‘Tanda Putera’ doesn’t unite but divides

— The Malaysian Insider
Aug 15, 2012

AUG 15 — The jury is already out on “Tanda Putera” even before the Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba film has hit the silver screen.

From the little scraps of information gleaned from one preview, the script, Shuhaimi herself and chatter within the crew, the movie presents one view of the May 13, 1969 race riot.

A view that is not shared by many, especially those who feel it is an inaccurate portrayal of events on that blood-spilled day in Kuala Lumpur.

And just like the riot, the movie has become divisive, not unifying.

The filmmaker denied today her movie was promoting a pro-Malay agenda or that it featured a character based on DAP lawmaker Lim Kit Siang that was portrayed in a negative light in scenes depicting the May 13, 1969 race riots, as suggested by some Umno blogs to the chagrin of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders.

“This is not a movie to raise dissent. It is one to bring people together. It is just a movie about two great men. If they are from Umno, that’s just history. If they are also Malay, it is also our history.

“We are filmmakers, not an organ to produce propaganda,” Shuhaimi said.

One wonders if anyone else can produce another view of the May 13 race riot and get the same kind of funding that “Tanda Putera” received — RM4.8 million from the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) and the Multimedia Development Corporation (Mdec).

The issue is simple. The movie is about Malaysian history and two national figures are featured — the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and the late Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman. Now if they are depicted accurately, why is the director taking artistic licence with other figures and movements linked to the bloody riot?

The complaints about the movie reflect the simple truth, that only official versions of history approved by the victors or the government of the day will be produced and shown, in this case this coming November.

But any other version or narrative is dismissed, ignored and shunned without even the remotest possibility of funding or a showing in local cinemas.

Malaysia and Malaysians deserve better than being fed the official drivel that the likes of Shuhaimi is putting out in “Tanda Putera”.

Let’s have a true flowering of the arts and encourage more to depict our history as accurately as possible. After all, May 13 belongs to all Malaysians, not just one view or the National Operations Council’s version of events.

Shuhaimi’s film also isn’t it, especially if it is just the Umno viewpoint because after all, there have been claims that some politicians from the party had a hand in it.

We haven’t learnt anything from May 13, 1969, have we? One wonders why such a movie was made in the first place.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 16 August 2012 - 2:51 am

    There is NO WAY the truth of May 13 can be funded by an UMNO/BN govt. The point of Constitutional Amendment of 1971 was to stop the truth from being discussed because of ‘sensitivity’..If its OK to tell the truth of May 13, then its time to remove the Constitutional Amendment of 1971.

    Will it show Gerakan members at MB house? Will it show the mosques in Gombak inciting violence? Will it show how ordinary Malays and Chinese helped each other?

    No way UMNO/BN can fund the truth of May 13.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Thursday, 16 August 2012 - 8:15 am

    It is all too obvious that the movie is screened shortly before GE13 to gain political mileage for Umno/BN. Shuhaimi should explain why the movie is scheduled to be screened in November 2012 and not in December 2011 or May 2013.

    GE13 will only take place after November 2012.

  3. #3 by Godfather on Thursday, 16 August 2012 - 8:22 am

    Let’s make a movie on Altantuya.

  4. #4 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Thursday, 16 August 2012 - 8:50 am

    Yes, umno. Look at this. This piece of metal is …? Yes, correct. A gun. And this is the …? Correct again. The trigger. (Wheeeew, at least you knew these!) Now you pull this trigger to fire. OK? Oh you know that, already. Good. Be extra careful with it. And this is the nozzle. If you notice, it has a hole at its end. Do not stare into it, alright? That would be most foolish thing to do and may even be the last thing you ever do. I am not joking. (laughter in the background) Because that is where the bullet leaves the gun when the trigger is pulled. (more laughter)

    … dagenli attempting to enlighten umno during a special lecture on how not to shoot its own foot with a gun. But little did dagenli realise that umno believes the bullet could change its direction of travel in mid-air and somehow reach its intended target.

  5. #5 by Winston on Thursday, 16 August 2012 - 9:58 am

    For a government built on lies, deceit, scams and corruption, how can it ever tell the truth?
    Such acts are anathema to them!!!
    It’s like telling them to commit suicide!!!!!
    Only when PR is in Putrajaya, will the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, be out!!!

  6. #6 by bush on Thursday, 16 August 2012 - 11:30 am

    PR should consider doing a Anwar’s movie on how to fix up the Sodomise 1 & 2 and Sex video.

  7. #7 by monsterball on Thursday, 16 August 2012 - 7:28 pm

    This film is to instill fears to Malaysians and to vote no change of Govt.

  8. #8 by limkamput on Thursday, 16 August 2012 - 7:31 pm

    Shuhaimi, you are no filmmaker, you are an outsourced racist contractor.

  9. #9 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Friday, 17 August 2012 - 1:42 pm

    Why does umno keep on shooting its own foot? My theory: It must be because umno could not see its own toes, let alone its own foot. And that is due (well thanks to crazyO’mamak) to the extra huge belly it grew as a direct consequence of its super greedy needs.

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