Thursday, August 25, 2011

Humbling moment for film makers after a challenging experience!

Joachim & Weng Yow busy chronicling their humbling experience!

The making of the Bengoh film had a few brushes with the `security apparatus' of Sarawak-and the crews were lucky to be able to returned unhindered after finishing with their shoots! To get to the Bengoh villages they need to pass through a security post set up by the JKR. Outsiders were required to apply a permit from the JKR office in their Kuching office located in the Wisma Seberkas. At the 1st encounter with the JKR security post at Kampong Bengoh just outside the Bengoh dam the producer Ong BK was picked up by the Immigration department and sent back to KL with a 1-way ticket. That was not all.

At intense time like this you need some caffeinated energiser!

The next crews arrived on the 3rd village they visited -Kampong Semban holding their breath because the village was known to be most pliant to the government and may report the crews to the authorities. Already there have been a number of state politicians loudly instigating the government paid village chiefs to keep Oposition and NGOs away, an idea which had the Election Chief Dato Takun Sunggah's endorsement! (The idea was strongly contested by many Dayaks/Dayak groups eg SADIA). Luckily that didn't happen due to the caution exercised by street wise crews. But when the local guides attended the Bersih rally in KL on July 9th they reported that the crews didn't actually escaped the JKR's detection. The JKR folks did visit the villagers interviewed by the crews!

That was truly a humbling moment for the young crew members who thought their stealth operation went beyond the detection by the security guards!
He he, we got thru the security guard....not the last laugh!

May be the security guards suspected the crews' action when the crews passed through the security check point even though they didn't stop them-the crews were wearing local hats given by the local guide Simo, all traveling in a local passenger vehicle.

Such tense security situation means that the locals may not be able to freely access information from all sides to make informed choices at the elections. Among the 4 candidates only the independent candidate made it to sneak into 1 of the villages at one point!

All in all the film crews thought it was a worth while endeavour for themselves as well as for the wider audiences of the film-who are mostly in the urban areas and unlikely to be able to visit the Sarawakian interiors.  
Weng Yow rewrote the script after the humbling trip that changed his view of the natives!

The film maker hope that the message `smuggled out' from the depth of Bengoh villages will open the eyes of the rest of the country to the plight of these isolated citizens of the country-a condition to create a cause of solidarity actions!

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