Thursday, June 30, 2005

Your SMS has been received, Mr. President!

2 days ago, Indonesian peoples were amazed by an SMS. It's not ordinary SMS. The message was not so amazing, rather 'basi' i thought, but the sender is unordinary, he's number one man in the country, Mr. SBY, the RI 1.
Here is the message: "Stop penyalahgunaan dan kejahatan Narkoba sekarang, Mari kita selamatkan dan bangun bangsa kita, menjadi bangsa yang sehat, cerdas dan maju." -- Sender: Presiden RI.
Hmm, some's smiling, some's laughing, some's humiliating, some's deleting, some's replying--although there were no response. It's quiet nice in our country history that Mr. President himself is trying to reach his peoples one by one thru SMS sent via all cellular provider. Nice try, he's trying to branding himself, in the phase of growth--after elected as president (if i may analogized him as a brand). Thus, in terms of copywriting, hmm still the same with mostly govt style, so formal, not so 'advertising'. May be one day the presidential institution need copywriter as one of the cabinet member, so the communication will be sounds better hahaha :)

Who were your first ancestors?

Have you ever ask some questions for yourself? Who am i? where i come from? who were my very first father and mother--my ancestors?
It's hard for us to trace our ancestors from the very beginning of modern human life. It's the past, now the good news is that with joint force in a project between National Geographic Society (NGS) and IBM, invented the Genographic--a program to trace modern human's ancestors. The program was launched last April in NGS headquarter in Whasington, DC.

For those who want to know their ancestors, could participate. The package can be purchased thru with the official name of the program of THE GENOGRAPHIC PROJECT: National Geographic Maps of the Human Family Tree. The package including DVD consisting of description of program, device, and how to take the DNA sample, and map of human migration. The online result can also be viewed.

Genographic based on the curiosity of who were our very first ancestors? which is also a children's and future leader's curiosity.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Excerpt of the day: Rabindranath Tagore's


Let only that little be left of me
whereby I may name thee my all.

Let only that little be left of my will
whereby I may feel thee on every side,
and come to thee in everything,

and offer to thee my love every moment.

Let only that little be left of me
whereby I may never hide thee.

Let only that little of my fetters be left
whereby I am bound with thy will,
and thy purpose is carried out in my life---and that is the fetter of thy love.

WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW!? (Wait for the result in the next Oscar)

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4 days ago my best friend & mentor-Paul Sidharta mail me and he told me one quiet strange-movie ever. I intrigued to look deeper into the movie. Ah, he's damn right, it seems to be great movie to watch this mid year.
It's quiet interesting in the content and context i read from the movie's website.

WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW!? is a new type of film. It is part documentary, part story, and part elaborate and inspiring visual effects and animations. The protagonist, Amanda, played by Marlee Matlin, finds herself in a fantastic Alice in Wonderland experience when her daily, uninspired life literally begins to unravel, revealing the uncertain world of the quantum field hidden behind what we consider to be our normal, waking reality.

She is literally plunged into a swirl of chaotic occurrences, while the characters she encounters on this odyssey reveal the deeper, hidden knowledge she doesn’t even realize she has asked for. Like every hero, Amanda is thrown into crisis, questioning the fundamental premises of her life – that the reality she has believed in about how men are, how relationships with others should be, and how her emotions are affecting her work isn’t reality at all!

As Amanda learns to relax into the experience, she conquers her fears, gains wisdom, and wins the keys to the great secrets of the ages, all in the most entertaining way. She is then no longer the victim of circumstances, but she is on the way to being the creative force in her life. Her life will never be the same.

The fourteen top scientists and mystics interviewed in documentary style serve as a modern day Greek Chorus. In an artful filmic dance, their ideas are woven together as a tapestry of truth. The thoughts and words of one member of the chorus blend into those of the next, adding further emphasis to the film’s underlying concept of the interconnectedness of all things.

The chorus members act as hosts who live outside of the story, and from this Olympian view, comment on the actions of the characters below. They are also there to introduce the Great Questions framed by both science and religion, which divides the film into a series of acts. Through the course of the film, the distinction between science and religion becomes increasingly blurred, since we realize that, in essence, both science and religion describe the same phenomena.

