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Meeting the Cast of “Mukhsin” March 7, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Events, Journalism, Malaysian Movies, Movies, Mukhsin, Photos.
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When I first heard about the movie months back, after having to write an article about the film, I thought, “Well, here’s a chance for me to finally catch a movie by the great Yasmin Ahmad”. After all, everyone who’s a fan of indie films here has watched “Sepet” and “Gubra“, and has had tons to say about the films.

So I went for the press screening of the movie @ GSC (Golden Screen Cinemas) in Midvalley, last week. You’ll see how much of an effect bloggers have now, with a special registration table put aside for media, and bloggers. Now, isn’t that just fracking awesome?!?

Bloggers Registration
Bloggers ONLY

However, I went to this side :
Press Registration
Media/Press Peeps

It’s funny how you meet what I’d like to call “Celebrity Bloggers”. You’ve read their blogs over the past years. You’ve heard so much about them, and it’s so darn exciting when you finally see them in person. I saw the famous TV Smith at the registration, and caught a glimpse of Suan, whose blogs I enjoy reading. I think I saw sultanmuzaffar as well. Of course, more exciting was seeing Yasmin Ahmad in person.

After the movie (in which I will put up my review in the next postThe Drowmage’s review here), we had the press conference. I took some awesome pictures, and had fun. The Noob (whom I had to keep telling what questions to ask – I mean, really, is this the quality of journalists our universities are churning out these days? I shudder for the future..) kept wanting to leave, and I had to shove her in the direction of all the stars there. That’s probably the only downside of the press conference.

I caught up with the glamorous Ning Baizura, who went around with her own camera to take photos of the young star Sharifah Aryana. Ning’s got a new movie this year, called “Diva”. Ning was kind enough to let take a pix of her, and a second one when the first shot was spoiled by some nugget walking between the camera and her.

Ning Baizura
Glamorous Ning

Casually spoke to Sharifah Amani (who was also in “Mukhsin”) for a bit about her next movie “Muallaf”, and took a shot of her and Sharifah Aleysha, the next rising star in the family of actresses:

Amani & Aleysha
Sharifah Amani & Sharifah Aleysha

Amani : In the next movie is me, and this one (points at Aleysha).
Drowmage : How about the other 2 sisters (referring Aleya and Aryana)?
Amani :
The other 2 no need lah… what for?
Drowmage : Family movie mar

One of the young stars, who acts as Orked’s playmates in the movie. I’m naming her the “Shirley Temple of Malaysia” – she sounds and looks so much like the child legend (well, the local version anyway)!

The next Shirley Temple?
The Malaysian Shirley Temple?

Some pics from the event:

Cast Pix
“Mukhsin” Cast Pix

Cast Pix 2
The Drowmage corners a pix from the cast members leaving the stage…

Mukhsin/ Mohd Syafie
Mukhsin… er, Mohd Syafie, looking sheepishly at all the cameras being pointed at him.

Yasmin Ahmad
Yasmin Ahmad, laughing at a comment from another actress. I prefer this pix of her looking happy compared to the dry, sober ones I keep seeing online.

The Actress Family
(L to R : Aryana, Fatimah, Amani, Aleysha. Aleya was stuck at work that day.)

Update: The Drowmage’s review of Mukhsin

From a Fast-Paced Weekend to a Dull Monday March 5, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Events, Technical Theatre.
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It’s been a very exciting weekend for the Drowmage… but unfortunately – all good things must come to an end. Went for a theatre set design + costume design workshop, organized by the Japan Foundation in KL and KLPAC (KL Performing Arts Centre). Learnt lots of new things – including the fact that sometimes in life; you don’t get all the free time you want to create things, and most things have deadlines whether you like it or not. Made new friends, learnt new things about set design – but more importantly, learnt more about what I wanted out of life.

The workshop was conducted by 2 Japanese set designers; Sugiyama Itaru & Hatano Kazue. Kazue-san spoke good English – but Itaru-san needed a translator to explain his more detailed concepts – and we all soon got accustomed to listening to him spout an explanation in Japanese and the translator to explain it in English.

