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What Were You Doing on ‘The 20th Day Of September’? June 6, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Amir Muhammad, Drowmage's Philosophy, Local Filmmakers, Malaysian Movies, The 20th Day of September.
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Amir Muhammad’s doing it again. He’s getting set to ruffle more feathers in the stoid set of society lions, and numerous other groups with a new film, this time about the day the phrase reformasi (reformation) was uttered not by a selected few, but by thousands in this country.

Check out the blog : http://20september.blogspot.com . It consists of a compilation of interviews done with a number of people who were watching, passing by, or part of the event that day. Mighty interesting stuff, and real informative too. Who says you don’t learn anything reading blogs?

No matter what people say, you have to totally respect Amir. I remember meeting him once at a screening of Fat Bidin‘s Look-East film, and asked him about the ban on his film ‘Village People Radio Show‘. He wasn’t too thrilled about the ban, but was going to re-appeal. In the meantime, Singapore was kind enough to not give two cents about banning a film that their brothers across the causeway had made noise over, so Amir was looking forward to the day the film opened there.

(I saw stills and a few clips of the interviews done for ‘Village People Radio Show‘. Just like any other documentary, stories from the survivors’ perspective. Nothing to ‘corrupt’ the young minds of this country today, I must say – so why the fuss?)

Back to the original topic  – does anyone really remember the 20th of September in 1998? I sure as hell don’t. I was only 18 then, and if I’m not mistaken, was getting ready to be utterly pissed drunk and smashed at a friend’s birthday celebration that night.

Years later, when I think back, I realize that the reason I didn’t remember what happened to the country was because I was afraid. Back then, if you even so much as uttered a word about what had happened – you wouldn’t know if the person around you was for the issue, or against it.

I remember a close friend of mine, Edzral, who months later came back from Uni (somewhere in Kelantan or Terengganu) for the holidays, and told me how he had joined the Youth group of Keadilan in the Uni.

I flatly told him that I valued our friendship more than anything else in the world – and told him that we would both keep our opinions of the whole issue to ourselves and never bring it up in a conversation ever.

Not because I was for or against what had happened (and neither am I even taking sides now, preferring to not give a damn). But because I didn’t want him getting arrested (it was a very sensitive time then), or me getting into trouble for discussing such things.

Now that times have changed, and with the wide use of the Internet; people have changed too. Sometimes not for the better, but at least, with a more open-mind.

So, I rise up my glass (of water, sadly I don’t try to get intoxicated anymore) to Amir for constantly trying to bring the truth to his films,  and for always pushing the limits. There are few local filmmakers out there who can safely attest to the fact that they are not governed by the sensitivities of the Censorship board, but bound by their art.

So, Jasdevism, when’s your turn?

Here’s some interesting bits I dug out – what does the 20th of September mean to other people outside Malaysia?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_20

Wiki has an paragraph about that special day in Malaysia :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysian_politics

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