A fair chance

The Neo Min Yuens failed. In all the negativities, prejudice, manipulation and even perpetuated lies against highly acclaimed film maker Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba’s latest project ‘Tanda Putera’ and the attempt to fail her work about the lives of Tun Hj Abdul Razak Hussein and Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman between 4 May 1969 to 16 Jan 1976, someone actually gave it a chance.

I actually thought Tanda Putera was good – and no, I have not been paid to write this – Jason Kay

AUGUST 31, 2013

I felt a little cheeky yesterday. So I thought I would do something particularly stupid. I bought a ticket to see Tanda Putera. I went in ready to laugh at the movie and say I had wasted 2 hours of my life watching a propaganda film. Was I in for a surprise.

The movie started, and I was ready to pounce. iPad in hand, taking notes, I started typing. Sure, it was easy to pick apart stilted acting (almost all the actors were “not good”), bad pacing (extremely evident in the first Act during the scenes depicting May 13 and the introduction of the characters), and laughable CGI (all the explosion scenes were terrible). I soldiered on, enduring a needless beheading scene, a few awkward song scenes, a first Act which over-emphasized the DAP party logo, and a really forced Melayu-Cina-India unity parallel story.

In short, the opening Act attempted to be great, but it really was bad compared to the phenomenal opening of “Saving Private Ryan,” or the sublime and brilliant first 10-minutes of Disney’s “Up”.

But after that had ended and the characters became familiar, something happened. Sure, the acting was still funny, and the “look” of the movie felt like daytime soap opera – yes, the 2 female leads were terribly beautiful (that was a bonus). But I digress.

Somewhere in the middle of the movie, I got swept away. I started to understand. I started to get curious. And so I started to google on the characters and scenes. And I learned about Dr. Ismail, who is the hero of the movie – yes, he dies before the ending. Should I have typed, “Spoiler Alert”?gringrin

The whole point of the movie is about loving your country enough that you overlook your own small problems, because you can see the bigger ones, and take the necessary steps to do the right thing, even though it is not popular … even though you will be criticized for it. That’s the mark of nobility. That’s the mark of a citizen. And that’s how I interpret why the movie is titled “Tanda Putera” which literally means, “the mark of a prince”; but if one were to be a bit loose with the translation, it could mean “the mark of a son of the soil/true citizen,” or “the mark of nobility” (my personal interpretation).

I was inspired by the movie. No lie. As much as I was by Sarjan Hassan and Bukit Kepong.

No movie can accurately depict historical events. The movie-making process is such that mistakes and blunders make it into the final product. That’s why movie fans love to find continuity problems, easter eggs, and general faults with their favourite movies. The director’s vision may not be shared or appreciated by all. I can call out the faults in the movies, as I have done; but, at the same time, I can also appreciate the vision of Shuhaimi Baba, which I do. And I found it inspiring.

Yes, one can pick parallels between the first act and interpret it as a critique, or propaganda (take your pick), of the months leading up to GE13. But one can also see faults in that analogy (if that had been intended) and understand the differences between the 2 situations. I did. And I’m sure many of you did also.

So yes, I liked the movie “Tanda Putera”. I think it’s a good movie. And I am typing this out in the afternoon of Merdeka Day No. 56 because I think it’s important to state that. Because you may hate a political party, a particular politician, or even politicians generally. You may even hate the government, or the government-in-waiting.

But you cannot hate your country. That’s just… dumb. And that’s the subtext of the movie. – August 31, 2013.


Jason Kay went to watch the film and it is personal view that ‘Tanda Putera’ is about the promoting and preserving the spirit of patriotism and nationalism amongst Malaysians. So did Dennis Chua. Chua’s analysis is factually precise.

On the other hand, Minister of Culture and Tourism Dato’ Seri Mohd. Nazri Tan Sri Aziz affirmed ‘Tanda Putera’ as illustrating a piece of Malaysian history where there were amongst the minority Chinese who were “Radicals and subversive elements” and their provocations and insults caused the 13 May 1969 racial clashes tragedy.

Nazri says it’s fact that Chinese caused May 13, finds Tanda Putera “well-researched”

AUGUST 31, 2013

The Chinese did cause the May 13 riots and Tanda Putera is a well-researched movie that depicts that, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz today.

“It is a historical fact that the riot was sparked by Chinese,” he said, adding that it’s just like it’s “a fact that Nazis killed thousands of Jews during the Second World War”.

He added, “But only a few individuals were to blame for the violence then. The Chinese community as a whole is not responsible for what happened in 1969, only the individuals. They are the ones who should feel guilty

He said he saw the movie Tanda Putera, found it “well-researched” and wondered why the present generation of Chinese was upset over it.

“This happened then. Why should the present generation of Chinese be troubled by it now?” he asked. Nazri was speaking after launching the National Museum’s 50th anniversary in Kuala Lumpur.
The movie opened to poor ticket sales for the past two days. The film began screening in Penang cinemas today.


The two Statesmen did the miraculous job in so little time, to restore order and put this nation back on track. This is not withstanding all the challenges and mitigating circumstances that they inherited as the leaders post 10 May 1969 3GE. This include internal security and regional geo-politics issues.

Tun Razak’s inclusive policies and decisive leadership changed the landscape of the nation. A divided nation was mended and all the distrusts and suspicions between the ethnic groups were reduced and greatly minimized.

Tun Razak’s inclusive policies and decisive leadership changed the landscape of the nation. A divided nation was mended and all the distrusts and suspicions between the ethnic groups were reduced and greatly minimi

The internal security threat which include the Neo Min Yuens and communist rebels ‘Second Emergency’ was addressed.

All of these variables have been concocted into the a successful and workable recipe for Malaysia to gain internal peace, political and social stability, spirit of togetherness, understanding  and harmony and eventually to gel all the resources and make it work. Socio-economic standing and the rakyat’s education and skill-sets were raised in a miraculous speed.

That laid the basis for the nation to be propelled forward into the regional economic powerhouse it is today.

This is despite the fact that the Chinese chauvinists, radicals, extremists, Neo Min Yuens and those who subscribed the ‘Politics of Hatred’ strategy, in sundry did not heighten their efforts to come into power in the most undemocratic manner.

It is unwise to manipulate history, as if the DAP, Gerakan and “Radicals and subversive elements” did not cause the nation’s darkest history. Unless so many people  who lived through actually lied and manufactured events and stories and/or manipulated half truths about what happened during and after the 13 May 1969 racial clashes tragedy.

Tun Razak and Tun Dr. Ismail provided the firm and yet astute leadership that rebuilt this nation from the carnage of the dark storm planned and created by the “Radicals and subversive elements”. ‘Tanda Putera’ is about telling the tale of the dark storm and the sliver lining after the dark cloud.

*Updated 1 September 0001hrs

Published in: on August 31, 2013 at 22:00  Comments (5)