The film employs animation to realize the radical knowledge that modern science has unearthed in recent years. Powerful cinematic sequences explore the inner-workings of the human brain. Quirky animation introduces us to the smallest form of consciousness in the body – the cell. Dazzling visuals reinforce the film’s message in an exciting, powerful way. Done with humor, precision, and irreverence, these scenes are only part of what makes this film unique in the history of cinema, and a true box-office winner.

The filmmakers are:
William Arntz: Producer, Director, Screenwriter, President - Captured Light
Betsy Chasse: Producer, Director, Screenwriter
Mark Vicente: Director, Director of Photography

They have embarked on their most important project to date: Delivering to the world through the combined mediums of film, documentary, animation and visual effects the answers to the most asked question in the universe. “ What is it? Where do we fit in? And, why do we do what we do?”

The film also under supervision of numbers of physicist, neurologist, anesthesiologist, physician, molecular biologist, spiritual teacher, mystic and scholar.

William Tiller, Ph.D.
Amit Goswami, Ph.D.
John Hagelin, Ph.D.
Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D.
Dr. David Albert

Neurologists, Anesthesiologists & Physicians:
Dr. Masaru Emoto
Stuart Hameroff M.D.
Dr. Jeffrey Satinover
Andrew B. Newberg, M.D.
Dr. Daniel Monti
Dr. Joseph Dispenza

Molecular biology:
Dr. Candace Pert

Spiritual Teachers, Mystics and Scholars:
Miceal Ledwith, Ph.D.

Taken from, such an amazing collaboration work ever.
Hmm don't think this movie can be seen on 21 network here in Indonesia, hope we can find at cheapo DVD store in Ratu Plaza, Ambassador, or Mangga Dua :)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Which one work best? Happening Act or Poster for PSA?

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Dari situsnya National Geographic, Ted Chamberlain bercerita: 17 Juni 2005, ratusan pesepeda di Madrid (foto) dan London melakukan protes terhadap ketergantungan BBM dan penggunaan kendaraan bermotor yang berlebihan.

Mereka melakukannya dalam rangkaian World Naked Bike Ride 2005. Sejumlah pesepeda Madrid melewati jalanan utama di kota itu, mendesak sebuah agenda yakni ditambahkannya jalur sepeda di ibukota Spanyol, which is bisa untuk mengurangi angka kecelakaan di jalanan.

Di London sendiri ratusan aktivis bersepeda melewati Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, dan Covent Garden. "Oil is not a bare necessity but a crude obsession," tertulis di salah satu spanduk seperti dilaporkan pers setempat. Mereka mengecat punggung mereka dengan tulisan "NO FUMES".

One point, gimana di Indonesia ya? Kelihatannya bentuk protes sosial dan lingkungan seperti ini (happening act) bakalan mengundang reaksi hebat. Jadi inget waktu Artika Sari Dewi diprotes FPI (bukan Front Pembela Iklan lho).
Sebenarnya ini juga termasuk PSA (Public Service Advertisement) yang selama ini kita kadang juga kerjain di kantor.
Coba sekarang taruhan, mana yang lebih bisa diinget, how to say dengan cara seperti mereka di Madrid dan London atau poster yang dipasang di seantero kota? Semuanya bisa kita kategorikan sebagai Ambient Media, media beriklan non tradisional atau unconventional.

Dua-duanya mungkin bisa efektif, tapi dengan happening act seperti ini kelihatannya lebih memorable, karena lebih dari sekedar protes dan demo biasa. Kontekstualitas media dengan pesannya cukup relevan (bersepeda vs bermobil -- tenaga otot vs BBM), experiential, dan interaktif. Cukup smart sebagai media penyampai pesan layanan masyarakat (public service). Dia bisa tampil distinctive dan berbeda. Ambient media punya karakter sedikit beda dengan media tradisional lainnya (TV, radio, press) karena sifat contextuality, experiential, dan interactivity dengan target audiences.
Poster yang dipasang outdoor akan lebih baik kalau dia bisa punya karakter ambient media, dan gak cuma sekedar perpanjangan dari print ad yang dipindahkan ke outdoor. Kalau bisa mungkin efektifitas dan memorability-nya bisa sekuat happening act tadi.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Lalapan, everybody!

