in regular font. My comments are represented in bold. The original text is presented mostly in excerpts, as to inflict its full length on readers would be an unpardonable offense.

"You asked for a written works, ja?Well, here's a draft original screenplay I made for a skecth of this Merdeka day. People told me it was funny but the story somehow cannot be accepted due to the nature of certain activities. The script has to be edited at the moment for proper viewing."

The 'nature of certain activities' almost certainly refers to Umar wanking and smoking crack instead of honing his English language skills.

The 50's projectwritten by T.M.Umar
Kassim, sitting on the chair trying to understand the complicated text of the history of Malaysia’s independence. While harding his way understanding the billions of text, he soon gone with the wind
*Sound background (Slow-motion)Malaya... British... Malayan Union MU MU MU This just in, Manchester has set another goal record beating Liverpool. Oh wait, here goes another one, it SCORES*WHOAAAAA!!!!*

'MU MU MU' made me think of the Omega Mu fraternity in 'Revenge of the Nerds'. That was a good movie. It showed pussy, it had Devo-like techno action, and Dudley 'Booger' Dawson. What was Harvey Pekar thinking?

Kassim sits back at the chair. Then came his two friends, Mothi and Mang Kok
-Wassup Mothi! Wassup Mang Kok!

Wassup my niggas!? Fo shizzle my nizzle!

Dr. Strangelove
-Well yes my son, I just finished touring around the time. I was about to tell you the experience but I think I should leave you concentrate on your studies. You know it's very important, Yes…
-But dad, I want to use the time machine for study purpose! I want to go back to the 50's to see how our country gets our independence!
Dr. Strangelove
-...Why? You don't know ah?
-Just want to learn more detail, DAD.
Dr. Strangelove
-AORH! Detail! Yes…

Now this brings back memories. Once I, too, asked my dad if I could use his time machine to travel back to the 1950's. But it was not to learn more about Malaysian independence...no, it was to bag Gidget. I couldn't stand the thought of that bastard Moon-Doggie staking out the surfer-girl pie. The only similarity between my experience and Kassim's is that my dad also responded 'AORH!' and threw his vodka bottle at me.

Dr. Strangelove
-CAN, my son, you may borow the TIME MACHINE TM, but bear in mind my son. Don't you ever try to alter anything in history. You do remember the time paradox thingy I explained to you before, yes...

In this scene, Dr. Strangelove is instructing his son about the 1970's krautrock band CAN, whose seminal albums, replete with tape manipulation, pre-trance grooves, and extended instrumental sections paved the way for 90's indie bands like Tortoise, as well as much of the post-rock movement in general. The albums to get are "Tago Mago" and "Ege Bamyasi" Their vocalist Damo Suzuki is also an interesting character.

The actors goes backstage, while Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdul Razak discuss the ordeal of getting independence.
Tunku Abdul Rahman
-I doubt that they'll counter us with the term submarine.
Tun Abdul Razak
-Why is that?
Tunku Abdul Rahman
-They say, if we want independence, we must have submarine.
Tun Abdul Razak
-It doesn't make sense. Why would British counter us with that kind of question?

Unbeknownst to Tunku Abdul Razak, the question does make sense. The inability of the British to recognize countries without submarines is widely known, so much so that the landlocked Sweden has responded by withdrawing ABBA: Gold units from British Tower stores.

Tunku Abdul Rahman-They want proof that we got ability to control our lands. Somehow I'm still figuring out how to convincethem to accept the deal.

More important for actual Malaysian independence was the battle-rap victory of Malay rapper "O-Flow Skillz A-MED" over MO-Lester, an MC from South Croydon. Contrary to popular belief, the standard policy of the British government in granting independence to its colonial territories was to pit a British rapper against an indigenous rapper in a head to head rhyme assault. The winning thrust, to which MO had no comeback, was as follows:

"So much crunk flow that the Brits disappear
I'm shutting down your rights like Dr. Mahathir."

-OH NO! ... I think I got an idea. Guys, help me drag

At this point, Mothi and Mang-Kok, following Kassim's orders, outfitted their friend like a Thai ladyboy. Kassim went in 'drag' for the rest of the story.

Kassim (As Tunku Abdul Rahamn)
-So, how do I look?
-Oh my god.

Mothi was soon overcome by the site of his close friend dressed as a woman. Kassim's already fey figure was accentuated by the clinging diaphanous draperies of Thai silk."Come here lah!" Kassim incited his friend lasciviously."AORH! AORH!" Mothi barked, much like a seal. Their union was soon consummated in the back seat of the time machine. Kassim's baby grew up to be Lee Kuan Yew!

Mang Kok
-You know for sure, this is the most stupid idea ever made in history.

In this passage, Mang-Kok is not referring to Kassim's drag, but is in fact metafictionally referring to T.M. Umar's decision to write the story.

-Uhh… No, you’re just in time. (Whispering to Mothi)Who’s this guy?
Tun Abdul Razak
-Let's go! We're going to make Malaysia.

To make Malaysia will require the following:
-2 teaspoons of sugar
-3 pats of butter
-icing sugar
-chopped hazelnuts

Sarjan Donald Dark
-I am Sarjan Donald Dark, and the reason we have this meeting is to discuss The Independece of the Malay Lands. As you were saying Mr Tunku Abdul Rahman Mmkay, leader of Parti Perikatan and your task here is to have us agree for independence mmkay

Donald Duck was never actually on South Park, outside of T.M. Umar's twisted fantasy world. But just imagine: "JUST SAY MMMKAY FLLLSHHBTHHQUAA!!!"

Sarjan Donald Dark
-Continue… Sir Noah Dick. But do you have what it takes to control this so called Malaysia after you have independence

As far as I'm concerned, someone called "Sir Noah Dick" can control just about whatever the hell he wants to. It's gotta be the manliest name ever, immediately behind Stone Phillips and Wolf Blitzer.

-Mr Noah, The reason we came here is to seek Freedom, not taking a test of wits. You hear me? I said we want Freedom, INDEPENDECE, In my homeland, my country. If you do not let us set free… then this Communist would be happy to plow around the villagers and citizens while you drinking whiskey and smoke 50 pounds.
Sarjan Donald Dark
-Communist? Now this is getting interesting

Donald Duck echoes my thoughts exactly. At the mention of communists drinking whisky and smoking '50 pounds', I thought Umar was going to start talking about dimebags or something. Alas, it was not to be:

-I don’t ask much, We want FREEDOM! When I said Freedom, we meant it, And we want it.


Sarjan Donald Dark
-But still Tunku Abdul Rahman did prove us something, he prove the spirit that he and his member has what it takes to control their own lands.

As Tunku Abdul Rahman looked down at his member, he realized that, much to his dismay, it did not have what it takes to control its own lands. His member, he decided, was sorely in need of some VIAGRA. Unfortunately it was the 50's and the drug hadn't been invened yet, so he was forced to resort to smuggling a durien in his Spiderman underwear. RAHMAN-SENSE TINGLING!

-He told me to tell you we got our own word of independence…

Kassim's sneeze at this point is not to be taken for the actual Malaysian word of independence, which is "tingledingleblooberflop."

-You guys no want coffee? Aiyo, you guys.

At this point, I became physically incapable of reading any further. Thanks to T.M. Umar, I have incurred incurable brain damage, and learned nothing whatsoever about Malaysian independence. I'm sure any actual Malaysians out there might want to protest at this point that their country was not actually founded by three cross-dressing boyscouts with a time-machine, Donald Duck, and Dr. Strangelove. It's in your hands!


Justin .