I first met Yasmin Ahmad when I went for a screening of Sepet, the Director’s Cut, in UM. I’d miss my earlier chances to watch Sepet in the cinemas not too long before, and I wanted to see what her story was all about, having heard rave reviews about it. I knew what the film signified for Malaysia- Sepet was the second film to look at interracial romances and was unapologetic about it, but I was not prepared for what greeted me.
Sepet was one of those films me, and later on my family, grew to love. From the moment the film opened, it was a snapshot of Malaysian life. From the VCD seller who looks like Takeshiro (I cannot remember his first name now), to the friendly warning Orked gives to her friend not to treat the family maid like an maid, but as a friend, to the daily ritual of watching Chinese soap operas at 6pm…
These were the little touches that coloured my life as a child. They were what I grew up with. In Sepet, I found pararells to my own life. Jerng calls her stuff, Yasmin Ahmad’s portrayals of Malaysia are fanciful middle-class visions of humanity.
[Erna] then replies that it was the idealised Malaysia Yasmin would like to see and would like to believe in. Asohan replies that he’d like to live in such a Malaysia. It may be rose-tinted, but it was the Malaysia most grew up in.
Looking back at her commercials, they reach out across the racial divide. Each festival season, the most anticipated thing to watch are not movies, not TV shows, not music clips. They are Yasmin Ahmad videos. My colleagues and I would ask each other if we’d seen her latest ads, recognising their multi-cultural appeal and the little things that make us proud to be Malaysian.
This is a pretty poignant ad with a cheeky message from Yasmin at the end, “Ala, not all the ads have to have someone dying, right?” :D