The nice thing about the workshop was that although it was full of people from all sorts of theatrical background, such as set designers, costume designers, drama teachers and even a filmmaker; the workshop brought everyone to the same beginner’s level with its Japanese concept. We learnt the concept of a theatre’s “Space” and how it was combined with the costumes (we were told to forget about fashion, but about the character we were trying to create. The costume, in essence, WAS the character, and was not meant to be an accessory to the character.) Everyone had fun, and there were tons of laughs when we were trying to create costumes and draw some of our sketches, yet even sadness, when we were listening to our coursemates’ more personal experiences which inspired some of the sketches.

I wish I could say I had tons of pics, but I didn’t bring my trusty old tourist camera to the course until the final day itself. The best pic of all? The group photo.

Group Pix

Itaru-san (3rd from Left, Front Row) & Kazue-san (middle, 2nd row) were our trainers from Japan.

Before I left, I thanked each of the trainers. Itaru-san, in slightly broken English, told me that I was good, and had a lot of good ideas….. probably one of the best compliments I have had in months! Kazue-san was cool and calm – she kinda reminds me of Anna Wintour from Vogue magazine with her hair-do.

The lousy part of the workshop? The place has expensive food… the Drowmage feels broke after a weekend of eating there. 2nd lousy part? The people who got picked (yes, you have to go through a selection process, not just send in a form and turn up on the day itself happily), came for the Friday evening portion – and didn’t bother to appear for the rest of the workshop on Saturday and Sunday. Their spots could have been given to those who really gave a damn about learning something new, but didn’t get selected. If you say that you thought we were going to be building sets; well, that’s why there was a fracking programme given to you via email in the first place. (I swear, there was an androgynous-looking creature that came for one day, who actually rolled his/her eyes at me when he/she walked past me on the first day. What did I do wrong? Breathe?)

Well, back to work. It’s another dull Monday, and I feel like I haven’t slept in days.

The Ghost Riders Convoy in Kay-El….. Part 2 February 12, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Bikes, Events, Ghost Rider, Journalism, Photos.
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Today, we admire the Harleys and give some nice photo time to them……In a nice arranged order…
Arranged..

My Angle Shot…
Angle Shot...

Very Judge Dredd….
Judge Dredd bike

Yellow Big Mean Machine
Yellow Big Mean Machine..

Another Awesome bike
Awesome

Wheels and Chains
Wheels and Chains

Cool Blue…
Cool Blue

All the way from the States – Bike & Rider

Riders

Up close…

And today’s favourite is… the forgotten heroes who escorted the big ‘baddies’….
Traffic Police Bikes

Tomorrow we explore the photos on a more.. human side of the photos I took.

The Ghost Riders Convoy in Kay-El….. February 11, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Bikes, Events, Ghost Rider, Journalism, Photos.
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Very tired and long day. Unable to write much – brain has decided to go into meltdown. I have pictures though, they’re still uploading to my Flickr account, so it’s going to take some time.

Today was a promotion event organized by Traxx.fm, TGV and with Columbia Pictures here – showcasing a convoy of bikers in their Harley Davidsons following Traxx.fm and TGV to promote the new upcoming movie “Ghost Rider“.

Fun day, with me and Jasdevism pushing the limits as photographers, and me pushing my limit as a journalist. Pics here were taken with my tourist-like dinky camera. Enjoy…

Super Cool Blue

Bikes Parked

Jasdevism at his Art...

The Roses among the Thorns...

Cool Biker... Guess his Age?

Very Ghost Rider-like

The Biker Chef... and Wifey..

Next up... Gucci Bikers Gear!

The very cute-looking Mila

Remind you of Biker Mice from Mars?

And today’s winner is…

Kapchai Motor vs the Big Guns...

Kapchai Motor Versus the Big Guns…

Till tomorrow, au revoir!

Want to see more? Go here Flickr account.

Had fun, made new friends, learnt new things.

Thaipusam Pictures – 1st Feb 2007 February 1, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Events, Photos.
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Every Thaipusam, I visit the temple to pray. This is something my family (with the exception of one Christian brother) does every year. This year, my brother and I decided to stay back in Kuala Lumpur, instead of taking a trip back to Penang, and go to Batu Caves for Thaipusam instead. It would be my first time visiting the site (yes, I’m a useless Malaysian for never bothering to visit this place before, I know).

