Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Running...a better tomorrow

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We were searching for something a little different to do this weekend. Having heard about the screening of the film RUNNING/BERLARI at the Annexe Gallery, Central Market, we thought this would be it. Being early, we decided we had a little bit of time on our hands for lunch, before the film started. (hmm.. which means some food blogging 'fodder' whilst we are at it.. ;D)

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Legging it down to one of the nearest coffee-shop, Kedai Kopi Lai Fong, we decided on the beef brisket and beef ball noodle, as well as the Chinese Fried Mee.

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The Beef Brisket noodle was so-so.
The fried kuey teow -mee was quite good... not because of the price of RM5.00 (which is the normal rate for a large plate nowadays), but it actually included 7 to 8 medium sized prawns (there would have been more prawns in the picture but ciki set upon it like a crazed seafood hunter before the shot got captured)! Besides the prawns, there was a handful of sliced chinese sausages and fish cake. Really value for money in one of the busiest parts of KL!

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A Telesonic Clock (China Brand) mounted on old school motif tile designs. Just your typical coffee-shop in the bustling city.

This old school coffee mixologist (I'm going to use this trendy catch word from now on) needed the support of the counter to stand up in between whipping up the concoctions. He should really retire and at the same time, quit smoking.

"Thank you Please Come Again" - Yes! We will for the Fried Kuey Teow (Rice Noodle)

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Heading back towards Central Market, you will see the oh-so-familiar traffic jam that is part and parcel of living in KL.
Cumi: That brand new flashy orange Toyota Fortuna from Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ - Road Transport Department). They are spending on new vehicles in the economic downturn. May be I should work for JPJ. I can park anywhere I want!

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The Annexe Central Market. The Bohemian part of KL. Hangout joint of budding artists, established artists, film-makers, the artsy crowd.. you know the deal. Just oozing creativity basically.
Central Market is Kuala Lumpur's popular tourist spot for arts & craft. Pretty much, a one-stop grab all those souvenirs place for those travellers who left it to the last minute. In recent years, the back portion (Central Annexe) has gradually become a hub for underground/overground artists, musicians to hobnob and publicise their projects. There used to be popular bars in the late 80s till early 2000 catering to an alternative clubbing crowd. Hmm.. there was a cineplex here too back then. Today, you can occasionally spot some punksters heading here for their dosage of underground rock band performances.


"To the left, to the left,
just tilt your head to the left
I got your head to the left
Its odd but its ok
Cause to the left is how us artist leans
to the left, to the left..."
(...Irreplaceable - Beyoncé)

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WOW! an old school cabin-style elevator! Just like being on the RMS Queen Elizabeth. Its doors should really open up to a gigantic ball room or on to the upper deck, overlooking a moonlit ocean..

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We get back to the Annexe and the place is already 80% full. Yikes! Hope lunch didn't cost us our seats!

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Hurry, hurry.. find a seat..

The show is about to start...

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The place is truly packed but we managed to squeeze ourselves into a spot.

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After a quick introduction, the film begins.

RUNNING/berlari,
Directed by Mien Lor
Produced by SUARAM.

The gist of the film is this...

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"Imagine leaving all that you have behind to escape to a foreign land. Imagine running away because you fear for your life and the life of your loved ones. Imagine running to escape from persecution, only to arrive at another form of incarceration. Imagine running towards hope and freedom, only to find that hope is all there is."

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RUNNING follows the plight of different individuals who ran away from their homes in Burma, to escape the political havoc and poverty, in the hopes of freedom and a better life. They are each a refugee, asylum seeker and/or stateless person. As they tell their stories, we get a glimpse into their difficult lives in Malaysia in search of stability and the hope of a better future that is denied to them in their home country. Their story also represents the stories of many other refugees who are currently in Malaysia.

Even after arriving in a foreign land like Malaysia, a modern south east asian haven which has a political and economic system much more advanced than Myanmar, these refugees have to face persecution all over again. Many arrive with only the clothes on their back without friends and without anyone that cares. They are subjected to discrimination and exploitation.

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What is SUARAM?
SUARAM stands for a society that is peaceful, free, equal, just .. uphold human rights.

SUARAM believes that only an active citizen’s movement is able to hold the government accountable for its actions.

We need to maintain a society which upholds human rights as a basic benchmark because it is the only way in which citizens can be protected against discrimination, corruption, lawlessness and arbitrary abuse of powers.

We need to institute a Malaysia steeped in human rights. This includes the right to express oneself; freedom of religion; independence of the judiciary; freedom from abuse of police powers; environmental protection; the right to food, shelter, health and education.

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Ciki: What I gathered from this public screening was that not only are Burmese/Myanmar refugee adults the victims, more so, the kids. One young Burmese boy told the story of how he left his homeland together with his grandma on a small trading boat (organised by human traffickers for large sums of money) to endure rough waters to reach our shores followed by bumpy cold and crowded land transfers which made him throw up. He recalls a particular rough patch in the sea, where a boatman mentioned that it was the exact same spot where many boats had capsized and many lives were lost. This made him fear even more for his life wondering why he had to endure this for a better future.

There are many Burmese kids in KL today. All of them do not have equal rights and the parents do not have the money to send them to Malaysian public schools. In reverse, the parents/guardians hide them away in the homes fearing their safety. There are non profit organisations and the established Burmese communities who have setup education centers to provide the children a center for learning and playing. They constantly need volunteers and donations to improve their standards.
Just like kids anywhere else in the world really... they need love, education, protection and interaction. They would enjoy nature parks, movies, a nice meal, a role model and most of all, some friends play and talk with.

