Monday, June 30, 2008


My friends know that I am a Liverpool fanatic, and therefore it's only right that I support the team with the most Liverpool players in the final of the Euro Cup 2008. Early this morning, Spain, with Fernando Torres and (later in the game) Xabi Alonso, beat Germany 1-0 to become the Euro Champions after a long wait. The goalscorer was, of course, Liverpool's Torres (see pic below).I was with about a thousand other football fans that thronged the Pavilion walkway in front of Carlos Mexican Catina. Other restaurants - Michelangelo, Jade, Coffeebean, Starbucks and La Bodega were also opened for business to cater the footie fans. Three giant screens allowed excellent view for the fans from all angles.
But whatever angle you view it from, Spain was the better team and should have scored at least three more goals.
From the shouts and the cheers, it was obvious that Spanish fans outnumbered the German supporters and in the end, the Spanish fans, including me, were jubilant.
So ends a month of Euro footie and we fans will now have to wait for the English premier season to start in a couple of months time to sate our thirst for soccer.
By the way, in the final, there wasn't a single Manchester United player in sight. Ballack (Chelsea), Lehmann (Arsenal), Fabregas (Arsenal), Alonso and Torres (Liverpool) (reserve goalie was Pepe Reina also of Liverpool). Nuff said.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


It's been a busy couple of days for the family, especially the wife and kids. On Saturday, Iliya's and Dylla's school, APIIT, in Subang, is hosting the annual Charity Bazaar and they were busy preparing for it.
Puteh especially has been extremely busy bringing little pots of herbs and plants to the school as she had planned to set up a small stall selling the stuff. In a week, she sent more than two dozen pots an the stall became a small shop.

All sort of herbs (the ones she grows in our garden - which will be soon declared a national forest reserve) - were there for sale. She was herself quite excited as it would be her first time selling her much loved herbs. All the proceeds from the sale of her herbs went to charity.

Iliya or Yaya (or Adi as his friends call him) was also busy preparing with his classmates his version of an Egyptian maze. I believe he would be a successful businessman as he knew the value of using pretty girls to market his product (see pic below). Too bad his target audience - which were primary school aged kids - couldn't care less. Nevertheless, the girls who were wearing Egyptian togas did their job quite well.

Dylla (below) took the easy way out during the bazaar by volunteering to man the Playroom for young kids.

Hadi, my number two son, who is on a semester break in UIA, helped out his mom along with our Indonesian maid.
I went for a while to lend my support but had to leave around noon to go and participate in the Hari Seniman Golf Tournament organised by Papita and Finas held at the Nilai Springs Golf Culb in Negri Sembilan. I shouldn't have because I played a horrendous game of golf and ended up carding 113 strokes and propped up the rest of the field.
It was my worst outing ever and I didn't stay on for the dinner because I wasn't very well going to stay to receive the wooden spoon award! Anyway, playing in my flight were Tengku Dato' Annuar, Harun Salim Bachik and Zulkifli Azahari (or Ijoi). Other familiar names that participated in the tournament were Ahmad Idham (director of Jangan Pandang Belakang), Ahmad Tarmimi Siregar, Dato Malek Redzuan, Thorpe Ali and actor Zul Yahya.
Anyway, the night before, I attended a dinner organised by Finas, as they do annually, to celebrate the participants of the film industry. The dinner was held at the One World Hotel in Bandar Utama. (Surprisingly for a new hotel, One World seem to be getting a lot of government dinners, events and functions).
Anyway, the dinner was also held to pass cheques to producers whose films receive tax rebates and also launch four books published by Finas (including my father's book Tiada Kata Secantik Bahasa which contains most of the lyrics he wrote over a long period of time).
I also planned to give a copy of my father's latest autobiography (published by DBP and not the one published by Finas) to the Culture Minister - YB Dato Safie Apdal, but he couldn't make it (according to Finas Chairman Tan Sri Dato Dr Jins Shamsudin, Shafie had to attend to more important things - which means that the dinner to 'meraikan industri filem' wasn't really that important).
So whilst the Finas Chairman continued putting his foot into his mouth, which he is already acclaimed for, we were waiting for the Chinese eight course dinner to start.
I think, someone should advise organisers of government dinners a little something about dinner music.
Music over dinner should be light - to allow diners to savour their meal and hold conversations. Unfortunately, organisers for most government dinners, especially in the creative and entertainment industry, deem it an apt time to deafen the ears with loud and blaring music.Imagine, the first course is accompanied by a dance performance to loud pop music. And what's worse, for a dinner celebrating local culture and arts, the dancers were dressed in western outfits and BLONDE wigs!!! (see pic above) Couldn't they instead perform an elegant local Malay dance? Guess
And then, dinner was further enhanced by the presence of a local band which at best match the standard of a typical Malay kampung wedding. Wow! The music they played was quite excellent to start indigestion. To make things worse, in their first set, they performed a bad version of a Santana song and a couple of Indonesian pop songs. I guess the musicians haven't heard of the genres called Keroncong or Asli.
To take the cake, they were dressed as rock stars - no suits or batik - just jeans, shirts, tee-shirts and most probably Dr Cardin shoes. And later that night (maybe they heard my mind thinking about them not performing Malay songs) - the lead singer, complete with dreadlocks, did sing a Malay asli number. Talk about jarring images.
Anyway, most of the diners (the guys mostly) took time between courses to leave the hall and have a puff outside and away from the dreadful music.
The traumatic experience lasted about two hours. We shall see what awaits us next year.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Silat has long been considered an esoteric martial arts form by the few Westerners that have heard of it or seen it. Recently, on history channel, the series Human Weapon, gave silat an international boost by showing two Westerners, one a champion martial artist and the other a footballer turned wrestler, learning and taking on silat fighters in Malaysia.
Though some of the fights were definitely staged, the segment when the two kweilohs 'studied' silat harimau was quite fascinating. See the video clip below.

