It was shocking to receive the news of Yasmin Ahmad's demise today. She has been the shining star and has done so much for the Malay (not only Malaysian) film industry by forcing 'taboo' themes onto public mainstream and breaking barriers through her personal physical self via her movies about her conservative community (religious or otherwise) - which resonated personally to many and touched many lives from within the region through the honesty of her works. Her works gave voice to the otherwise silent existence of many. Her service to the community will be remembered for a long time to come.
Although she has accomplished milestones and gave existence to many people to strive and hold on to the hope of living, she herself was always searching for her own. Despite her confidence in facing her own life's challenges and giving "shade" to others on their journeys, she was always finding her own place of being. Her acknowledgment of this situation remains the single most attractive quality of her being to me.
And as I read her 2 blogs to remember her by, I was struck by how these qualities became more evident in her last few postings - a sure symbol of salvation, at least by my personal understanding. Yasmin mentioned her desire to use Puccini's opera Turandot in her next project of a scene entitled "Signore, Ascolta" which literally translates as "O My Lord, Listen!" - a common personal call in the middle of the night by most of us despite the injustices that others have incurred upon us. We are all too familiar by the challenges which she faced in giving us our voice and existence through her works and can empathize with her call. This is the opera which she was referring to:
In another entry, it was also significant that she chose a slightly more obscure song as a tribute to Michael Jackson's demise - "Who's Loving You?" - perhaps as a reflection to her knowing near end-state.
However it riled me completely to see on cyberspace, that since her demise, many questions and discussions were asked/made whether she was a Muslim or a practicing one. What gives anyone that right to ask such questions? Furthermore, it was revolting to see some responses from hypocritical Muslims declaring that songs and movies are forbidden in Islam and since she was in the business, she was less a Muslim than others - but at the same time, these same Muslims have a television set and ipod/radio smack in the middle of their own living rooms. For in reality, what constitutes a "true Muslim"? - that being such an oxymoron concept that self-righteous Muslims (and there are many) delude themselves and seem to be so obsessed with. Such people should see the joke of their own reality: a Muslim dies and her "Muslim-ness" is being questioned whilst they clamored anxiously to claim the demise of Michael Jackson as a Muslim - just to take the juxtaposition of recent events. Those questions are, in all practical reality, never meant to be ours to answer.
Yasmin: between you and God alone - He does, and has always, love you till the end. That is the love that truly matters. May you find the peace now that you have searched for. Be pleased in the thought that many prayers are being sent out to you. Return to Him and enjoy your tranquility. The rest of us have to continue on our journeys which light you have shone upon.