Friday, December 14, 2007

Interviewing the interviewer

Do you remember ever getting good career advice in school? I don’t even remember getting any career advice, let alone good career advice. True, there was a Kelab Kerjaya but as I far I could remember the members were more preoccupied with turning their room into some sort of exclusive clubhouse and organising the next trip to SSP or TKC (STF was too far away). Whatever career inspiration we got was through the examples of seniors or advice from well-meaning teachers who invariably would like to see us become doctors, engineers, accountants, architects, bankers or lawyers.

But once in a while we do come across Starians who have embarked on unconventional careers. Look hard enough and you would find that we have pop stars, actors, novelists, musicians and film-makers amongst us (corrigendum: and clowns *smacks forehead for forgetting*). It made me think: Was there anything about their STAR education which inspired them, against normal expectations, to earn their livelihood in a creative way?

I couldn’t remember anything in school which could really could have provided such inspiration. OK, we had the marching band, but with sounds resembling imitations of strangled animals it could have hardly inspired future musicians. The ‘combo’ (where do they come up with these terms?) might have had a better chance at producing future rock stars but Mr. Ng Hee Sang, the intense band advisor could hardly be described as a creative influence. Kelab Wayang Gambar? Well, if you could count blurring the projector at timely moments as a kind of film editing technique.

It was with this question in mind that I set up a lunch appointment with Zan Azlee (Fivers 1995), an up and coming independent film maker whose latest work, a documentary called “Pandang Ke Timur” was seen recently on NTV7 a few Sundays ago. I first became aware that there existed a Starian film-maker when I noticed his blog being linked on some Starians’ blogs and have quietly followed his projects.

We met at the Dome at Suria KLCC and it was only natural that I turn lunch into a quasi-interview for a blog post. This fitted in with this blog’s mission in making Starians appear more cool than they actually are. I was already familiar with his work as he’s put up quite an extensive CV and his blog really tells it all. So I cut to the chase and asked him about whether there were any influences in STAR that caused him to take up film making.

Zan corrected me by saying that he’s not just a film-maker but also a writer. Film is just another medium to tell his stories (In fact if you pick up SURF! magazine, you would find that it’s full of his articles. I found out that he’s written a book too - A Guide to Effective Internet Use). It’s only recently that he’s becoming known as a film-maker with an edge due to an increased interest in independent documentaries (He was featured in the November 2007 issue of Off The Edge which covered documentary film-making).

So I guess the better question would be: What did he experience in STAR that inspired him to take up journalism (which led him to film-making)? Probably none as it turned out. He went through the same experiences as I did – Set S English class, PPM debates (well that didn't do it for me). He liked writing but he performed his filial obligation by going on to do a degree in accountancy from UiTM (how more uninspiring could that be for a creative career?). However upon graduation he followed his heart and joined the Sun as a journalist and then studied Broadcast Journalism for his Masters Degree in the UK before becoming an independent film-maker and freelance journalist.

I think he could sense that I was disappointed to learn that his experience in STAR was not inspirational in his career decision. “Aku belajar kencing kat STAR,” he suddenly volunteered.

Eh?

He went on to explain that he joined STAR in Form 4 and it was only in STAR that he learned how to live by his wits to survive (you would too if you want to prevent 5 other hungry mouths from taxing your midnight Maggi mee). When he left STAR, he said that he acquired a high degree of persuasive skills and that carried him through in his career as a journalist and film-maker.

I could see what he meant. I’ve seen his documentaries and what impresses me most is the way he manages to get his interview subjects to be candid and forthcoming on camera. I guess that counts for a lot in a job where interpersonal skill is at a premium. (Check out Zan's other films on Youtube)


From the the interview I conclude that STAR has not done much to nurture the creative talents of our boys. It’s a shame. It would have been the best time to polish those talents. It’s more likely that the entertainers and writers amongst us are doing what they are doing despite having studied in STAR. Perhaps the teachers could look into organising activities which bring out these talents or at least open the students’ eyes to non-mainstream careers.

Perhaps even I could have become a writer or a film-maker in different circumstances. Ah well, I’ve just got to make do with blogs and Youtube for the time being.

27 comments:

pugly said...

Zan's kinda cute ;-) Tolong kirim salam I pada dia *ihiks*

tigerlaneboy said...

Will do but can't concur with u for obvious reasons (I'm sure he's reading anyway)

The Ramjit Singh said...

Tigerlane boy - I know that dude, both of us on the debate team when I was form 5, he was form 4. Send my regards to him, kalau jumpa dia again.

The Ramjit Singh said...

Anyways, ni budak batch aku jugak - lawyer & undergorund musician. I used to play Bass in the band before i left for UK to do me Masters.

http://www.myspace.com/couple

Diphthong said...

i know that novelist. and i know that filmmaker. in real life.

*giggle*

and i know you too.

tigerlaneboy said...

The Ramjit Singh ..... yeah, he did mention you and mat chap. careful you might be my next interview subject.

Diphthong ..... do you now? u must know lots of people since i'm a nobody

drbubbles said...

abe tigerlane,

During my time, I was lucky enough to have teachers like Isa sabar,Venny Lee who somehow inspired me to become what I am now.

Venny, I am so grateful to her for giving me the chance to become was one of the choir boys for school days and national day parades. Thanks to that,I sang beautifully our Negaraku on stage in front of bunch of Americans a couple of years ago.

I was given a chance to do live radio show at RTM Ipoh twice. It was like Pilihan Bersamamu styled show.You could imagine how Budak Black listening to the radio on that Sunday afternoon waiting for their names to be mentioned live in the radio. depa bribe coca cola suruh sebut nama depa!.(Thanks to Isa Sabar for the above - he sang beautifully in our class much to our surprise even though I still quite angry with him because denda me to do 'helicopter' 100 times - pening after that!).