If you're interested to donate, buy a book for charity, volunteer your time to teach at a center or even taking these kids out for trips, you can find out more by sending an email to my.beautiful.myanmar at gmail dotcom

Links to start with or you can google to find more info
ChowKids
The Star

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For future screenings of this show (might be at different locations) you might want to check out
http://running-suaram.blogspot.com/

DVD copies of this film can be obtained from :
Email: suaram at suaram dotnet
Phone: 03-77843525

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Thank you , from Cumi & Ciki!



*Art by Lisa Roet - works and drawings addressing the demise of wild orangutan populations in Borneo.
"I hope that Malaysians will see this exhibition and question what our government is doing for the protection of these primates and our national heritage to ensure the long term survival of our mega biodiversity… Unfortunately procrastination and corruption in the political and administrative processes have meant that the Malaysian environment has paid an awful price over recent years: illegal logging, trafficking in wildlife, fragmentation of our remaining forests, over fishing, clearing of land for indiscriminate development and plantations, unrelenting land fill… the list goes on. We must put a stop somewhere, and now that prices of our commodities have dropped may be, must be, the time to start...."
- excerpt from Angela Hijjas speech officiating Lisa Roet's IN SIGHT Exhibition.


For budding film makers: Freedom Film Fest 2009


20 comments:

thule a.k.a leo said...

Malaysian government??? They are busy for the Perhimpunan Agung UMNO right now... fighting for places in this party... no time to care for the country... at least for the next few days...

backStreetGluttons said...

Starting today we shall do some small peaceful runs and promise not to taunt the Burmese helpers making us our under-over-fried wanton mee now that we know you care deeply

550ml jar of faith said...

Yeah, with the intense scrutiny and judgement that the Malaysian ignoramus piles on our foreign friends (forgetting too often that we opened up our doors to them) I'd think twice if I were them about finding a better life here.

thenomadGourmand said...

It alws makes me feel so sad whenever I read abt this kind of thing..
and yeahh..mixologist - cool eh?

Yin said...

ah, i was tempted to go but was already doing condors plus farewell party at nite and a training run in the morning and had housework, unpacking and meeting with the condo management...so i'm glad you went and shared this experience with us :)

J2Kfm said...

poignant story aside, you didnt go for the egg tarts at the counter?

from Tong Kee also. not bad ...

Precious Pea said...

That's a meaningful way to spend the weekend! I can't even remember when was the last time I visited Central Market!

CUMI & CIKI said...

thule: if the burmese become a vital part of their votes, they would care... during the voting season that is..

BSG: yes do it with a smile too...

550ml:many of us fail to recognise that we ourselves are children of refugees... our forefathers may have fled a country in turmoil for a better life here.. and now many of us are fleeing to another country for better life

nomad: to be honest that old man looked as if he was going keel over and d-i-e anytime.

yin: condors? err.. you have pet vultures? invite us for run la.

j2kfm: we only go to the source where its piping hot! :P

pea: we always spend meaningful weekends:P ..even in our restful state. central market is too expensive for locals

Life for Beginners said...

Good job covering this! Oh gosh, I haven't been to the Annexe in ages lah... where did all my WEEKENDS go? :(

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

the only thing i remember is some1 mentioning the lala and ah beng clubs back in the days..

and beef noodles nearby!

jasmine said...

yeah, interesting reading up on this. i have been going to Freedom film fest for the past 2 years now... and have always loved exploring the annexe at the same time..

i quite like the beef noodles though but am tempted to try the char kway teow now!

Tummythoz said...

Registered with Nur Salam to contribute some tuition time a year back. Todate, no response. *sigh* Me England is way too spesial huh. *sigh*

That plate of noodles will certainly cheer me up!

thule a.k.a leo said...

but the thing is... the burmese doesn't stand a chance to vote... they are still considered aliens in our country

mimid3vils said...

passby the gallery on my last visit to Central Market but didn't go in coz I have no art sense at all!! :P

babe_kl said...

thanks for publicising this ;-)

Julian Si said...

Cool RUNNING/BerLARI film, charkuayteow and an ancient relic of a MiXologist ... what an eclectic and (once again!) brilliant post ;-)

newd acid said...

great post-extra ashes in your drink from the mixologist

fatboybakes said...

you mean lai fong beef brisket these days so so only ah? AIEEEEEEE, the death of yet another legend

mingsuan said...

This made v interesting reading: I did not know a film had been made about their plight. This is a serious problem as I am sure you guys know, they are rejected from Thailand down to Indonesia.Good on you for highlighting this.

CUMI & CIKI said...

lfb:
cheers! ya lor.. u work too hard!

joe:
lol.. u sure u not one of the ahbengs kah:P

jasmine:
good to know. you must try!

tummythoz:
yup nothing like a good plate of greasy CHAR K T!

thule:
such passion!

mimi:
same-same.. look-see look-see lor.. ;D

babe, jules:
cheers

newd acid:
is that like how u pronounce your name.. nude acid?! :P
erm, well ash to ash.. dust to dust.. no ..?

fbb:
ya lar.. soup was so weak! what happened ah? sad ..

mingsuan:
same here. never saw it in this light before.. got to do our part i suppose!