Turning 50 is a big deal. That`s precisely why Malaysia is taking its golden jubilee so seriously. Movies and TV specials are in the pipeline, among them Riak-riak Merdeka 2, a 13-episode docu-drama which chronicles our nation`s quest for independence from British rule.
While the nation`s independence in 1957 is synonymous with Tunku Abdul Rahman`s efforts, Riak-riak Merdeka 2 focuses largely on Dato Onn Jaafar`s contributions to the cause. But the programme`s main goal is to instil the Merdeka spirit in Malaysians.
“For a large portion of our youth, Merdeka day is just another public holiday. So this programme aims to highlight the struggles of our grandparents during that time and how the country achieved its independence,” revealed director Syed Othman Syed Ahmad, a member of the Film Directors` Association of Malaysia (FDAM).
Unlike many other tributes, which focus solely on 1957, this second instalment (following last year`s Riak-riak Merdeka) chronicles the rise of the Malay community, from the time of Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) in 1905 right up to 1957.
“A crucial element in the series is the coming together of the various races and how they faced adversity during the Japanese Occupation, under British rule and when faced with the Communist threat. It aims to instil the spirit of nationalism and open people`s minds to the concept and feeling of Merdeka, the way it felt back in 1957,” said Syed Othman.
Riak-riak Merdeka 2 combines stock footage of historical documents, interviews with people who were involved in the process of independence, re-enactments of war-time atrocities and the role of the country`s first prime minister. All that will give viewers insight into how the country gained freedom from its colonial rulers.
Backdrops include the prime minister`s home, Memorial Tunku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur, the jungles in Ulu Klang and other locations of historical significance in Perak, Johor and Negri Sembilan. Actors were sourced from the Yayasan Warisan Johor theatre department.
Driving Syed Othman in this project was his own desire to understand and experience the feelings of the people in those times.
“I was born in 1961, so I didn`t get to experience independence, so through this series, I get to re-live the emotions that were running through the hearts of our countrymen then.”
The 30-minute programme, which is expected to be aired over RTM1 in early August, is produced by Multilift Film Productions.
Source: www.star-ecentral.com (2 Juli 2007)