Seniman organised their yearly awards night in Kuching a few days back. As usual it was a 'mendabik dada sendiri' event lah.
I didn't go. I wasn't invited. So much for being an important person in the entertainment industry lah.
So, I got second hand news from my colleagues who did go and from the newspapers.
Even the newspapers reported the rather clumsy if not embarrassing sequences of events that happened over there.
Firstly, all the awards sounded corny and fishy.
Here are a few in Bahasa Malaysia:
- Anugerah Khas Perdana Bintang Seniman Sokongan dan Bantuan Dalam Memartabatkan Industri Filem Tempatan.
- Anugerah Perdana Seniman Pencapaian Abadi.
- Anugerah Pencapaian Cemerlang Penyanyi Bertaraf Antarabangsa
- Anugerah Pencapaian Cemerlang Filem Globalisasi
- Anugerah Pencapaian Cemerlang Komedi Sepanjang Zaman.
- Anugerah Pencapaian Cemerlang Bidang Penerbitan Filem Malaysia Yang Konsisten dan Box Office.
- Anugerah Pencapaian Cemerlang Penulis Lirik Terunggul.
Let me try and translate the awards for you (albeit cheeky ones):
Special Premiere Award the Seniman Star for the Support and Assistance In Upholding The Status of The Local Film Industry - given to the National Film Development Board (FINAS). Duhhhhh isn't that what it was formed for? Will it set a precedence for associations to give awards to the various government bodies and departments for doing their jobs? How about a Special Award to the Prison's Department For Maintaining High Standards of Whipping The Ass of Undesirables?
The Premiere Seniman Award for Eternal Achievement - fuhhhh sounds very spiritual. Maybe should be awarded to Guru Nanak but instead given to the President of Seniman, the association that organised the event, Dato Mustafa Maarof. I will hold my comments until later about the choice.
Seniman Award for Excellence in Achievement as an International Standard Singer. This award goes to Anita Sarawak who has performed all over the world - yeah Las Vegas. Okay okay maybe a few other places lah.
Seniman Award for Excellence in Making Globalised Films. This was a tricky translation. The word Globalisasi is actually Globalisation but I can't fit the word into the said sentence without paraphrasing it. So I changed it to Globalised. Now Yasmin Ahmad can claim to be the first filmmaker in the world to carry the title of directing a movie that is globalised.
Seniman Award for Excellence in Comedy For All Time. Similar awards may be given to Muhammad Ali or maybe Charlie Chaplin if such an event were to be held in the USA, but over here, the guy who excels in comedy FOR ALL TIME, is Dato' Aziz Sattar...yeayyy!!! Go uncle Aziz!! Can't wait to read your autobiography.
Seniman Award for Excellence in the Field of Film Production and Producing Films that are Consistent and Box Office. This totally grammatically incorrect award, goes to perennial awards night favourite David Teoh. His films are really consistent and box office, you know. Don't play play.
Seniman Award for Excellence As The Bestest Lyricist Ever. No it's not my father who wrote lyrics for P. Ramlee's songs like Berkorban Apa Saja, Azizah and Tiada Kata Secantik Bahasa, but Habsah Hassan, restauranteur par excellence.
Other awards given include the Award for Best Visual Effects Director (wahhh suddenly got real award like the Academy awards) and this goes to KRU for the movie Cicakman. Just one movie and they won, others like Sudirman were given awards years after they are dead.
Another was James Lee, for Excellence As The New Generation of Directors (fuwoohh that also got award one!) and veteran actress Mariani Ismail who received a special consideration award (penghargaan khas) in the field of Singing and Acting. I have to use the word 'field' because the awards use the word 'dalam bidang'.
Tan Sri Jins Shamsudin, veteran actor-director-producer-cum-politician-who recently competed for a seat on the UMNO High Council and LOST!, also won an award that evening, but somehow the papers never mentioned what award it was.
There was one award which caught everyone by surprise. It is the famous Anugerah Perdana Seniman Agung P. Ramlee. Guess lah who the recipient is? Guess lah....and the award goes to (drumroll)...Chief Minister of Sarawak Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud...for his lifetime contribution to the film industry, especially so for his contribution to host this event in Kuching.
Now, the Malay Press is making a fuss about the awards given to FINAS and Dato Mustafa Maarof. Well, I already commented on the FINAS award.
Dato' Mustafa Maarof. Recipient of the Anugerah Perdana Seniman Pencapaian Abadi. The kye word here is Achievement. As an actor during the Golden Era of Malay films, where was he in the echelon of leading actors? Was he in the same league as Ahmad Mahmud, Nordin Ahmad, Mahmud Jun, A. R. Tompel, Salleh Kamil, S. Kadarisman, P. Ramlee, Yusoff Latif or even Mat Sentul? He was? Name me one film that he was a lead actor in?
After his stint as an actor, what did he do? Did he direct any Malay movie? Did he finance and produce any Malay movie? Did he write any Malay movie? Did he write a book on the Malay film industry? No, he didn't. He instead invested in a production company called Warna Motion which produced TVCs and commissioned documentaries.
I guess I am not that intelligent lah....maybe the selection commitee had other criteria, like as President of seniman and the guy who made it all happen in Sarawak he should take home the award.
According to the association's treasurer, Abu Bakar Omar, Dato' Mustafa actually did not want to accept the award for three reasons (wahhh three reasons k, not one or two...but three).
He claimed his contribution to the film industry is not comparable to others (really?), as president of the association that is organising the event, there will be ill feelings if and when he receives the event's highest award (for real?) and lastly he didn't want people to say he angkat bakul bawa sendiri because it was his idea to create the said award for the event (nolah, who would think such things).
And yet, with much humility and poise, not to mention balls, he accepted the highest award of the night.
This is the industry I am in. Don't know whether to laugh or cry.