Advocating for an All Inclusive Dance Action for everyone

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Experiencing TV 3 Potret Terbilang trip to Copenhagen - July 2007

Malaysia Bolehke?, I and Amir Zainorin did a little spontaneous flag work presentation by the South of Victory Island stretch of beach, close to the Kaltoft's summer house. With this short showing, I do think we shocked the tv team a little as they were not prepared at all to see the 'dance' work me and Amir put up for them. We did not shock them because the presentation was offensive, not at all but rather, they came with some expectations to see 'dance' such as popular dance or traditional dance, but instead we were physical performers with strong expressions and our body is used as an artistic installation. In fact, I think it was too hard for them, to decipher or understand, and they were unsure about what they actually wanted to ask during the interview regarding our form of expressive work, and how to continue and progress in the discussion with me, Amir and the artists friends visiting me from Holland. Will it be an artistic discussion and interpretation about my work as a choreographer, or will it just be about highlighting the many special Malaysians who have made it overseas.

The next day they left, saying that they had enough shots of me and my life in Europe,... a day early,.. missing out a whole day shooting arrangement I had organized for them in Rotterdam to see me work with the dancers of the EOC Orchestral Theater company that I was hoping to develop. On top of canceling the appointment I have been arranging for the past one and the half month, which was arranged based on their requests, with an excuse that they blundered with the car rental and budgeting the transportation situation to Holland, (in my opinion it could have been overcome, since Rasmus and I, as well as Aisah was involved in assisting them, and if they tried to solve it and respected that I have made those arrangements especially for them since they were the ones to ask me to).... then they would have helped me not suffer my reputation as an organizer... when I again had to inform, cancel and let down a team of professional artists who were gathering and waiting in Holland (sacrificing their summer holiday time) to meet and work with me especially for the TV 3 shooting. It was the second time I had to cancel due to the disorganized scheduling done by the TV 3 team. It was simply unprofessional on their behalf for requesting and did not follow through,.... I have to be honest. But I knew they were very tired from their long trip, covering many other Malaysians working and living all over the world. And they were tired because they were trying to cramp many other possibilities of using different shots to be used for other different TV 3 programs, so that they can save cost and budget. Of course this is common in the manner how old Malaysian working establishment function in order to control and manage its economic finances.
But again, i was not told that the documentary was not to view the principles of my work and how i work overseas and I was not really clear of their true intention. So it was partly my fault for not asking. So therefore, they knew they had all the material they needed to have from me. But i didn't think it was enough as they only had shots of me in my everyday activity at home for example like going to tivoli with my husband and son, how we celebrate raya, me talking to maya on raya day,,,,etc. I thank them for selecting me as a person in their program,... but i think next time they should inform their intentions clearly, before traveling far to highlight someone in their program and requesting the host to prepare and make time to accommodate their request, but in the end the host feels like they were used since it was all on volunteer basis. So please, please, please consider the objectives of it all ..... since it is not so cheap to use money funded by the ministry of information,.. or from rich VIP's, or politician,... coming from the tax payers from home country. It is important to be transparent in everything we do, and i have to say this as a true Malaysian citizen, so that we Malaysians can learn from experiences and mistakes to better ourselves for our country.
We don't travel all the way, spending so much money,... and using it so unwisely. They should be more prepared and not come without researching thoroughly about the person they wish to highlight, (if that was their intention), with unprepared script and rush through to take just enough material to finish the program, rather than giving the time to complete the information they need about this person they wish to highlight, to serve correctly to the public at home about the work and life of this person. Its not like I would like to project a lot about me, after all, with great appreciation, I had already the opportunity to do something with the 8 TV, in the Dare to Dream series - and i was very honored and grateful to Idora and company for selecting me, (that I could dare say was more organized accept that I wish I could have given them more scenarios of my work with dancers and performance). So, I should not be so picky and primadonaish about what tv 3 wish to do with their program on me. In fact I should be thankful,....but whatever it is, for whatever I have provided, I just think it is polite to be better organized and more prepared so that they do not let people (especially people in the professional world i have arranged for them) down with false promises - when what they needed is just me as a Malaysian, about how i live at home, what i do in my daily activity, masak, make party, my family, etc. A lesson to learn for me.

Was I dissapointed? Not at all. Is my agreement to do this program what I meant about being forced to do so for false recognition. No, i do not need to be recognized in my field of work. It is they who came to me, and not i. I can only give what I can, and to provide them the very best of my ability. And if I am unable to do so, then I take big responsibility for failing to provide them with all that they needed to make their program work. To make things work for others, we have to willingly give and offer. And that is what I do, i offer my passion and commitment willingly to service their requirements, for all Malaysians and more. And this was my mission since the early years of my career in Kuala Lumpur, Serving with passion my artistry for my country, people and for the love of God. And not for false recognition, meaning money, status and desire for materialistic return. Helping others voluntarily through the love of dance, is my mission. Love is the most powerful energy, and it becomes potent when evoking dance. It helps us to overcome all challenges in life. A combination of prayer and dance, giving and serving this energy evokes compassion and understanding, and to me this is the best life formula you can share with the young and old, as a contribution to help people grow strong, well informed confident and responsible human beings. And so, i contribute, i give .... as part of my share of zakat. And if yes, I will contribute, if given the opportunity to dance for the poor, the underprivileged, the special need people, the suppress, oppressed and more. If god willing. If it help others to grow and transcend. But of course everyone needs to earn and survive, and if it means i have to do what we call commercial work like - opening for the Batik Extravaganza, show for touristic purposes, and it pays for me to use to help my family and parents for their daily living, then I will do so. Although it is not something i feel very inspired to do , to be seen on stage doing a popular traditional or ballet dance, as it does not speak about the world, the society, the pain, the love ... then i consider it as just a job, and means to earn to contribute to the society, for my daily living and extra for my kids,... and kalau cukup, a little aside for charity.