I remember TV once screening a local production that traced the various silat forms in the country - if I'm not mistaken the series was called Mahaguru and was directed by a silat exponent named Razak or Jak. Since then, we hardly see any dramas or TV series or documentary that promotes or demonstrates true or pure silat.
Even the movies have not been forthcoming with silat. Wonder why? Are we too ashamed to show our deadly martial arts to the world? Don't we want to share our beautiful martial arts with the rest of the world?
We filmmakers seem to be too preoccupied with the muay thais (ong bak), the kungfu (any bloody Jet Lee movie), the karate and judo of Japan, the taekwondo of korea and the Jeet Kune Do of Bruce Lee.
There was a time when even silat dramas in the early 90s, produced by HVD, unabashedly promoted Hongkee style martial arts as that of silat.
I know a few film directors who strived to show silat in its original form and this include Uwei Shaari whose Keris Lok Tujuh was one of the best TV dramas that exhibited Malay silat exquisitely.
In the early days of Shaw Brothers, the silat shown was basically silat wayang and whilst many said the best silat on show was that in the movie Hang Jebat and/or Hang Tuah, I beg to differ. There have been many other Malay movies that showed silat in better light than those two over-rated movies.
Many also think the late P. Ramlee was a true silat exponent. Hehehe..he wasn't. If you see one of his later movies like Enam Jahanam, his movements were rather comical and sad at the same time.
Then there was a time when we tried to outdo the Indonesians, whose silat in the movies were also laughable - with fighters flying like superheroes on steroids. Some of the more memorable so-called silat movies from across the straits include Si Gondrong and Si Buta.
I even remember a rumor about the famous silat-trained actor Dicky Zulkarnaen (who has a gorgeous daughter mind you) who was said to have had a secret duel with Bruce Lee. According to the myth, Dicky executed his famous death punch on Bruce Lee that would only have an effect on Bruce sometime later.
So it happens, the so-called secret duel was said to have been held a few weeks before Bruce Lee's death.
Of course this is nonsense, we know Bruce Lee died because of the infamous curse of the dragon and that angry kungfu masters poisoned him for revealing Chinese kungfu secrets to the West. Hehehe.
But to tell you the truth, I have seen Dicky and his silat boys perform and they were very deadly and scary. They can break metal bars in half with their fingers and heads!!
Okay okay..coming back to the topic at hand, we filmmakers should be taken to task for not promoting silat properly. I mean, do we want to show the world that Malay silat is the one you see in Saw Teong Hin's Puteri Gunung Ledang? Puhleezzz.
When I did Tuah with Jamal Abdillah (who wouldn't really know what silat is even if it slaps him in the face), I needed a good silat choreographer. Luckily, I found one - Pak Engku, who had also choreographed the silat scenes in Rahim Razali's Matinya Seorang Patriot.
Pak Engku was great. He knew what I wanted and he helped make Jamal look good on camera.
Nevertheless, I wished I had casted someone else (but I wasn't the producer) but I ended up with Jamal. So I really had to make do with him.
Below is an excerpt of the fight scene in my movie version of Tuah. I have also found various silat scenes from Malay movies including the ridiculous silat scene from the movie Putri Gunung Ledang for you to watch and compare. Enjoy.
If an obese and untalented actor like Steven Seagal can popularise Aikido, I don't see why we cannot find someone to promote silat as the deadliest martial arts in the world. Unless of course you saw Ong Bak and feel Tomoi is deadlier.
Jamal as Tuah fights a silat champion on the beach.
Hang Tuah as superman fights the Majapahit prince in Puteri Gunung Ledang directed by Saw Teong Hin.
P. Ramlee takes on the Tuah role and fights Tamingsari in this movie directed by Phani Majumdar.
Interesting silat sequence from the movie Sultan Mahmud Mangkat di Julang. Mustafa Maarof stars as the hero in this black and white mini-epic.
Uwei directed this TV series Keris Hitam Bersepuh Emas and shows that he respects the Malay fighting arts.

