Friday, June 26, 2009

MICHEAL JACKSON 1958-2009

Micheal Jackson has beat it.
He was found not breathing in his home in LA and declared dead at an Los Angeles Hospital.
The man who defined pop music fusing rock, rhythm and blues, jazz and funk is now no more.
Rest in peace Mikhail.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

TIMES ARE HARD BUT YOU STILL HAVE TO REJECT SOME OFFERS

How would you feel if someone or a station says your script is good and they think that if you produce it they will buy it and telecast it this August? You'd jump up and down with joy right?
Sure what.
But then, you realise that this is Malaysia. Nothing comes to you without a price or a condition attached to it. So you wait for it.
The first lousy words you hear is, "Oh yes, by the way, we cannot issue you a production order. You just have to trust us. We want it, okay?"
You gulped and grind your knuckles against your forehead. A migraine suddenly coming from nowhere. You wonder how you are going to finance the production without a production order because the bank who help you finance your productions will NEVER let you drawdown without a confirmed order from the station.
Nevermind, maybe I can borrow from my friends.
Cehh...what is RM70,000 amongst friends right?
And then, she says: "Now, we would like you to cast this, this. this and this artistes for the main roles...okay?"
Oh mannn!!! Not this again....these bunch of artistes who think they are God's gift to Malaysian TV. They know very well that this station wants them most of the time and they know that producers desperate to get jobs from this station have to take them, failing which the drama will not be approved. In this exalted position, these untalented yet popular artistes will demand ridiculous fees. How ridiculous? Well, a leading actor has been known to demand a fee of RM15, ooo for an 8 day shoot. Take it or leave it, baby. Geezzz!
And worse still, we have to work around his schedule because two other producers have already signed him on. Nevermind. If he asks for anything more than RM10k, I will tell the Inland Revenue guys to do an audit on him. Yes, that would be fun.
Okay okay...maybe that's it.
Enough with the conditions already.
But no. Wait. She has one more condition tied to the drama.
What is it, I asked.
She smiled and gave me a list: "You can let any of these three to direct the drama."
What? You must me out of your mind, sister! I looked at the list. Damn! Not a single award winning director amongst the three of them. One is known to be obnoxious to everyone on the set. One is known to have disappeared after shoot not bothering to attend or supervise the editing of his drama, because he would have already started on his other drama produced by another gullible producer. And the third? Well, his dramas are just plain boring, but at least being a former editor he can edit the drama.
But the thing is, I submitted the script so that I can direct. Hey, I am a director. A capable one too I think. Better than the three in the list. I have also won an award tau! Ya lah...I know its been like 20 over years but an award is an award what.
And since I am the one producing it, borrowing money from friends, relatives and long lost classmates, shouldn't I be given the privilege to chose my own director - which just so happens to be me?
I sighed.
I sighed again.
I looked at her. She looked back at me.
She smiled. "Take it or leave it," she said.
I sighed again.
My shoulders drooped sadly. I looked at her.
I asked, "How's the payment like?"
"Well, if the drama is good and we like it, we will telecast in it August and then we will pay you three months after that," she replied, supremely confident that I would buckle and say yes and fork out RM70,000 for the production and if approved, I will receive MAYBE a sales price of RM85,000. Max.
Hmmm....all these hassles and all these risks...for a mere RM15, ooo profit after four or five months wait from today.
She smiled.
I sighed again.
I looked up. Look at her eyes.
And I said:
"Fuck you."
(Okay okay I didn't actually say that. But I wanted to. I did refuse. Luckily for me. I am in the midst of producing a corporate video and five documentaries for another station who didn't tell me which director they wanted or which artiste to host it. They just liked the concept and the treatment, and they trusted my resume. Thanks guys.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

