SULTANMUZAFFAR (26 Februari 2002 - sekarang)

Seorang blogger, pelayar internet, penyelam scuba dan penagih tegar televisyen dan Wii. Melihat seluruh dunia di laman blog menerusi kamera DSLR dan kacamata tebalnya (kadang-kadang kanta lekap).

Mengkritik tidak bererti menentang, menyetujui tidak semestinya menyokong, menegur tidak bermakna membenci, dan berbeza pendapat adalah kawan berfikir yang baik.
Entri oleh sultanmuzaffar 31 January 2004

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Raaji'uun

Saya ingin merakamkan ucapan takziah dan menzahirkan rasa simpati buat Atie dan keluarganya di atas kepulangan Ayahanda beliau ke Rahmatullah pada hari Jumaat, 30 Januari 2004. Semoga dicucuri rahmat ke atas roh Allahyarham. Al-Fatihah

Salam Takziah


Point Blank: Paying tribute to Bidin Subari’s classic
by Johan Jaaffar

Anak Kerbau Mati EmakWHEN the late Bidin Subari wrote Anak Kerbau Mati Emak, the New Economic Policy (NEP) was hardly three years old. The talk among the Malays then was not about tokoh koperat (corporate leaders), saham (shares) and pengagihan ekuiti (equity distribution). The Malays were largely poor.

Few were professionals and fewer got involved in businesses large or small. The impact of NEP and National Education Policy could only be felt a decade later.

Anak Kerbau Mati Emak is a comedy about "real people" living in a typical Malay village at the time. The story centres around an anak kerbau (buffalo calf) that got lost. The poor animal was rampaging the fields and farms belonging to the kampung folks.

Tension was definitely in the air. Of course, there was reference to pembangunan (development) when the penghulu (Hisham Ahmad Tajuddin) came acalling. But for Pak Mohsein (the incredibly talented Jalil Hamid) and Jumi, the wife (played with such intelligence and intensity by Liza Othman), only two things mattered most: their beautiful girl, Jamiah, and the anak kerbau that went astray.

Jamiah (Suriaty Abu Bakar) was engaged to Kulub (Zaidi Omar), but she found the only teacher in the village, Cikgu Salim (Radhi Khalid), far too dashing to be ignored. To add spice to the story there was Tawil (Ebby Yus), the village idiot.

Anak Kerbau Mati EmakThis is a typical play by Bidin Subari (who used the pseudonym, Malina Manja). He was one of the best Malay comedy writers. He touched on the issues of the rakyat and his plays were written without fear and favour and at times, discarding political correctness as well.

Bidin Subari's plays to the uncritical masses could still mean slapstick comedy, sometimes with element of mencarut (vulgarism) and crude jokes. Yes, even Bidin got into trouble with one of his scripts. His Umbut Keladi Tidak Berisi that was aired by RTM in 1979 created such a controversy that even the management of the Government-owned TV station was taken aback. There were complaints in the papers about how "vulgar, silly and sick" the play was.

Umbut Keladi Tidak Berisi is about impotence, well, the subject seen in a preViagra context. The Malays joke about it a lot. In the days when preparation for a kenduri was a social affair, the men would regale their brethren with jokes, vulgar and silly, about manliness and bed-side stories (literally), mostly harmless ones. They don't consider coyness as hip in subjects like these. Yet, they don't take these things lightly, and they have enough plants of medicinal qualities to address the problem.

And, of course, the medicine men with the right amount of pengeras (in cash or kind) would rush to the rescue.

Bidin Subari did not mince his words in this play. Naturally, his characters said the unthinkable things on stage. It was the play chosen by Krishen Jit to represent the comedy genre in Pesta Teater 1979 organised by the Malay Studies Department of the University of Malaya.

When RTM aired the comedy in two parts, the condemnation was palpable. Bidin Subari is not a moralist. He is, first and foremost, an artist, and a true artist has no qualms in unmasking the hypocrisy in society. Umbut Keladi Tidak Berisi veers towards the farcical, but then, how else would a play about impotence be penned? Vagina Monologues or Lysistrata can be deemed vulgar and uncouth, but they are plays about, well, sex or at least touching on sexual issues. The last taboo in the arts? Please! Anak Kerbau Mati Emak is mild by comparison. But it was no less critical of society. It was first staged in 1972 to critical acclaim. The play helped rejuvenate Malay theatre at the time. For too long there was a dearth in quality Malay plays.

Anak Kerbau Mati EmakThe likes of Usman Awang, Mustapha Kamal Yassin and Kalam Hamidi have long passed their prime. Experimental theatre has yet to make its mark. Noordin Hassan's Bukan Lalang Ditiup Angin and Dinsman's Jebat and Bukan Bunuh Diri have yet to be accepted by the Malay theatre crowd. Experimental theatre became a craze a few years later.

The fledgling Malay theatre movement needed popular yet unpretentious productions. Bidin Subari was the saviour. His Datuk Ahmad Dadila, Timang Tinggtinggi, Ayam Jantan Ayam Betina and Tinggi-tinggi Si Matahari, not unlike Anak Kerbau Mati Emak and Umbut Keladi Tidak Berisi were hits among the audience.

Watching Anak Kerbau Mati Emak being staged again after 32 years was quite an experience for me. It was, nonetheless, shown at Istana Budaya that claims to stage only world-class performances. I have no quarrel with that. Anak Kerbau Mati Emak is a tribute to Bidin Subari.

One can always argue that Bidin Subari's original cast was superb in comparison. But the director, Meor Hashim Manaf, and his entirely new cast, did a reasonably good job. At least they did justice to the script written when some of them were not even born.

The stage was excellent, the ambience was great and the timing perfect. But half the cast could hardly be heard the entire evening. The poor girl playing Jamiah, a graduate of the hugely successful Akademia Fantasia, was hardly Asmahani Hussein who played the part in the original production. To be fair to Suriati Abu Bakar, she has the cut, even the talent, to play the crucial part. Either she could not project her voice right or the stage was too unfriendly to her. Or, could it be possible that the state-of-the art facilities at Istana Budaya are meant only for noisy musicals and mindless extravaganzas?

The writer is a farmer who was once active in theatre (remember my Rumah Kedai Jalan Seladang ?). He can be contacted at zulujj@tm.net.my

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