[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

Thursday, January 08, 2009

[The political elements of Milk]
If you want to watch a film on real politics that is passionate, Milk is a great film to catch. I didn't watch Brokeback Mountain so I can't compare the cowboy trysts with the brief sexual scenes in this one.

But nonetheless, one has to admire Harvey Milk's courage and the determination to fight for the oppressed. I never studied American politics in depth and never knew that such a politician existed.

When I was first asked to go for the premiere last night, I did a check on the movie. It was the political aspect that made me say yes. Still, it is not surprising since I like to catch movies earlier than others.

The story is a biopic - it's a biographical movie - so you would expect to see real life footage of the characters, demonstrations, gay parades and confrontations with politicians from opposing camps - all of which you may not see in Singapore. It incites memories of the 2006 General Elections in Singapore.

The action begins with a scene of Harvey Milk, played by Sean Penn, speaking into a recorder. He is taping a speech which is only to be revealed if he is assassinated. Essentially it is a flashback and this scene provides the backbone or you might in facilitation aspects call it the road map or route map.

In Barack Obama's acceptance speech after winning the US Elections on 4 November last year, it was about democracy. But what he said was a mass appeal message: "It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America."

In that sense, I guess Harvey Milk had been less of an Obama but still had strains of that blood in him as he fought hard for gay rights in America.

It is powerful because the case of gay rights is not one that is fought at the local level. Initially it was. Then it became a uniting force as Milk used the power of the media to rally his message around the whole of the US.

One can see the sadness of a politician losing a loved one because of hectic commitments in political office, the use of media to debate with opposing politicians where sarcasm and sharp words are exchanged on "live" TV nonetheless. And also the newspapers. Several aspects of politics - backstabbing and cooperation, are seen through the eyes of MILK. And that is not an easy thing to deal with but something that is real in politics.

It all ends with several piercing gunshots. An assassination and a vigil. A remembrance for a man who really believed and fought for what he stood for. Time and time again, he fought to be supervisor. Time and time he lost. But he never gave up.

And I think that is one strength the makes politics passionate: the strength never to give up.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But nonetheless, one has to admire Harvey Milk's courage and the determination to fight for the oppressed."

"Nonetheless" what?

Friday, January 09, 2009 8:18:00 pm

Blogger Ephraim Loy 黎传志 said...

Sexual scenes and theme aside, the film is a great as shown in Harvey Milk's courage and the determination to fight for the oppressed.

Saturday, January 10, 2009 10:01:00 am


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