Friday, April 25, 2008


I'm actually blogging this from an oil palm plantation near Kuala Pilah where we are shooting the first few episodes of Bilik No. 13. We began last Sunday and we are now into our sixth day of shooting. As usual production began with some teething problems because of our delayed starts.
The weather has been kind to us except for yesterday evening when it rained for about three hours.
We are currently shooting our Harimau Jadian episode and have two more days to go before starting on Kereta Mayat.
Enough said. For our fans, I will post some pics from the set in the next few days. Hope you find them interesting and keep your interest in the series which should be on air in June this year.
Will blog more from location as have now got internet access through the magic of 3G donggles.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Sometimes, the worse thing about production (TV and/or film) is the waiting. Waiting for the funding to be in place, waiting for artistes, waiting for the set up to be ready, waiting for the weather to clear, waiting for the sunset, waiting for the catering, waiting for inspiration, waiting for the whole damn thing to complete, waiting for QC approval from RTM, waiting for TX dates and finally waiting for payments.
This week was one of those weeks. Waiting for our drawdown to fund Bilik No. 13 has taken a toll on me. Production has been on hold for nearly two weeks, but alhamdullillah we should be able to move to location tomorrow and start shoot on Saturday.
We were hoping for some payment from RTM for previous products, but we are still waiting (hmmm there's a rumor going round that the Government is tightening its belt and payments to suppliers (including producers) will be soon at a trickle (meaning you'll be lucky to get payments within two months of receiving invoicing - so much for ePerolehan payments made in two weeks). The spectre of global recession on everybody's mind, late payments of a year may once again be the norm. Let's us pray and hope for the best.
Mom and Dad have been in Janda Baik for nearly a week already. They said they miss the place. Don't think Janda Baik is as nice as it once used to be and with the recent rains - the place actually floods! My Dad is also not too keen on cold nights these days, so I hope he keeps himself warm.
On the family scene, my number two son is bored as he is spending his semester break now. I think he has seen most of the movies in town and is waiting for the summer blockbusters to start - and I think that begins with Iron Man in a couple of weeks time.
I caught Daniel Lee's Three Kingdoms at the Curve Cineleisure Complex yesterday to pass the time and relax. As epics come, it is up there with the rest of the Chinese biggies, and surprisingly Maggie Q played her role quite well (this means, less dialogue more action!). But it' s the two leads - Andy Lau and Sammo Hung that carried the picture to its bloody climax. It was also heartening to see old favourite Ti Lung.
Well, I hope there's internet link or access in Kuala Pilah, cause I'll be there most of the time for about a month - making something to scare you guys during the lonely nights of June and July. Cheers!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


The week started badly for me. I went down to Kuala Pilah and Sri Menanti to check out potential locations for my series Bilik No 13. There to greet me and take me to the sites were Sri Menanti residents Annuar and Tengku Lynn (who is my Production Manager).
Our first stop was to check out the oil palm estates - a location for my season opening episode "Harimau Jadian". Immediately after that I went to a kampung house situated near a hillock that was being cleared. I happen to be attracted to this unusual clump of trees (about four of them) in the middle of an already cleared area.
As I neared it, I realised that there were two pieces of rocks jutting out from the ground in the middle of these trees.
The gravestones of YAMTuan Hitam. Picture taken minutes before I fell and hurt my ankle by the roadside about 30 meters from this site.
When I came back to the waiting car, I asked Annuar what the rock formation was - it looked like an old grave. Annuar told me that it was the grave of YamTuan infamous character from the past. Yikes! I had gone walking to a 'tempat keras' without giving my salams! And at that precise moment, I tripped and sprained my already bad left ankle. I fell hard on the ground, smashing my SLR's protective LCD glass. The glass shards cut my left palm. But the excruciating pain of my ankle being twisted was just out of this world. I nearly passed out but the makcik who was in the house where we parked our cars, called me in to lie down whilst she massaged my rapidly swelling ankle. She told me I should have 'beri salam' as it had just turned noon.
The rest of the day saw me sitting quietly in my car as I ordered my son, Abadi, to shoot more pictures of other locations. I couldn't walk without tears coming out of my ears.
A couple of hours later we decided to call it a day as I couldn't really function well. The next day, I went to Assunta for some XRays. Luckily there were no fractures, but the soft tissues were badly traumatised...hehehe. So - no golf again for TWO months...keep the weight off my ankle as much as possible, some pain killing pills and anti-inflammation tablets and I have to once again wear my ankle splints. Bummer!
So I had to postpone the shoot of Bilik No. 13 to next week Monday. Hopefully, it would have healed enough for me to at least be able to walk around in short stints. To fans of the series, we will be shooting around Kuala Pilah town (the Rest House area) and various spots in and around Sri Menanti. Don't be a stranger. Drop by and say hi.
The good news for the week? Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-2 at Anfield yesterday!! we meet Chelsea in the semi-finals.
Another piece of good news - Wendy's burgers are in town! My favourite burgers are back in KL!!! Yeay!! It's been months since I last had one in Jakarta (yes, I do rush to Wendy's whenever I'm in Jakarta) but now I don't have to. My favorite half-pounder is in town!!! And no they did not pay me to say all these things about their burgers k??!!
Here's my list of favourite burger joints: Joint first: Wendy's and White Castle (Jakarta and US of A).
Can some rich soul please bring back White Castle to Malaysia PLEASE!!!!!
In second place: Hotshots Burgers(Jakarta and the Philippines) In third place: Jackson's burgers in Section 14 PJ (go try the crab burgers!) In fourth place: Mike's burgers (In Thailand) In fifth place: Hard Rock Cafe Burgers (all over the world). Worst burgers I've ever tasted or burgers not worth the money you pay for it - The Daily Grind in Bangsar.

Friday, April 4, 2008


Yikes!!!! It's been like two weeks since I last blogged! So many things happened in these two weeks. During that time I quit my Exec Director's position in my Second Board company and as Director from my IT company which does E-Government stuff.
So with that out of my way, I have to (for the time being) concentrate on making Manjafilms the boutique production house it is meant to be. So last week, we started shooting Dapur Bujang's second season and by next week, Insya'llah (if funding falls into place) we start shooting the second season of Bilik No. 13 - the Prequel!
Now that will take two months out of my life - and we've got a deadline to meet - early June! I hope the fans won't be disappointed with the timing - but trust me the wait will be worth it, really!!
On a more sombre note - more sad news (a friend mentioned that my blog is getting to be more like an obit column). Al Fatihah to comedienne Yusni Jaafar, of a long ailment and liver failure. She was 63. Most fans of Malay comedy would know of her during her heyday in the 80s working alongside other top comedians. Of recent, before her health declined, she took on more serious roles as the typical Malay mom or grandmom in TV serials. Her daughter Raja Emma was once a top star acting in my mom's debut film Mawar Merah in the mid 80s.
Another acquaintance in the film industry also passed away. A one time film producer and director Dato Yuzwan Wahid, 51, (Antara Gadis (1993) dan Sama Tak Serupa (1995)), passed away after suffering from a chronic illness (not details) in Shah Alam a few days back.
I had just returned from a four day golf trip to hot (as in temperature lah) Chiengmai when Yusni passed away.
Meanwhile, I am still rushing to finish and polish the teleplays for Bilik No 13. Time is running out and my daily battles with the powers that be at SME Bank is giving me sleepless nights.