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Apa Khabar Orang Kampung
Amir Muhammad
Amir Muhammad
72 minutes
Village People Radio Show
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August 09, 2007

Village People Radio Show
Reviewed by: Vinita Ramani

End Notes:

[1] Antze, P. & Lambek M. eds., (1996) : Tense Past – Cultural Essays in Trauma and Memory. New York, London: Routledge.

[2] More details on the film itself can be found on Amir’s website, as well as details on its banning in Malaysia:

[3] Even ethnographic film is notoriously hard to define, as far as what it constitutes and where the boundaries of this practice lie. See for a cogent, if brief, summation of what some of the problems are in this regard.

[4] Interestingly though, the filmmaker stated that he inserted these flashes after Pak Kassim died in September because it made him realise how fragmented history is and to highlight the fact that something is always missing, is not there.

[5] Holidays to visit family in India were always interesting for this: everyday, all activity would come to a halt so that people could watch the incredibly long televised series of the Mahabharata or Ramayana. For those who had no televisions, public viewing around coffee shops, eateries and other means assured this ritual would take place.

[6] In the post-screening discussion, Amir said that from his perspective, he got the sense that their communism is “conflated with nationalism”; that they never lived out communist ideals in the “socio-economic sense”, only in military and warfare terms. Therefore, they see themselves as predominantly Malayans or Malay. In contrast, the filmmaker had shot footage of interviews with Central Committee leaders, but left this out because party members dressed up, had rehearsed scripts and wanted to provide Amir with an “official” history of the communist party: something the filmmaker felt was anathema to his general ethos.

[7] In his biography of Pol Pot, Philip Short returns to this theme frequently, by underlining how little conscious motivation there was behind the masses that joined the Khmer Rouge. It certainly had very little to do with fastidious studies of Marx and Engels. He points out that the American B-52 bombing had a significant role to play in prompting Cambodians to join the regime, though he is careful not to point to this as the sole motivating factor. See Short, P. (2004), Pol Pot – The History of a Nightmare. London: John Murray Publishers, pp. 193 & 245.

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