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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Eulogy for Yasmin Ahmad

Being in Kuching, a distance away from KL, it takes time for certain news to reach here. This week, as I was driving to work, I finally had a brief moment of quiet time in my car, & this feeling of deep sadness finally settled in, along with the realisation that we have once again lost one of our greatest creative talents at the peak of their careers. There was once Sudirman, & now Yasmin Ahmad has left us before her time was up.

It's strange to be able to experience all these feelings when I've only met up & talked to her twice in a span a couple of years. But I think it's how she makes you feel, no matter how briefly you know her. Yasmin has, had, a way with people. She opened up to everyone, & she made you comfortable to be wearing slippers & shorts & to drink teh tarik with her in a shack somewhere in the alley. And that in turn reminded us to be grounded and in all sense humble when we're with her.

I do not have to talk about her creative work here. They speak for themselves. The PETRONAS ads, the trilogy of love.

With Yasmin's passing, we have lost not just a great filmmaker but a great human being who saw how a country with a multitude of cultures could once live together and were in love with each other, long before when there were questions about race & religion, long before when there were such politics.

She also foresaw the future that lies ahead for us. Ideal as her ideas may be, Yasmin's ever persistent positivism about how Malaysians can be real human beings again, to be able to care whole-heartedly, to be able to love unconditionally, reminds us that that is the saving path for the country, if it wants to survive, if it wants true unity, if it wants to grow as a nation.

Her passing is a great loss to the country, to the creative industry, to the arts community, and will be most greatly felt by our society. Yasmin showed us that as human beings, we have the capacity to love & care for each other, and that takes care of the other problems on its own. And it can be that simple.

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