Wednesday, June 21, 2017

MALAYSIAN TELEVISION AND ITS ROLE IN PROMOTING DISSENT…

AND WHAT HAS THE OLD MALAYAN CINEMA GOT TO DO WITH THE 13 MAY, 1969 INCIDENT.
By Mansor Puteh


Not many Malaysians then especially would believe that the 13 May, 1969 Incident happened four years after the collapse of the Old Malayan Cinema then based at Jalan Ampas and also at East Coast Road in Singapore.


Does this mean that the Incident could have been avoided or even become a joke it had, and not a tragedy that it had become, if the Old Malayan Cinema had been allowed to develop and expand? I think so.

Whatever it is, Malaysia has not benefitted much from the Incident other than the fact that the first New Economic Plan or NEP was devised in the aftermath of the Incident, which I can say was a knee-jerk reaction.

Malaysia could have learnt a bit more from the Incident, if the authorities then had the advantage of having qualified people in the media to offer smart views to broaden the scope of the NEP.

And what has it got to do with the 13 May, 1969 Incident which saw a lot of bloodshed and unnecessary strife that should not have been allowed to happen, only if the authorities knew better how to handle the media then which centered mostly around the local cinema.

The British were smart in allowing for the flourishing of the Old Malayan Cinema, but with a proviso that the films produced by the two major studios in Singapore did not have English characters, especially those that they could deem to be critical of them.

Only much later could we find some English characters in an old Melayu film called ‘Sarjen Hassan’ (Hassan the Sergeant) those of English army officers. But there are no drunk English army officers, for sure.

And not many Malaysians even now know the relationship between the Malaysian television now and what has been happening in the streets and on the internet for so long, especially in the production of television dramas and other programs that are being shown on television.

There is no one in authority who had the same level of diligence and temerity to introduce laws and regulations to control and guide the development of Malaysian television in the same way, the British authorities of old had done to ensure that the development of the Old Malayan Cinema that did not disparage them.

Or whose films that are churned in the factory style did not cause them to be so belittled in the eyes of the audiences and locals to want to look down on them, and to cause sabotage and disloyalty towards the British colonial authorities then.

Without going into greater details and for an article of this nature, I can confidently say that Malaysian television has not done what it was supposed to do; but has been doing things that had caused unnecessary strife amongst the people of the different races in the country.

And this can be seen in the type of programs and especially television dramas and serials that have been produced and broadcast, some of which had gone on to win awards and recognition by their peers in local award shows.

Unfortunately, none of them had gone on to garner better and greater recognition which is more meaningful for them to aspire to acquire. This may be a distant dream and one which is highly impossible to get despite them having been in the business for so long.

Alas, and sadly, most of them had been coming up with the same types of dramas and even feature films that deal with almost the same issue and characters who talk and talk nonsensically with so much drama and unnecessary and excessive emotions.

So no wonder none of them had managed to go beyond servicing local television stations and not cable of expanding their horizons and achieving greater heights in their careers to assume the creative and intellectual leadership of the industry.

It  may be repugnant for me to have to admit and even expose that Malaysian television has failed in its duty to promote greater understanding amongst the races in the country by highlighting virtuous acts.

On the contrary, it has caused many to become critics of all types and in all media and levels of acceptance, by hiding behind fake FB accounts and blogs or blatantly exposing one’s faces whose skins had become thick and callous by repetitive actions of going to the streets and sometimes to the police stations to lodge reports and so on.   

Malayans in an earlier era ganged up to confront the British colonialists as it was deemed to be so necessary to cause them to unite for a common cause.

But these days with such sentiments lacking and missing; some Malaysians have found it expedient to release their pent up and other pseudo-political energies to now confront the government that had given stability and a new cause for the country’s continued existence, as the new point of dissent. 

Unfortunately because we do not have psychologists and sociologists who have any interests in the cinema and television or performing arts, we are not able to get any of them with such backgrounds to conduct any serious study on the development of the Old Malayan Cinema and how much they have created unity amongst the Malayans of all races; and on the New Malaysian Cinema that had failed to be created, to know how much it can do to bring about similar reactions in the Malaysians of today’s generations.

It is too bad because much had been spent on the development of Malaysian television and with the establishment of Finas, yet, we have not got what we should deserve till today.

It is therefore ironic that the failures of the government has caused them to be chastised and belittled by so many, just because they had been tuned to behave in such anti-establishment manner, when they too could be of some use to the cause, whatever it may be.




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