Rahim Razali directed this film Matinya Seorang Patriot. The scene is choreographed by Pak Engku who also did my Tuah fight scenes. Eman fights Zulkifli with machetes.
A fight scene from a typical Indonesian martial arts movie starring Barry Prima. Influence from Shaw Brothers movies quite evident.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Not many Malaysians leave Kuta, Sanur, Ubud or Legian for other parts of Bali.
I decided to try Candidasa and Manggis for a day - just to find out what the district of Karangasem has to offer.
As I expected, Candidasa and Manggis are virtual unspoilt areas in Bali - very minimal nightlife (if any) and loads of romantic resorts along its rocky and black sandy beaches.
For sightseeing, there's quite a few. The majestic Gunng Agung with its cloud covered peak is something to witness. And if you are adventurous, there's quite a number of temples at its foot including the biggest mother of all Balinese temples - Besakih.
As also mentioned in my earlier posts, there's also the beautiful Water Palace in Ujung (see the two pics below).

But where to stay?
Well, if you're a couple and want really something romantic and secluded - you could try the Alila Manggis (pictures below).

It is a very well managed resort though slightly lacking in its Balinese appeal. Don't get me wrong, mind you. You still know that you are in Bali - but the architecture, interior decor and landscaping are not overly traditional.

A standard room (standard as in luxury standard) is about USD110 a night plus 21 percent taxes. This includes breakfast. Other rooms are much much pricier but the standard room is more than acceptable. It is quite spacious and the retractable doors leads you into the resort's gardens and (rocky) beach.

Of course the ladies would be thrilled with excellent spa facilities with treatments starting at about USD50. You could even get your massage on the open air bale-bale facing the sea and its breaking waves.
Fortunately, I was there during at a time when the hotel organised a full moon cocktail.
They had prepared an open air area near the beach with nice seats and cushions laid out around a couple of Balinese singers who sang praises of the moon. All these done under the moonlight, a few candles and storm lamps.
Cocktails were on the house, including some local delicacies. Not sure what the delicacies were because I suspect the service sort of ignored me as I was the only non-caucasian guest sprawled on the sofa. I was waiting and waiting but only the cocktail arrived.
I also noticed the GM, the deputy GM and the management trainee (she was from Holland I think) mingling and introducing themselves to the caucasian guests - but me. Hah! I guess the buleqs only service the buleqs.
I stayed only for a night but that was enough for me. I don't see myself staying for more than one night in that area unless of course I'm not alone.
Having said that, I checked out of the resort around noon to make my way back to crazy Kuta before taking a flight back home in the evening.
My rating: 6 out of 10 stars (lost about two stars when they ignore me during the full moon cocktail)

