Saturday, August 27, 2011

1Malaysia, 1Week to Merdeka

A few days ago, on Wednesday, I found myself in my favourite part of town. I'd dropped by the camping store (Evergreen) in Campbell Complex, and thereafter decided to have lunch at the Capital Café along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, opposite Sogo.

It was a colourful and busy day, to say the least. The (daytime) Ramadhan bazaar was in full swing in that area between Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Masjid India, and the merdeka mood was in the air with Malaysian flags everywhere. It was then exactly one week to Merdeka (Malaysian Independence Day).

It was after lunch, walking down the road, that I noticed the scene above. Young Malay woman surrounded by textiles in her shop; old Chinese aunty picking up her things; and the Indian money-changer behind the glass of his little kiosk. It was such a 1Malaysia scene, and yet the very sort that the politicians are most likely to miss -- both to miss the presence of the scene, and also the point of it.

I suppose that's because there's really no interaction between the three 'characters': it's almost as if their existence (and differences) is acknowledged but not explicitly referenced in any way. And to me, the 1Malaysia that has always existed is the one where we live together, oblivious to the notion that our differences were/are ever a problem.

You don't see it very much around these days; our hurried, media-saturated lifestyles make it so easy for the wrong kind of propaganda to infiltrate our hearts and minds. But I'd like to think it is alive and thriving in some pockets of the city -- the confluence of people just as Kuala Lumpur is literally a confluence of two rivers.

* * *

Discovered over lunch on Thursday with Li Ern, that she likes Big Fish too.

So I found a clip of the ending on YouTube (not sure where I placed my DVD), and watched it awhile ago. Never fails to leave me teary-eyed, that scene where everything comes together. One of the best endings of any film, ever, I would say.

The reason why I looked it up is not only because of the conversation with Li Ern, but equally, if not more so, because of the events that happened yesterday -- from the news of this little victory and Alissa's email, to the two Skype conversations -- events that made me think about storytelling all over again.

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