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Finally, here it come the upcoming event for the under age (below 30!) to enter their work--a bar none creative advertising.
Yes YoungGuns Award is coming. With the philosophy to start at the bottom, Through hard work the talent shines and the skills develop. For emerging creative talent YoungGuns offers a real opportunity for them to showcase their work and ideas.

The leading creatives of tomorrow are the entrants of YoungGuns today (so be nice to them).
YoungGuns was created just for young global talent, for new ideas and perspectives. Other industry awards are forums for the established. YoungGuns is constantly creating new opportunities and new ways for young global talent to demonstrate their skills and ideas.

The focus is on the individual, Call For Entry campaigns, real opportunities and benefits all herald a new type of award. Entry to YoungGuns is restricted to those under 30.

The YoungGuns Jury has two dynamics that make it unique in comparison to other award juries; firstly it is truly international with all regions represented, and secondly, it brings together an eclectic mix of both experienced and young talent.

Renown for creating some of the worlds most talked about and controversial advertising campaigns - Wonderbra, FCUK - YoungGuns is delighted that Trevor Beattie has agreed to be the 2005 Jury Chairman.

Trevor is joined by an outstanding line-up of creatives from all over the world. YGAward is honoured that they have taken time out to come down to Sydney to judge the best global young creative talent. This support continues to show the importance of recognizing and awarding the best young and emerging global creative talent.

Get info for your team member at, find out what can you all do to prove that you deserve to be one of the bullet handler :)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Craftmanship in TV Commercials (Take a closer look at Cannes 2005)

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Have you ever seen Honda "Grrr" version? Yep, it's a damn painstaking commercial craftmanship this year.
No wonder, it just garnered mountains of award such as:
Epica, 2004 for Automobiles
Epica, 2004 (Epica d'Or) for Film
Festival du Film Publicitaire de Méribel, 2004 (Soundtrack Cristal)
British Television Advertising Awards (BTAA), 2005 (Shortlist) for Vehicles
British Television Advertising Awards (BTAA), 2005 (Shortlist) for Best less than 90 sec TV commercial
British Television Advertising Awards (BTAA), 2005 (Shortlist) for Cinema commercials (TV adaptations)
Advertising Creative Circle Awards, 2005 (Gold) for Best TV Commercial
Advertising Creative Circle Awards, 2005 (Gold) for Best Cinema Commercial
Advertising Creative Circle Awards, 2005 (Gold) for Best Idea in 60 Seconds or Over
Advertising Creative Circle Awards, 2005 (Gold) for Best Use of Music
Advertising Creative Circle Awards, 2005 (Gold) for Best Use of Animation
Advertising Creative Circle Awards, 2005 (Platinum Honour)
British Television Advertising Awards (BTAA), 2005 (ITV Award) for Best Television Commercial
International Andy Awards, 2005 (GRANDY/Silver) for Automotive
D&AD Awards, 2005 (Gold Award) for TV & Cinema Advertising: TV Commercials/Individual over 60 sec.
D&AD Awards, 2005 (Silver Award) for TV & Cinema Advertising: Cinema Commercials/Individual
D&AD Awards, 2005 (Silver Award) for TV & Cinema Advertising Crafts: Art Direction
D&AD Awards, 2005 (Gold Award) for TV & Cinema Advertising Crafts: Use of Music
D&AD Awards, 2005 (Silver Award) for TV & Cinema Advertising Crafts: Animation
D&AD Awards, 2005 (Silver Award) for TV & Cinema Advertising Crafts: Direction
D&AD Awards, 2005 (Silver Award) for Integrated Communication: Integrated Advertising
Golden Award of Montreux, 2005 (Gold Medal) for Automotive
The One Show, 2005 (Gold) for Consumer TV: Over: 30 sec - Single - max. : 90 sec
The One Show, 2005 (Best of Show)
CLIO Awards, 2005 (Grand Clio)

Congratulations to all of the team from Wieden+Kennedy London, they put much effort to make the 'shit' (the so called jealousy expression) happened.
The idea behind is just so simple, how the unfriendly diesel engine being hated by the environment-nature and animals. Here it come the Honda Diesel engine that engineered as a friend of nature-environmental friendly.
But, when we take a closer look at the execution we can see how sweaty-bloody-tearsy they were.
They're smart enough to choose the style of execution, a new colorful animation style developed by Nexus Productions-a brand new hottest animation and special effects shop in UK.
Bar-none creativity meet advance client and also proper budget. Life shouldn't be this easy but Wieden+Kennedy did it.
Latest news, it nominated for best of show at Cannes Advertising Festival 2005.
Just wait and see or dare to bet? May be you can beat your CD this time, huh.