Thursday, June 19, 2008


People travel to Bali for various reasons - the surf, the spas, the bohemian nights, the culture, the architecture, the food, the gamelan, the dance, the shopping, the hills, the temples and many others.
I came this time to once again attend the opening ceremony of the Balinese Arts Festival and to engulf myself in everything Bali (except the Babi Guling lah).
Bali and Indonesia (note that I separate the two) and Thailand, to me are the three most fascinating destinations in the region in terms of arts and culture. Everything they do is steeped in culture. Including their hospitality industry.
Most people are spoiled for choice when choosing for a place to stay in these places. So I thought, I might as well come out with my own recommendations.
Please note that these places that I chose to stay in are selected due to my own particular reasons. For example, during this trip, I decided not to stay in boisterous Kuta - as it was time for me to relax, recuperate and rejuvenate after at grueling 50-day shoot.
So I browsed the internet and found about a resort called Segara Village in Sanur.

It was listed as a four star hotel averaging about USD100 per night. Pricey - but then again the photos on the site begged me to try this place. Furthermore, it is quite near to the location of the Bali Arts Festival in Denpasar (as opposed to more popular hotels in Kuta and Nusa Dua).
Segara (Ocean in Balinese) Village is a wonderful resort. It is located in Jalan Segara Ayu in Sanur and is secluded enough to offer you a sense of being away from it all.
The Balinese features of the newly renovated resort welcome you and lulls you into a sense of well being. Music resonates throughout the whole resort (piped in through hidden ground speakers). One would have preferred 'live' music welcoming you, but the mellowness of the jegog and gamelan sounds from the many hidden speakers forgives the resort for not hiring live musicians.
The resort sprawls over a few acres and has three pools - including an enticing jacuzzi bar.
The room I had was situated in a cul-de-sac facing a small pool (pic below). Whilst the exteriors were Balinese, the interiors of the rooms were very Ikea-ic.
Plus points for the room was an excellent bed (firm and big) though slightly on the high side. I personally do not like spring beds and therefore would have given the resort minus points if it had low quality spring beds. It also has a full blown home cinema system allowing you to view your RM4 pirated DVDs in relative peace.
Minus points? It isn't a Balinese room. It doesn't have the traditional open air shower. The room is also hardly romantic.
The resort is, of course, connected to the Sanur beach. Its infinity pool, situated alongside the resort's cafe, stretches to the entrance to the beach (see picture below).
The beach isn't much to shout about. It isn't that white nor powdery. The waves too aren't that huge. but I guess for the many mat sallehs that I see, they were more interested in sunning themselves than wetting themselves in the sea.
Nearby, a few restaurants and shops dot the beach and therefore you don't really have too many locals hawking their goods to your face every other second.

