Aug 10

The End of History

“The end of history is, alas, also the end of the dustbins of history… if there are no more dustbins of history, this is because History itself has become a dustbin. It has become its own dustbin, just as the planet itself is becoming its own dustbin.” Baudrillard, The Illusion of the End

May 10


When people ask me why we are preserving these Singapore films, I will explain how moving images are usually on fragile mediums (film, tapes, data) that require special care so it can last; how we take for granted that some things are here forever, but they disintegrate and decay. Like us. Like life. Every minute, it dies a little.

At a conference that I spoke recently, I realised they might have meant something else but were too kind to put an idealistic young man down. They meant to ask so what if they rot?

The Friday Girls were only together for one year in 1967. They cut a couple of records, appeared on television, and also performed at the National Theatre, accompanied by The Boys.

May 10

For Lubtchansky and Angell


If I were in New York last month for Orphan, I would have seen her present the newly restored Warhol films. Her works were truly illuminating and inspiring. Any filmmaker will feel most honoured knowing an angel has taken such tender loving care of  their works.

This is a moving tribute to Angell and her monumental work – http://www.movingimagesource.us/articles/callie-angell-19482010-20100514

Dec 09


“I am not really creative; I just collect memories and other people’s memories.” – Yasmin Ahmad (1958-2009)

The last time I travelled up north to specifically watch a film in KL was nine years ago for Amir Muhammad’s debut feature film – Lips To Lips.

When the film screened in Singapore at the Singapore International Film Festival, I was having my exams. Later, it opened in KL in a small artsy theatre. I went up with a fellow classmate from Malaysia who also put me up. I remember we were lost and had to brave past two fierce dogs before we found the place. Amir was in Vancouver then but Zalee, the editor of the film, was kind enough to fetch us to the nearest bus station after the screening.

Last week, I flew up to KL again and this time round it was for your Muallaf gala screening, courtesy of Thomas. You were not there too. I’ve seen the film with you in Singapore but I need to see it on the big screen again. And I did that twice on the same day – at the press screening and later at the gala itself. Orked was worried that the print was not good enough. She wanted the way people remember you, to be as illuminating as possible. I assured her it was the best screening of Muallaf for me – to see it in the company of your loved ones, who lingered long after the credits rolled, clapping as each familiar name scrolled by. One of the loudest applauses was reserved for Thomas, who made the release in Malaysia and Singapore possible. I’ll savour these memories of you and your memories of people around you. I even tried memorising some of the lines, thinking when I returned the next day, perhaps the film can still replay in my dreams.

Two days ago, I passed by our window at Mt Emily, the one that the moon stuck her tongue at us, our first of many more nights that followed, sometimes with draks joining us. Amir, Richard and Alfian were there too on the rainy night of a December Saturday to have lunch before Amir’s book about you and Alfian’s play inspired by you. Yesterday, I was telling another friend about you – how every night, you would forgive people who have hurt you. I told someone else too I like that even the stepmother in Muallaf  has a short scene where we see her loneliness in the family. I tried to look for the verses in the Koran that was quoted and read a bit more too, putting a note on some that I could share with you when we meet again.

Like Amir, I am reluctant to remove you on my blogroll. Now and then, I like to miss and think of you.
A song of longing I’m hoping to use for the ending in Wasurenagusa. 5 months ago.
Dear Film Development Council of the Philippines. 3 months ago.

Muallaf opens in Malaysia this week and I hope you will go see it too. Details are here.

Amir’s book on Yasmin Ahmad’s films is also available in good bookstores in Singapore and Malaysia, as well as Amazon.

By the Sun and his  splendour;
By the Moon as she follows him…

Feb 09

For Alipate

I learnt through Mr Setareki Tale that Mr Alipate Mateitoga, Acting Director of the Ministry of Information, passed away on 23rd January after a short illness.

Alipate was one of the council members of the Southeast Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Archive Association (SEPAVAA). I last saw him during our Executive Committee meeting in Indonesia in November 2008 to survey the venues for the 13th SEAPAVAA Conference. It was the first time I spent much time with him and he was always thoughtful, enthusiastic and kind. Whenever he introduced himself to our hosts, he would proudly state that he was from Fiji. During our discussions, he would speak up for smaller archives that required more support from the Archive community and volunteer for things he felt should have been done. His contribution to the preservation of audiovisual heritage of Fiji and our region will be remembered long after he left us.

Reverend James Bhagwan, a close affliate of Alipate, wrote in Fiji Times about the the loss and I am sharing extracts of that here, with his kind permission:

“At the time of his death, Alipate was acting Director of Information, and during his time as head of the Ministry of Information’s Film and TV Unit was not just a pioneer in television in Fiji but also a mentor to many of the men and women in the fledgling television industry.

My brother Alipate (I call him brother because he was the only person outside my immediate family to call my mother, “mum” and not be reprimanded with a steely glare) was still in his prime at fifty-two. Even after his funeral and burial, many of his family and friends are still in shock. “Pate” as he was known by family, friends and colleagues had worked at Cable and Wireless (FINTEL) and Radio Fiji and was one of the few who were in William Parkinson’s core team when FM96 was started.

He was part of Australian Channel Nine’s original “Fiji TV” team before the 1987 coup scuttled plans for the early introduction of television in Fiji.

He joined the Han Siedel Foundation based at 56 Domain Road which was to become the Fiji National Video Centre and is now the Ministry of Information’s Film and Television Unit, where for many years he was the Prinicipal Information Officer and the driving force behind the Dateline Fiji, Voqa Ni Davui and Sitara programs.

Many of Fiji’s television camera operators, producers and editors were inducted into the industry by Pate, who at the time of his death was the acting Director of Information.

A musician and recording engineer in his own right, Pate is also missed by the Fiji music industry as well as the JICA Alumni where he had served as its president for four years.”

As we hold Alipate in our prayers and thoughts, the Executive Committee of SEAPAVAA has compiled some pictures of him during his times with us in Manila and Indonesia.


SEAPAVAA Conference in Manila (2008) by Dhani Sugiharto


SEAPAVAA Conference in Manila (2008) by Dhani Sugiharto


SEAPAVAA Conference in Manila (2008) by Tuenjai Sinthuvnik


Excursion after the SEAPAVAA Conference in Manila (2008) by Adrian Wood


Excursion after the SEAPAVAA Conference in Manila (2008) by Adrian Wood


EC Meeting in Indonesia (2008) by Dhani Sugiharto


EC Meeting in Indonesia (2008) by Dhani Sugiharto


EC Meeting in Indonesia (2008) by Adrian Wood


EC Meeting in Indonesia (2008) by Adrian Wood


EC Meeting in Indonesia (2008) by Adrian Wood