The blue orchid in Little Women

My initial guess was that it was left as a name card of the assassin. Did you have the same thought too?

As the story progressed, I began to think it could serve as a biological weapon. Apart from its hallucinogenic and trance-like effect, the flower may have hypnotic properties that cause the ‘sniffers’ to obey the commands of the perpetrator. Having said that, there must be an antidote to hinder such effects on the culprit him/herself. Yup, I was absorbed into that idea a lot.

I have to mention that this story gave The Village vibes as well with their elaborate, collaborative yet full of conspiracy plan. The difference is that the Jeongran Society wanted to rule the world instead of cooping in their own societal order. Turns out it’s a symbol of loyalty. Total subconjugance to the leader and the objective. Although I still have trouble understanding who the leader of the society is. Is it the mayoral candidate or is he just a puppet of his wife, who was not chosen unanimously because she’s a maniac? I mean who gets to make the decision that it is your time to die for The Cause?

Now that I know the significance of the blue orchid, I have to find out if this blue orchid is real after all.

Mat Kilau

I get why some people would get upset with the representation of some roles in the movie. Despite the villains are referred as ‘the british’ – the distinct ethnic appearance makes this doesnt sit well with some movie goers. Walaupun etnik tu kita anggap sbhgn daripada British. Ntahlah, kalau aku pun akan ada rasa sikit tak best.

So, since this is a fiction story as claimed by the producer/director – maknanya boleh diolah kan dari sejarah sebenar, might as well make all the askar omputih kot. Or from undefined ethnicity. I dunno. Maybe. Sbb Msia multiracial kan. It can be very painful to look at a piece of history (although true) through the current lense that we have in our country. Yang berbilang bangsa dan agama.

– source ; my own facebook

When Mat Kilau was first released, the first group of people who criticised the movie was historians and academicians. They deemed the version by Shamsul Yusof inaccurate to which he and very loyal fans rebutted the claim and said that it was a work of fiction. That the movie was inspired by the story of Mat Kilau. That it is not Mat Kilau’s biography.

Ok. Fair enough.

The movie continued to collect millions of RM and of course attracted more Malaysians to watch it and when we say Malaysians, that means those from various ethnicities. Later, issues with racism arise. While I do not think this is a racist movie, I do feel that the portrayal of villains could be better. As I said, it is painful to watch certain historical events unfold with the multicultural lens that we have now.

The movie kind of stirred an unsettling feeling among our friends who wear a turban. I get it. but Shamsul Yusof said that replacing the troops with those from a different ethnicity would alter history. The problem is you said that it was a work of fiction in the first place. Yang mana satu NIH? Imagine if someone from a non-Malay ethnicity decided to make a movie to ‘increase the self-esteem’ of their own race and depicted Malays as lazy – can you imagine the uproar caused by that? And it’s just a lazy trait which is true for almost every race, only in the movie it happened to be a Malay person. While it is not conflicting with the country’s guideline of ‘bannable’ movies, I am sure that ‘fact’ would not sit well with Malay movie-goers.

And now Mat Kilau is doing the same for our Sikh friends – our gentle warriors. Our friends who prepared vegetarian food to flood victims some time ago. Ingat? An ethnic group in our country who almost always minds their own business and hardly gaduh2 manja with the Malays.

Creating a historical movie in Malaysia is undeniably tricky. Especially when you want to put forward Mat Kilau, whose fight for justice happened before the times when there were things like hak keistimewaan orang Melayu and kontrak sosial. Perhaps this is where the movie producers need to be more creative or our citizens need to be more open to the idea. Tapi to be more open requires tolerance between ethnicities and to be tolerant requires a level of understanding that ‘this is what happened before. it was horrible but it was in the past.

The understanding must come from a standard formula. Anything standard must come from a certain body of authority. So, what is left? Schools. We do not have PLKN. Not everybody goes to BTN.

But our schools are not united. The children of different ethnicities do not mingle with each other unless they go to international schools, private schools or sekolah wawasan. Not many are interested to send their kids to Sekolah Kebangsaan anymore. Because some parents of different ethnicities, they want to maintain their identity and that could only be achieved at sekolah jenis. Understandable but with long-term consequences.