Here are some pics I took as we walked the looooong road from the car to the temple steps.

This bearer was already in a trance, carrying the kavadi :
Kavadi Bearer in Trance

This looks like a nice design, notice the star-shape:Kavadi Bearer Number 2

Lotus-themed kavadi… :

Lotus-themed Kavadi

A woman carrying a heavy jug of milk as part of her vow:

Woman With Milk Jug

This kavadi bearer is dancing – hard to tell in the photo though:

Kavadi Bearer Dancing

Imagine the amount of hooks on this guy! And there are people pulling on them behind him!

Ouch...

I quite like this peacock-feathered design on this kavadi :

Peacock-Feather Themed Kavadi

The golden statue of Lord Murugan welcomes the devotees:

Lord Murugan Statue

The kavadis on the way up the steps into the caves :

Kavadis heading for the Caves

A view of the devotees climbing the steps:

Devotees climbing the steps

All 272 steps up to the caves:

Crowd

You have to respect this kid for starting his vows young:

Young bearer

Next year, though, I think I’ll go back to Penang to pray during Thaipusam. It seems lonelier and more alien in this concrete city of Kuala Lumpur.

My Brother: Robbed and Nearly Axed- IN BROAD DAYLIGHT! January 25, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Drowmage's rants, Events, Injustice.
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I just got off the phone with Mom, who had told me about my brother getting robbed in broad daylight by 4 men, with axes in Seberang Perai (known as Mainland Penang, the piece that is stuck to the huge chunk of land called Malaysia, set apart from our lovely Pearl Isle).

Here’s the story I have from Mom, which I will further embellish with details from Bro once I get in touch with him:

Bro had followed the boss’ son to the bank, to bank in some cash. I’m not going to say how much, but let’s consider it about enough for a spanking brand new Gen-2.

Now, Bro had stopped at the traffic light, and saw in the rear-view mirror that there was a Toyota Altis just behind him. Surprised, he saw two Malay men getting out of the car and walking towards them, but as the light turned green, he thought nothing of it and moved the car forward.

Bro stopped the Mercedes-Benz at the bank, and manoeuvred the car right in front of the bank’s doors. Just as they got out of the car, Bro noticed the same car from the traffic stop, now parked right behind them and two men getting out of the car.

He smelled a rat. Something was wrong, and with a shout to the other passenger, urged him to get back into the car as he did the same.

Upon seeing this, the men reached into their car and pulled out axes, before starting for Bro and his friend. The assailants reached the car, and started smashing the windows of the car, while the two victims were huddled inside, fearing for their life. Being a Mercedes-Benz, and not one of those sardine-can type Protons you see around town, it withstood the first few impacts, but not for long.

Soon, glass flew everywhere, as the pressure of the window began to crack. Broken glass pieces landed in the passenger’s ears and even his eyes, and Bro was cut by broken glass on his arms. Finally, the evil doers made a hole in one of the windows, and reached in to grab Bro’s laptop bag, along with the money.

Everything was in a blur, and in a flash, the assailants, along with their two other accomplices, fled in their gold-coloured getaway Toyota Altis.

In all this time, let us note 3 very important things :

1) It happened in Broad Daylight, in Town, In front of People
2) The security detail at the Bank was nowhere to be seen
3) No passer-by called for help or bothered to do something

One hour later, the police came and took their statements. My brother, thank all the hundreds of deities and Gods in this universe, was alive. But his sense of security had been threatened. His livelihood, in his laptop was gone. His sense of belief in this country, robbed.

And for the Drowmage, it sucks because such a thing, which you only read about in the papers, has happened to one of your own. Your own sibling, of your own blood which you share with your father and mother.

And now, my friends, I will rant about this.

What has happened to this fucking country? Why does a person, in broad daylight, get attacked by 4 axe-wielding degenerates, in front of a goddamn bank? Where was the help?

Where was the security guard of the bank? Do you mean to say that because it didn’t happen in the bank, that it was none of their business to help?

What happened to the surrounding people? Where were they? Did they bother to call out for help? Did they call the cops? Or did they feign indifference, as people often do in this fucking country, and go about their business? Were they busy writing down the license plate numbers, so that they could go off and buy numbers from the nearest 4D punter shop?

