For those who are not familiar with him, Namewee or his real name, Wee Meng Chee is a Malaysian Chinese hip hop recording artist, composer, filmmaker (his Nasi Lemak 2.0 is quite good) and actor. He was famous with controversies namely the one relating to a song titled Negarakuku.
Is Namewee loud? YES
Does he use foul, strong language? YES
Does he get all too excited about something that looks trivial? YES
Does it look like he is arrogant and rude? YES (as one would say “kurang ajar”)
Does he use the wrong side of the National language? YES (he pronounces “orang” as “olang”)
BUT at the end of the day, does he have a valid point too? YES
Put yourself in Namewee’s shoes. You assemble a wide range of skilful actors from different background, culture and religion and spent the time and money to produce a movie which gets good reviews.
Then comes along a columnist (from a mainstream newspaper) who then tells the readers not to watch the movie – it is not because the movie was bad but rather because of the director’s past characters. Don’t you feel pissed off too?
As Namewee had said in his video, it is only fair if the newspaper had commented on his movie after they have watched it. But that did not happen – the comments were made without watching the movie and not on the movie. That is not right and is very unprofessional.
Take a look at Roman Polanski – the famed film director & producer. He is wanted in the US on the charge of unlawful sex with a minor and before he could be sentenced, he escaped to France and remains the same till this day.
And yet, his World War 2 movie “The Pianist” went on to win 3 Academy Awards (including Best Director) in the US. If one had been harping on Roman Polanski’s characters and had been telling others, not to watch the movie due to what he has done in the past, they would have been asked to go back and screw themselves.
It is the same case for Namewee. The man may have its faults but it is not right to judge his movie, his talented actors and his hard-working film crew based on solely what he has done in the past.
And whilst we are reading the various responses to his video, we get this desperate argument (I guess since the elections are around the corner and they are running out of ideas) from a pro-UMNO blogger in defence of the newspaper:-
His constant haranguing over what he does not like in the Malays (in this case disguised as criticism of Utusan Malaysia), using the foulest of Chinese expletives, will not get any reaction at all except anger and retaliation.
Yes I agree that Namewee focussed his video on Utusan Malaysia but Utusan is not just any newspaper.
For many Malays, especially the three million UMNO members, the Utusan is an icon which represents more than just a newspaper. The Utusan is also identified with the modern Malay struggle.
What this pro-UMNO blogger is implying? An attack on a newspaper owned by a Malay based political party is an attack on the Malays itself?
In the past, too many idiots have wrongly identified real, critical issues with the infringement of Malay rights, attack on Islam or the institution of the King and in the end; those pertinent issues get swept under the carpet without any proper resolution.
Remember the incident of escalating construction cost of the new palace? Remember the protest when the State Government decided to appoint a non-Bumiputera to helm PKNS despite the merits? Remember when the issue of families caught in religion conversion was brought up? It is the same thing now.
And mind you, Utusan is not an angel too. They have been in trouble before with their racial laced and politically charged statements. But we are not harping on their “past” acts here. What is important is how one would respond to Utusan and Namewee in particular?
Yes, Namewee attacks Utusan but it is not because he is being anti-Malay as being implied by some people. He attacks because as an artist, he deemed what Utusan has done as something unfair. It is only fair to judge his work and if there are shortcomings, raise it up in the right way (whack him hard on it if you need to).
But if you decided not to see his work because you have issues with him on a personal note, then you should just keep quiet and abstain from watching his work. The last thing you want to do is to go around the world, telling people not to watch the movie due to the director’s personal characters and things that he has done in the past.
That is the underlying message in Namewee’s video. And that is why; I think despite the “kurang ajar” manner Namewee lashes out on Utusan, he has a valid point.