I was surfing the TV channels one fine evening when an apparent “interview” with a primary school student stopped my mindless thumb action on the remote. He was bashful in the beginning, but after a short while, he began to open up and talked about his crush in school.
“Tan Hong Ming In Love” was one of the iconic TV ads I’ve ever seen, and soon to be the trademark of one brilliantly creative, yet “bared-to-the-bones” projects by Yasmin Ahmad.
The mark of great work is almost always the result of amazing teamwork, and without a doubt, Yasmin had a tight group of like-minded partners who shared her vision in delivering simple stories that never fail to remind us of our entrusted role as one of God’s creations on Earth. Every year, I looked forward to watching the Signature Yasmin Ahmad Petronas ads (aired in conjunction with the main religious/ social celebrations in Malaysia). They are usually done in black & white but, the breathtakingly simple yet poignant cinematography added with layman narration always leaves a pinch in the heart.
Every single time.
I do not personally know Yasmin, but it’s as though I know her because of her work. I absolutely adored her first film, Sepet, which was essentially a love story between a Chinese boy and a Malay girl, but it was not the romance that got to me, but the glimpses of differing cultural backgrounds and how they interact/ respond to certain situations based on their respective belief systems and their upbringing.
Being a product of mixed-parentage myself, I could totally understand what Yasmin intended to tell and I was so proud that she had the gumption to strip away the veneer the Majority tended to paint with regards to this country’s aspect of multiculturalism. And not be afraid to tell it as it is.
In fact, I’m a tad annoyed to even hear the tagline “we should be proud for living peacefully in a multicultural country” despite the fact that we’re living in the year 2012!
So as I meandered to the Top 10 non-fiction bestsellers section at Borders a couple of days ago, I saw a block of white with a grey slip-on cover which simply stated: “Yasmin How You Know?”
The book itself has no proper cover. Just pages and pages of thoughts and memoirs of those whose lives were touched and influenced by Yasmin. They were mostly those who have worked closely with her. Who had seen her at her happiest, not so happy, and in-betweens.
Within 30 minutes, I was already on page 102 and in that short time, I had giggled, smiled, and cried.
To me, this stark, bared-to-the-bones book may not possibly contain the breadth and depth of Yasmin’s legacy, but what it does is that it reminds us to keep things simple, be honest with ourselves (no matter how ugly it can get) and to continue to learn and evolve to become our better versions, every single day.
Yasmin, thank you for having the unwavering courage to walk the path you had chosen, and the imprints you have left in the hearts of many. They may strive to emulate your innate style and sensibility, but there is only one Grand Master in Storytelling.
You are always in my prayers.