The second day shooting and interview at the summer house with Rasmus Kaltoft.

The crew arrived on Sunday July 8, 2007. A small group of orang Malaysia gathered at Aida & Rasmus's cosy little apartment in preparation for the Mock-up Hari Raya celebration. As requested by the TV 3 before arriving, that they would like me to help them arrange a makan-makan session with orang Malaysia celebrating raya in Denmark, to be used in other Raya programes coming up for the Raya celebration in October. So I did although I do not understand why I had to do it, but I did it joyfully and voluntarily. It was fun, and the guests had a good laugh when each and everyone had a chance to make their Raya wishes to people at home. This was followed with a session with me talking about my work in the living room and then after a walk with the 3 of us, Ras, Marjaan and myself, including our strong supporters Aisah and Radin, members of the UMNO club... in the city and out to Tivoli. Other than my interview alone, and some shots in the kampung back home, and work with Citrawarna (a commercial work). They don't really have any material or documentation of the total scope of my work and my inspirations as a Muslim-Malaysian choreographer living overseas - which is so important for the Malaysian public to know about as a learning process. (And on top of that, they double booked our shooting with another Malaysian personality in Copenhagen - last minute, sharing the same period they were working with me with her - which made the whole event more chaotic. It doesn't mean anything to be double booked, but it would have given me some free time, that could be best spend with my husband and child, friends for example) It sounds like I am so full of myself,... but then again,.... i am left,without a clue about, what are the daily plans and what they really needed. I don't think good journalism should make one feel that way. In fact they should be able to inspire or provoke the artist/personality to further define who they are,.. and what is their role in life and with the world around them. Its about vision and having passion to fulfill this vision to educate or inform others, about the philosophy of whom they are projecting about. It should be a two way learning process,... gaining insights from this exchange. But in this case,.... I am sad to say, and this is only my personal opinion, and not the other artists who were on the Potret Terbilang program. In my experience with them, in their dealings with me, they were too much living 'in the box' chasing after their 'false recognition' of producing something or anything they can show with the camera, without space or time to peep out and see what others are doing and going out of their way to help them fulfill their goals. Or maybe they simply do not know what to say more about dance. As to some people, dance is just steps, entertainment, part time hobby/main-main, and to some others, dancing is haram and is not essential to our mental, physical, spiritual and emotional growth as human. (And that is what we have to educate others who does not understand the innate values of dance as an artistic and spiritual expression). So like I said, I was expecting a two way learning process, or at least they, should have as media people promote their work as a mission to educate, we learn from you and I from them, and we inform others what we both learned from our encounter. And to learn, we need to give time to indulge and open to listen. And this happens to all of us, to me and everyone, we get lost trying to satisfy our needs and chase for the false recognition but forget to take time to reflect on the subtle principles of life and relationship that exists all around so. So in our daily rat race, it is most crucial to stop, breath, reflect, center ourselves, be within our body, state of being, in touch with our soul,... just as we take time for our prayers,... it makes us think clearer and wiser. So as to be in the right mind to express our appreciations and take responsibility for all our conduct and decisions, the good and the bad, the rights and the wrongs.
Their final question is what is my opinion and take about Malaysia celebrating 50 years of Independence? .... I wonder, what do you think I am thinking? ..bolehke, Malaysia? Its not a criticism, but a challenge. For me and for all Malaysians,... life becomes fuller when we all head towards betterment by constantly challenging ourselves, and motivating ourselves towards learning and change. That are my two cents opinion about our living need for embodying independence.

And after observing the documentary,... i would like to thank TV 3 and all the crew, it is what it is, just a show about the different Malaysian people living their lives and what we say, how each of the individuals mengharumkan nama Malaysia through their different and unique careers all over world. And therefore, I am grateful and honored, even thru the ups and downs, for being selected. Thank you TV 3 and peace be upon you and the company. Amin.


Bin Basra said...

So, Aida apa feedback dari orang TV3 selepas buat shooting dengan you? Agak-agak jadi tak diorang masukkan segmen you dalam program diaorang? Harap-harap nanti i dapat buat kolaborasi dengan you di Copenhagen. Untuk i punya next trip ke Europe la!!!!...Good Luck.

zubin said...

amboi. amboi, amboi tv3 in holland, mesti best, kesian orang kat malaysia, melopong ajelah. Bila pulak lah kita nak dapatkan khidmat aida untuk buat kerja di malaysia, berapa pulak harganya, mestilah naik melambung harganya. I am thnking of you for my coming production, Sagariwa, next year. Sebelum ni tahun ni I buat dulu experimen dengan my students di UM called Monolog Monyet-monyet.