Farewell to Yasmin Ahmad

PETALING JAYA (July 26, 2009): Close to 200 people turned up to pay their respects at the funeral of talented filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad, who passed away at 11.25pm on Saturday.

The multi-racial crowd, many of them in tears, at the funeral this morning was testament to Yasmin’s ability to reach across ethnic and cultural boundaries in both her films and the television commercials she created for Petronas.

The prayers took place at about 10am at Masjid Abu Bakar As Siddiq at Section 19/7A, Subang Jaya before her body was taken to the Muslim burial ground at USJ22.

Dotted among the crowd of family and friends were celebrities and politicians, including Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Air Asia CEO Datuk Tony Fernandez, 8TV CEO Ahmad Idzam Omar, singer Jaclyn Victor,  film director Suhaimi Baba and  actor Rosyam Nor.

Yasmin, who collapsed after suffering a stroke and undergoing surgery for cerebral hemorrhage  on Thursday, had been creative force in the advertising  and film industry, having won awards and accolades both locally and internationally.

Her interracial love story Sepet (2004) was accorded the Best Film Award and the Best Original Screenplay Award at the Malaysian Film Festival 2005. It also bagged the Asian Film Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2005, and the Grand Prix Award at the Creteil International Women’s Film Festival in the same year.

Her other films included Gubra (2006), Mukhsin (2006), Muallaf (2008) and Talentime (2009).

The 51-year-old Muar-born Yasmin, who was married to Abdullah Tan Yew Leong, began her career as a copywriter with Ogilvy & Mather before joining Leo Burnnett, where she rose to become its creative executive director.

Yasmin’s sudden death leaves a void in the local filmmaking industry, and her legacy will be long remembered.

Award-winning actress Azean Irdawaty, who worked with Yasmin on Talentime, told theSun she was in Singapore when she heard about Yasmin’s death. She rushed back just in time for the funeral.

“I am glad that I managed to see and kiss Yasmin for the last time,” said Azean, who, in her rush to make it to the mosque, ended up leaving her luggage at the airport.

Azean, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, remembered an incident during the press conference for Talentime, when the actress said she did not mind if the movie was to be her last.

“It is ironic that it ended up being Yasmin’s last film instead,” she told theSun in a phone interview.

Fellow director Othman Hafsham, when met at the funeral, was effusive in his praise for Yasmin.
“She is a director who speaks her mind and her films reflect this,” he said.

“Only in this country was her movies considered controversial. But in international film festivals, they all accept her movies. Indeed she  has became a  role model for  many aspiring director out there,” he said.

Actress Ida Nerina who is currently recovering from a bad fall, sent a text message to theSun to share her thoughts on Yasmin .

“Yasmin’s passing is tragic loss to the us, the selfish living,” she said. “Yasmin Ahmad was more than just a talented creative director. She was a loving daughter, wife, mother, sister and a teacher to many of us  who are fortunate to have had her to sweep us off our feet.

“Yasmin was fiercely patriotic and a true Malaysian. I think she has taught many of us to trust our gut when being creative. But truth be known  the most important lesson Yasmin Ahmad taught me was humility,” she added.

Independent filmmaker and author Amir Muhammad was also similarly affected by Yasmin’s death.
In an SMS, he said: “I still haven’t fully processed this yet. So I can only say I will miss her terribly but her courage and her compassion will be felt for a very long time among an audience that will only get bigger.”

More tributes to Yasmin Ahmad

>> Mahesh Jugal Kishor,  who worked with Yasmin in Talentime,: “First of all I like to apologise If I cry talking about her.

“She is never a director with you. She  always acts like a family member to her cast and crew. She is like mother to me. She is like a friend to me.

“What impressed me about her is that she can relate to everyone regardless their age. She will talk to the elders with so much respect. But when it comes to the younger people, she can be like one of us.  She can talk our lingo.

“As a director she is not rigid. She gives the actors their creative freedom to interpret their characters.”

“I must tell you that I am not coping with her death very well.”

>> Elza Irdalynna, who starred in Talentime: “She has a way to make her film shoots a fun affair. It was like going on a vacation. She was a hilarious woman. She loved to play the piano and to sing.

She had a very beautiful voice.

“I spoke to her few hours before she suffered the stroke. She graciously agreed to a put on special screening of Talentime for my boyfriend who is from the United States. We were supposed to meet her on Monday to see the movie together. But it didn’t take place.”

>> Actress Maya Karin: “I have never worked with her. But I find she has a beautiful soul and she has been kind to everybody, and that is reflected in her movies.”

>> Actress Azean Irdawaty wrote a special poem dedicated to Yasmin:

She was  an angel
God sent us
No, he lent us
To be a storyteller
Who spun stories of
Magic, joy and enchantment
Who we often lose  sight of
Her fight was brief
Her leaving was a grief
Just like her movies
The end came too soon
But her wisdom remain
like words to a tune
That we will hold dear
Forever you will be near.
I love you Yasmin
I will miss you always.

this is a sad news for us malaysians. yasmin ahmad was a great film maker. her ideas are different from others. i watched most of her movies and loved most of them. her way of telling it comes from a different perspective, allowing us to open our mind further in our life. im gonna miss her ads for petronas, tnb and others during our festives. her ads have always been the best on tv.

sometimes i read her blog. fancied her writings. her blog:
The Storyteller
The Storyteller, Part 2

al-fatihah to allahyarhamah yasmin ahmad.

article from Sun2Surf.

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