Someone cited a case some time back that this one good Samaritan had chased a snatch thief down an alley and was stabbed to death instead, thus perhaps why no one had bothered to help my brother and his friend. I shot back that if a group of people had chased the snatch thief instead, the situation would have been reversed.

So where was group unity? Where were the things which we were taught about in those books, those movies, those damn TV series about honour, courage, bravery, and human unity? Where the fuck were these values?

Were they lost in the education system that crammed exam tips and answers down the students’ throats? Were they lost in the so-called universities that seem to churn out more and more students with sheets of ink covered, mashed tree sap sheets called degrees, yet were jobless, unable to speak the same level of English as their grandfathers without bloody degrees did 50 years ago before the independence?

Where are the values, instilled by our forefathers of our previous generations? Has everyone in this country gone blind, when no one cares anymore?

Or was it because, these degenerates, in knowing that these values and good things no longer existed, dared to carry out their plan to destroy the lives and security of others, because they knew they could get away with it?

Tell me, because I no longer have any answers anymore. I’ve given up on the system and human values.

“Anike” Review – On Being Overdramatic and A Bad Audience January 22, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Drowmage's rants, Events, Theatre, Theatre Review.
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For the full synopsis of the play, please refer to Cape Poetic’s website.

The Drowmage decided to watch the play “Anike” last Saturday at Wisma Kebudayaan SGM (Sokka-Gakkai Malaysia), not knowing what to expect, considering the last time the Drowmage had watched a play was about 2 years ago, back in Pearl Isle.

Delayed by about 10 – 15 minutes, the play soon got off to a rocky start. Or, in the Drowmage’s own perspective, a dull start. The two female central characters, Yasmine and Anike, were overdramatic, and Yasmine (played by Saw Jin Jin) was too soft spoken in the beginning. Anike (played by May Kung), on the other hand, had projected her voice enough, but seemed to over-emphasized every single word in a rather monotonous display. Both girls did not seem to deliver their lines with ease, making one wonder if they were reciting a poem instead of acting.
At this point, I begin to remember a joke about William Shatner’s acting in “Star Trek”.

Although the emcee had requested for everyone to switch off their handphones, it surprises me how many completely kiasu people there who don’t pay heed to this request. A handphone had the audacity to ring in the middle of this performance.

The overdramatic pronunciations soon begin to irritate me – and I start comparing this to the movie version of Shakespeare’s “Merchant in Venice” – where Ralph Fiennes spouts the famous “All the world’s a stage” quote, with such flow and finesse.

Yasmine’s voice and performance begins to pick up a bit later, when she tries to talk Anike out of going against the king’s edict. She becomes more confident with her lines, delivering them with better conviction, and the play begins to pick up at this point.

Same handphone rings again – and I recognize the ringtone as “Auld Lang Syne”. The owner of the phone quickly cancelled the call, or switch off the phone. Must have been the latter, because I didn’t hear a peep out of the phone after that.

After Anike has declared her intention to cut down her brother’s body from the tree, and perform a proper burial for it, the two girls hug each other and they soon leave the scene. Enter the Chorus elder, played by Sreekala Nambiar, who tells the audience a little background story to the events which led up to the two girls’ discussion.

Jayaram Menon soon comes onstage as Maniaka, the Raja (King). The minute he delivered his first lines, and cast a searing look at the audience, I swear I nearly cowered in seat there and then. (That’s what I call acting – to be able to draw your audience into the scene – to bring a suspension of disbelief that you no longer feel that you are in the hall watching a play, but that you are in the scene itself.)

The row in front of me had this 2 people, a guy and a girl, in probably their early 20s. They kept snickering through the play. What’s ironic was that they were sitting in the ‘By Invitations only’ seats. Friends of the cast? Perhaps they found their friend’s acting funny? I suppress my irritation here, out of courtesy.

The messenger (Aliakbar Campwala), who is also the guard in charge of keeping watch on Sirat’s body approaches the king in a way which made me wonder (and judging by the weak laughs from the audience) – if he was meant to be the comic relief – and as the dialogue progressed, I came to the conclusion… yes, he was the comic relief. Too bad he didn’t establish his presence as that in the beginning.

