Book Review: Yasmin, How You Know?

Daniel Teoh reviews this poignant recollection of Yasmin Ahmad, as remembered by those close to her.

As with many Malaysian ‘books’, this is a compilation.

The difference is that it is not a collection of articles, but interactions between the celebrated director, Yasmin Ahmad and people who had the fortune to cross paths with her. This ranges from a witty reply in a corporate meeting, a consolatory yet inspiring text message, observations of Yasmin’s eccentric and quirky behaviour, to her tolerant and meaningful worldview.

In other words, this book is about Yasmin, as told and remembered by her colleagues, friends and family.

Much has been gained from its pages. Adding to the appeal of reading a famous director’s ‘memoir’ is Yasmin’s identity as a Muslim woman. Several anecdotes display her atypical understanding and interpretation of Islam. It was only after reading them that the reason why she came under much fire became apparent: Sshe was just too different and ‘too tolerant’ for the religious firebrands and fire-breathers in the country.

How dare a Muslim woman, with no stripes or credentials, tell them otherwise about their own religion?

This work further cements her controversial yet unique position and identity in the Malaysian fabric. The short writings, including some of her poems and speeches, are invaluable contributions to what it means to be Malaysian.

She would chide her sister for not making her nasi lemak spicy enough. She would strut –almost like marching, as recalled – in the office while humming the national anthem. She returned her MARA scholarship when she found out about the bumiputera requirement.

She even told Ronnie Liu that the only good BN has done is to oppress the DAP!

A heart-warming read for the steadfast stoic, flicking through the pages may prove difficult for the hopeless romantic, for the memories are vividly touching, almost sure to induce tears.

Yasmin, How You Know is a must-read for the average Malaysian who may be losing hope over current affairs and the political tactics by some to tense racial relations.

Her videos are famous for their poignance. Viewers are generally moved by her video plays and the richness of the messages within. There is no reason this mini-biography of hers should fare differently.

After all, she’s Yasmin Ahmad.

 

Featured image sourced from Goodreads


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Daniel Teoh Tzu Yong is a Malaysian.

Posted on 11 October 2013. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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6 Responses to Book Review: Yasmin, How You Know?

  1. She still cannot make meaningful movies. Which is why she is a part of the creative people that speaks up about the entertainment industry that is being killed by the government and religious authorities.

  2. Glorify Estaven

    I don't understand why people idolized Yasmin too much? No Oscar, nothing. Just bunch of "touching" commercials which is same as some in other countries.

    In other words, this book is about Yasmin, as told and remembered by her colleagues, friends and family, for their pleasure reading.

    Festive season commercial art director (whatever), that's how I remember her.

    • Malaysian

      Thats because you only saw her as that. You did not see her movies. You did not see her small non commercial projects. You did not hear her music album. She is not glorified. she is cherished. Its a different thing.

      I do not know if u live in Malaysia or not. But over here, her works are constantly held back by local censors and government. She did won a film festival award for one of her movies. Which our country did not take heed to how talented she is. She did say it means nothing to her, if she still cannot make meaningful movies. Which is why she is a part of the creative people that speaks up about the entertainment industry that is being killed by the government and religious authorities.

      The only thing that bothers me and everyone is how premature her death is. There is almost no mourning from the country because they do not know what they lost. The people that does not agree to having creative freedom are really happy she is gone.

      If it bothers you that at least when she left, there are people that was there when she was buried, you need to see your own future, that no stranger will ever pray over your grave when you are gone like she is getting.

      Kind of sad isn't it?

      • ANas

        Yeah,I do agree with you!there's more her than meets the eye,than just being festive season director,it was how she embodied the spirit of Malaysia into her films or commercials. How she sees things,differently from people,those simplicity that people had forgotten about. How she could evoked those feelings,those who would made us wonder,"what if.." That's how memorable Yasmin Ahmad is.

  3. diamond koo

    Yasmin is. . .a woman?

  4. billyolh

    Will definitely make a bee line to the nearest book store to get a copy of the book. I really miss her.