When I was 7 or 8, dad bought me a comic book. Anyone remembers Tony Wong? That man was a legend, the grandad of manhua, The Godfather himself. He gave birth to countless inescapable titles including Jejak Wira, Dendam Kesumat, Dewata Raya, and of course the ultimate bomb, the true king, the one comic to rule them all… Alam Perwira! Ah, those steroid-laden male protagonists whose shirts never seemed to be able to withstand their prowess, how I miss them.
Yet with the absurdity of its characters and story lines, Hong Kong manhua engaged me in learning Bahasa like no other textbooks could. You heard that right, CHINESE COMIC BOOKS TAUGHT ME BAHASA. They did such a god job at translation that it came out poetic almost every time. Where do you think I first heard of the expression “Lembu punya susu, sapi dapat nama”? From Rahib Esa!
In secondary school, computer games were all the rage. Final Fantasy, Mortal Kombat, Earthworm Jim, I could go on. I was addicted, spent countless of bread money and hours at the Cyber Cafe. Needless to say, it single-handedly destroyed my SPM results (ha, ha…)
I have no regrets. Playing computer games was the equivalent of attending extra tuition during the school holidays, but with actual fun. Back then I could barely even write a sentence properly, yet I knew words like ‘ammunition’, ‘affirmative’, and “you must construct additional pylons!” Nothing motivated me like computer games did. I explored and tinkered around, I was learning by myself, driven by an intense desire to reach the next checkpoint, to achieve, to succeed. Isn’t that every parents’ dream?
Then I started work, and discovered films. Oh. My. God. Where have I been? How could I have missed this perfectly fine piece of human civilization? Am I even worthy of your love, o Lord?
Films are amazing. A good film makes me reflect and question my beliefs. A good film examines the very core of human condition, as to why we are what we are and do things that we do. More personally, films are my strength. When others could have turned to drugs, alcohol and sex upon their darkest times, I turned to my movies. It was far less self-destructing, and cheaper too.
These are my love. Arts and entertainment. They enrich children’s mind, stimulate their imagination. They should not be a second class option in our education system, instead we should uphold them as the ambassadors of our era. P Ramlee and Sudirman? Those were the people who represent our fathers. Who do we have?
Arts and entertainment are beauty, and I will pass them to my child, my godchild (if Melissa Ernshin still thinks I’m worthy…), and my child’s godchild, as long as my breath gives me way. Cause beauty is all we have left, when we are all out of words to say.