Dear "The Visitor",
You were right about the TV3 story I directed being overused. And if you think about it, the whole idea of love between people of different backgrounds, like in Sepet, was also overused.
And you know what? Let's face it. There's really nothing revolutionary about Rabun, either. Not really.
Once in a while, someone like "ohsowat" (see his postings in the previous thread below) will come up to me and point out my obsession with nostalgia and romance, as if he were the first to notice it, and the first to broach the subject with me.
Trust me, HE WASN'T.
When something like that happens, I generally put on a surprised look and say something polite like, "Oh, do you think there's a recurrent theme in most of my work? Funny, it never occurred to me..."
But it's different with you, Visitor. There was no malice in the way you pointed it out (quite different from the seething nature of ohsowat's little note, if you know what i mean).
And so Visitor, I feel I owe your benign observation an explanation. And the only one I have is that, in life, these are the things that interest me. Love, and the blindly optimistic people who hold on to it, tenaciously, once they've found it. And as for the nostalgia, this is not something I think is uncool, you see. I have never had any hang-up about sentimentality; no qualms whatsoever about being cliched.
What's more (or what's worse), I actually ENJOY taking a well-worn story like "old friends meeting up again", make some minor adjustments, put little personal touches here and there, pepper it with snippets of my own life, and see if it can still move people, the way it did you, Visitor, and that reporter from 'Her World' who came to my office, saw the TV3 commercial, and wept.
I mean, she actually WEPT.
Which is interesting to me because, hey, it had a HAPPY ending. The two friends in the commercial found each other in the end, mah? And so, at least for two people on this earth, I managed to bottle tears of joy, with a mere 2-minute film for a tv station.
And that makes ME happy.
Why? Oh, I don't know. Perhaps because it tells me that I'm not alone. That there are other gentle souls out there who can still have a good cry over a silly little story about childhood friends coming together again. Even if they HAD seen something similar, many times before.
And in the meantime, I urge young people like ohsowat to go out there and be the innovators they want me to be; to make the new things they crave to see, instead of sitting around typing bitter notes to an incorrigibly sentimental old fool like me. (Besides, I don't want to have to explain myself to anyone ever again, about the why's and wherefore's of the subjects of my films. Lord knows, it gets so tiresome sometimes.) I also urge them seriously to consider avoiding my films and my commercials and even my weblog, if these things irritate them that much. (Bad for your digestion lah, sayang.)
And finally, I wish them the best of luck. I really do. Please make something new, adik-adik. Go out there and kick ass. Do Malaysia proud.
I'll be behind you all the way. (Oh, and don't worry. I won't be wearing my boots.)