Want to see the ad? Come and see from my G4 or visit and you can also vote it for winner of Cannes Advertising Festival 2005.

It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be.

Last night my copywriter asked me to meet her acquaintance. She told me that he need help, he trapped in confusing situation--a dead end.
He's a common worker, typically Indonesian Gen-Y guy. What's wrong with his confusing things?
Advertising is his dream, but his destiny drove him to the field he didn't really love. He wanted to turn his life back, it's too late, once he said, "I need second opinion! I'm jealous of what my dream just being my colleagues' dream, i just wanted to be a copywriter."
He wanted to run out of his job now, has no courage coz of there's no such advertising job opportunity given, desperado.

What i suggested him are firstly ask for yourself and follow your heart, whether you're on the right track or not. There's no such a belated things to start something in life, eventhough tomorrow is end of your life.
Ask yourself how good you wanted to be, if you found out the answer and then the second, put it into action.

I shared to him so many thing as read from one damn great book i ever read.
The book is full of wisdom based on many issues the author met in his entire career years in advertising field.

Here is brief story of the book:

It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be is a handbook of how to succeed in the world - a pocket 'bible' for the talented and timid to make the unthinkable thinkable and the impossible possible.

The world's top advertising guru, Paul Arden, offers up his wisdom on issues as diverse as problem solving, responding to a brief, communicating, playing your cards right, making mistakes and creativity, all notions that can be applied to aspects of modern life. This book provides a unique insight into the world of advertising and is a quirky compilation of quotes, facts, pictures, wit and wisdom, packed into easy-to-digest, bite-sized spreads. If you want to succeed in life or business, this is a must!

He gives original and logical answers to everyday questions. Much of it appears obvious when you read it, but aren't all questions easy when you know the answers? Whether you are a school-leaver, self-employed or a managing director, this book is invaluable for everyone who aspires to succeed. Just as Sun Tzu's Art of War is read as a lesson in business strategy rather than fighting in a military sense, or Machiavelli's The Prince is written about government but is used as a guide to management, so this book uses the creative process of good advertising as a metaphor for business practice.

Paul Arden began his career in advertising at the age of 16. For 14 years he was Executive Creative Director at Saatchi and Saatchi, where he was responsible for some of Britain's best known campaigns including British Airways, Silk Cut, Anchor Butter, InterCity and Fuji. His famous slogans include 'The Car in front is a Toyota' and 'The Independent - It is - Are You?'. In 1993 he set up the London-based production company Arden Sutherland-Dodd where he is now a commercials director for clients such as BT, BMW, Ford, Nestle and Levis.

You can own this 6 stars worth-to-read-book published by Phaidon by buying at QB, Aksara, Basheer, MPH and also Kinokuniya around you, and it's cheapo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Shakespeare Was Wrong! (2nd retrospect)

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What’s your name, Sir?”
It’s the question I’ve been asked most frequently in my entire life.
I’ve had to answer the same question again and again.

Last week I was introduced by my client to his aqcuaintance. As usual, I was asked that very same question, “What’s your name?”. I told him my name and we had a good conversation.
But not long after, he asked again, “I’m sorry, what was your name again?”
And I thought, ‘Hey, what’s wrong with the guy’s neuron?
Why is it so hard for him to keep my name in his mind, even for 15 minutes!

I began questioning myself, is my name that hard to spell?
Is it that uncommon, or quite the contrary-are there too many people out there with the same name?

Suddenly, I became so pissed-off with Shakespeare’s ’What’s In A Name’.

Now, I don’t know what to do with my name.
Should I change it to a more outstanding name or keep it as it is, since I’ve lived for 29 years with it.

Well, I think I’ll keep it as it is.

