[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Saturday, December 13, 2008

[Cultural exchange]
If there was one word to sum up my day it would be the word culture.

But before talking about culture, let me first say I am grateful to my superiors at NAC for allowing me to take some time off to prepare for my installation art at SMU next year. So far the discussion has been very deep. It's my first attempt at contemporary visual art and I wanna make the most out of it. Really, it is not the end in itself but rather a learning process. I will be collaborating with a Singaporean artist this time. More on that in the following weeks.

So, what culture was it all about? To be precise it was Malay culture.

I was invited to the opening of an exhibition presented by Singapore Art Museum and Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya - it's an association of various Malay artists. This year, the association celebrates its 46th anniversary.

I wasn't really able to take a look at the artworks because usually opening events are the time to network with people in the art scene and the actual viewing takes place on another day. But looking through the exhibition guide, there's a chronology of various generations of Malay artists since 1949. Some of the paintings are scenic (I would classify them as realist works), some on religion - Islam, and there are some installation pieces and ceramics. Iskandar Jalil, one of Singapore's most famous potters, is participating as well. In fact, he is probably the only one that I am familiar with.

I spent only about 15 minutes there and left just after Speaker of Parliament Mr Abdullah Tarmugi arrived. He was the guest-of-honour. I then took a slow jog to The Cathay for the movie Muallaf.

The show was shot in Malaysia - Ipoh and Penang (there are some references to Singapore too) and it is about religion - the buzzer seems to go off once religion pops out. Is it taboo? But I think and feel that we should be open and frank about it. And one of the ways to appreciate religion is to have access to such movies.

The story is about two girls Rohani and Rohana who are very much into religious studies. Their mother was a lecturer and would teach them. Until she passed away.

Undertones of Catholicism and Islam are peppered in the film. Several scenes have reference to the holy text of Islam - the Quran. The verses provide deep meaning and made me reflect a lot.

Like in most movies, it is difficult to run away from romance. But Muallaf gives a little twist - there in an inter-racial romance unfurling between Rohani and Brian (Rohana's teacher).

Both Rohani and Brian recall their painful childhood as the story develops. Simple events make the recall the past and mend present relationships.

Do also look out for Singapore's very own Yeo Yann Yann who stars in the movie.

Overall, I feel this film effort by director Yasmin Ahmad is a sincere and heartwarming take on issues we don't stop to ponder about. Apart from the constant fade-to-black after each scene, it scores well on the whole. No jittery scenes as far as I remember.


Blogger Unknown said...

thanks for watching our little film. ( yann yann is malaysian, by the way. ;-) )

Saturday, December 13, 2008 7:13:00 am

Blogger Ephraim Loy 黎传志 said...

Oops. Sorry. Made a mistake.

Saturday, December 13, 2008 12:33:00 pm


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