Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mislina Mustaffa : The Freedom Of Being Shameless

Last year I interviewed Mislina Mustaffa who talks about her interesting project Homeless By Choice.  The article was printed on this blog May 1, 2012. 
This year she has put her experience into  a book called Homeless Buy Choice ( Top picture is the cover of the book).  Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir has officially launch the book on Thursday Sept 19.  A few days before the book  launch,  Mislina has spoken the sun about the book and the story was uploaded in the Sun online portal on Sept 18, 2013.  Here is the story  

Suggested Headline:  The Freedom of Being Shameless  
By Bissme S 

Last year, actress cum activist Mislina Mustaffa embarked on an interesting project called "Homeless By Choice", where she decided to be homeless for a year. She gave up the place she called home for the last eight years and disposed off most of her belongings. Carrying only the basic essentials in her backpack, she stayed in budget hotels, tents and in the houses of kind strangers who were willing to take her in as a guest.
"French author and feminist Simone de Beauvoir once said that 85% of a woman's daily life is spent cleaning the dirt that keeps coming back," says 42-year-old Mislina.
“When you have no house, you have no dirt to clean. I am curious to see what I'll be doing with 85% of my time."
Mislina's sojourn as a homeless person is finally over. The journal she kept during the time has been turned into a book called "Homeless By Choice" that will be officially launched tomorrow (Sept 19) at 8.30pm at R.A. Fine Arts - The Gallery, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur. Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir will officiate at the launch. Mislina recently spoke to theSun about being 'homeless' 

* You wanted to be homeless for a year and that year has finally come to an end. Have you got a permanent roof over your head now?

No. I am still homeless. I have decided to embark on another year of being homeless. This time I will be camping at beaches. For the time being I am camping at the Batu Ferringhi beach in Penang.

* How long do you plan to be homeless?

Till I get bored. After a year of camping at the beach, I might want to live in a cave or on the top of a tree for a year. I have come to a stage in my life where I never plan my future. I just go with the flow.

* What can we expect from your book Homeless by Choice?

My book is about the freedom of being shameless. When people talk about a journey that they have taken, they always talk about strength. But I shamelessly tell my readers about the vulnerabilities I felt throughout my journey. I talked about the loneliness I felt. I talked about getting bored with the journey itself. I talked about the vulnerabilities you would not feel if you are in a home surrounded by friends and family.

* What do you hope to achieve from this book?

I asked basic but harsh questions in this book. I asked why do we need to choose to confine ourselves to a structured life? Despite all the education we have, why do we, especially women, have to conform to the idea that our lives will only be perfect if we are married with kids and a home.
A lot of women I know do not want marriage, kids and a house, but they took this path because they worry what society will think of them. I want women to explore their options. I want them to experiment with their lives. When you explore and experiment with life, you have to cross boundaries.
I want them to ask questions. I want them to know that you must never be afraid to ask questions. Small questions will lead to big questions. But asking questions is a taboo in our society. I hope the book will inspire people, especially women, to embark on their own journey.

* Describe an interesting chapter we can find in this book?

Almost every morning, the city council guys come to the Batu Ferringhi beach where I was camping to shoot stray dogs. Personally, I do not feel that stray dogs should be killed. Why should we kill stray dogs? What is their crime? Let them live!
So, every morning when the city council guys arrive, I would tell them that these dogs belong to me. Interestingly these dogs (seven of them) became my protectors. At night, on their own initiative, these dogs would stay outside my tent and guard it. If any strange guy approached, they would bark and scare him away. 

* What have you learnt about yourself from the journey you have taken?

Some of our beliefs are constructed out of fear. When I stayed at the beach, there were many nights when I failed to make a fire. The rain would wipe away the fire I had created. I used to be afraid, wondering how I would live in darkness? However I slowly got adjusted to the darkness, I learned to do things in the dark. Now I am no longer afraid of the darkness.

* Some have labeled you mad for undertaking this homeless project. How do you feel about this label?

"So many great minds like Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein were considered mad at one time. Yet without them we would not have lights and telephones. If I entertain such allegations, then I will stop experimenting with life and I do not want to do that. I want to keep on experimenting with life.”

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Psiko Pencuri Hati

Today Psiko Pencuri Hati Hits the cinemas. I have interview the director of the film Nam Ron and the story appeared in the Sun newspaper on Tuesday September 3.  I am reproducing what was written in the article    One of my favourite quote in the article when the director said : "I think there is a little madness in everyone. But some people are good at hiding it."

Suggested Headline : Going Psychotic 
By Bissme S

DIRECTOR Shahili Abdan,who is better known as Nam Ron, started his career in theatre as anactor, writer and director before switching to helm independent films such as Gedebe, Gadoh and Jalan Pintas.The 45-year-old director has now gone mainstream with his first feature film, Psiko, Pencuri Hati – a thriller which exploresthe theme of murder and madness. It opens in cinemas nationwide on Thursday.
When asked why he is moving in this direction, Nam Ron says: “Like all storytellers, I want to share my story with as many people as possible.”
He is rather excited to be reaching out to a different kind of audience who may not have seen his theatre productions or independent films.
He says: “When I was directing plays, I found it difficult to bring my plays out of Kuala Lumpur ... I  felt I was catering to a niche audience only. If I want to get my stories to a wider audience, I believe only going mainstream will allow me to do that.”
When asked why he waited until now to make the transition, he says: “Nobody offered me a chance to  direct a mainstream film until now.
“But I believe everything in life is fated. If I was given a chance to direct a mainstream movie in my  20s or 30s, I probably would have rejected it as I was not ready.
“Now, I am at the age where I am more comfortable to take up this challenge.”
Psiko, Pencuri Hati centres on a crime-fiction novelist, Sidi (Bront Palarae), who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). For his latest novel, Sidi is doing research on a serial killer dubbed the ‘Thief of Hearts’,who is still at large.But he hits a wall trying to find out more about this murderer who cut up his victims to remove their hearts.In trying to get into the head of the murderer, he begins to suffer from violent nightmares and hear voices urging him to kill.
His best friend, Man (Amerul Affendi), suggests that they take a break, and so they head off to a resort run by Pak Abu (Suhaimi Yusof) and his young wife, Siti (Shera Aiyob), in Pulau
Pemanggil, off the coast of Mersing.
There, Sidi meets a depressed housewife, Wani (Sharifah Amani), who had suffered three miscarriages and is holidaying with husband Khai (Syed Hussein). As it turns out, Wani is a big fan of Sidi’s novels and she is immediately attracted to the writer, much to Khai’s disgust. Things become complicated when Siti, who has developed feelings for Khai, is found dead on the beach.
Nam Ron is confident that the strength of the screenplay will carry the movie through. 
“Thefilm is very performance driven. Everyone has given a great performance.”
Both the lead actors, Bront and Sharifah Amani, are award winning artistes. Sharifah Amani was named best actress for her performance in Gubra at the 19th Malaysian Film Festival in 2006 while Bront took the best actor award for his performances in Belukar at the 23rd Malaysia Film Festival in 2010.
As for the theme of the film,Nam Ron says: “I think there is a little madness in everyone. But some people are good at hiding it.”
The director himself admits to suffering from extreme depression at a young age but was stopped by a prominent local theatre director from seeking psychological help.
“He told me that I should put my energy into the arts,” recalls Nam Ron, who took that advice  seriously and started dabbling in the acting and writing for the theatre. The rest, as they say, is history.
“The performing arts has given me a purpose in life ... It has cured me from my ‘madness."When I [am involved in] the arts, I feel I exist. I think God has saved  me through this.”