Posts

Obama in Malaysia

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U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Malaysia last weekend was quite a big deal to many in the country because it was the first time in 48 years when the president of United States came to visit us small Malaysians. (last one was Lyndon B. Johnson) That's why I have to post this for remembrance. A few days before that, he was in Tokyo. I didn't know about it until I was in Ginza, where the entire place was swarmed with police, roads were blocked, and lots of news team around.

WATCH: James Lee's 2007 TV film BERNAFAS DALAM LUMPUR

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A few days ago, Malaysian independent film pioneer James Lee (and also producer of my last short film FLOATING SUN :D ) uploaded his entire 2007 TV movie BERNAFAS DALAM LUMPUR (English title: BREATHING IN MUD) online. I remember catching this on TV the day it was aired seven years ago. The film starred numerous actors whom I have collaborated with a few months earlier in the TV films I produced, KURUS (English title: DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY): Nam Ron, Mislina Mustaffa, Mohammad Hariry, Azman Hassan etc. It tells the story of a man, Meor (Hariry) long thought to be dead, returning to his wife (Mislina), who has now remarried his best friend Din (Nam Ron). Yes, like KURUS, this was a TV movie commissioned by NTV7. If this is online, I wonder whether it's possible for me to upload KURUS in its entirety as well? Here's the film:

Finishing Roberto Bolano's THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES in Bali

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I discovered Roberto Bolano during my 2007 trip in Chile. That was my first ever trip to a film festival as an invited filmmaker (went there as producer for ELEPHANT AND THE SEA, which was in competition), and also a prelude of the many solo travelings that I would do after that. My routine in these (film festival) trips has remained mostly the same. When I'm not attending the film festival, I would be taking solitary walks around recommended places, snapping photos, and then taking a break somewhere for food or coffee, in which I would take out a book to read. Otherwise, I would just head into a nearby bookstore to look through the books. On the day that I was about to leave Santiago, I decided that I had a few hours to kill, so I went to the shopping mall next to my hotel and hung out at the bookshop. A few days earlier, someone had recommended Bolano's works to me, so I was curious to read them. There was a bookshelf full of his works, and I decided to check out hi

Kecak Dance in Uluwatu, Bali

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The night before I left Bali, I managed to watch the famous Kecak Dance in Uluwatu. It was an experience unlike any other.

Bali was indeed beautiful

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During my 10 days in Bali (I was there because I rented my camera out for an Indonesian-Japanese co-production film shoot), I managed to see some beautiful sights.

Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo 2014

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Over the years I have taken quite a few photos of cherry blossoms in Tokyo . The beauty of the sakura season is that everything is so fleeting, we just have to make the best of it. I guess that's the difference between a place like Japan and Malaysia. Malaysia is a tropical country where everything remains in perpetuity, summer lasts for 365 days, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, giving off an illusion of eternity, whilst Japan, with the cycle of seasons, and especially the short lovely sakura seasons, is constantly reminding me of impermanence, illustrating the passage of time.

Kumi Odori 組踊, Shikina-en 識名園 and Okinawa

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When I was 14, I wanted to visit Okinawa because I fell in love with an Okinawa girl. Unfortunately, said Okinawa girl was a member of Japanese pop group called SPEED (... where all four members were from Okinawa). Looooong after my teens ended, I finally had the chance to fulfil my dreams when I was invited to the Okinawa International Film Festival last month to be one of the speakers at the Asia Content Gathering Symposium (other speakers include my pal Lim Kah Wai the Osaka-based Malaysian filmmaker, the Okinawan filmmaker Soichi Takayama and Cambodia Film Commission CEO Cedric Eloy).

Rest in peace, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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I was in Bali the past 10 days for a film shoot that I wasn't exactly involved in. (Basically, I was renting out my Blackmagic Cinema Camera for an Indonesian-Japanese film shoot, and had to stay around to ensure that no one was going to break my camera... of course, a free trip to Bali, which I've never gone before, was too tempting an offer to turn down) While I was seemingly trapped in a time warp (like all film shoots tend to feel, despite my lack of involvement in this one), many things had happened in this world, mostly tragedies. One of my favourite wrestlers from my childhood, THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR, passed away on the day that I was flying off to Bali. Since then, there was the South Korean ferry disaster in April 16, followed a day later, on April 17, by the deaths of Malaysian opposition politician Karpal Singh and literary giant Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Now that I am back in Malaysia for a day before I return to Tokyo tomorrow, I feel nothing but melancholy f

Making sense of the Malaysian Chinese experience

Recent circumstances, especially constant questions from my comrades from China, had caused me to evaluate my place as a Malaysian Chinese.

REUNION 我們都是這樣長大的 (1986), a Taiwanese film that haunted my memories since I was 12

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When I was 12, I caught a film on TV. The film follows the lives of a group of elementary school students and their teacher. I was initially interested because the children were my age, and the teacher in the film was dedicated, like the teacher I was having then, Teacher Thor (that's her family name, yeah, but we all call her "Tu Lao Shi", which means Teacher Thor in Chinese). But I was slightly surprised when there were a few time skips in the film. The children suddenly became teenagers, and there was a class reunion with their teacher (that led to tragedy). They then became adults, and had another reunion, this time for a wedding. I remember that one of the main boys was in love with the bride. I didn't exactly finish the film, but a few of these scenes remained vivid until this very day (the teacher's fiancee sacrificing himself to save a drowning student during one of the class reunions, and also the aforementioned wedding). Perhaps the film was

RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS postproduction adventures

No, the process of postproduction, so far, had not been an adventure. But it's been a week since I came back to Tokyo, just so I could work on this film with utmost concentration, and solitude.