Sunday, December 12, 2010

Edward James Olmos

I am not a big fan of the TV series Battlestar Galactica neither I am big fan of Maimi Vice. So you will i am not big fan of Edward James Olmos. But what he said in this interview made me salute him. He was bold enough to reveal Hollywood pratice discrimination. The article appeared in the sun on Ddc 10 2010. Here is the link

Headline: One outspoken Latino
Despite his success in Hollywood, American Latino actor, writer and director Edward James Olmos wants to see an end to discrimination in the movie industry

By Bissme S

The biggest challenge Edward James Olmos faced as a Hollywood actor is not looking like Kevin Costner or Tom Cruise. This is what the Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner said during a one-to-one interview with theSun recently.
"How beautiful you look is an important aspect in my industry," says the 63-year-old American Latino actor, writer and director who was in town recently.
He also said that coloured people in the United States face a certain kind of discrimination and this is no different in Hollywood.
"Stories of people who are coloured and their contribution to the United States are not often told. Tell me when was the last time you saw a Hollywood film that has an Asian hero? How many Latinos are heroes in American films?"
Olmos finds that the only race equaliser in the US is the education system. "If you can educate yourself in America, perhaps you can make something of yourself," he says. "In other parts of the world, you can educate yourself, but you may not become all you want to be."
Interestingly, his first love was not acting – Olmos initially wanted to be a professional baseball player. Then the love for music entered his life and changed his career path. He became a rock singer, performing at some of the famous clubs at Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.
From music he branched out into acting. His first big break came when he was cast in a Broadway play Zoot Suit which earned him a Tony nomination.
After appearing in the film version of Zoot Suit in 1981, Olmos starred in several other films including Wolfen, Blade Runner and The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez.
He shot to stardom in 1984 when he played Lieutenant Martin Castillo in the television series Miami Vice opposite Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas. The following year, the role got him the Golden Globe and Emmy awards.
In 1988, Olmos became the first American-born Latino to receive an Academy Award nomination for best actor in Stand and Deliver.
His other popular role was playing commander William Adama in the critically-acclaimed TV series Battlestar Galactica which ran from 2004 to 2009.
Despite the awards and accolades, the actor still has not been able to overcome the feeling of discrimination he faces in the film industry.
Sometimes, good roles do not come his way but he is not bitter about that. "I’ve no time to be frustrated," he says.
Olmos (centre) with Help University College president and co-founder Datuk Dr Paul T.H. Chan and wife; Eggstory founder Nickson Fong, and Olmos’ son Michael, president of film, Olmos Productions.
These days, he is busy running his own production company, Olmos Productions. Currently, he is working with actor-cum-producer Will Smith on a feature film. Olmos will also co-star and co-produce Jamesy Boy with Scott Medrick who produced movies such as Superman and 300.
Jamesy Boy is based on the true story of James Burns, a teenager who goes from the suburban street gangs of Denver to a maximum-security prison cell surrounded by hardened criminals. In this unlikely setting, Burns ultimately emerges a better person.
Meanwhile, Olmos will also co-produce an animation TV series The Chop Chops with a Singapore-based company Eggstory and Help University College in Malaysia. The actor was in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the project with representatives of the university college.
The Chop Chops is a legendary tale of a group of ghost-hunting kungfu masters (right, top) who fight an evil force and try to restore harmony in the world.
Olmos is impressed with the animation quality and likes the educational values it portrays. The series will air over American TV sometime next year.
Olmos may be busy with his career but he makes time to take part in humanitarian projects. Among others, he is the US Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef, which takes care of the welfare of underprivileged children. "I’m more of an activist than an actor," he says.
In all his activism work, Olmos likes to put one message across: "All of us – whether we’re white, black, brown or red – belong to just one race. We divided ourselves as races 600 years ago. It was a big mistake.
"If there’s any legacy that I would like to leave behind, it’s an awareness that there is only one race in this world."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali

This time I am featuring an interview I did with former first lady who talks about motherhood. I met her at Petronos Twins Towers. The story appears in the sun on April 28 2008. Photos you are seeing is Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali with her family

Headline: Room enough for more

Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali proved that a mother’s heart is never too small to love not just her own children but THREE ADOPTED ONES as well

