SMFS: A Conversation With Lynn Malik

Anyone who knows me would know that the only Malay songs I listen to are the ones from the 1950s to early 1990s. So naturally, when I was asked to interview Lynn Malik, I went like “Whuuutt??!”

A Singaporean by birth, Lynn Malik moved to Malaysia in 2004, following the steps of other Singaporean singers like Imran Ajmain, when she decided Singapore was not the place to be for artistes like her. When asked to comment, Lynn said “Singapore is too small for artistes like us to survive in the entertainment industry. There’s a higher demand for entertainers like me over in Malaysia.” After the release of her EP in 2004, Lynn continued performing for corporate shows all over Malaysia, living her dream as a performer.

Finally, after close to 5 years after the release of her EP, Lynn has released her first single, Pen Merah Pen Biru (Red Pen Blue Pen) and the music video is now in the process of post-production. So what has Lynn Malek got anything to do with me or my affliates?

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Pen Merah Pen Biru is produced by Rezzaruction Pictures. Who else none other than Shahrezza Zuhri as the director. Lynn Malik hired Rezza to produce and direct her music video after an introduction by an acquaintance. Impressed by Rezza’s portfolio given his young age, Lynn decided to convey to him what she wanted in her music video and Rezza successfully came up with a storyboard that Lynn fell in love with.

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I managed to ask Lynn some questions about the local filmmaking and entertainment industry and she willingly answered them despite on a busy schedule.

What do you think of the Singapore entertainment industry as a whole?

The local entertainment industry is still in the infant stage. We’re all trying to make the arts part of the Singaporean culture now, althoug it used to be an integral part of our lives back in the 1950s to 70s. We can’t really do much because sponsors are difficult to get and the industry is already too small. But we’re getting there!

How do you think Production houses like Rezza’s would fair in the Malaysian entertainment industry?

Rezza is a talented young producer with a lot of fresh ideas. He’s firm, strict and hardworking – he knows what he wants. I must say that I am thrilled to be working with him because he makes sure whatever that’s being conveyed to him gets done. The music video is exactly what I wanted and I would gladly ask Rezza to do another one of my music videos. He can definitely survive in Malaysia’s entertainment industry.

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What do we need to improve on?

The co-operativeness and togetherness of the entire industry must be improved. Production houses cannot survive as an island, they must collaborate and team up for the film industry to reach its peak. One thing they can learn from Malaysia’s film industry is the ability to collude and work on a project regardless of who signed the contract.

Do you think Singaporeans are lacking the passion when it comes to the entertainment industry?

Can I say 50-50? We cannot get the same kind of people we had forty, fifty years ago. They lived on entertaining – they had no choice. It was that or nothing and they’d rather live their passion. Now, we’re spoilt for choices. We take things for granted and tend to chase comfort and stability, which is rather important. We were not there when history was in the making for us to take entertaining seriously.

About money, we cannot say much, either. Production brings a lot of money, but it depends on the heart where the quality is concerned. Some productions which require lots of money do not yield in the best results, yet the cheapest ones in town offer the best quality they can.

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Do you think there could be a revival of the great Malay film industry?

Yes, only if we all work together and set aside our differences.

The music video for Pen Merah Pen Biru is due for release in early March.

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SMFS: Genggam Shooting

Over the long Chinese New Year weekend some time last month, I managed to catch a sneak peek into the behind-the-scenes of Genggam.

So you must be wondering – what the hell is Sham talking about, Genggam? Genggam bara biar sampai jadi arang?

No. Genggam is the first ever official short film under the Sinema Incubator Programme produced by Singapore Malay Film Society (SMFS) and Rezzaruction Pictures. Genggam (Fist) is directed by SMFS’ very own founder, Isnor Dzulkarnain Jaafar. I was cordially invited to the last few days of shooting, which started sometime near September last year, to witness some of the chaos and excitement going around the shooting location.


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Genggam Official Poster

Speaking of which, I got a shock of my life when I arrived at the (top secret) shooting location. A boxing ring was the last thing I had in mind, but thankfully, I was comfortable in my sneakers and technically it was more of a martial arts training facility. The temperature was scorching hot and I was stupidly wearing black and with layers. But hey, that’s the fun and rigour of making a film!

Ok. Back to Genggam.

On the first day of shooting for that weekend, I chanced upon Ashmi, Netty and Cik Kamin doing one of the scenes when I arrived, and I must say I am impressed by the director of photography. Although I couldn’t see quite well through the small monitor supposedly for the director, especially from where I was standing, I could see that Ghufran (the Ghufran I’m referring to here is Ghufran Jasni, not Darul Ghufran Mosque) seems to know what he was doing.

One of the scenes in Genggam.
One of the scenes in Genggam.

Later in the day, I managed to talk to Cik Kamin who plays one of the antagonists in Genggam. A real-life silat guru, Cik Kamin believes that silat should be revived by our own race and not others. Having international students from as far as France studying the martial art of silat with him, Cik Kamin is naturally disappointed with the local community for neglecting silat in favour of other forms martial arts like taekwando.

“The traditional form of silat is increasingly being abandoned by the young generation. Combat silat is now more popular because many fear the symbolism behind traditional silat. As the saying goes, people fear the unknown,” Cik Kamin commented.

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Cik Kamin and myself.

Cik Kamin went on explaining the symbolism of the keris (dagger) in silat, “It is not about killing your opponent with the keris, but to gently slice the skin of your opponent with the tip of the keris which has been dipped in poison.”

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A very glam photo of Cik Kamin.

Indeed, in line with Isnor’s objective of producing Genggam, silat needs to be revived or the art will also perish sooner or later, like the local filmmaking industry. Being the very first feature short film by SMFS, we are all expecting a lot from a small lot of people. Yet, the drive and motivation to relive the filmmaking industry to the yesteryears of Arwah Tan Sri P. Ramlee is still very strong. Says Suffian Zain, SMFS Co- Founder, “We are all in this together. It’s all or nothing.”

The next day, I caught up with Fatmah Abdul Halid, another one of the antagonists, yet again (I seem to love antagonists, eh?). An executive in a the IT industry by profession, Fatmah began practising silat in her teens. She later moved on to competitive silat where she represented Singapore in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games for several years, and finally achieving a Gold medal in the 2007 Womens’ Open.

Despite her background in silat, Fatmah claims it was difficult for her to repeat her success in front of the camera. Her first time in front of a camera meant that she had a lot to learn – especially with veterans like Rafaat Hamzah and Zamberi Abdul Patah around on set.

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A worn out but determined Fatmah.

“As a first time actress, there is no way for me not to be nervous. I had to visualise the scenes in my head over and over again. I cannot make any excuses for not being able to perform my best. My fighting and acting skills must be excellent for Genggam to be an impressive production,” says Fatmah.

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Suffian and the two commentators posing for a picture.

There is no way I can deny the togetherness and spirit to make Genggam a success, though. Despite running late from the planned schedule, and everyone looking tired from all the running about, the crew still managed to spare the other journalists and I some time to joke around. Shahida made sure we had our lunch and made us feel part of the production (although we were there only to kepo-kepo around).

Tuan Director and his fellow humble servants - I meant - crew.

Isnor giving the crew some words of wisdom.

I can’t release the synopsis just yet, but watch out for another entry nearing the release date of Genggam some time in May! I am really excited for the screening, in line with the first anniversary of SMFS.

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