'Brutally frank' sparring in KL minister's National Day film

Mr Liow Tiong Lai plays the dual role of citizen and politician in the short film, which gives a creative, yet brutally frank, account of the general sentiments of the local Chinese community.
Mr Liow Tiong Lai plays the dual role of citizen and politician in the short film, which gives a creative, yet brutally frank, account of the general sentiments of the local Chinese community.PHOTO: PETE TEO TELEVISION

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's transport minister has come up with a creative way to address the sentiments of the Chinese community in Malaysia, by playing the dual role of citizen and politician in a short film.

In his role as citizen, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai is almost unrecognisable - shabby, dispirited and a little rude.

"Citizen Liow" vents his frustrations about the country, from being on the receiving end of hurtful "balik tongsan" (go back to China) comments to widespread corruption. He even throws a fistful of sweets at a guest in his home - a politician soliciting votes, who is also played by Mr Liow.

The onscreen sparring between both characters is a creative, yet brutally frank, account of the general sentiments of the local Chinese community. Mr Pete Teo, who wrote and produced the movie with Mr Liew Seng Tat, said in a statement posted on the Facebook page of Citizens last Friday that the film reflected the mood of the country at the moment.

"As Malaysian Chinese filmmakers, we were compelled to portray the fears of the Chinese community. It would, therefore, have to contain anger, helplessness and conflict. Yet it must contain hope, for we are even now not without hope, and so the film should also unite us in hope across the political spectrum," he said.

Released for the upcoming National Day celebrations tomorrow, the six-minute video ends on an optimistic note.

Citizen Liow quietly retrieves the Malaysian flag he has stored away and displays it on the balcony of his home, with his real-life wife Lee Sun Loo at his side.

Looking visibly pleased with the film, Mr Liow told reporters on Monday: "We love this nation. We are proud to be Malaysians and we are working hard to make this country a stronger nation. That's the aspiration and message we want to send out."

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2017, with the headline ''Brutally frank' sparring in KL minister's National Day film'. Print Edition | Subscribe