By Bissme S

Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali is a woman who needs no introduction. The wife of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has long made her mark in the public’s eye. But despite a busy career as a doctor and, later, as wife to the premier, this mother of four has room in her heart to take in three other children – all for the love of them.
Her own children – Marina, Mirzan, Mokhzani and Mukhriz – had also taken their adopted siblings – Melinda, Mazhar and Maizura – to heart right from the start.
Melinda was the couple’s god-child initially. When she was six months old, she fell ill and her parents brought her to Mahathir’s clinic in Alor Star. That was in 1960.
Siti Aishah (as she was known then) recovered and her parents were so grateful they wanted Mahathir and Siti Hasmah to be her godparents.
“There was a special ceremony where a white string was tied on our wrist to signify we are Siti Aishah’s godparents and prayers were said,” Siti Hasmah recalls in an interview with theSun.
After the ceremony, Siti Aishah went home with her parents who were farmers. Six years later, they met again. This time round, Mahathir had made a house call to tend to her sick younger brother.
Siti Aishah wanted to follow Mahathir home so he brought her back. She fitted into the family nicely and built a strong bond with her new siblings.
Mahathir and Siti Hasmah then decided to adopt Siti Aishah legally and changed her name to Melinda. “During the school holidays, she would go back to visit her real parents,” says Siti Hasmah. “My children would get anxious and worried that Melinda might not return home and stay with her biological parents instead.” But her children had nothing to worry about. Melinda is now married with two children, both studying in Melbourne.
Mazhar and Maizura were adopted in 1983, when Siti Hasmah’s children were all overseas. The urge came upon the couple during a state visit to Pakistan. On their arrival at the airport, the couple were greeted by a girl and boy dressed in traditional Pakistani costume. The children struck such a chord in Mahathir’s heart that he wanted to adopt them. The following year, their wish came true. A six-month-old girl and nine-month-old boy, whom they named Maizura and Mazhar, came into their lives. Now, Maizura, 24, is pursuing a Mass Communications degree while Mazhar is doing music at an art academy.
“Mahathir and I genuinely love children,” she says in response to innuendos at that time that they had adopted the two children as a publicity tool. “We did not need that kind of publicity. I do not know what to call such people with such thoughts. It is so sad that people misconstrue our good intention.” The only complaint she got from her other children was that she was spoiling the two younger ones.
“In Islam, when you adopt a child, you have to care for the child with more compassion than your own, especially if he comes from an orphanage,” she says. “But I do not believe I am spoiling them.”
When any of the children misbehaved, she would send them to their father who is a strict disciplinarian. She also told the teachers and headmasters that her children should not get any special privileges.
At first, she kept the fact that they were adopted from Maizura and Mazhar. She wanted to find the right time to tell them the truth. But the two soon suspected something amiss.
“The boy did ask me whether I was his real mother,” she remembers, adding that she covered up the truth.
Then, Maizura told her a story about her friend’s mother who paid somebody for a child. “But I explained to her that such things do not exist.”
Finally, the truth came out when the children were about 10. It was after lunch and Mazhar asked whether they were adopted. Siti Hasmah told the boy: “So let us go ask daddy the question.”
She recalls: “I had to wake up my husband (who was taking a nap) and told him that his son has a question for him. When he heard it, he was quiet for while and said mummy would answer the question. I was so mad with him for passing the buck to me!” Of course, Siti Hasmah explained to the children. “I asked them if they would love my husband and I less after knowing we are not their biological parents,” she says. “I was very emotional. Both of them said no and hugged us.”
Like most adopted children, they were curious about their biological parents. For Mazhar, his mother had died and his businessman father left him with his grandmother. But she was too old to look after him and left him at an orphanage.
For Maizura, she was abandoned in hospital and was brought to the orphanage. “Maizura wanted to know if we paid anything for them and I said not a single sen.”
Though she promised Mazhar that she would try to trace his father, sadly, the orphanage had disposed off all the records.
Asked how she rates her husband as a father, she says: “He is a loving father. As adults, the children have different opinions and they may argue with him. Eventually, they will come together and love each other. Their love for their father is not lessened by the difference in opinions.”
As for herself, she feels she could have done more as a mother. “I have done the best I can but sometimes I feel so inadequate and I feel I could have done more