We (wifey and I) finally got some time to sit down and watch this show on Sunday night (since they were showing reruns of CSI Season 7 on Astro and there was pretty much nothing else to watch on other channels – I suspect it’s a ploy to get people to go clubbing!). I bought the VCD almost a year ago. It was supposed to be the sequel to ‘Sepet’also by Yasmin Ahmad (which we thought was superb). Btw, she just recently won accolades for ‘Mukhsin’, the prequel to ‘Sepet’ which I feel she probably deserves them. Whatever, it sure made us proud.
Once again, in Gubra (or translated loosely as ‘violent shaking/stirring’), Yasmin pulled out all the stops to create ‘controversies’. Some instances are:
1. An ustaz(Muslim religious teacher) patting a stray dog! I grew up being told repeatedly by muslims and non-muslims alike that muslims do not touch dogs.
2. The mention of ‘malam Jumaat’ a few times, once from the mouth of a Malay lady (a prostitute no less!) to the ustaz regarding the latter and his lovey-dovey super-duper religious wife. For those not in the know about ‘malam Jumaat, go ask your muslim friends.
3. Two malay ladies working as commercial sex workers (read: the ‘P’ word).
4. One of them contracts HIV!
5. The other being abused repeatedly during sex for RM300 per session by a Malay customer (whom the ibu ayam, who is Chinese, called “worst than a stray dog”)!
6. One scene where a lady actually shouted “BABI”!! (Pig) in the hospital. When I went to India, a pig was still called ‘Babi’ in Malaysia; 6 years later, when I came back, it was called ‘khinzir’ (a more sanitised word I suppose) and now, I noticed the Chinese calendars do not even have a drawing of a pig but rather has the Chinese character printed instead! Sometimes I feel we bend over backwards too much.
7. Malays were portrayed as rich (driving Jaguar and Mercedes cars) while Chinese were portrayed as poor/middle class (driving a beat up pick-up whose passenger door only opens from the inside!). That is the truth in Malaysia now, regardless of the statistics shown to us.
8. Malays were shown speaking 80% English and 20% Malay (another truth, in my opinion).
9. Orked, the main female character (who was the love interest of Jason, the Chinese VCD peddler in ‘Sepet’) was portrayed as being too ‘loose’. She wouldn’t last 5 min in certain Northern states in Malaysia. She (and a host of other Malay ladies) were un-tudung!!! Five minutes after discovering her hubby was having an affair, she was already holding Allan’s (Jason’s brother) hands!!! This doesn’t happen in real life, I think.
10. The maid (played wonderfully by Adibah Noor) falls in love with a Chinese hospital attendant and even knew he was circumsized!!! (actually, in my 11 years of working, I only know 1 Chinese attendant and he is a convert to Islam!)
11. In one scene, while Allan and Orked were in the pick-up truck, Allan lamented that he felt like a stranger in his own country. He said “It’s like being in love and not loved in return” to which Orked replied “I know, but more and more of us realise that now“. In my opinion? True for the first statement, and false for the latter.
12. Orked extracting hair from Allan’s bare naked torso, and inadvertently pulled on the hair around his nipple. Aiyo!
There are a lot more to the show. The pace of the movie was painfully slow at times with light hearted snippets few and far between, unlike its predecessor which I feel is far superior than this sequel (except for the ending that sucked!). The scenes were mostly shot from afar, and I catch myself trying to figure out the details (or is because my TV is too small???).
Still, one reason why we like movies like these is because they make us feel so nostalgic, longing for an era that is no more and which will never be in a million years given our political climate and an increasingly intolerant society. It’s a lot like those Petronas ads aired during the festive seasons that are so like-able, so sweet, so nostalgic and yet, so far removed from the present reality.
My verdict: 4/10 without the wifey, 8/10 with the wifey watching with me!
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