I cannot really predict how this Mat Kilau issue will unfold but I hope it will come to a favourable conclusion. A statement that will allay everybody’s anxiety.

Jangan kita buat orang atas nama seni boleh, tapi bila orang buat kita for the same reason, kita bising.

Latest KDrama binge

Last weekend, I decided to catch up with a new KDrama because people on IG said that when they watched it, they wanted to become a lawyer. The Kdrama is called WHY HER. It has aired up to 8 episodes, and yes, I find it interesting. But no, I don’t want to become a lawyer simply because it is not in my character to be like Oh Soo Jae. Kentalnya jiwa sis. I cannot la like that.

I am looking forward to the coming episodes but will probably leave it until it gets to its finale before I start bingeing on it again.

A quote however caught my eye in the series. Saw it in one of the scenes in Chan’s restaurant and that is..

One day, you will meet whoever you need to meet. Like today.

To me, it reaffirms the idea of Qada and Qadar. And that Allah always has the best plans for you. If anything is meant to be, it will still happen no matter what.

Current picks on Netflix

It’s been a while since I enjoyed movies from India. Lately, Netflix has been airing really good movies and I am giving a thumbs up to these 2 movies.

1. Gangubai

This movie narrates the hardship of Gangubai as she paves her way from a low-tier prostitute to a prominent figure in the ‘industry’. Putting the moral issues aside, I understand her desire of wanting to legalize prostitution. Although legal means bounded by rules and regulations, legal also means access to the same resources that other mainstream industries can get. In the Gangubai context, it will mean equal access to healthcare, education, housing areas etc. This lady has a point.

Ajay Devgan made a cameo appearance in the movie.

2. RRR

This is a fictional story about the Indian revolution. It has Bahubali’s elements in it when it comes to fighting scenes and the athletic abilities of the actors. There were cringeworthy moments but it was a very cinematic, phenomenal piece. Guess what, Ajay Devgan was also in the movie.

Juvenile Justice

There is not an ounce of demonstrable joy in this short K-series. Yes, you do get some sort of relief when justice is served but there is no funny moment. This is a very DARK and HEART THUGGING story. It was aired on Netflix and I finished it in one day. Accompanied by 1 litre of tears, a swollen face and dehydrated eyes (if there is such a thing).

Spoiler ahead

There were stories of murder, domestic abuse, leaked exam papers, theft and gang rape. The conclusion I got from this, which correlates with what I learned in Adolescent Psychology is that parenting style has a great influence on adolescent growth and development. That it takes a village to raise a child. That if the child could not be reprimanded by their family, teachers or other adults – then the responsibility falls on the court. The law and order. Poverty, marital discord, negative peer pressure all plays a part but as Judge Sim puts it.. not everyone commits a crime when push becomes shove. A crime is still crime. Killing is still wrong no matter what pathological spin you put to it. I realized that juveniles are very cunning too.

A case involving a juvenile makes them both a perpetrator and a victim. There is a dilemma of wanting to punish them but also rehabilitate them. Biologically, they still need the opportunity to change. It is hoped that the cognitive and emotional processes that drove them to commit the crime could be rewired, and reformulated to become better people. I have seen the juveniles in our local Henry Gurney School during one of my vaccination outreach programmes. It did make me wonder, what did they do for they looked so innocent face to face. I was so glad I had my mask on due to the pandemic.

When I watched the series, I was crying buckets. I don’t know how the talents could keep their composure while filming the scenes. And the crime the kids commit was just horrible. Some had no signs of remorse which was worse. As a parent watching this, it reminded me to be more aware of our children’s needs as they grow up. Every word we say, as adults, can make or break them. The juveniles in this story did what they did, mostly because they wanted attention. They yearned for affection without being consciously aware of it. The hard-core villains started in early adolescent years and when the court failed to educate them on the consequences of harming other people, they grow up as chronic delinquents as they purely believe that what they did was not serious at all, not wrong and that the law is a joke.