Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

Gubra, Religion, & Entertainment

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

At first glance, the title given to this post seems contradictory. Paradoxical almost.

But after having watched "Gubra" you know that the 3 can perfectly coexist.

"Gubra" is a film that finally restores my faith in the potential of Malaysian cinema as well as, dare I say it, Malaysians in general.

I had the fortune of sitting next to a doyen of Malaysian cinema at a dinner party not too long ago and we had an amazing conversation. Datuk L. Krishnan has directed more films than I know during the 50s and 60s and spoke with conviction when he said "I keep telling these fellows to produce MalaySIAN movies, not just Malay movies."

Never was a truer word spoken.

And yesterday, I had the privilege of watching a true MalaySIAN film which entertained, tugged at your heart strings, made you laugh, made you cry, and made you believe that the best in our society is out there.


From the beginning, Gubra was a film that took risks. A Muezzin who pets a dog, which must be shocking (but watch what happens when the dog "walks" off) to our more fundamental brothers, a bare (but cute) bum flapping in the wind along with the hospital robe, pork being chopped in an ostensibly Malay film, penis jokes, Muslims who looked the part of "Koran" Thumpers but subscribed to the best part of Islam, a devout muslim couple who took time to make space in their lives for a couple of prostitutes, a meaningful loving hug for an HIV positive person who rejects it at first, a delicate discussion about non-Malays in our society ("Sometimes I wonder if you guys realise how hard it is for the rest of us to live here. It’s like being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back."), and most of all a juxtaposition of prayers which for once highlights the similarities between Christianity and Islam.

I've always believed that being brothers of the Book, Christians and Muslims have had their faiths hijacked by vocally aggressive fanatics who have no compassion or mercy or love. And for faiths that are 99% similar in preaching peace, brotherly love, truth, honesty, and compassion, those same vocally aggressive fanatics also set the agenda for discussing, arguing, fighting, and warring over that 1% of difference. A difference that can be attributed to nothing more than differences of understanding the same message.

From the opening scenes right up to the closing and the surprise ending (after the credits) I was marvelling at the humour, the heart, and the outright talent of Malaysian filmmakers and actors. "Gubra" articulated the best in our people. Fancy that, a film that makes me say "our people" without hesitation. This film made me proud to be a Malaysian. It just goes to prove, that with heart and passion, Malaysians are capable of being the best of the best.

I can't encourage, urge, coerce, or push everyone enough to go and see this stand alone sequel to "Sepet."

In the words of Jellaludin Rumi, which is flashed onto the screen at the end of the film, "The lamps are different but the Light is the same."

Well done, Aunty Yasmin!

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