Monday, September 15, 2008


Late 2004, Jenn and I received the answer that we were accepted to Berlinale Talent Campus. Just weeks before, I had given up that we would be accepted at all. Jenn sent 5 pages of ECHOES as a screenwriter while I sent 1 minute of ECHOES as a director. The theme for the year was on PRODUCTION DESIGN.
It was a surreal feeling to actually be accepted at all and I appreciated every single moment while I was there.

We had to fly into Frankfurt first before we caught another to Berlin. We were there during the winter and cold it was but there was no sign of white snow yet. Our hostel was very close to the zoo and the place was central to a lot of other places. One was a church which partially was destroyed during WW2 and that gave me a perception to the history in close up. Below our hostel, there were BURGER KING, a horrible Chinese joint which we tried the first day and never again we set foot in there and a flower shop which had some of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen.

The first day, we had to register in the huge centre which was built to house all the seminars, workshops and 500+ of us. Interesting experience was that we were able to meet filmmakers from all over the world and share our cultures through our films. I attended some really interesting seminars. One with Ridley Scott, then with Chris Doyle and the costume designer for HERO where both of them share their experiences making the movie, Walter Salles, Mike Figgis, etc…
I was glad to have had conversations with Walter, Mike, Bai Ling (in real life, she is quite an intelligent and thoughtful person) and Chris, who spoke fluently in Mandarin and he always had a mug of beer with him at all times, even during his talk. A funny and friendly person he is.

Snow came during the second day and I was so happy as it was here in Berlin that my wife, Jennifer finally got her first experience of seeing and feeling snowflakes. We found this very nice Chinese restaurant and a great gelato place and we frequented the places after the second day for the next few days. Gained weight I did!!

Red carpet premiere experience where we walked on the red carpet into the cinema with FLASHES going off here and there. Once in the cinema, we waited for the arrival of Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin…, the other girl and the director, Andy Tennant for HITCH. Arrived they did and we got a firsthand experience of movie premiere in Berlin.

I will definitely be going back to Berlin one of these days hopefully to have my film premiered there. Hope is a good thing. ;D

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


2AM. Finally, we arrived at my home, 84H Jalan Pergam, Sungai Petani… my hometown. Jenn did the driving from Bukit Merah to the destination. Quaint… shades of dim lights coming off the lamp posts and a few fluorescent lights that glows from the shophouses. Jenn helped to take a few bags from the trunk, and being exhausted from the trip she went upstairs together with my father who opened the door for us. We left KL about 8pm and raining heavy it was. Both of us decided to stop in Ipoh for IPOH TAUGE CHICKEN HOR FUN and we did. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal under the drizzle.

So, Jenn has just left to go upstairs. I collected a few more stuff from the trunk and closes. A HAND grabs my neck and a PARANG was wielded near my neck. Slightly rusted and stained but it still had a shine to it. Another guy, Indian emerges from my back and stabs in the air a small knife toward me. Everything happened so FAST but
that moment I felt time completely BRAKED and it was going at an extremely irritatingly snail pace. A parang next to my neck… a knife going at the air… the mysterious guy behind me gruffly telling me in Bahasa Melayu not to make any SUDDEN STUPID MOVE. Now, with these two sharp steels in front of me… DEATH flashes in my head. “This is it!!” This being the second time I got MUGGED!! Funny as it is, 2 years ago I was mugged 7am in the morning while I was heading to work on my C70. That experience had knives also. Lightning struck twice at me!!

My decision at that moment was… PLEASE TAKE WHATEVER YOU WANT!!!
AMBIK!! Har!!! Har!!! And take they did and for the second round, my wallet left my pocket and DARN!!! I.C., cards, driver’s license…ADIEU… Miss them I do. Well, at least I’m alive to write this.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


It has been quite a while. Anthony Minghella’s death has been a reminder to me about mortality. You have one life to try to achieve as much great moments as possible and once the expiry date arrives, one has to resign everything and hopefully transcend to another plane. Would everybody regret the moment he or she dies? Ah, the question!

During the economic downturn in 1997, I followed my friend, Ronnie Chan to try and set up a company that ventures into production with another friend of mine, Brando Lee. Since it was the downturn, you would have guessed the outcome for a new company coming up during the threshold of economic collapse. The company still survives today but the casualty at the time was me. Ronnie is a great mentor. During the time, I learnt more in life with him and that I would never forget. One of the things that he said was to never regret. Always live in the present. Easier said than done. We are creatures of despair. We like to torture ourselves because we will always linger in the past and see the illusion of future that never will. Our mind will always drift and it is up to us to focus on the moment at all times.

Do I regret?

Yes. Yes. I do try to live by what Ronnie has given to me. The things that you do everyday, be it something that you can control(ILLUSION!) or not, I try to be in the moment. The key word is TRY. Yes, I’m still trying but heck, I hope I will be more regular with my writing now than my constipations.

I will update later with what I’ve done so far. I’ve been to Hong Kong and Singapore in the past 3 weeks. I’m also working on a script for a telemovie.