(Criticisms aside, I had to remind myself that the play was, after all, being spoken in verse, having been adapted from a poem. Nothing’s perfect in this world.)

The sound effects was not too bad, where it was required, but I kept missing some of the more important lines or words being delivered, as to the microphones which were placed at the bottom of the stage were not picking up the actors’ voices very well. The problem, I conceived, was due to the speech microphones that had been set up, which were normally used for presentations, speeches, etc. Later when I spoke to the director, Himanshu, and the sound engineer, Ashwin, they told me that they had hoped to get what was termed “Shotgun mikes”, which was used to pick up sounds from a further distance, without causing huge amounts of feedback.
Comparing Microphones for Events and Theatre

The Drowmage has no gripes about the lighting. I’m never one to concentrate much on lighting anyway.

The costumes were impressive, and I have to hand it to the designer, Mohammad Hanif. Although I realized in the beginning that the Rajah’s regal costume reminded me of Chow Yun Fatt’s armour in the recent “Curse of the Golden Flower”; when I mentioned this to Hanif after the show, he insisted that he had come up with the designs way before “Curse” started their production. I couldn’t help but joke, “So Zhang Yimou stole the designs from you?” amidst the laughter.

Maniaka vs Chow Yun Fatt Costumes

 

Anike and Yasmine come onstage to face the Raja for their crimes, and he sentences Anike to a dark and dreary cave filled with snakes. Again, their performance give me goosebumps.

Guy in front keeps shaking his legs throughout the play. Parents don’t seem to teach their kids manners anymore, I believe. I resist the urge to kick his chair. Manners, you see.

Intermission is announced after this scene, and I end up talking to Wong Pui Nam’s publisher from Maya Press, who gives me a free copy of the published “Anike”. Cheers to Maya Press!

Intermission ends, and we proceed with Act 2.

Here we finally see Nadim, the Raja’s son, entering the room and confronting his father for the punishment against Anike. Played by Lim Yao-Han, the character sounds instead like an American teenager. Remember Alex Pettyfer in “Stormbreaker”? His mouth hardly moves and he seems rather wooden. His voice did not project AT ALL – and with that, and the rather un-expressive acting, Nadim ends up looking like a defiant teenage brat who wants things his way, instead of a son who stands up for his beliefs and the woman he loves. The Drowmage doubts that this was what Wong Pui Nam was trying to express in the poem.

Himanshu Bhatt, the director, makes a cameo appearance in the play as the prophetic ‘Tok Seth’, a seer. His performance was good as the mad seer, especially when he goes all prophetic and begins telling the cruel king about the pain and suffering he will endure for the punishment he has placed on his subject.

The only other gripe I have were pauses in between the scenes, which took too long. However, at the end of the day, the three actors which held the play up were Himanshu, Jayaram and Sreekala, with very clear and precise pronunciation; and a great performance.

Jayaram had me caught up in a very dramatic scene, when he discovers his son dead after Anike has hung herself. Just as he was howling in anguish, the irritating duo in front of me began snickering and chortling. Until now, the Drowmage is still trying to understand which part of the jungle did the two of them crawl out from.

After the play, I cornered the irritating duo. “Hi there.”

They paused and looked at me, smiling.

“I was just curious, what was funny about the play?” I asked in a nice tone. I am, after all, really curious. And nice.

They giggled, and shot nervous looks at each other as I pressed on. “No, really, I’m curious to know. What was so funny about the play? You seem to be enjoying it and laughing, and I was wondering if I may have missed something there. After all, I didn’t find it funny.”

They giggled again, and the girl spoke up in badly-accented English, “The words are very funny!” and they both started giggling again. That’s starting to chafe at my nerves.

“I see… well, I didn’t find it funny, you see,” I smiled at them. “Thanks anyway, cheers.”

Invited guests?? Or merely freeloaders with no appreciation of the arts? You decide.

A friend did mention that it’s better if a play, especially a dramatic one, has a small turnout of intellectuals or appreciative audience, rather than a full house of <insert insulting description of choice here>. I concur. I recommend that you try to watch the play for its intellectual properties, its hidden message and its excellent performance by the senior actors.

