The Passing of the Storyteller

Yasmin Ahmad passed away. When I heard the news last night, I was very much saddened to know that one of the brightest, if not THE brightest and boldest creative soul of Malaysia has left us. I started to recall the warm-hearted Petronas advertisements, I started to recall scenes from her movies, I started to recall her as a person who can be so vehemently stubborn at times but is always, always, so kind. Always so intelligent. Always speaking to your heart. And sometimes cheeky.

I remember the time I worked with her when I was managing the movie channel and we were organising a short film award. The dream that I had was to offer another opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their work and get an opportunity to get started. It was a dream and pet project and I got everything I wanted. We managed to get Tayangan Unggul to sponsor a filmmaking deal with them, we have the TV channel as a platform to showcase their work to all Malaysians, etc. And best of all, I managed to get in the team a group of creative people that I admire tremendously to help in the project.

So all said and done, we had help from James Lee, Osman Ali, Tan Chui Mui, Amir Mohammad, Ho Yuhang, Liew Seng Tat, Deepak Menon, etc. The gang of independent filmmakers that I truly admire, for their spirit, boldness and industry. And we almost had Yasmin Ahmad.

I remember her vehement opposition to the choosing of the winners at the end and she has written at length trying to convince us why she thinks such and such a work is better and more deserving etc. Wow, she can be just so creatively stubborn. When she believes in something, she will stick to it to the end. And in this spirit, I admire her tremendously and even though she didn’t make it to help us, we remained friends and she still calls me affectionately as “hdoong”, the nickname that I use when I commented on her blog, where I first got to know her and she got to know me.

Yasmin, Thank You and may you Rest In Peace. You will always, always be remembered.


Filed under Movies

2 responses to “The Passing of the Storyteller

  1. Hi Ho —

    Like you, I’ve had the privilege of meeting Yasmin Ahmad. Can’t say that we were friends though but one didn’t have to be a friend of hers to realise what a special person Yasmin Ahmad was. Her passing is a great loss — the the film and advertising industries and to Malaysia as a country. Her work and her very life embodied what I wish Malaysia could be more of: truly Malaysian, and all the better for being so.

    On an emotional note: I’ve not felt so down as well as shocked about hearing about an entertainment personality’s demise since Leslie Cheung back in 2003…

  2. P.S. I know you’re very busy these days but could you PLEASE — as a tribute to Yasmin, among other things — translate the lyrics of that Sam Hui song that you hear as the opening credits of SEPET roll?

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