Sanur itself is a laid back area - mostly restaurants and minimal souvenier shopping. Those who wants a rollicking good time may instead opt for hotels like Hard Rock Hotel and Harris in Kuta, but if you need a quiet holiday, Segara is a good choice.
My rating: 7 out of 10 stars.
The resort I'll be reviewing next will be the Alila in Manggis.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I've covered most of central and northern Bali in my previous trips. The furthest East I've been was to a small little village called Tihingan, a place known for its gamelan foundries.
So I decided to skip the Arts Fest (see more pics of arts fest above) and head towards the East in the district of Karangasem and Manggis, including Ujung where the famous Water Palace is located.
Our trip to the East was very scenic because I wanted to take a route that passes near the majestic Gunung Agung.
Furthermore, my tour guide and driver, Jamal, wanted me to have late lunch at his house in Karangasem.
The trip was over two hours, passing hillside paddy fields, beautiful gorges, classic Balinese temples and crazy Indonesian drivers.
It was about 3pm when we arrived at Jamal's place and lunch was ready. His wife, a native of Lombok prepared a simple yet delicious lunch consisting of kuah lemak Tenggiri, ayam goreng, tahu goreng and kulit sapi goreng. He also prepared sambal terasi or belacan for me, not knowing I have reflux. But hey, I always carry my Xantac or Nexium with me so no problem there.
Immediately after lunch and meeting his family, we went to the Water Palace in Ujung which was about 20 minutes away from his house.
The Water Palace isn't ancient. The only original part of the Palace still standing is a Gazebo vantage point on a hill facing the ocean. The original Water Palace it seems was nearly totally destroyed by a volcanic eruption in the 70s and has since been restored - therefore, the palace did not have that feeling of antiquity - but nevertheless it is a beautiful sight.
From Ujung we went looking for a place for me to stay the night as we are quite a distance away from Denpasar. After awhile, I decided to splurge a little bit and stay at Alila Manggis.
Whenever I'm in Jakarta I would most probably stay in Alila, a superb business class hotel, so I'm sure Alila Manggis would be much better since it is a beach resort.
Unfortunately, Alila does not feel like a Balinese resort, but like its Jakarta hotel, a very comfortable modern beach resort with Balinese accents.
The standard room is about US100 per night (off peak season price) but it is well worth it. It is spacious, with a huge queen size bed - firm and comfortable.
It has an ocean view and wifi internet connection!! (I'm updating this blog from my room).
I also arrived on the day of the full moon, so the hotel actually organised a cocktail party to greet the full moon - and there I was with my puzzle book sitting on the beach with about eight other couples (all kweilohs or bulegs) sipping martinis and other cocktails whilst a Balinese couple sat cross legged in the centre singing and praising the full moon in old Balinese language. The singing was haunting yet soothing. It ended around 8p.m. and the mat sallehs disappeared for their dinners.
I went out looking for Sundanese food but most restaurants served babi guling and sate babi so it was difficult for me to make a choice.
I ended up in a restaurant called Lotus - and no, they don't serve Thoseis but a mixture of Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and Balinese fare.
I ordered a Balinese style grilled fish - tasy but somehow I lost my appetite and returned to the hotel - straight back to my room.
Tomorrow is my last day, and I plan to spend some time in Denpasar before catching the 8pm flight back to Kuala Lumpur....argggghhhh....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Today is my fourth day in Bali. Arrived late Friday afternoon with my wife and settled in at the rather quiet but beautiful Segara Vilage Resort in Sanur. My friends wanted to know why I'm staying in Sanur when the action is in Kuta, and I said "Exactly!".
I've been to Bali many times, and after my first few tastes of Kuta, I try and avoid it if possible. I'd rather be in relaxing Sanur or in the cool airs of Ubud. Just one night in Kuta is more than enough.
Anyway, this trip, I wanted to catch once again the colorful Bali Arts Fest in Denpasar and Sanur is much nearer.
The Festival, now in its 30th year, is one of the most spectacular events in our region - if anyone loves culture, performing arts and anything Bali, they should make it to the festival which runs for one month.
It opened with a spectacular 5 kilometer parade of Balinese dancers (albeit with one colorful Korean dance troupe). I have never seen so many beautiful dancers in one event ever before - yeah, I know the Mardi Gras has more skin. I think there was at least 1,000 dancers that walked the parade in their beautiful outfits - and they weren't just walking, they were performing the Lenggong, the Barongan and other beautiful dances. The musicians too were marching down the Renon street right in front of the massive monument dedicated to the sacrifices of the Balinese people.
The Indonesian President Bapak Susilo Bambang Yudhiono was present to witness the parade.
I was lucky to get a vantage view of the parade as I went early (five hours early to be exact) and sat in a small restaurant secluded right behind the main podium. When the parade started all I had to do was walk 2 meters and I was right in the middle of the parade.
(I will post some pictures soon and also maybe a video of the parade)
That night, the festival began in earnest with the grand opening at the Artha Hall at the Denpasar Festival Grounds. Thousands came as did the parade.
The festival will run everyday until July 12th. There are at least 12 performances everyday on the grounds from 10 am in the morning. In between the performances, the grounds are filled with various stalls selling jewelry, batik, souvenirs, traditional items, DVDs, toys, food and drinks and everything else Bali. My wife, Puteh, had a grand time on Sunday at the site - buying herbal stuff and natural oils.
She did that alone because I was playing golf with some friends at Handara Kosaido Golf Course up in the hills of Bedugul.
She returned to KL on Monday and left me all alone. Heheheheh. Well, I did say I wanted to stay on to see more of the festival and I did. And it is excellent - the music, the color, the dance, the smells, the beautiful clear skies of Bali and the bright singular full moon shining down on the island of Gods.
I love this place. Maybe I should write a story and produce a TV series about this little wonderful island.
I will write more when I get the chance to. This time around, I'm writing in a Gloria Jeans cafe in Kuta (like I said - if I have to come to Kuta, I have to).