Drowmage speaks: The review above is a critical opinion of the Drowmage, with no intention of harming anyone’s feelings. In terms of the sound quality, the Drowmage was, after all, sitting in the 5th row from the front; imagine the poor fellows who had to pay for their tickets and were sitting 10 rows all the way to the back.

Gridiron Gang – Hooyeah! December 7, 2006

Posted by drowmage in Events, Movie Reviews, Movies.
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I’ve got to admit, I only went to watch the movie for two reasons. Ok, three. One – The Rock. Two – Xzibit. Three – Gridiron.

The movie was just fracking awesome. It’s not completely based on all the events, but partially based on true life events, of 2 juvenile detention officers who get the worst of the kids in the juvenile detention camp together to form a football team, to play, on the gridiron.

For the ignorant, the football we’re talking about here is not the same sport played by a bunch of pansies who feel that overacting and rolling on the floor is the best way to get his opponent kicked out of the gameplay. Neither is this the game where you get hauled up for investigation just because you head-butted a motor-mouth pansy.

This, my friends, is the GRIDIRON. Good old American football. You may have heard of Americans talking about their precious NFL. The stuff of legend, where every head smash into the opponent makes you go “YEAHHHHHH!” And the Superbowl where the infamous ‘wardrobe malfunction‘ happened.
Truly barbaric, but why deny our bloodthirsty, nose-picking, butt-scratching and hairy ancestry?

Yes, a tear or two escaped the drowmage’s eyes during the brotherhood “you watch my back, I’ll watch yours” moments. The moments were good. Inspirational and all that. But it was every single head-smash and tackle which just inspired me to wish we had people playing this game in this country. It was every touchdown that brought a tear to my eye. And when Willy jumped over the fallen heroes, and scored his first touchdown – I almost jumped up out of my seat – but that wouldn’t have been smart. It was a cinema hall. Dang.

When we left the cinema hall, the first thing I did was turn to Mario, an Australian chap who was my housemate for a bit.

“Mate, did you do all the smashing stuff back in Adelaide?” the drowmage asked, referring to him playing gridiron for the Adelaide state team in Australia.

“Yeah mate,” he grinned. “We always went for the quarterbacks.”

Quarterbacks are always the smallest and fastest runners, but that made them free food for the fracking HUGE linebackers.

In case all these phrases don’t make sense, here’s a way to learn up a little on gridiron positions.

A definite must-see if you enjoy good smashin’ fun.

Meeting the cast of Sumo-lah December 1, 2006

Posted by drowmage in Events, Journalism, Sumolah.
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So I was planning to return back to Penang on Wednesday, when mom tells me she doesn’t really need me there. I log online, and Yap from the magazine I freelance with now corners me…

Yap: morning
Yap: was just about to call u
Yap: are u free tonight?
Me : er… why?
(Never say you’re free until you know if it’s worth saying so)
Yap: got event
Yap: at planet hollywood…
Yap: cast of sumo-lah will be there..
Me : *sigh*
Me : let me toss a coin….
Yap: aiks

So I flip the coin, and heads came up. Looks like a busy night for me again.

Reached Planet Hollywood after picking up Jon from the office – the downpour was awful and I drenched my Vincci shoes in puddles of water. In short – I ‘swam’ to Planet Hollywood from the carpark.

The cast was late due to the rain, met the nice ladies from the film distributor BVI (that’s Buena Vista International to y’all) . And… surprise surprise (not like I didn’t know he was part of the cast) , I met good ol’ Gavin Yap. The former “Red-Haired Tumbler of Malaya” is now all the rage on stage and doing a few TV shows. At least he still remembers me from Penang.

Pleasantries exchanged, numbers exchanged. Then I put my foot in my mouth.

” So.. er.. this movie is like your first step back into the movie industry after the previous one?” I randomly asked. Nevermind that I hadn’t been following the news on friends who turned to stars.

Gavin stares at me for a bit, giving me a weird look before telling me otherwise.

Note to self = next time do research on what friends have been doing, or else shut up.

So later Jon and I mingle a little with the BVI ladies, who were really nice to us. Images of scary dragon-like firebreathing distributors are slowly dissolving.

Eventually after much shuffling around, random photo shots and a few panicked questions from Jon “What am I supposed to be doing again?”, the cast of Sumolah , minus Inthira Charoenpura and Patrick Teoh assemble together and the director himself, Afdlin Shauki (this guy is just so awesome) goes up onstage to greet the crowd.

