Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ice Kacang Puppy Love - A story about us

My current confidence level towards our local film production is at an all time high. Most of the Malaysian movies today aim to showcase our unique culture and I would say, most of them have succeeded. To me, Yasmin Ahmad kick-started this trend with her Sepet, Gubra and Mualaf; not to mention, her string of unforgetable Petronas advertisements. And then, there's Tiger Woo Hoo.

Lately,local favourite Ah Niu took the movie industry by storm despite this being new in the field of directing (Some casts also made very commendable debut appearances namely Gary Chaw Ge).

His movie, Ice Kacang Puppy Love stood out from other local productions not just due to its lineup of famous casts but the fact that it is much more successful in consolidating scenes we can all relate to.

As Malaysians, we should feel very lucky for 2 reasons:-

1. We have the right person to do it.

2. He is willing to do it.

Ah Niu has the network. After decorating our entertaining industry for more than a decade, he is successful in his own right and has many strings to pull. He knows very well our old traditions and old school culture based on his very own childhood experience. He sees the need to capture all these in a movie. Of course, knowing our culture is one thing. Portraying it in a humourous and contemporary way is another. But when done right,the result would be amazing. And I'm proud to say, this movie did just that.

He just did all of us and perhaps even our future generations a favour as these traditions may very well become very less-known if not extinct in the future as urbanisation continues to pick up pace.

Old buildings, old notes, playing marbles, telekom phone booth, old police uniform, rotiman on wheels - they may be foreign to our grandchildren. As it is, we are already less 'adventurous' compared to our parents. How many of us can climb trees?

As a first-time director, it took Ah Niu 6-7 years of hardwork and lots of money to make this film possible. He poured in millions of his very own Ringgit and even had to made a demo of the film to convince others into joining his production (Yes, he still needed to go the distance to sell his idea despite his reputation in the industry).

Assembling such an interesting line of casts requires vigorous coordination effort but he pulled it off. It is heartwarming to see many Malaysian artists who made it big overseas, willing to spare some time to make this noble project possible.

The filming took place mainly in Tronoh (near Ipoh) while some scenes were shot in Penang. Oustanding cinematography differentiates this movie from the rest, especially the part which the camera shot from inside the river.

Some picturesque scenes were made possible by quality filming. And of course, the brilliant music added to the film's success in stirring various emotions out of the audience.

The ending wasn't exactly a fairytale one but hey, not every pupply love ends up down the aisle.

We should all be very proud of this production. Our local film industry has just been lifted up a notch and hopefully, Malaysians will continue to be entertained by more quality movies.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Hiking Broga Hill, Semenyih

I don’t hike that much back home. In fact, I’ve seen more of Australia’s beauty through Kosciusko, Cradle, Ainslie and the many nature parks in Australia. Thankfully, today, I was able to enjoy Malaysia’s.

It was worth waking up at 3.30am this morning to enjoy my first sunrise in Malaysia with my sis and friends.

By the time we fetched the rest and found our way to the foot of the mountain, it was already close to 6.30am and it was still pitch black. A smart lady was there selling torchlight that has this special 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 feature. There were also stalls selling fruits and refreshing beverages but they don’t open as early.

A bumpy ground defined the initial part of the journey before the steepness started to keep us busy.

Some stretches were quite dangerous.

They do have strings at some points but hikers could definitely use a bit more safety measures.

It was rather cloudy this morning so we didn’t get to see much sunrise at all.

This was about it.

All was not lost though. The view from one of the few peaks was breathtaking especially after the sun rose.

Photographers who were initially disappointed with poor shots at dawn were able to snap some good pictures with a bit of help of the sunlight.

The beauty of macro-shooting.

Nice silhouette!

There were certainly more people than I thought!

Some regular hikers. Mind you they were actually meditating, not merely posing for me =p

We were lucky enough to see a few rainbows.

I asked my sis and her friends to pose as if they were hiking and they were very amused by this picture =p

Walking down was tedious in its own way as we have to watch out for some 'flying foxes'.

Notice that little kid

Boy, he was quick! Gave all of us a shock.

Sevvy was so traumatised that she immediately chanted some prayers.

..while my sis did her own 'flying fox' trick =)

How far was the hike? Well, it certainly felt more than 1.7km but 4.8km? hm let us give ourselves the benefit of the doubt, shall we? =)

On we way back, I noticed, located nearby Mr Bronga was the Malaysian Campus of University of Nottingham which I thought was pretty cool though unbelievably inaccessible. How can you not own a car if you were to study here? Location wise, it seems really pale in comparison with Taylors, Inti, Sunway and the like. However, it does give its students a bit more of a campus feel. And it is University of Nottingham at the end of the day. My, just the word ‘Nottingham’ itself reminded me of Hugh Grant.

Beside the campus was a Biotechnology Research Center which provoked a sense of pride towards my country. Innovation… we’ve heard of it countless times. Everyone seems to be slipping this word in their inspirational speeches these days especially following the announcement of the long-awaited New Economic Model by our PM. I wondered how many of research centers like this are there in our country…how developed are much have they contributed. Biotechnology was one of the hyped-up choices of degree during my time, after Information Technology has had its glory days. Have government made good use of our biotechnology graduates? If Kai Xun, Jason, Su Yin, Felix, and other biotechnology graduates were to serve back home, they could be posted here, right here in Semenyih.

Ah…random thoughts. I did sleep in the car after that, while my sis was doing all the driving =p Terima kasih!