Saturday, February 18, 2006 review

A review entirely in German! And it can be read here. This translation is by Sven Alexander Schottmann who works in KL as a lecturer:

Amusing communism

Certain follies can only be recognized when one is able to observe them in others and laugh about them. If European intellectual history forms the background and the folly is the story of communism, then the mere thought of the failed “workers’ and peasants’ states” of Eastern Europe is enough to produce a giggle. If on the other hand, one would rather take in the larger view to appreciate the comical impact of how a simple idea spread across the world, Lelaki Komunis Terakhir by Amir Muhammad is recommended viewing.

Malaysia’s last communist is Chin Peng. In the 1920s, he rose to prominence as the leader of the Chinese [sic] Communist Party (CPM) against foreign occupation: first against the British, then against the Japanese and after World War II against the British again. In fact, Malayan guerrilla warfare between 1948 and 1960 represents some of the bloodiest conflict in British colonial history. Chin Peng quickly became one of the most wanted men in the Empire. After decolonization, the independent Malaysian government continued its pro-western oriented policy. This included the prohibition of the CPM and denying its leader a return into his homeland, who is thought to remain in hiding in the Thai jungle to this day.

In Lelaki Komunis Terakhir Amir Muhammad traces the biographical stations of the last communist. He visits the house of his birth, his parents’ bicycle shop and the informer who almost had him imprisoned. The backdrop to all of this is contemporary Malaysia and only text boards re-connect the present with the history of these various locations. Chin Peng, the subject of the documentary, does not even appear even once. Amir Muhammad’s explains that it was intention to document a “landscape,” or somewhat more complex, “contested terrains.” What is shown is not a Malaysia bleeding in the anti-colonial struggle or the Malaysia of the Cold War, but rather the new, multilingual and plural Malaysia. The label “history” is always misleading when one adopts a narrow definition of history meaning past events without a bearing of the present, which is always the outcome of history.

The use of songs is quite strange, but authentically Malaysian. British propaganda itself was often pepped up and spread through the use of these popular songs. Laden with irony, these songs poke fun at the sometimes abstruse history of communism in Malaysia. When the fathers of communism are praised and the typical revolutionary slogans in laughable nursery rhymes, then the partly amused, partly ashamed old European must ask himself how a number of crude ideas meant for a few industrial nations could have reached the last jungle and produced so much evil.

Thomas Hajduk


Blogger jiGOMorrison said...

*This is just a rough translation

Amusing communism

One recognizes some foolishness only then if one observes them with others and at them laughs. If one goes now into European history of ideas and the foolishness the large history of communism is, then a view of the gone down worker and farmer state may be sufficient for pure amusing purposes. In order meanwhile into a raised Erheiterung over the world-wide effect of a simple idea to turned out, is recommended Lelaki Komunis Terakhir of Amir Muhammad.

The last communist of Malaysia is Chin Peng. In its Zwanzigern it ascended in the communist party of China (KPM) to the leader in the fight against the Besatzer, first against the British colonial power, then against the Japanese invaders, after the Second World War again against the British. The Malaysian Guerillakaempfe from 1948 to 1960 belongs to the bloodiest conflicts in British colonial history and Chin Peng became fast the usually most looked for man in the Empire. To the Entkolonialisierung drove Malaysia strict west course, which equaled a prohibition of the KPM and the return to its homeland - he hid himself somewhere in the jungle of Thailand - refused its further looked for leader up to the today's day.

Into Lelaki Komunis Terakhir goes to Muhammad on tracing, processes the biographic stations of the last communist. Thus it visits the birth house, a bicycle shop like that of its parents and the denunzianten, which would have brought it nearly in the prison. All scenes show contemporary Malaysia, however text boards refer to the historical happening, which is connected with these places. This characteristic leads finally to the fact that Chin Peng, which emerges obvious topic of the documentation, not only one only once. Muhammad justifies with the simple words, it a "landscape", somewhat more complex "contesting width unit terrain" to document wanted. It is even not in the colonial fight the bleeding or the Malaysia of the cold war, which are shown, but new, multilinguale and various Malaysia. "history" is therefore misleading the label, if one understands under it only the past, not however the present, in which that one flows.

Unusually and national typically are also singing inserts. Leaned against the British propaganda, which was also peppered and spread in Malaysia singing liked, they take the partially abstruse history of Malaysian communism with much irony on the grain. If in a song the fathers of communism in ridiculous Kinderreimen are appreciated and the usual key words of the revolution to sound, then are surprised the partly amused, partly old European shamed, as some crude, ideas into the last jungle, limited to few industrial nations, have to arrive and so much mischief to arrange be able.

by Thomas Hajduk

8:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"*This is just a rough translation"

tujuh: You write as if you translated it. Ah, give credit where credit is due. You used Google's Language Tools

10:15 am  

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