Saturday, January 3, 2015


By Mansor Puteh

There is a person who has written more tributes to dead film actors, directors and authors in Malaysia than anyone else.

It is a pity that there is no special mention of this feat or achievement in the Malaysia Book of Records, or he will definitely get a mention in the book that no one else in Malaysia can better.

It is an achievement not many will want to better, anyway…

Maybe the person who can be described as the Master of Tributes had not written that many tributes to be given this recognition.

He has to wait a while before that happens, and he can achieve this feat when more authors and film folks die; his achievement depends greatly on how many of them die – the sooner the better.   

Normally tributes for the dead are written by someone close to the deceased. But in Malaysia those who are closed to the deceased authors or film folks generally do not do that.

The chore has thus been given to anyone who had the propensity to misuse the word to express emotions that look and sound to be fake.

He was never known to be close to anyone in the film industry and literary scene in Malaysia.

He had not been known to have written anything interesting about them in the form of essays much less in books.

And he had also not been known to have spoken in any length with any of them, much less to pose for photos with them.

However, when one of them dies, he is quick – very quick – to put pen to paper or hit his fingers on the keyboard of his computer to write a tribute on him, calling them ‘his friend’ who had just passed away and which is also a loss to the film and literary scene in the country.

He seems to have developed or created a template in which he can just change the names of the persons and circumstances he had died from and also some details on his artistic or literary backgrounds and he has got yet another tribute to publish.

One thing’s for sure is that he writes not with passion or personal interests but to attract attention to himself so he can show to all Malaysians that he cared. He did not care about the persons he had written when they were alive.

He only cares about them when they are dead.

Who is this person? What is he trying to pull?

He can probably publish an anthology of tributes if there are enough people in these fields had died. But it won’t be anytime soon as those who go away do not go in droves but one at a time.

And for any given year, there are at the most two or three such persons who die, mostly due to old age.

It is also good that his view of things do not extend to very far; he is not known to have written on the arts, since there are some famous but relatively popular painters who had gone on.

Yet, there are also some literary figures who had passed away but they did not get the Master of Tribute’s attention because they are seen to be small figures, not worthy of his attention.

He would deem it unnecessary and below him to come up with a tribute on such personalities.

The Master of Tributes only concentrates on those who are much larger in size and who commanded a certain degree of attention in their fields.

No one can be faulted if he thinks the ‘Master of Tributes’ is nothing but a JOKER!

He is indeed a JOKER.

He is indeed a JOKER because he does not write on personal anecdotes on the ‘victims’, which proves that he did not have any personal relationship with them when they were still alive.

He only writes what is obvious about the person who has become his ‘victim’ by saying about things that everybody knows about him and his works – books he had written or films that he had acted or starred in and how they first met to sit and talk about them, etc, etc.

There is none of that.

Normally, a person paying a tribute to a dead film star or director or author will have something more personal or intimate to share with his readers of his column to show how close they were.

This is also to show how he could and had better understood the inner thinking of the author and film star.

But none of these had appeared and could appear in the tribute simply because it is written by someone who is misusing the dead author and film actor to serve his own self-interests which is to show how much he remembers them and had cared for them and their works, when in fact he did not bother with them when they were still alive.

The Master of Tributes knew no one else would want to write tributes to the dead authors or film folks, so he took it upon himself to do it.

He won’t dare or would want to write tributes of dead national politicians or figures from the government ministries and agencies or corporate sector, because his true colors would be exposed since he did not know any of them to be able to write much on them.

The task normally fell on the newspapers and media to do so and they would normally seek the views of those who were close to the persons.

How could the Master of Tribute want to write on prime ministers who had died? His words will ring hollow because his perspective will be severely restricted. They can only come from his peers and those who knew him, leaders of foreign countries and also party leaders in the Barisan Nasional coalition.  

Let’s see who will write a special tribute if the Master of Tribute dies finally?

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