WHAT HAPPENED ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT

I came back from Singapore on Wednesday. On that last day, I went to have my usual murtabak brunch at Victory Restaurant in Arab Street. After that, I walked around the area to look for some thick padded prayer mats and minyak attar. I had an Es Teler at an Indonesian restaurant before taking a cab to my uncle's place in Toa Payoh.
There I had bubur lambok Singapore style with some bergedel and ikan tongkol masak belado.
At that moment I am already full to the brim.
Around 4pm I left for Terminal One. Upon reaching there, since I had so much time on my hands, I decided to have a banana split.
Later, whilst my cousin Hirman came over to meet me. It was his 51st birthday and I completely forgot about it. I was also with my other cousin Hasliza.
To celebrate Hirman's birthday we polished off two pieces of cakes and a cup of coffee.
By 6.15pm I had to go into the transit area for my scheduled 7.10pm Air Asia flight.
Of course, it was delayed. We took off just before 9pm. Reached home a little after 10pm and had supper just around midnight.
At 2 am, I couldn't breathe and I sweating. I felt like vomiting but nothing came out. I had lotsa gas. i knew it was my reflux, but this was bad. I had taken my Nexium when I came home and now been drinking Gaviscon to relieve the pain, but it was not working.
So I decided to go to Assunta. I told my wife not to worry and stay whilst I got my eldest son to follow me to the hospital.
I went to the 24 hr outpatient clinic but when the nurse took my BP which was 170/110 she told me to go to the emergency room and got the doctor to check on me immediately. I thought I was gonna have a heart attack.
But after 3 am, after a shot of liquid Nexium into my system plus a jab of morphine, I began to relax. However, since my BP didn't come down, I had to be admitted.
So Thursday and Friday, doctors came in and checked on me, asked me how I was feeling. Nurses came in regularly to check my BP, pulse and oxygen intake. I was given meds.
Family and friends came. Thank you guys.
On Friday, the doctor checking on me, said he wanted to scope me Saturday morning. I said sure why not. The last scope I did was about 6 years ago and the CT scan I did recently also didn't show much.
The gastro specialist then came after that telling me that he will be doing the scope.
The funny thing is, he came back some hours later and asked me how long I had my hemorrhoids. I said I already had it taken out years ago. Then he asked me if I bled when I passed motion and I said no. He said that's a surprise because when he scoped me he saw huge hemorrhoids still intact in my 'you know where', but I said he hasn't scoped me. He was scoping me only tomorrow on Saturday. He looked surprised and checked the file and saw I was the wrong patient he was talking to....hahaha..funny but scary. He then remembered that I wasn't the hemorrhoids patient but the reflux patient. He apologised and left.
Anyway, on Saturday morning, I was taken to OT. I knew the procedure because I had been through it once before. They would spray anesthetic into my mouth and ask me to swallow it to ensure my esophagus will be dulled and easier for them to shove the camera down my throat.
Surprisingly, after they did that, they also injected into my IV something else and the next thing I know, I woke up in the recovery room. Scope all done.
Hmmmm.
Anyway, two hours later, the main specialist came and told me that everything was fine except for my gastric. I was then allowed to be discharged. The bill? North of RM2k for three nights of observation and a scope.
Now am back home. Stomach still rumbling as usual. Have to keep taking meds I guess.
Once again, to all my well wishers, either through SMS, Facebook, phonecalls and emails...I thank you. Nothing like having great friends when you're down and out.
Okay, for those who want to have a gross out time, below is the video of my endoscopy courtesy of Assunta hospital.

video

Friday, June 19, 2009

RANCANGAN TERGENDALA SEBENTAR

I was going to post something about the Boardcast Asia exhibition in Singapore and also some other stuff. Unfortunately, I have been incarcerated in Assunta Hospital for a bad stomach ailment and high blood pressure. I though I would be released today (Friday) but the doctors here wants to put a scope into my stomach to see if my stomach has bigger problems.
So until I get home hopefully Sunday, I won't be able to update my blog. (This update is done in Starbucks at the lower ground of the hospital).
Til then...hasta la vista baby.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

AL FATIHAH - MOHD HISHAM AHMAD NAZERI

My sister's husband, Hisham Ahmad Nazeri, 53, passed away of heart failure in his house in Keramat Saturday afternoon. It came as a shock to the family. He was alone at home when he suffered the attack. My sister, Murniaty, was at the clinic to get his medicine. It seems that he has been ill for the past five days.
His eldest son, Khairul, was in Langkawi on a company trip whilst the younger son, Khairil, was in Janda Baik on a weekend trip with friends, when he passed away.
Allahyarham's parents came down from Ipoh the same evening whilst Khairul or Loloi as the family calls him arrived in Kuala Lumpur around midnight after suffering a two hour flight delay in Langkawi.
Allahyarham was buried today (Sunday) just before zohor at the Datuk Keramat Muslim Cemetery. Al Fatihah. May he rest in peace and Allah embraces him as amongst His faithfuls.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WIFE OF MINE AND ALSO TO MY BIG BROTHER JUNA

My wife, Puteh Jerineh Ramli, turned 53, on Thursday 11th of June. We celebrated her birthday the night before at Shook Restaurant in Starhill. The whole family was there. Below are some shots of the dinner.
This coming Monday, my brother Captain Arjunaidi, will celebrate his 52nd birthday. Happy Birthday dearest brother. As Spock would say, Live Long and Proper!

Numero duo son, Nurhadi (Hadi), numero trio son, Iliya (Yaya) and mom.

Friday, June 5, 2009

SHOULD RTM BE DOING WHAT ASTRO IS DOING?

