Time to support minority film-making and true-to-heart productions

We note this article written by Liew Kai Khiun, first published on TODAY, 10 Jan, 2014, which we shall reproduce here:

“Run Run Shaw’s death marks the closing of a long chapter of transnational and cross-cultural connections made by overseas Chinese between East and South-east Asia. (“A giant in Hong Kong, Run Run Shaw also left a huge imprint on Singapore”; Jan 8)

Run Run Shaw and his brother Runme Shaw were pioneers of film culture in Singapore when they funded one of the island’s earliest features, the 1934 Malay-language production Laila Majnun directed by B S Rajhans.

Besides spearheading Cantonese films set here and in the Malay Peninsula, what distinguished the brothers’ enterprise in Singapore were their contributions in heralding the golden age of Malay cinema in the 1950s and early ’60s, by cultivating outstanding artists such as P Ramlee through the Malay Film Productions (MFP).

From its studio at 8 Jalan Ampas, the MFP produced about 150 Malay-language films within two decades, about a third of them involving P Ramlee. Although the present premises have not been demolished, they remain closed.

To honour the brothers’ legacy, the premises tucked away near Balestier Road should not only be preserved,but re-energised as a film museum and resource centre to support aspiring film-makers from ethnic minorities.

Although Indians and Malays such as B S Rajhans and P Ramlee were synonymous with Singapore cinema in 1965, today’s generation would think only of Chinese-Singaporean film-makers such as Jack Neo and Anthony Chen.

There must be more support for minority film-makers to have the voices of their communities heard and to give them greater representation in the industry.

It could be in the same 8 Jalan Ampas studio that Singapore might see a new legend and new golden age of film-making born in the spirit of P Ramlee and Shaw Brothers.”

Editor’s note: We support the encouragement of local production, whether Chinese or non-Chinese, especially those that really come from the heart of hearts of our citizens and commoners. Basically that means giving real voice to the people to speak up and express themselves, through means not restricted to films itself. That also means we do not restrict ourselves to just some artificial-looking, propagandistic films that we shall not name here. 

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