Wednesday, September 20, 2017


By Mansor bin Puteh

It is startling how Malaysians who had never been known to misbehave themselves in public and more so now on social media, have taken it almost in total the way some lead characters in some Hollywood films had behaved in them, to copy exactly their ways and emotions that the Malaysians never had and never knew how to successfully express before, in similar dramatic and crass ways, without shame.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


By Mansor Puteh

It seems that the world and especially the superpowers, those who have the means to inflict harm using the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) have not learnt much from the experiences they had from the First and Second World Wars, and the sufferings they too had to ensure.

Friday, September 1, 2017


By Mansor bin Puteh

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or the ASEAN region is vast; it has a total population of 630 million covering 4.4 million square kilometers, and representing nine percent of the total population of the world and history that stretched for ages.

And more interestingly, all the countries having had ties since ancient times and sometimes conflict due mostly, to western colonization from the Fifteenth Century, that can cause the creation of many interesting stories to be written, published or produced as films or television productions and shared.

Unfortunately, this has not happened, and each of its member states dwell on their own experiences and welcome foreign films and television productions from elsewhere especially America or Hollywood to embrace a set of values that many young people have become proud to claim as their own.  

There are ten countries in ASEAN. They are Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

There are two observer-countries – Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste, which was formerly part of Indonesia before it gained independence from it, with them having different levels of economic development.

ASEAN was formed on 8 August, 1967 and is now fifty years old with five countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, which was later expanded to include the other countries.

And the film industries in most of the ASEAN countries had been established long ago, mostly after the Second World War that served to entertain the masses, and for no other reason.

In some ways, they made life a little bearable for many, who were confronted with the uncertainties they were experiencing during the Post-War years.

Unfortunately, even as I say this, the political leaders of ASEAN have still failed to take cognition of the fact that it is the cinema which is one single medium that can bring about changes in almost all areas, mostly in psychology, to instill pride and national belonging, other than to cause the greater appreciation of the Self, and the creation of the region that can rival the other major region, such as Europe, and cause the creation of a Bloc.

The ASEAN countries and their leaders treat the cinema as a separate entity and not totally related to other fields, such as culture, language, education, national integration and foreign policy issues and religion. Worse, is when they put film development under the ministry of information or culture.

In economic terms no one can ever deny that the cinema of any country can provide many jobs in all the related and interconnected fields related to the production and distribution of films and their appreciation.

All these virtues of the cinema happened to escape the political leaders who were hasty to sideline it altogether and embrace only the more obvious aspects of nation and regional building, which is economic development.

So we now have all the facilities that any modern state in this era, in the many wide highways and tall buildings and other physical infrastructures, including television stations.

But alas, they are merely tools to perpetuate the myth that the countries in ASEAN and its people are there merely to support the development of the west.

And in terms of films and television, we are there to create better and more modern infrastructure so as to support the films and television productions that the west, or America or Hollywood produces.

It is ironic in many ways that the political leaders of ASEAN had all failed to realize this as a huge folly that the only alternative views on the matter can and must be got from a filmmaker and not from their strategists, or think tankers who are all paid handsomely but whose views and attitudes towards development are mostly those linked to their political masters.

So no wonder the cinemas in all the ASEAN countries have not developed in tandem with each other, so films produced are not shared. We still prefer to watch those that come from Hollywood and not those that we produce which are about us that promote out existence and values – religious, cultural, social and also historical ones, too.

There is a need for us to break the vicious circle where many people in the ASEAN region have tended to think and accept that those films that are produced by the others in the west, mostly in Hollywood are better. They are not.

The entertainment industry in America is the sixth largest in the country; so if we in ASEAN can do something to cause our entertainment industry with the ASEAN Cinema playing the pivotal role in its creation and development, we can expect many wonderful things to happen to ASEAN as a regional grouping in the years to come.

And it should not be too difficult for us to create such a unique cinema. And it should also not cost too much. We have the basic infrastructure; and all that is needed is to restructure it to form the ASEAN Cinema. 

Even if they have been given recognition by their own peers in their countries in the west or from international film festivals they organize, we can still doubt their relevance to our needs.

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Do we need to be told by Europeans or those in the west if our films are good and how can we define what is ASEAN Cinema?

Film festivals in the west had given some recognition to some of our filmmakers, but in the end the film industries in all the ASEAN countries collapsed. The viewers in these countries were made to be critical of their works and were confused.

We need to create new generations of filmmakers, historians, critics, etc.

We need to produce films on a joint venture basis so that they are marketable to countries other than our own; and in this way create new films that have common themes and stories and characters that we can relate do.

There are ten countries in the ASEAN region with 630 hundred million people so it is a vast market which we had gladly and willingly open to American films to detriment of the development of our own cinema.

There are many film schools in the ASEAN countries. Unfortunately, many or most of them are there only to serve the interests of the west or Hollywood with the syllabi offered are all tailored to promote alien western and Hollywood values with their films forming the basis for film education.

Alas western propaganda had become as such that academic excellence and qualification is based on how much we can become the lackeys of the west and Hollywood.

ASEAN political and economic leaders have been neglecting the development of the ASEAN Cinema because they did not think it is of any use to the general development of the region.

This is unfortunate, as demands for things and services are usually created by the films we see and support, which can in turn help to spur economic growth with the increase demand of local products and services so in time even our television will show mostly our productions and not those from other countries especially America.

An ASEAN Film Festival and Market can be given a huge boost which should cause many films made in the region to be shared and distributed and appreciated so that in time we can have a whole group of people in the film industry who can further serve the cause to promote ASEAN values and economic development and turn ASEAN into a formidable region and an economic, social, cultural, historical grouping with a vast and varied support base of the 630 million people.