I heard from friends the good things (in terms of content) that ASTRO is doing. For example, the 8-episode mini series on national hero Rosly Dhoby. It doesn't matter (for the time being) if the production is of quality or not, whether it is accurate or not. What matters is that it was done.
Rosly Dhoby's story is a story waiting to be told. And now, through Astro's new initiative, we get to see the story of one of our most unsung heroes - Rosly Dhoby.
What is this new initiative in ASTRO? It seems they have been commissioning a few production houses (albeit some of these houses have business links with ASTRO) to produce a slew of titles based on both historical fact and also legends.
From what I gather, some of the titles or subjects they have already earmarked for production apart from Rosly Dhoby are: The story of Sybil Karthigesu, the now forgotten Japanese Red Army attack in AIA in the mid 70s, the story of Mokhtar Dahari, the story of the 'agreements' made between the Tunku and his counterparts in MCA and MIC during the early days of independance.
The local legends that they will be doing are the legends of Si Tanggang and Mahsuri. I also heard they may be doing a revisionist take on the legend of Hang Tuah.
I applaud ASTRO for embarking on such an ambitious project. In fact, such projects should have already been done by RTM a long time ago.
Unfortunately, for the general public, the series (each title has 8 episodes I was told) will not be seen by most. Unless of course you subscribe to the new Mustika package from ASTRO.
This is sad because not only will this defeat the purpose of making quality programming not publicly available, but putting it in a a new Malay-themed subscribed channel on ASTRO, means non-Malays would also be missing out on viewing and enjoying these mini-series.
For example, I haven't subscribed to the MUSTIKA package, and have no plans to do so. So I will not be able to see Rosly Dhoby on TV - until maybe someone puts it up on Youtube.
But ASTRO, is at the end of the day, a commercial entity and they have to make money in order to make more quality content...so its become a Catch-22 situation.
The obvious solution to this is either ASTRO screens the series in the already available channels that most of the subscribers alraedy have or for RTM to start producing such programmes for the general public to watch.
Isn't nation building, factual education and edutaining the masses are RTM's objectives?
I remember once offering to produce a telemovie based on the last days of Dato Sagor, whom I consider another national hero that has gone into history's sidelines. But when I told them it would cost RTM RM300,000 to produce the story, they balked. They said they wanted it but was only willing to pay RM120,000 (at the most). This is the same budget the offer producers to produce their modern social dramas. I guess they don't understand that for me to do justice to the story of the last days of Dato Sagor before he was hung for his so called crimes I need believable sets, props and costumes.
So, I rejected the offer.
So when will RTM follow in ASTRO's footsteps and do mini-series based on important and interesting incidents and events in our colorful history?
Can I suggest a few topics or subjects if they cannot get their panel to get their act together?
  • A remake of Bukit Kepong.
  • The Massacre of Australian soldiers and Bengali fighters by the Japanese at the beginning of World War II at the famous Parit Sulong bridge.
  • The Batang Kali massacre of innocent Chinese villagers by the British (or Scottish) soldiers during the Emergency.
  • The Story Behind the Baling Talks.
  • The Tragedy of the Highland Towers Collapse.
  • The Secret Meeting Between Sukarno, Hatta and Ismail Yaacob in Taiping just Before the Second World War Ended Which Could Have Turned Malaya into Indonesiaraya or Melayuraya.
  • The Story of Tok Naning - the only Malay warlord to have defeated the British.
  • The Story of Korok Wan Mat Saman - the man behind the construction of Tanah Melayu's longest canal.
  • The Story of Za'aba - our own Pendita Za'aba.
  • The Story of why Tunku allowed Singapore to leave Malaysia.
  • The Story of Super Crime Fighter the late S.Kulasingam.
  • The Stories of P. Ramlee and Saloma.
  • The Story of the Shaw Brothers.
  • The Story of Force 136
  • The Stories of Kanang anak Langkau and Awang Ranang.
  • The Story of Yap Ah Loy and Yap Ah Sak.
  • The Story of the guy who created an empire called Ramly Burger.
  • The Story of Panglima Kiai Salleh.
  • The Story of ASAS 50.
  • The Stories of S. Jibeng, S.M.Salim and Daud Kilau.
  • The Story about the death of Bangsawan.
  • The Story of Dr Burhanuddin Helmi.
  • The Story of Natrah Herthog.

And the list goes on and on and on and on....

Anyway, whilst we applaud the efforts of those TV stations that are planning to produce such mini-series on Rosly Dhoby et al...it would also be heartening to know that the creative force behind it wer also Malaysians. Again, the whole exercise in doing Malaysian themed mini-series would be muted and meaningless if the creative force are foreigners. Not that I am saying that this is the case.

I just hope it isn't.