Monday, July 20, 2009

New role for Khairy, Nik Aziz and Liow

By Koh Lay Chin

KUALA LUMPUR: Has Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin become a taxi driver?

Is Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai spoofing cigarette advertisements?

It is learnt that some politicians, including Pas spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, Tian Chua and Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, are adding "actor" to their list of achievements. They will appear in 15 short films aimed at celebrating Malaysia's diversity and complexity.

In what may be this year's most talked-about popular culture event, politicians will join actors, singers and other personalities in the 15Malaysia project which is helmed by singer-songwriter Pete Teo.

(From left) Pas spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat; Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai; and actress Daphne Iking are some of the personalities featured in 15 short films on Malaysia’s diversity.

In what may be this year's most talked-about popular culture event, politicians will join actors, singers and other personalities in the 15Malaysia project which is helmed by singer-songwriter Pete Teo.

Sources said the project, which was privately-initiated and apolitical in nature, would revolve around 15 short films directed by 15 filmmakers, from award-winners Yasmin Ahmad, Tan Chui Mui and Nam Ron to directors like Linus Chung, the Suleiman brothers and Kamal Sabran. A peek at the project's website shows that all will be revealed on its Aug 17 launch date.

"These films not only deal with social-political issues in Malaysia, but also feature some of the best-known faces in the country, including actors, musicians and top political leaders," says the website.

"You may think of them as funky little films by 15 Malaysian voices for the people of Malaysia."

It is understood that filming work has been completed and that, apart from a handful which are in post-production, the three-to-five minute films are ready.

The films feature a diverse range of actors and personalities, including Harith Iskandar, Adibah Noor, Amber Chia, Sharifah Amani, Jason Lo, Ida Nerina, Patrick Teo and Daphne Iking.

Namewee, or Wee Meng Chee, who gained notoriety for a controversial song in 2007, will appear in one of the films.

In one of the films, Khairy plays a taxi driver and in another Nik Aziz gives a sermon on conducting virtuous commercial endeavours.

Zaid is said to be making a cameo on inter-communal conflict in one of the films.

Sources said the 15Malaysia project was in support of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's 1Malaysia concept. They said it was made in the spirit that Malaysians should not be identified on the basis of skin colour or religion, but on citizenship.

It is learnt that the films will be released in stages after Aug 17. The project is sponsored by Internet service provider P1.

Teo was responsible for last year's hit anti-racism song Here in My Home under the project Malaysians Artistes for Unity.

The video, which saw more than 120 participants from the arts and film industry taking part, became the third most viralled video in the world for a week, according to London's Metro newspaper.

A viral video is a video clip which gains popularity through the process of Internet sharing, typically through email or instant messaging.


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