Now, for most events I’ve attended, they make you sit through the press conference, or the screening of the movie, or whatever else that happens before feeding you. This time, Afdlin announces that food is ready and invites us to dig in, before the activities start.

I could see it was going to be a fracking GREAT night…..

…. and end up eating half the food on my plate only.

Now, see, I need to explain something. I love food. I love to eat. Heck, I’m from Penang, island of great and awesome food you can’t get anywhere else in Malaysia (must be the clean water supply we have). But when I’m at an event covering it, I seem to lose my appetite, and not because I’m nervous, but because I’m so into the job that I can never sit still. Oh, look, there’s famous actor A. Oh, famous actor A is having his photos taken. Better join the fun or I’ll never get paid for the article. Oh darn it the food’s all cold and gross now. I think I’ll have a dessert. Oh look, famous actor B and C just walked in, have to chase for quotes and photos.

*sigh*

Plus points of the night : Met Vanidah Imran (The Red Kebaya) and husband Rashidi Ishak (Cinta), Sharifah Amani and mom Fatimah Abu Bakar, and the awesome Gurmit Singh.

Gurmit Singh, otherwise known as Mr Phua Chu Kang from Singapore’s hit TV series “Phua Chu Kang”. (The poor guy will be forever known as Phua Chu Kang unless he runs off into strong movie roles soon, hence probably the factor why he’s wrapping up the TV series with one last season.). Gurmit kept the audience entertained with his comments on why he joined the cast of Sumolah “I would have done it for free, but I signed the contract already” and how appreciative he was of the opportunity to visit his ancestors land (this guy is so rojak, with Indian-Japanese-Chinese ancestry, that’s he’s just so cool).

Mr Gurmit also remembered me for a rather unfavourable but funny reason. To explain this, I need to go back the night before this event, to the “Cicakman” gala premier at Cathay Cineleisure:

I was in the hall with the celebrities and the stars before the screening of the movie, and was randomly taking shots of famous local celebs. After taking a few photos of Anita Sarawak (talk show host, singer), I suddenly see Gurmit Singh and Afdlin Shauki, and go hey! photo opportunity!, take a shot. I took one lousy shot. Ok, nevermind, try again. I take a half-decent shot. Then I waved to them and asked them if I could take one more, and that’s when my camera battery ran out. *smack camera* *switch off/on camera*. Camera (no I’m not going to name her Sally or something weird like some people do) then decides it would be funny to humiliate me in front of the stars and sputters a whirring sound before entering the black hole of non-functionality.

Gurmit and Afdlin burst out laughing. I shrug and gave a grin, mentally trying not to sink into the ground.

Picture of Afdlin Shauki & Gurmit Singh before my camera died

Anyway, back to Sumolah – I waved at Gurmit when he arrived and asked if I could take a photo. He somehow recognizes me and asks if I have new batteries for the camera, and I laugh and say yes. Then tells the nice BVI ladies (Anna, Shu Mei & Michelle) how my camera died the night before. *sigh*Ah well, better to be remembered for something funny rather than something bad. I give props to Gurmit Singh for being a patient and really funny and nice guy in person. Makes me think most people who aren’t even celebrities are snobs (I said most, not ALL), and could pick up a thing or two from this guy. Well actually, all the celebs I’ve met so far have been really nice and awesome to me, so no complaints there.

3 times during the night, I keep trying to get a few minutes with Afdlin, and someone always grabs him away. But what was awesome was when it was nearly the end, and another TV station wanted to grab him, he saw me and said he would talk to me first, and even later said sorry and thanked me for waiting the whole night! Had a quick 15 minute interview with him, took a few shots, and chatted for a bit. He gave me a bottle of some sacred sand from the sumo wrestling ring, which was cool.

Highlight of the night :- made new contacts, talked to nice people, and ran into my favourite journalist from The Star newspaper, Mumtaj Begum. This is a woman who’s such a great writer.

Not so great moment of the night :- Stepping in puddles with high heels, getting lost on the way to Puchong and ending up in Ampang at 11.30 pm at night.

Check out the pics from the Night of Stars from Sumolah.