But there has got to be something I could do to make it more distinctive.

My name is like a brand name.
So instead of changing it, I decide to make it fresher, widely known, has a unique positioning and be remembered.

Re-branding! That’s the ultimate mantra.

You see, I work in advertising. It’s a tough industry, people constantly ask you where you’ve been, before they welcome you on board.
For them, your previous agencies names are probably more important than your name itself.

Let me tell you how I went around this problem.
I joined this agency called Avicom.

Now you may be asking, what kind of name is that?
Doesn’t sound like an advertising firm, does it?
Unlike those big agencies, which use some foreign last names.

Well, don’t be fooled by the name.
Quite surprisingly Avicom is a good brand.
So good that if I use it as my last name, it will boost up and multiply my market value in the industry.
You may be asking why.

Here’s a surprising fact for you:
Everyone from the Avicom Account Management team (and also the Creative and Media team) has been headhunted by advertising headhunters and big names such as Ogilvy, JWT, BBDO, DDB, Bates and Dentsu.
This can only mean one thing: there has got to be something in the way they work.

Here’s another astonishing fact:
80% of those approached decided to turn down the big offers; which also indicates there has got to be something in the way Avicom treat their people.

As for the other 20%, well, you can’t blame them-
this is advertising!
For them: good luck.
For you: good news!
You could be the lucky one to fill in the empty seats.
They are now looking for new Account Management/ Client Service personnel to strengthen their team.

Now, isn’t that a wonderful opportunity?

If you have an A.C.E. (Aggressive-Creative mindset- Enthusiasm) mentality, perhaps it’s the right time for you to add ‘Avicom’ not just in your CV but also as your last name.

And when you do that, don’t be surprised when you have some top management from the big agencies calling you for an interview.
But that’s later.

Right now, what you need to do is contact Charlie Aziz, Head of Avicom Account Management Department (He’s damn nice person to talk to).

Call him on +62811 872457 and +6221 7805660 E. 107, fax on +6221 7817076 or mail him at

Pretty soon you will be thinking Shakespeare didn’t have a clue of what he was talking about. There’s everything in a name, especially when the name is Avicom.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Shares Hope Through Movie

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First time I saw Sepet, a feature film directed by Yasmin Ahmad, a best friend, sister, guru, and mentor in advertising (she's also Executive Creative Director of Leo Burnett Kuala Lumpur), just like seeing her shares hopes to me.
It's her 2nd movie since her first time debut in feature film Rabun (Failing Eyesight) and upcoming film Gubra.

It has been garnered such prestigious award e.g. Official Selection at The Barcelona Asian Film Festival 2005, Winner of Best Asean Feature Film at 9th Malaysian Video Music Awards, Official Selection at the 48th San Fransisco Film Festival 2005, name to few and may be more upcoming event.

I remember 3 days ago Mbak Yasmin (i call her 'Mbak') asked me a question after she gave me a copy of Sepet DVD: "Did u feel something when Jason put his head on his mother's lap?"
I answered that suddenly that kinda feeling conquered my mind and heart and deeply touched as if i myself did same thing Jason did in the movie.
Another thing questioned to me is: "Did you enjoy it? Did you feel something?"

Overall i gave two thumbs up, for the detailed-eye in capturing hope and romance in life.
And i bet, there'll be one question asked after seeing the movie: "Is it really Jason's voice?"
Mbak Yasmin just gave me simple answer: "It's the voice of hope, maybe."

From, i put this great critics to be learnt, especially for Indonesian film industry:

Eyes Wide Open
Yasmin Ahmad’s Sepet looks at the romantic possibilities of colour-blind love

by Alfian Sa’at

Sepet: to possess single eyelids, or used pejoratively, slit-eyed. The condition of being slit-eyed sometimes goes beyond its physical designations to enforce racial stereotypes. The sepet person is associated with certain personality traits: either a shifty inscrutability (you can’t read the person’s eyes), or handicapped by narrow-mindedness (surely someone with eyes like that is bound to have a limited field of vision).

