Monday, October 16, 2006

Amir Muhammad event - Police come a calling

A gentleman came by at around 2.00pm on Saturday. I was not in, Phek Chin was. He extended his hand in a handshake. Phek Chin took it and was about to say, "No thank you," thinking he was yet another direct salesman, when the gentleman introduced himself as Inspector So-and-so (no names shall be mentioned) from the Brickfields Police Station. Phek Chin said she was a little taken aback - bengang
was the word she used - but the gentleman proceeded to ask if there was going to be a screening of an Amir Muhammad movie later? "No, I don't think so. I think it is going to be a talk of some sort," she replied. He then asked who would be attending? "Our usual customers lah," she said. Can anybody come? Yah, anyone can come. Can I come? Yah, you can come. What time does it start? Five thirty. Are you the boss? No my boss just went out.

He came back just before we started, introduced himself and sat at the back. (He said he had a colleague, though I couldn't figure out whom.)

Amir talked about his new documentary, Village Radio, with a slide presentation. (While The Last Communist was about the Chinese side of the communist insurgency in the country, the Village Radio was about Malay side.) Amir Muhammad said he was at one of the two Malay villages in Southern Thailand (another two are occupied by the Chinese) where the ex-communists live and earn a living off the land given to them by the Thai government - though many of them were originally from Temerloh.

When I turned around after the presentation, I noticed that the gentleman had left. Looks like the police are interested in everything Amir does these days. But from all accounts, I must say that he was extremely polite. Charm offensive? Or new image.

Watch the slideshow here

Monday, October 09, 2006

Farish A Noor at Silverfish Books on Saturday 28th Oct, 5.30 pm

Farish A Noor writes on The question of how 'progressive' ideas can be transmitted to Muslim societies today is a thorny one, as it raises many other related questions regarding the power relations both between the Western and Muslim worlds as well as the power relations within the Muslim world itself. At a time when Muslims the world over feel that the future of Muslim countries is under threat, and when conspiracy theories abound about the so-called 'concerted attempts' to undermine Islam from within and without, any attempt to work towards a radical re-thinking of Muslim norms, values and praxis is bound to solicit much controversy and suspicion, if not outright resistance and even violent reaction.

He says of his website: This site was set up by a number of Malaysian scholar-activists and volunteers with the simple aim of providing other sources of information for those who are interested in unearthing aspects of Malaysian history, politics and culture that have thus far been sidelined, marginalised or erased in the official historiography of the post-colonial state.

Farish A Noor will officially launch his website at Silverfish Books on Saturday 28th Oct 2006 at 5.30pm. Those who have attended his talks before know how eloquent a speaker he is. Do not miss this opportunity to meet and talk to Malaysia's top public intellectual.

Admission is free. But do RSVP Usha/Phek Chin, tel: 03-228 448 37, before Friday 27th Oct 2006 due to limited space.

Amir Muhammad at Silverfish Books on Saturday 14th Oct 2006, 5.30 pm

Village Radio is the sequel to Amir Muhammad's documentary The Last Communist, the first Malaysian work to be banned at home. The Last Communist has been invited to over two dozen film festivals since premiering at the Berlinale Forum

Village Radio takes place in a community of retired Malay-Muslim communists. Although of Malaysian origin, they live across the border in South Thailand. Recollections of the decades-long guerilla warefare against the Malaysian government are interspersed with a fictional Thai soap opera.

Amir will be talking about the making of this sequel to his banned Lelaki Komunis Terakhir, called Village Radio (Apa Khabar Orang Kampung) with a slide presentation. Expect this to be interesting. Amir will also be around to sign any of his DVDs you buy. (Oh BTW, free postcards of Village Radio wil be given away to all attending.)

Admission is free. But do RSVP Usha/Phek Chin at tel: 03-228 448 37 before Friday, 13th Oct, because space is limited.