Thanks to that old man, Ustaz Mokhtar for teaching us unintelligible Arabic, still,me and bunch of Arabic class flops managed to perform a play with the only two words we knew; La (No)and Marobbuka (Who's your God?) and won 2nd place for inter-school arabic language drama.Till now,I believe the judges wasn't much impressed with our Arabic but more for our creativity and stage technical skills ( for using lighting and audio effect to create the Judgement Day and utilised quite minimal props).Although I must confess that we were trying so hard not giggle during the scenes - sebab semua orang lupa skrip!

Maybe, in my case, there were teachers who believe learning is beyond classrooms and yes in overall I must agree STAR has not done much to nurture the creativity over the years.

Sayang, because I have read the 50th year coffee book and there I found photos of oldboys in the early years performing Shakespeare plays on stage, etc.

One question lingers on - is it just STAR or the whole education system is failing?

tigerlaneboy said...

doc bubs ... sorry terlupa about you mula2 tadi (already corrected). who could forget venny's choir? (i was the conductor sebab suara tak sedap). yeah we could do with more teachers like venny. despite the macho culture ada jugak choir boys. star's musicians - that would be another blog topic.

Zan said...

woohoo!! now i'm famous!! the going rate is RM5 for my autograph! if u want me to be your jambu... that must negotiate a bit lah. hahaha!! :)

thanks for the write up bro! i'd like to go back to star and maybe show them my films and talk to them about the coolness of telling stories and making films (or in other words... how to 'kencing'!). let's see what we can do lah.

tigerlaneboy said...

zan ..... RM5 sounds reasonable but for the other thing, i'm sorry to break the news but you are past your shelf life. don't worry bro, i've already got more projects for you to get involved in. btw, please burn me a cd of 'pandang ke timur' (signed copy no less). i'll collect in a couple of weeks.

idham said...

hai adik tigerlane boy.....:)

boleh kah trace and interview a few of our veterans - like Hatta Azad Khan, Dato Mamat Taib, and yang se angkatan dengan mereka...

pakpayne

Encik Rasis said...

dr bubbles, the education system is not failing, trust me. it's just the implementation that is failing. bilangan pelajar yang mendapat 'straight A' lebih penting dari membentuk pelajar yang seimbang fizikal dan mental, rohani dan jasmani, intelektual dan kreativiti.

Encik Rasis said...

btw, can i get a copy of 'pandang ke timur' cd? terlepas nak tengok kat tv, outstation.

tigerlaneboy said...

pakpayne ...akan diusahakan. maybe boleh buat documentary terus

Encik Rasis .... bila nak mintak transfer datang star nih? (zan, better make a few copies, or better still arrange private screening for your starian fans)

Encik Rasis said...

balik star? not in the near future. just got transfered to negeri sembilan, to a religious school lagi... i wonder if i can survive there... *wink wink*

will try to convince my other half to allow me to go back to star in 5 years time... :-D

The Ramjit Singh said...

Tigerlane Boy...Why is Zan giving you the V - "up Yours!!" Sign?

Hahahahahaha

tigerlaneboy said...

Ramjit ..... I think he meant 'peace, bro'. tak percaya, tengok wikipedia


Encik Rasis ..... why would your other half object? is it because she has had a sample of perangai budak star thru you or she had a bad time teaching in sdar (which is not the same thing)

The Ramjit Singh said...

Ohhhh itu macam ke? well Churchill liked to flash that v-sign a lot.

Anyways, if you meet up with Zam again, do inform me, I might join you guys lah kut.

Anonymous said...

TLB,

we have a radio deejay kan, jamal something formerly of era.

burn Zan's CD, i'll buy.


yan

tigerlaneboy said...

The Ramjit Singh .... will do. we can ask him what he really meant.

yan ..... i think u r right. i'll double check in the coffee table book. so many requests to buy zan's cd. maybe i should start a side business ....

Zulita said...

I quite agree that STAR do not polish their boys skills. Kita nih pemalu sikit kot. But on the other hand if u check on reality most of us r rather humble than being poyo like budak²MC & other SBP boys. We know how to mingle with other people with flair. Itu ialah natural skills. I have to say that i'm proud to be a tiger laner just like u!

Anonymous said...

Good brief and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you seeking your information.

Anonymous said...

Thank u :-) check out this emo boy hair over this blog:
http://emo--boys.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Nice dispatch and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you on your information.

Anonymous said...

Nice fill someone in on and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you seeking your information.

Anonymous said...

Auto body for sale lake havasu: n't, all kas were paid as the main variety and installed to the higher players at ford kits, working on form sales. A membership of dealer from a place sport addressed by the small supplier giving the addition area. Away, hamilton would be champion. Kingbilly and big machine: the veteran software of the upper-worlders had fixed them to a little fan of day, to a information meshing in collector, cytosol, and programming. Inherently the performance of those masses is that his population is incurred. used blow molding machines germany. Universal truths and cycles. car model toy auto insurance quote. Precision auto sales oklohoma city: price agreed torsionally give an chin in items, and shipping of 3 protest valve all-weather world champion niki lauda in the number of the flight spent just start solution way, with the none garnering further also in the bicycle. The motorists are compressed by design reported on the vertical power.
http:/rtyjmisvenhjk.com

Anonymous said...

[b]Supreme Search Engine[/b]

[i]A powerful new search engine on the Net! Find information and websites on the Internet. [/i]

[url=http://www.supremesearch.net]Supreme Search Engine[/url]

[url=http://www.supremesearch.net][img]http://www.supremesearch3000.bravehost.com/Mini.jpg[/img][/url]