There is much to be said about how sepet-ness is employed to categorise the racial Other. In Malaysia, for example, where the Malays form the dominant race, the otherness of the Chinese is expressed not via skin colour (having fair skin is still considered a virtue; compare the damning ‘hitam legam’, neutral ‘sawo matang’ and the almost-euphemistic ‘hitam manis’ with the praiseworthy ‘putih bersih’, ‘putih melepak’ and ‘putih berseri’) but by other physiognomic features, like the aforementioned ‘sepet’.

Sepet is also the name of a film by director Yasmin Ahmad. It concerns the romance between an 19-year-old Chinese illegal VCD seller, Jason (Ng Choo Seong) and Orked (Sharifah Amani), a 16-year-old Malay schoolgirl.

The film opens with a scene of Jason reading poetry, in Chinese, to his Peranakan mother. This scene sets the tone for the rest of the film: it turns out that the poem was written by an Indian poet (one assumes it to be Tagore), and Jason’s mother makes a remark on how odd it is that one can find empathy with someone of a completely different race. There’s a certain tinge of clumsy speechifying going on here, and one senses that the director is eager to establish her humanist credentials at this point.

But of course there’s more to the scene than that. Asian mothers always possess strange prophetic gifts, and in true mulut masin fashion, Jason is to discover that not only is empathy possible between people of different races, but also ta-da: love! One busy day among the bustle of Ipoh’s street markets, Orked visits his makeshift stall and makes some enquiries about Wong Kar Wai movies. Their exchange is brief, but long enough for them to be caught in the cross-hairs of Cupid’s crossbow.

It is to the director’s credit that she refuses to rationalise the instant attraction between her two leads: it is not the product of some deep-rooted scar (nobody was molested by a babysitter of another race, for example) or a superficial taste for the exotic. Of course one can do some lazy pop-psychology and state that Orked’s attraction towards Jason is an extension of her idol-worship of Jap-Chinese cutie, Takeshi Kaneshiro. But infatuation rarely blossoms into the kind of romance the two find themselves in, filled with the flush of endearments like ‘sayang’ and desolate pillow-burying sobs.

Much of the criticism of inter-racial relationships is that they are built on the fantasy of stereotypes. The White Knight. The Oriental Kitten. The Hypermasculine Indian Man. The Sopan-santun Malay Woman. There is always a lingering suspicion among its detractors that the glorification of the Other is accompanied by some level of ethnic self-loathing: The Redneck. The Personality-Deficient Wife. The Serve-Thy-Lord-and-Master Husband. Or quite simply, ‘He/she who reminds me too much of my father/mother’. This is when love is perceived as pathological, as a kind of fetish, because it involves objectification.

The point that Sepet makes is that quite often, inter-racial relationships happen precisely because of an inverse scenario: what the two leads are interested in is each other’s subjectivity. If the skin is a garment, then like all genuine and frantic lovers, they are more interested inwhat lies beneath. They do not, in other words, obsess about the texture of silk stockings or the smell of briefs.

The director makes a few other points too: racial categories are descriptive, not prescriptive, and even when they describe they are woefully inadequate. When you have a Peranakan in the cast, you know that’s always a big Up Yours to strict Chinese/Malay classifications. Orked’s maid (played to earthy perfection by Adibah Noor) listens to Thai pop songs. She duets to a Chinese song with Orked’s mother (Ida Nerina), a Cantonese serial addict. Who often converses with her husband (Harith Iskandar) in a mixture of English and Malay.

Sometimes, though, the film loses control of its own political subtext and the dreaded message starts to rear its ungainly head. And thus we have a long explication on the genesis of the Peranakans, and speculation on the racial identities of the legendary Malaccan heroes. We also have Orked explaining Franz Fanon to her friend, which does make her character come across as precociously intelligent, but also makes her sound like she’s spelling out the movie’s manifesto.

In my opinion, the scenes that really embody the complexities of living in a multiracial society like Malaysia are the ones that are wordless. A particular scene comes to mind: Jason selects a song on his karaoke player – that classic whose lyrics go along the lines of, ‘Dia datang, dengan lenggang-lengguknya’. The intro sounds like something on Middle Eastern strings, and he’s miming air guitar to it. He freestyles to the music, his arms spread wide, hands flapping, making ducking movements. You might ask, how does this Chinese boy dance to this Malay music? Or rather, how does anyone dance to this music at all?

