Saturday, August 09, 2008

Once Were Warriors

The debut film of director Lee Tamahori, "Once We Were Warriors" is a raw journey that will leave you feeling shaken and defenseless.

This film reminds me of the current political situation in Malaysia. Are we already in a hopeless situation? We really need change badly at the apex of power and remove the current rotten structure. The country has been on autopilot flight to nowehere since the current lame duck PM sleeping on the job.

I could not stomach anymore to see him there even the transition period is said to be taking place. Who cares about his successor as he is another corrupt leader.

First impression on the charisma and aura, the PM's speeches are mostly prepared texts without emotion. And if he speaks without texts, he would repeat himself into state of boringness, monotonous, tedious, irksome, tiresome, humdrum. Imagine if he has to debate live on TV with another PM-in-waiting!

Do we have new leaders from the ranks (I mean within UMNO) to take us back into the right path? NO, we do not have real contenders like Obama. From the No.2 is as corrupt and bad as other liutenants and soldiers below, down to branch level.

The list of VP pretenders shows those scumbags and slimeballs are here to stay. Therefore, goodbye to UMNO with this bunch of rotten politicians.

Once some Malay leaders were warriors on their own rights. Forget mystical Hang Tuah and his friends. We can never have warriors like Mat Kilau, Tok Gajah, to name a few, if we still have the same corrupt system in place.

I was there in Rompin Pahang last week and managed to talk to several friends on the current state of politik kampung. Nothing much changed . Parliament seat and state seats (except for Tioman) are all under imported YBs. One from Pekan (3 penggal already), one from Kedah (claimed related to the PM, even by marriage and was selected to be an ADUN based on this criteria alone, cucu sedara Pak Lah) and one from Perak (now a deputy minister).

In short Rompin born leaders are either not-up-to UMNO corrupt system or less calibre than outsiders. I'd rather believe that those good people from Rompin itself are not interested to be corrupted to the core.

When a friend asked me about contesting for the next election or active in politics, I just laughed away as I would rather be an expatriate here in Dubai. My conscious is clear and I do not want to be sleepless worrying about who is going to backstab or even kill me just for getting more contracts.

There are other ways to fight for justice, rakyat survival and better Malaysia than being an UMNO goon.

In reality, those leaders, from branch level up to UMNO president hardly fight for the rakyat....well, some did contribute a lot to help but for the majority, to enrich themselves will always be the utmost priority.

Back to the 'Once Were Warriors' - This is a revealing tale of an obscure sub-culture, that of the urban Maori, living in Auckland, New Zealand. Alcoholism, domestic violence, poverty and hopelessness oppress a family that is only kept in tack by the strength of two women.

Beth Hake (Rena Owen), the mother who tolerates the abuse her husband heaps upon her, and her 13 year-old daughter Grace (Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell), who wakes each morning to clean up the mess left from the party the night before. As Beth Hake struggles to maintain some semblance of family life, she repeatedly threatens to break away from her abusive husband Jake (Temuera Morrison), a tragic alcoholic who flies into violent rages when he's drunk. As her family disintegrates, Beth remembers her noble Maori roots. She takes her children and finds safe harbor within her ancestral Maori family.
So much is offered in this film and there is an incredibly rich filigree of tattooed bodies through which we glimpse what appear to be very honest slices of inner-city life for contemporary Maori and Pacific Island peoples living in Auckland. The compelling musical score (Murray Grindlay and Murray McNabb) that deftly combines an urban electric sound with traditional Maori music helps bring this film into the realm of the extraordinary.

Once Were Warriors won the Best Foreign Film Award from the Australian Film Institute (1995). Rena Owen won the awards for Best Actress from the Montreal World Film Festival (1994) and the Festival Award for Best Actress from the San Diego International Film Festival (1994).

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