(1) Finas’ decision to delay the general release of Tanda Putera will help defuse the racial tensions that are already rising.
The showing of the Tun Razak biopic aka the May 13 Movie in cinemas has been postponed from its scheduled Sept 13 debut although private screenings are unaffected.
Watched some 51,550 times on YouTube, the Tanda Putera trailer was greeted with overwhelming disapproval (screenshot below). Close to 4,000 – of those who voted – had disliked it.
(2) See promo poster below. Note the controversial tagline: “ejekan ‘Melayu balik kampung, Selangor kita punya!’ cetus pergolakkan (sic) 13 Mei”.
Blogger Anak Seberang wrote that “bangsa cina digambarkan pencetus huru hara 13 Mei”. His description tallies with the poster tagline indicating that the movie places the blame on the Chinese for sparking May 13.
However, it’s been reported that 30 percent of the scenes – edited as they were deemed too sensitive – have ended up on the cutting room floor.
(3) I’m unable to comment on the movie content was I was not invited to watch it. (DAPsters please take note: I am NOT in the charmed circle of pro-establishment bloggers).
Nonetheless, if it is true that director Shuhaimi Baba portrays the Chinese as being responsible for igniting the 1969 riots, then I must say that I’d find such a depiction to be contentious.
(4) Also I’m wondering if at all any reporters/established Malaysian film critics of Chinese descent had been invited for the pre-screening or if the preview was an all-Malay affair.
So far, Google search only yields the write-ups by Malay media and Malay bloggers to have watched the film. Among the bloggers: Papagomo (1), Papagomo (2), Papagomo (3), Gerakan Anti PKR (GAP), Medan Info Kita (MIK), Big Dog, and Zulkifli Nordin (also a Datuk and MP for Bandar Baru Kulim).
(5) The main cast of the film are Rusdi Ramli, Zizan Nin, Faezah Elai, Linda Hashim, Chekem Mirza, Hasnul Rahmat, Norman Hakim, Ali Steven Shorthose, Ngasrizal Ngasri, Syed Ahmad Nahar, Fizz Fairuz, Muniff Isa, Sakhee Shamsuddin, Razif Hashim, Nazril Idrus, Ismaizal Yusof, Nur Ashikin Kamal, Kavita Sidhu, Riezman Khuzaimi, Zaefrul Nordin, Kuza, Ida Nerina, Chew Kin Wah, Ahya U Rosli, Zoey Rahman, Alan Yun, Sharifah Shahirah, Ika Nabila (source: Tanda Putra Facebook).
The name list is Malay-Muslim with the sole exceptions of Kavita Sidhu who is co-producer of the movie, Chew Kin Wah and Alan Yun.
Chew is credited under “guest appearance” while Alan seems to have been given a small supporting role. He’s the guy in the car (see photo below) driving through Kampung Baru and set upon by armed Malays.
(6) Blogger ‘Anak Seberang’ reported:
“Dek kerana terlibat dalam filem kontroversi terbaru Shuhaimi Baba, Tanda Putera yang merakamkan peristiwa berdarah 13 Mei, dua pelakon berbangsa cina, Alan Yun dan Douglas Lim kena hentam kaw-kaw terutama di Facebook. Filem terbaru Shuhaimi Baba terbabit dikritik ramai kerana dikatakan memainkan sentiman perkauman serta memutar belitkan fakta sejarah.
“Facebook milik dua pelakon cina yang terlibat dengan filem berkenaan, Alan Yun dan Douglas Lim tak putus-putus dibanjiri dengan spam dan kata-kata kesat.
Mereka digelar ‘Anjing Pengkhianat’ dan ‘penjual maruah bangsa cina’ kerana dikatakan memalukan bangsa cina dengan terlibat dalam filem kontroversi tersebut di mana bangsa cina digambarkan pencetus huru hara 13 Mei.”
Alan Yun is arguably the most unpopular Malaysian Chinese on Facebook at this moment.
As the blogger ‘Anak Seberang’ noted, Alan Yun’s Facebook wall is covered with abusive comments. Many, many of the comments said “shame on you” (the DAP slogan popularized by Kim Guan Eng during Debate 2.0) while others called him a “race traitor”, “sellout” and needless to say, there were the standard insults like “y make yoself a BN running dog”.
(7) Elsewhere, the administrator of the Tanda Putera Facebook complained about the “hate squad gang” busy dropping bombs (see screenshot below). It is interesting that the page admin had observed: “They off duty after 5.30.”
Hmm, so the “hate squad gang” only works office hours? No OT meh?
(8) Skimming through the hate comments, I do not think they are predominantly the work of the Komtar Gestapo. Instead they seem to me to come from your run-of-the-mill Facebooker (a demography that overlaps with Twits). Their anger is understandable if the May 13 movie is presented from only the Malay point of view.
It looks to be so. In addition to Chinese writers being excluded from the preview, the whole pre-publicity exercise has been designed to cater for the Malay crowd and Malay sensibilities only.
(9) To respond to a question by my friend ‘A Voice’ who blogs at Another Brick in Wall on ‘Why delay the release of Tanda Putera‘? and by RockyBru too, re: ‘Why don’t they want us to watch this movie?‘, I believe Finas is doing the responsible thing.
The present climate of heightened politicking can only mean that the barbs traded across the race trenches will escalate and get more dangerously pointed. From the heated responses to Muhyiddin Yassin’s May 13 invocation a few days earlier, I would certainly expect DAP to be all guns blazing over Tanda Putera.
Delaying the screening averts the almost inevitable politicizing of the film as an election ploy for either coalition.
(10) Recall how Interlok and Namewee’s Nasi Lemak neatly split Malaysians along racial lines in our reactions.
The movie showing is better deferred to after the GE. Timing the screening post-election will also allow more justice to be done to the movie itself as hopefully the audience can, by then, view it with a less jaundiced eye (this applies to both sides of the divide).
As it is, Tanda Putera is tainted by the predictable allegations that it is meant to function as a BN vote catcher among the Malays by making the Chinese bogey a prominent talking point.