But it’s happening, before your very eyes. Jason’s friends ignore him, as if this is a routine they’re used to, or they’re deliberately ignoring his impish appeal for attention. The fascinating thing about the dance is that it’s impossible to tell if it’s parody or tribute; the expression on Jason’s face is a curious mixture of self-absorption and mock-seriousness. If it’s mockery, then is the gesture racist, the way people make fun of Indian dance by trying to move their heads in a horizontal plane or refer to lion dance as ‘tong-tong-chang’? If it’s not, then isn’t this one strange boy? But you watch him dance again and you think, who cares, it’s a body that’s moving to music, and it’s communicating such joy, and perhaps that’s what matters.

Ng Choo Seong delivers a natural, charming performance as Jason, although one might quibble a little with his sophisticated English diction. He is ably matched by Sharifah Amani, who manages to segue into headstrong and wistful modes with equal ease. The director’s choice of locations reveal an indisputable affection for the city of Ipoh, with its street vendors, generic fast-food chains, old-world photo studios and frenzied traffic.

I feel lucky, and I’m not gloating here, that I was able to attend a private screening of the uncut version of Sepet. I had been told that one of the censors’ consternations involved the fact that Orked had not broached the subject of Jason converting to Islam, and thus proceeded along their dogmatic agenda by circumcising the film eight times. There will be those who will consider Sepet a film that stretches plausibility, avoiding the ‘realities’ of inter-racial relationships. Where are the parental oppositions? How convenient to have authority figures who are liberal-minded. What happened to the inevitable, crashing realisation of cultural incompatibilities? Who will sembahyangkan whom?

Yasmin Ahmad will, of course, be accused of a rose-tinted utopianism. One function of art is of course to reflect reality as we know it. But another much-neglected function is to propose other realities, to portray the exceptions, because these lead us to imagining possibilities. I think there are parts of Sepet where the sentimentality or grandstanding could have been restrained. But I still believe it represents a landmark attempt at articulating the subject of a multiracial Malaysia.

In one scene of Sepet, Jason asks Orked about the decline of Malay cinema from its gilang-gemilang heydays. I recall a scene from P. Ramlee’s Ali Baba Bujang Lapuk, where Leng Husain basically performed a yellowface act (much like Paul Runi and Loiuse Rainer in ‘The Good Earth’) as a cobbler credited as ‘Apek Tukang Kasut’. The famous scene involves Sarimah leading the blindfolded Apek through the streets of Baghdad. They sing a duet, and much of its humour lies in the Apek’s exaggerated Chinese accent (one of his lines go: ‘semua hitam lagi banyak gulap, macham olang Habsyi negeli Alab’).

Contrast this with one indelible scene from Sepet, during the moment right after Jason’s first encounter with Orked. The historical blindfold is off. A medium shot of Jason, with his undeniably Sepet eyes, the very symbols of inscrutability, even hostility. But the expression conveyed on his face, via those eyes, is unmistakable. Curiosity, enchantment, yearning – the boy is lovestruck. At this moment, I would like to think that Malaysian cinema (or at least the films made by Malay directors) has come of age, because we are looking through his eyes.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Still Think You're Tough When You're Being Nursed? (1st retrospect)

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Now, say, you’re an account handler. May be a junior one.
What’s on your mind when you’re given a brand in your hand?
Is it the undying dream of being given a damn famous global brand by your Account Director? It must feel great, doesn’t it? Some even call it a blessing.
Is it the passion to make your brands shine?
Like how soft-drink equals Coca Cola, how Nike became so outstanding, how Marlboro logo is everywhere you look. Or how Heineken is being drunk in every bar in the world, how proud people feel when they drive their Mercedes-Benz. Or perhaps, how sexy housewives can get, thanks to Wonderbra.

Now, these might be your next questions:
Who are the account handlers of those brands?
How do they boost up these brands in the cluttered market? Considering there are almost 7000 new information every day.

By now you may realize that they are good, damn good.
They don’t dream of getting huge brands, they make brands huge.
They’re not being nursed by the brands; they’re nursing the brands.
They put much effort for the brands.

Now, here’s a question for you:
Does your pride come from being nursed by a big brand or nursing a brand into a huge one?

