It was a no brainer picking Fahmi Fadzil for our JUICE‘s Merdeka Q + A. This writer, actor and performer is really passionate about our country. Fahmi Fadzil is also known to be a multi tasker: apart from his column in KLue, he MCs on a regular basis, hosts The Fairly Current Show on PopTeeVee, acts as the principal coordinator for Project Wayang Experimental group and even helps run a graphic design and multimedia studio called Bright Lights At Midnight (BLAM), putting bums to shame! Add to that, the recipient of the Most Promising Artist Award at the 2006 BOH Cameronian Arts Awards and a finalist in the theater section for the 2008/9 cycle of the Rolex Mentor and ProtÃ©gÃ© Arts Initiative and we’re starting to get a complex already. This is his take on Merdeka.
What does it mean to be Malaysian?
To believe that this is the country of one’s birth; to be willing to defend its liberty, its laws, and its lands; to be in love with this nation that loves me back.
Where did you grow up and what is your fondest childhood memory of Malaysia?
I grew up in PJ (Damansara Utama and PJ Old Town) and KL (Bukit Damansara). Some of the best memories when I was young was going to the padang. The rotiman honking on the street, the football flying everywhere, the running across fields and into trees – that was what it meant for me to be young.
What will you be doing when the clock strikes 12 midnight on 31 August
I will be with the people I love, and probably getting ready to go to sleep so I can wake up for sahur!
What’s your definition of independence?
To be free, to a degree, from tyranny without and within. And in this freedom to commit to the democratic spirit come hell or high water.
Who’s your Malaysian hero?
Not hero, heroes: My parents! They tirelessly (and ungrudgingly) raised my brothers and I with the belief that we must work hard to be where we are, to be honest in what we do, and to have faith in each other.
What is your favorite Malaysian song right now?
Sejahtera Malaysia! Remember how old school that song is?! I sang it for the first time in ages when I had to emcee Rainbow Massacre at Annexe Gallery’s Seksualiti Merdeka event a few weeks back, and all the people just fell in love with it once again. Ah, those days of pre-1Malaysia!
Who is your favourite Malaysian band/artist?
I don’t have one, so I’ll rattle away a few: Killer Calculateur, Ciplak, Panda Head Curry, Furniture, Khottal!
Where is your favourite Malaysian getaway?
I don’t get to go away very often, but when I do I really enjoy my kampung in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan. Nothing like a good old fashioned (cooling) kampung house to sooth the weary spirit.
The worst and best Malaysian traits are…..
Too much reliance on the government to solve all our problems. Kita mesti didik semangat Do-It-Ourselves a little bit more. That’ll challenge the status quo!
If you were Prime Minister for the day you would…..
#1 Abolish archaic/repressive laws such as the ISA, OSA, Printing and Printing Presses Act, University and University Colleges Act.
#2 Separate again the powers of the executive, legislative, and judiciary.
#3 Establish a Freedom of Information Act.
#4 Re-establish local elections.
(Yes, I know, that’s one hell of a long day.)
If you could leave Malaysians with one thought to ponder this Merdeka what
would it be?
We gained independence on 31 August 1957, but Malaysia was really born on 16 September 1963. Let’s not forget that Malaysia is more than just Malaya. And Malaysia is much bigger than the idea of 1Malaysia.
You can read Fahmi’s column in KLue magazine. Alternately watch Fahmi host the ‘Fairly Current Show’ on http://popteevee.popfolio.net and find updates on Project Wayang at projekwayang.blogspot.com. And if all that isn’t your thing and you were just lookin’ for a graphic/multimedia designer, you can check Bright Lights At Midnight at www.blam.com.my.