Monday, October 3, 2011

Understanding 1Malaysia through NASI LEMAK 2.0

 Copy from Borneo Post Online... by The Tired Eye. Posted on September 25, 2011, Sunday

THERE have been recent calls for the movie ‘Nasi Lemak 2.0’ to be banned because it supposedly contains ‘negative and racist elements’, while some say that the movie should not be screened, considering the director’s (Namewee) past issues with the government of Malaysia.

Thankfully, the movie has not been banned, allowing the Eye and many others to actually watch this supposedly controversial film about Malaysians.

The movie is generally about a chef who, in his search for the perfect recipe for a rice dish, discovers himself and what it really means to be Malaysian.

Racist? The word racist does not describe ‘Nasi Lemak 2.0’. Those who think that it does, definitely need a lesson in the English language.

Does the movie depict some manner of racial attitude? Of course it does. It is, after all, about a dude who is so wrapped up in his own little world of beliefs, coming out to discover that he will basically not get anywhere with such an attitude – should he not adapt, ‘localise’ and mix with other ethnic groups.

And yes, the movie also parodied recent racist remarks, but all in good humour and with the intention to lead to lessons to be learned.

Those who claim that this is racist, are probably racists themselves, are in denial, unable to accept reality and narrow in their mindsets. After all, “Siapa makan cabi, nya yang terasa”.

The Eye feels that ‘Nasi Lemak 2.0’ is a must-watch for every Malaysian.  The movie is mainly in Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese with Bahasa Malaysia, English, Manglish and Tamil. There are subtitles of course.
The Eye does not speak Mandarin, but understood and followed the movie very well. Any true Malaysian would appreciate the message that the production team is trying to get across through ‘Nasi Lemak’.
Fred Chong (producer), Namewee and their team have done an excellent job at featuring very real and typical attitudes found among some Malaysians, in a hilarious manner and with a budget of less than RM1 million.

They have also managed to use the essence of Malaysian food (a beautiful mix and balance of various ingredients from different ethnicities) to send a message that this is what it means to be a real Malaysian.
Datuk David Arumugam (Alleycats) in his role as an expert on Indian spices describes what is needed to attain harmony between races in the scene where he gives the lead character a lesson in spice blending.
There are many lessons to be learnt from the movie, first and foremost, on adapting, achieving balance and harmony through understanding and tolerance and what being Malaysian really means.
Also, about being ‘localised’ — who says you cannot sing in English to a Chinese tune or in a mix of other languages to a Bollywood tune?

And you learn not to judge a book by its cover – for example being Malay does not mean that you are not able to quote classical Chinese poetry in perfect Mandarin!

There are also claims that it is the producers of the movie (namely Namewee) who are using the ‘ban’ ruse as a publicity stunt for the movie. The Eye doubts that the production team needs such cheap publicity.

The movie features other big names such as Adibah Noor, Adflin Shauki, Patrick Teoh, Kenny and Chee and Reshmonu who each played their parts well in the movie. The Eye believes that despite it being a low budget movie, they were more than happy to be part of it for what it stood for – being Malaysian.

The Eye loves the way the movie pokes fun at recent scandals in Malaysia – in true sex, lies and videotape style. Eye bet the politicians who were involved in these scandals are themselves laughing at the parodies in the movie.

Malaysian produced horror films are also not exempt from being parodied in ‘Nasi Lemak 2.0’ – which makes it even more entertaining.

And yes, it also subtly features issues that are real and recent – getting 10A’s and not being offered a place for higher education, how almost everyone these days are on Facebook, problems with basic amenities, gangsterism, and a whole lot of other issues.

One would have to be sharp to catch on to these while watching the movie.
If anyone were to label a movie as a 1Malaysia movie, ‘Nasi Lemak 2.0’ would be it. It teaches us to laugh at ourselves. It makes us realise and accept the reality of our stereotypes and community related idiosyncrasies.
It makes us think –  hey yeah … this is so true!

And it makes you appreciate where each and every one of us came from, our different ethnicities and how we are able to adapt to one another.

If anyone saw this movie in a negative light, hey, get surgery or something to correct your selfish small, narrow, constipated minds.

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