Thursday, June 12, 2008


As luck would have it, tomorrow is our last day of shoot. Due to technical problems we stopped our shoot in Mini Malaysia, Ayer Keroh last Sunday. After much discussion with my production team and my post production outfit, we decide that we only needed to shoot minimal scenes tomorrow and in KL area.
So, having said that, I did not know it would be Friday the 13th. Guess, in these terms, we will be shooting Episode 13 of Bilik No. 13 on Friday the 13th - damn lucky! Cool or what!!!
Anyway, I won't be helming these last scenes tomorrow. I will be going to the land of Gamelans and Ktjak - Bali tomorrow morning for 8 days.
On Saturday - the opening ceremony of the Bali Arts Festival begins in Denpasar I do not want to miss out on the spectacle.
My wife, who celebrated her birthday yesterday, will be coming along.
Luckily for you guys, Bali is very wifi friendly and I can update my blogs from there.
Oh ya, for Bilik No 13 fans, and also those who follow my other series, Dapur Bujang, I've started blogs for both of them - and I will not write much more about the series in my blog as that will be taken up by their respective blogs. I have other stuff to write about in my own blog, ya...especially things like last Tuesday's meeting with the new Information Minister Y.B. Dat0' Ahmad Shabery Cheek at IPTAR, Angkasapuri.
To everyone, Happy Friday The 13th.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


The re-screening of my comedy series Gado Gado (early 90s) on Astro has surprisingly caused some sort of sensation. Gado Gado fans have been texting on the show, and to friends, and to the original casts of Gado Gado on how good the series were. Heheh angkat bakul sendiri dah.
Unfortunately, the series on Astro has been running during my current production shoot of Bilik NO. 13 and therefore I missed the telecast.
However, to my delight, someone has actually recorded it and downloaded it on Youtube including the series pilot episode!
So for all you fans out there - below are some of the sketches we did that made Gado Gado a household name in the early 90s. (Apologies to Double Vision, Astro and RTM)


Monday, June 9, 2008


For those who knows what the above term mean - I apologise but its actually how I felt when my camera went on the blink at 2 am in the morning of Sunday with three hours of night left to compete episode 11 (Kelab Malam/Kelab Ronggeng).
Day One of the shoot was already scrapped because I didn't like the location. So I had two days to complete the episode which stars Eman Manan and Harun Salim Bachik.
We went to Mini Malaysia and the location we selected was ideal. We began smoothly and was onto our second day of shoot, when things went awry.
The make-up department informed me that the latex for the special make-up had finished, and they could only make up the artistes once, and that's it. So I had to reschedule all my scenes.
That however was the least of my problems. Apart from the casting of Eman, Harun and Kamal Bakar, I wasn't impressed nor pleased with the casting of the three vampires.
Eman and Harun in action in ep. 11
My requirements were they had to be beautiful, sexy and can joget. They weren't in any of these categories. Maybe, in my time the word sexy meant voluptuous and full. Today's meaning is skinny but shapely. Arghhhhh!
And they can't joget to save their lives!!!
Anyway, that too wasn't the biggest problem. It was the camera jamming up with just a few hours to go - to final wrap!!
We had to cancel the shoot and return to KL and the equipment problem will cost me at least RM10,000 in losses!! And to get everything and everyone back to Melaka isn't gonna be easy too.
Dammit dammit dammit!!!!
They only good thing was working with Eman and Harun. They were great - total professionals.
From L to R: Harun, Blogger, Thorpe (my AD) and Eman
Wish our new generation of artistes were half as talented and dedicated as these two guys.

