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!