With all the controversies surrounding the ‘flagpole’ incident in the movie Tanda Putera, let me say this : the ‘flagpole’, in my opinion, is the most insignificant part of the story. In this modern era of FB, Twitter, etc, where alleged slanderous materials are aplenty and swiftly disseminated, I believe the issue here is ‘siapa yang makan cili….’.
Tanda Putera is about the heroism of Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Dr Ismail – their struggles, determination and sacrifice for the good of the nation.
Let’s be honest here : if I were a certain political party member, I would be more curious and worried about the many rocket logo pasted everywhere during the first 20 minutes or so of the show. I believe many who dared to be in the cinema would have felt quite uncomfortable to see the communists and extremists inciting the Chinese to hate the Malays, and the deaths and violence that ensued.
Some in the audience may be enraged and some, in denial, that’s normal reaction. But that should be all – discomfit at looking at the past. Because it is the past – a history, a lesson.
Don’t tell us it didn’t happen.
One flagpole incident does not make the entire story a fiction.
And please do not pass judgement too early, especially if you haven’t watched the movie yet. The fact that many members of a particular group of race are supporting the subversive elements during those ill-fated years which led to the nation being declared into a state of emergency does not mean that the producer is being racist. In fact you have to applaud her and her crew for being brave enough to re-reproduce the history on the big screen so that we and our next generation would not repeat the same mistake again.
It was a pity that the subversive elements were targeting that particular group of people and it’s up to the present leaders to ensure that such history won’t repeat itself.
With race relationship in this country at its lowest point since the 70’s, the timing of the movie could not be better.
May 13 1969
When I was young, I had been told about the May 13 incident by the elders in my kampung. Of course, many saw it as one of the darkest period in the history of our nation. I guess that is why the director was using the first period of the movie to portray what had happened and how bad it was.
It was the challenge that both Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Dr Ismail must face.
Like I said, watching those parts can be disconcerting for some. There were many scenes that showed brutality and sadistic violence. But without those scenes, we probably won’t be able to really fathom the gravity of the situation and the heavy responsibilities carried by Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Dr Ismail at that time.
This was posted in Jebat Must Die way, way, back in 2010 :
My dad’s colleague was hacked into pieces in full view of her daughter who suffered emotional trauma in her life ever since. Lots of testimonies from relatives too such as how they locked the cinema & hacked everyone inside. This is the kind of grotesque & gruesome murder racial hatred lead to. Dead man tell no stories. Only the living can & it must be told. May 13 has to be commemorated for the lives lost & a reminder to everyone that racial differences have got to receive acceptance, not tolerance.
13 May 1969 was an especially bad year (to say the least) for the country, and it didn’t start nor end in a day. But it was the spark that started the fire that burned for a few years. Let’s not blame each other. Let’s be mindful of the fact that there are, living among us, wolves in sheepskin, lurking and prepared to pounce on the country in order to spread chaos because they thrive in chaotic atmospheres.
Let’s protect the peace and prosperity that we are currently enjoying and strengthen it further for the sake of our future generation.
There parties attempting to re-write history without any verifiable source of reference decades after many, many books and articles are written about the unfortunate incident.
So, I would like to recommend that everyone read a fine writing by Jebat Must Die regarding the tragedy and the hundreds of comments that his analysis has generated HERE.
The analysis was previously written in small doses of 4 parts :
- May 13 1969 : The Correct View (Part 1);
- May 13 1969 : The Correct View (Part 2);
- May 13 1969 : The Correct View (Intermission/Part 3);
- May 13 1969 : The Correct View (Part 4);
Thereafter, Jebat has compiled them into a pdf format that can be downloaded HERE.
At least the movie stressed the fact that Gerakan, MCA and MIC didn’t desert the nation during the crisis, nor made it worse. Nonetheless, even though the main focus is the 2 statesmen, the movie could have allocated a few more minutes to the leaders of the other parties that have helped during those times.
In conclusion, Tanda Putera is a movie that I would like to have in my DVD collection for its substance, irrespective of its minor technical flaws.
Even mega budget Hollywood movies like The Lords of The Rings has flaws, so I think we should not go overboard on the technical side, right?
In the meantime, do enjoy the official music video magnificently performed by Awie. 😀