Thursday, July 30, 2009

Yasmin Ahmad, I Lup Chew

This is the second time I have come across an article or letter in a newspaper that have moved me very much, so much so I want to share it with you.

The first was a letter written by Yeo Yang Poh of Petaling Jaya to Sin Chew titled
I dreamt of Beng Hock (translated from Mandarin).

This 2nd time, again in Sin Chew, and presumably translated from Mandarin too, is an article written by Zhang Su Li titled
Yasmin Ahmad, I Lup Chew*.

* a Malaysian light hearted play on a Chinese mispronunciation of “I love you” but in this case, with no diminished affection whatsoever, au contraire.

Read on and reminiscent with Zhang his affection for Yasmin Ahmad, for whom we (except known assh*les) have the greatest admiration, respect and love.


Sin Chew photo

The first time I set foot in Ogilvy & Mather, I was young and stupid. I sat meekly at the reception, waiting for the person who was going to interview me, and gaped open-mouthed at all the awards covering one wall, from floor to ceiling.

One person’s name dominated the wall. My heart fluttered at the thought that I was about to meet this person. And then it thumped hard against my chest at the thought that this person might be my prospective boss.

The roof was leaking. Or so I thought. I looked up at the ceiling and at the air-conditioner, but I couldn’t see where the drops of water were coming from. Another few drops landed on my head. Just then, through the corner of my eye, I noticed a shadow of someone creeping along the corridor. When I turned to look, she dropped onto the floor, rolled a couple of times, aimed a bright yellow plastic pistol at me and squirted a long stream of water.

“HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!” It was the loudest laugh I’d ever heard.

She came towards me and introduced herself politely. For a couple of minutes I was speechless and rather stunned. I mean, this person was my prospective boss. I remember she was talking to me, but I didn’t register exactly what she was saying. I was too busy staring at the green combat design men’s underwear that she was wearing over her jeans.

To laugh would’ve been rude, but to continue ignoring them was getting a little uncomfortable. She led me into her room and showed me some of her work. For the entire half hour, my attention wasn’t on what she was showing me. Instead, I was trying to decide how to react to the combat underwear that was still on her. And once in a while, I nodded stupidly at what she was saying.

By the time our ‘interview’ was over, I was completely in love with this strange and wonderful woman. So I took the job even though she said they weren’t actually hiring anybody at that point in time. And if I could accept that they weren’t going to pay me, she’d make it up by teaching me, and promised that we’d have a lot of fun.

For my first ever print ad, I wrote 100 headlines. I spent days and nights crafting them until I was sure she would scream out loud to everyone how brilliant I was. I skipped into her room and showed them to her. After nodding thoughtfully, she mumbled, “Hmmm... nice headlines. Very nice indeed...” My heart skipped a beat. There was a short pause.

“NOW GO CRAFT THEM!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!” My heart broke into a thousand pieces. “Oh... ok,” I mumbled. As I stumbled out of her room in a daze, she said to me, “But I still lup chew.” I spent the next 18 years crafting.

When her body was taken out of the mosque, covered in a green cloth, I saw the outline of it. How small her feet were, I thought to myself. I could see the shape of her head, and her arms that were crossed over her chest, and I was absolutely certain that she would suddenly flip the cover over, point a water pistol at us and laugh. But nothing happened. She just lay there completely still, and silent. My heart broke into a thousand pieces.

She taught me integrity and love, to fill each day with fun, to see goodness in everything, and to find reasons, no matter how small, to celebrate life. She instilled the professional values that I still hold dearly and stubbornly. She taught me to craft my work over and over again. She gave my heart a good work-out, because she made it thump, flutter, sink, float, skip, break and mend itself.

Oh, how wonderful it would be if she would look over my shoulder right now and say, “Nice headline... NOW GO CRAFT IT! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”

But this time, I’d reply that I really didn’t know how else to say it, except, Yasmin, I lup chew.


Vale Yasmin, requiscat in pace. Kami tahu sayang tong kim tee tnee teng!


  1. I lup Zhang's write-up.

    Yasmin will be remembered by many of us.

  2. Kaytee,

    Hope you have learned something from Zhang, the things he has learned from Yasmin.

    It looks like the personal hatred you have for one man has not appeared in your writings for quite sometime.

    I don't like the person very much but I do want to give him another chance. After all, what we currently have is a lot worse, otherwise Teoh would still be alive.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. "I don't like the person very much but I do want to give him another chance."

    This is just plain... weird. Wtf man, some people are so in love with their DSAI (although they make attempts to hide it like "actually I don't like him that much, but..."), so much so that even in completely unrelated posts they have to bring him up?

    Ok, you win, let's talk about DSAI. Do you actually believe Malaysia will be a better place if we install Anwar Ibrahim as PM today? Please la, don't be so naive. We need to focus on what needs to be done rather than try to find a hero. You expect a batman to come and save us all? Too bad, he was already nabbed by Langkawi religious authorities.

    But we can worry about that later.

    Right now, lets just reflect on how there are no more touching advertisements to look forward to during festivals, and what this means for us. I hope Petronas will simply air reruns, at least for one year. I'm sure people will appreciate it. Let's just watch them together, one last time.

  5. I don't like the person very much but I do want to give him another chance. After all, what we currently have is a lot worse, otherwise Teoh would still be alive.

  6. Is this true ??

    Lim Kit Siang: Ronnie Liu no more candidate for GE13
    Our sources say Lim Kit Siang told some DAP people that Ronnie Liu will not be a candidate for DAP in the next general election. The evidence of corruption and underworld connection involving Ronnie Liu is too strong. Until today the DAP has not answered YB Wee Choo Keong's accusation that Ronnie Liu and Theresa Kok are involved with underworld figures.

    Yesterday Ronnie Liu also make a statement to Malaysiakini. In this statement Ronnie makes a big mistake. He confess that the information exposed by T4TBH Blog is true. This is what Ronnie Liu say:

    "Liu: I'm under seven-front attack

    Malaysiakini Jul 30, 09 11:12am

    Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu claims he is facing a seven-front assault from within and without the DAP because he is considered too outspoken.

    He alleged in Tuesday's Chinese press that those involved come from the ranks of the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Barisan Nasional as well as former Selangor Menteri Besar Mohd Khir Toyo, aside from some within the three-party Pakatan Rakyat."

    At the end the Malaysia kini report say:

    "He suspects that this blog, which accused him and another exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah of abusing their constituency allocations, may be the doing of the MACC, since they are the ones who possess such information."

    What information Ronnie? You say this blog gives false information. Now you say the MACC is leaking such information since "they are the ones who possess such information".

    Those words have slipped out of your mouth. It means you are afraid now that someone like MACC may possess such information and are leaking it. This means Ronnie Liu agree the information is correct and not false.

    The documents in this blog are hard and soft copies given by Teoh to us. It now means that the information here is true. It is not false information.

  7. KT,

    What has Chaptokam's comment above have to do with Yasmin?


  8. Chaptokam said "Our sources say Lim Kit Siang told . . ."

    Hello Chaptokam, are these 'sources' in the triads ah ? Must be, ... since you know so much about them... ha, ha, ha

  9. A very moving essay on a very unique Malaysian. Thanks for posting this, since i did not get to read it in Sin Chew.