Friday, June 6, 2008


The rains came in the afternoon for the final day of shoot for Ep 11 but in the evening, the stars came out and gave us a perfect 10 hour dry windown to complete 14 scenes!
It wasn't what I would call a perfect night - who in their right mind would try to shoot 14 scenes - all difficult scenes - in ten hours!
As such, and due to the time constraints, I cannot use tracks as it would take away precious minutes from our schedule. So it was simple pan shots, zooms and sometimes, jib arm shots. nothing elaborate.
However, by 3 am, I was already cranky shouting at artistes who suddenly seem to lose the ability to act (these were mainly the extras whose body language were completely off).
Nevertheless, by 6am, we shot our last and final scene - and young Farah (the Sofia Jane look-alike) had to endure a 6am swim in the cold cold waters of the Langat stream. She took it like a real trooper (pic above shows her just after he early morning dip) and we wrapped at 6.30am just before the morning sun greeted us.
It was a new day too and not a happy one as we were also greeted by increased fuel prices. Today, it will be RM2.70 per litre. I can remember just a few years ago when it was less than RM1.50.
I don't know what the impact is in the next few weeks, but I assume it would be quite massive. Prices of other items will increase and living expenditure will become heavy.
For producers, the increase in prices will become a burden - our profits (if any) will dwindle if RTM does not increase their offer prices. As it is, artistes fees and outstation shooting have become too expensive. Nevertheless, RTM will not increase their prices because both Astro and TV3 offer much less. Therefore the assumption is that RTM is paying more as a social service to producers because the producers are already making a hefty profit from RTM.
Unfortunately, this vicious circle will never end unless all three stations sit down and standardise their purchase prices.
Soon, I will post an entry that simplifies the economics of producing for these stations so that the public will know why they are getting sub-par productions for their viewing pleasure, and why the low quality of productions is not always the fault of the producers.
This evening we cancelled our shoot in Putrajaya for Ep.12 because of logistics and locations problems and I decided that it would really be much better to shoot the episode in Melaka. So tomorrow morning at 10am, we would all convoy to Mini-Malaysia in Ayer Keroh, Melaka, to begin shooting the episode. In this episode, Eman Manan, Harun Salim Bachik and Marissa Yasmin will be participating.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Mother Nature hasn't been very accommodating this past two days. Rain is causing us to lose many hours of shoot. Last night was bad. The rain in Hulu Langat opened up twice - once in the afternoon and the second time in the evening - from 6 right up to 11 at night. It wasn't a drizzle but a downpour. We had to pray and wait for the rain to stop and it did. We could only start our shoot close to midnight. By four we were too tired to continue and I wrapped.
Hopefully today will be a better day, weather wise.
Anyway, my people casted this new TVC model cum newbie actress named Farah. When I first saw her it was like a shock. She is the spitting image of young Sofia Jane. Well, their noses differ a little but if I put young Sofia Jane beside Farah - they can pass of as identical twins.
Right now, if I cast Sofia Jane and I need to find someone to play her daughter, Farah is the most likely choice.
In fact, their mannerisms are also much the same accept that Sofia's left handed. Sofia's voice too is a little more melodious, but these differences are minor.
Take a look at the pics below and you tell me - don't they look alike?The original Sofia Jane or as I usually call her "Peah"
The clone - Farah of Cadbury TVC fame

Monday, June 2, 2008


Pelawat Malam and Topeng have just wrapped. Abadi directed Pelawat and Thorpe directed Topeng. Tomorrow I start on Episode 11 and 12. Previously we were to do a story called Bejalai about a head hunting Iban spirit, but because of logistics and complexity of the teleplay, I decided to drop it and use another story called Harakiri - about a wandering Japanese spirit who also chops off people's heads. The story tells the story of how a Japanese officer during the Second World War who was not able to commit seppukku or harakiri dan therefore not able to die honorably. The kampung mob who caught him, carried out their own brand of justice - killed him and buried him in an unmarked spot. Many years later, his spirit roams the land looking for heads to chop off.
Hopefully we can finish this episode within three nights.
After that we will do Ronggeng, which was also rewritten due to logistics. It will now be called Lampu Merah. Luckily, Eman Manan will still be part of the shoot.
I'm currently at my wits end and hope that the shoots will be smooth. I also hope the rain will not hamper it. I cannot afford any more delays.
The only incentive I have is that on 13th of June I will fly to Bali for the annual International Bali Arts and Cultural Festival in Denpasar. This is a month long festival celebrating the best of performing arts from all around Indonesia and also other parts of the world. It's a must attend to all those who love culture and traditional performing arts.
I will be there for about ten days. Time for me to relax and reflect. But I will have my trusty Macbook with me so I will blogging from Bali too.