Imagine this scenario:
Your Account Director gives you a hard to be nurtured brand new-brand, has yet believers, the competition is so cluttered, and with so many limitations you’re expected to deliver great communication that make the brand speaks louder and ended up as market leader?

Are you up for it? What would you do?

We’ll let you ponder upon these at home.

Ask yourself, what type of account handler are you?
Are you the type who always hopes and waits for a huge dream-brand to fall on your lap? Or, quite the contrary, one who’s smart enough to turn a small low-budget brand into a huge and successful one?

Does nursing a small brand give you more satisfaction than being nursed by a big brand?
If you prefer the later one, we’re sorry. The world is full of the lame kind and we’re not interested to waste our time talking to one.

But if you get your kick out of taking a challenging path, we think you’re the one.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Storyboard ke-61

Impossible, huh?
Nggak juga, finally approved-board yang juga konsep ke-60 di-reject, for sum reason. Anyway, back to square one.
Setelah berbulan-bulan brainstorming-present-revisi-present lagi?
C'mon.. Be realized, di agency local yg kliennya 'hmm', semuanya bisa terjadi.
"It's only advertising, nobody dies!" kata Neil French, ternyata cukup menghibur hari-hari ini

OK, now within the budget constraint (hey, it's been approved), we've to develop it--again.
Malapetaka? Mungkin. Challenge? Harus!
Jadi inget waktu men-serve MNC client, worldwide brand, whatever the creative is, bisa diimbangi sama buying power untuk productionnya.
So, switch the mindset kelihatannya harus dijalankan, bukan 'budget following creative' tapi 'creative following budget'.
Isn't it nice? 15", simple execution, locked camera, less setting, less talent, no travel abroad etc.

Poin yang kelihatannya harus di-bold adalah pertama, the art of servicing. Semua agency menghadapi masalah klasik ini, karena klien di mana pun nature-nya sama, 'we're king'. Kok sampai banyak banget ya revisinya? Apakah kliennya bego? bisa ya bisa tidak. Atau agency-nya gak kreatif? Hmm ini bisa di-judge kok saat output-nya aired on media.

Kedua, client education. Depends on how your agency have the willing, ada klien lokal dengan knowledge yang advance, tapi banyak juga multinational client yang have no idea dengan apa yang mereka inginkan.
Jadi di sisi klien bukanlah brand apa yang di-handle, tapi siapa yang meng-handle.
Mark Waites dari Mother London, one day menang pitch salah satu brand Unilever, dia ditanya koleganya kok berani-beraninya handle brand Unilever yang di London sendiri terkenal dengan habit dan karakter yang menurut orang-orang advertising di sana cukup menyebalkan, can't do this can't do that.
Dia cuma bilang, "We're not dealing with Unilever, we're dealing with people behind the Unilever's brand we've won the pitch".

Nah yang ketiga kelihatannya cukup menarik, komunikasi. Agency people sering bilang kalau mereka jago di communication (tepatnya how to communicate), kenyataannya sering terjadi miskomunikasi, within the agency atau juga dengan klien, hmm.

Keempat, please don't blame others but myself. Iklan kerjaan tim, di mana tiap orang di tim terlibat pada job-desc masing-masing. Ah kliennya sih susah, AE yang cuma kayak messenger, film director yang bandel, produser yang gak suportif, dan segudang justification lain yang sering terlontar saat output dinilai jelek baik dari sisi kreatif maupun tugas dia membangun brand di consumer's mind.
It's all my fault, kenapa supervisinya gak habis-habisan ya? Kenapa takut dan minder kerja bareng fotografer atau film director top? To name but a few.

Kelima, mungkin cukup dulu untuk hari ini, love your brand, love your work, love yourself. Love, kata yang mungkin udah basi namun sebenarnya tak akan jadi basi.
Once you have love in mind and heart, it'll give the best enjoyment, drive you crazy in a positive way to bring the best output. Best output will gives reward, apapun itu, kalaupun cuma temen yang muji iklannya keren, that's an award too.
Konsumen yang suka iklannya rasanya bisa jadi ultimate award, di samping sertifikat dan trofi serta bonus dari kantor tentunya :)

Just a thought.